So much has happened in Saudi Arabia in just the last three days. Here’s a recap and the latest…
First, there are geo-political tensions heating up right now between Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia and all the major nations of the war in massive war simulations:
Air-forces from nine countries with about 50 planes are now starting to drill in the most southern region of the country utilizing Uvda Air Base in Israel. Teams from India, the United States, Greece, Poland, France, Italy and Germany with be flying over 300 sorties simulating ‘real war’.
Meanwhile, across the sand dunes this evening, a far more interesting story is developing, and could shed light on the end game for Blue Flag 2017. Yesterday we reported that the Saudis intercepted a ballistic missile over the nation’s capital of Riyadh. Now the Saudis call the missile attack “blatant act of aggression” by Iran and “could be considered act of war”.
The smell of war is in the air and simultaneously Israel and other countries are drilling for ‘real war’. As, what we’ve seen before – drills sometime go live.
In addition to the geo-political tensions, the financial tensions have begun. The Saudis have begun freezing assets of those arrested in the crackdown over the weekend (see below for details):
Two days after the most stunning purge in recent Saudi history, the so-called “anti-corruption probe” – which was really a countercoup – that led to the arrest of dozens of Saudi Arabian royals, ministers and businessmen allowing Mohammed to further cement control over the Kingdom, appeared to be widening on Monday when, as Reuters reports, Saudi banks begun freezing the accounts of those arrested. The Saudi central bank ordered commercial banks to freeze the accounts of people under investigation in the probe, the Reuters sources said, adding that the number of accounts affected could run into the hundreds, although the names of those affected have yet to emerge.
“The freezing of accounts has already happened,” said another source. “The freezing is a precautionary measure that will end as soon as the suspects are either charged or pronounced innocent.” Considering that prince Alwaleed alone has over $19 billion in assets, including nearly a billion dollars in jewelry, plans, yachts, furniture and cash…
Meanwhile, to prevent royals from quietly fleeing the country, a no-fly list has been drawn up and security forces in some Saudi airports were barring owners of private jets from taking off without a permit, pan-Arab daily Al-Asharq Al-Awsat reported.
And as the crackdown extended, so did the confusion, and many analysts were puzzled by the targeting of technocrats like ousted Economy Minister Adel Faqieh and prominent businessmen on whom the kingdom is counting to boost the private sector and wean the economy off oil.
“It seems to run so counter to the long-term goal of foreign investment and more domestic investment and a strengthened private sector,” said Greg Gause, a Gulf expert at Texas A&M University. “If your goal really is anti-corruption, then you bring some cases. You don’t just arrest a bunch of really high-ranking people and emphasize that the rule of law is not really what guides your actions. It just runs so counter to what he seems to have staked quite a lot of his whole plan to.”
Robert Jordan, former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, says on Bloomberg TV, said that the Saudi Crown Prince’s anti-corruption drive, which included detaining Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, was “almost the equivalent of arresting Bill Gates.”
“The Saudis have come to a fork in the road and they have taken it,” he said adding that “this is about the most breathtaking revelation I think we could possibly have imagined.“
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