Archive for the ‘Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’ category

The U.S. Is Saudi Arabia Now

November 7, 2017

The U.S. Is Saudi Arabia Now, PJ MediaRoger L Simon, November 6, 2017

But back to Saudi Arabia. They’re the bad ones here, not us.  They behave in a manner that civilized people must condemn.  We know this because Donald Trump approves of what King Salman is doing, cleaning house of characters like Bin Talal,  and Trump, as we know, is not an honorable man.

How do we know?  Because he has disgraced our country in Japan.  He is uncouth and does not even know how to feed koi. How bad is that! He could have killed the poor….Oh, wait…. 

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Saudi Arabia is evidently undergoing some pretty extreme housecleaning, approaching its own “Night of the Long Knives.”  It’s hard to know what to make of it (though those of us who remember Alwaleed Bin Talal’s  fatuous offer of ten million dollars just after 9/11, properly refused by Rudy Giuliani, have our own opinions of the now-arrested prince.)

Things over there seem pretty primitive and chaotic, almost tribal, replete with the image of billionaire princes forced to sleep on bare mattresses in the ballroom of the local Ritz Carlton. The Saudis have their own way of doing things.

Or do they?

These days things in Washington resemble Riyadh more than we care to admit. And unlike the Saudis, we don’t have Iran’s clients flying missiles into our airports. What’s our excuse?

Not much really — just hatred and the lust for power.  We’re tribal too — and then some.  Indeed, we may be worse.  How else to explain what’s going on inside our major political institutions — from Congress to our political parties to the Department of Justice to, needless to say, the FBI?  The skullduggery has been endless.

The latest is the reaction to Donna Brazile’s disclosure that the Democratic Party primary process was, essentially, fixed in favor of Mrs. Clinton.  The former DNC head is most likely correct because the mortified (and defensive) responses to her revelations are packed with lies.  That Ms. Brazile was concerned for her own safety because of the unsolved Seth Rich murder is also worth noting, speaking of long knives. Meanwhile, the mainstream media barely mentions that anything has occurred.  (The Saudis are more transparent.)

And then there are the matters that can be lumped together as G-Men in Non-Action, i. e. the FBI.  The latest revelation here is that James Comey, chief law enforcement officer in the land at the time, at first wrote a document accusing Hillary Clinton of  having been “grossly negligent” in her email scandal and then crossed it out… or somebody crossed it out for him…  to replace it with, for some reason or other, “extremely careless.” Could it be that “grossly negligent” in the handling of national security material is a crime and she was running for president?  Nah.  James Comey is a man to be trusted.

And so are Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein.  That we have just learned they were in charge during the approval of the Uranium One deal, that there was money laundering, bribes and all sorts of double-dealing by the Russian company involved (that they knew about) before twenty percent of U.S. uranium was put under Russian control, should not disturb us. Because of this knowledge, they are all the more qualified to conduct the Russia investigation. After all, Brutus, as Marc Antony assured us, is an honorable man. And so is Bill Clinton.  He had to speak a full two hours for that $500,000 after the deal was made.  So are they all honorable men.

That there are renewed questions about the Fusion GPS Trump dossier, that it may have been used to instigate the entire Russia investigation although filled with unsubstantiated, actually ludicrous, allegations, also should not give us pause.  After all, Bret Stephens believes it and he is an honorable man. He writes for The New York Times.

But back to Saudi Arabia. They’re the bad ones here, not us.  They behave in a manner that civilized people must condemn.  We know this because Donald Trump approves of what King Salman is doing, cleaning house of characters like Bin Talal,  and Trump, as we know, is not an honorable man.

How do we know?  Because he has disgraced our country in Japan.  He is uncouth and does not even know how to feed koi. How bad is that! He could have killed the poor….Oh, wait…. 

Modernizers launch a coup within the House of Saud

November 6, 2017

Modernizers launch a coup within the House of Saud, American ThinkerThomas Lifson, November 6, 2017

When President Trump visited Riyadh in May, the discussions must have included a mutual understanding of the changes the Regime has in mind. The US delegation included veteran Saudi-hand Secretary of State Tillerson and economic visionary Wilbur Ross of the Department of Commerce. These are precisely the people a monarch would want to talk to about restructuring his regime to cope with a reality that has changed. A big part of the modernization is entering closer relations with Israel, a natural mutual ally in resisting Iranian Shiites. Purportedly clandestine cooperation is widely in to be underway already.

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A coup is taking place within the House of Saud, in which a modernizing monarch is grabbing power and taking out rivals.  Forces now under command of the ruler just arrested 11 princes among dozens of others and is launching financial investigations that could lead to serious punishment. In Saudi Arabia, they behead people (at least 157 times in 2015) and amputate a limb off of thieves.  It is widely believed that baksheesh is not unknown in Saudi Arabian business circles, and an “anti-corruption committee” was recently formed.  In other words, the tools are in place to take out any opposition among the powerful, within or outside the royal family.

Bloomberg reports:

Prince Miteb, son of the late King Abdullah, was removed from his post as head of the powerful National Guards.

That’s the first thing you do in coup: grab control of the forces on the ground.

Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was picked up at his desert camp, the senior official said. Authorities did not disclose the evidence that prompted the arrests.

 Prince Alwaleed bin Talal presides over a vast financial empire (estimated $35 billion in 2015):

 Alwaleed is the largest individual shareholder of Citigroup, the second-largest voting shareholder in 21st Century Fox and owns a number of hotels. TIME even called him “Arabian Warren Buffet”.

The second thing you do is take out any potential bankroller of rivals.

It all began a month after the historic visit of President Trump, when 81-year-old King Salman displaced the previous crown prince, who was his nephew, as tradition of succession required,[i] and installed that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as effectively the monarch.

MBS, as the Crown Prince is known, is the leader who is launching what modernizers hope will be a Saudi Version of the Meiji Restoration[ii] in Japan, transforming the political economy and culture out of necessity – in order to survive in the modern world system.  The Saudis have practiced religious and cultural isolationism, while their oil allowed the country to avoid the necessity of building an economy that could supply anything else that the rest of the world would be willing to pay for.

The power grab was necessary, because Saudi Arabia has to modernize, and it won’t be pleasant for lots of people, in and out of the royal family. Thanks to fracking and associated technologies, prices are never going to return to $100 a barrel.  The regime itself is at stake because the population is growing and the young have few prospects of employment. The House of Saud almost fell in 1979, when the Grand Mosque in Mecca was seized by Shiite insurgents (The Saudi Shiite minority is concentrated in the oil producing region near Iran) declaring their prophet to be the Mahdi. The entire religious legitimacy of the family is that they are custodians of the holy places of Islam, and yet they had to bring in Pakistanis to retake the holy of holies, the Kaaba.

Source: Wikimedia

They understand that in order to stay in power, they have to deliver change.

When President Trump visited Riyadh in May, the discussions must have included a mutual understanding of the changes the Regime has in mind. The US delegation included veteran Saudi-hand Secretary of State Tillerson and economic visionary Wilbur Ross of the Department of Commerce. These are precisely the people a monarch would want to talk to about restructuring his regime to cope with a reality that has changed. A big part of the modernization is entering closer relations with Israel, a natural mutual ally in resisting Iranian Shiites. Purportedly clandestine cooperation is widely in to be underway already.

Of the people arrested, Alwaleed bin Tala is the most intriguing for Americans thanks to his Twitter sparring with candidate Trump during the election, and for a startling connection unearthed by Jack Cashill more than five years ago in World New Daily.

In late March 2008, on a local New York City show called “Inside City Hall,” the venerable African-American entrepreneur and politico, Percy Sutton, told host Dominic Carter how he was asked to help smooth Barack Obama’s admission into Harvard Law School 20 years earlier.

The octogenarian Sutton calmly and lucidly explained that he had been “introduced to [Obama] by a friend.” The friend’s name was Dr. Khalid al-Mansour, and the introduction had taken place about 20 years prior.

Sutton described al-Mansour as “the principal adviser to one of the world’s richest men.” The billionaire in question was Saudi prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.

 

Deep currents are being stirred.

Hat tip: Clarice Feldman


[i] This spread power around in the family, allowing for the growth of factionalism within the clan. Now that there is a direct and clear lineage, power can be grabbed at the very top and the rest of the clan brought into line.

[ii] I studied, wrote and taught the Meiji Restoration and realize the many differences in the specifics of the two countries’ situations. No exact parallel is implied.