Written by Mikaprok; Originally appeared in Russian in his blog
It looks like it’s finally clear who is gonna be the priority target in the Middle East for the US.
Let’s start on somewhat of a tangent.
The Saudis tend to have two characteristics: a devil-may-care attitude and a complete disregard for morality both in private life and in business.
In the last few years three Saudi princes living in Europe have disappeared. All three were vocal critics of their own government, meaning their own family. They have been (supposedly) transported back to their homeland, and no one has heard of them since.
Ten little Soldier Boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were nine.
This is how it went down:
In the summer of 2003 Prince Sultan bin Turki bin Abdulaziz Al Saud went to visit his distant relative, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd, the son of the King of Saudi Arabia in Geneva.
Abdul Aziz made a brotherly request for Sultan to return back to the homeland and resolve his conflicts with the King. The conflicts, he said, would have been easily resolved in person.
Sultan politely refused. Abdul Aziz went away to make an important call. The third man in the room, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Islamic Affairs of that time Saleh bin Abdul-Aziz Al ash-Sheikh, also exited the room after Abdul Aziz.
After a few moments masked men flew into the room. They drugged Sultan and took him to the airport, where a plane to Riyadh had been waiting for him.
His communications officer Eddie Ferreira later remembered that the following morning they had been trying to reach their boss by phone, when the Saudi ambassador to Switzerland entered their hotel room and told them to vacate the room, as all people working for the prince were fired that day.
Sultan had given interviews to several European newspapers, in which he criticized the situation in his homeland.
Nine little Soldier Boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were eight.
Another incident happened a few years later. Prince Turki bin Bandar was once responsible for policing the royal family itself. Then a bitter dispute over a contested inheritance in his quite large family branch landed him in prison in almost a single day. When he was released on bail, he fled to Paris. In 2012 he began posting videos calling for reform in his homeland
The Saudis reacted quickly. Ahmed al-Salem, the deputy minister of the interior called him. Turki recorded their conversation and later published it.
“Everybody’s looking forward to your return, God bless you!”
“Then who sends me letters threatening that they would drag me back like Sultan bin Turki?”
“They won’t touch you. I’m your brother.”
“The letters come from your Ministry.”
Turki went on publishing videos until July 2015. Then he… disappeared.
Eight little Soldier Boys travelling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.
One more “enfant terrible” vanished around the same time. Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al Saud began voicing his discontent for the Family on Twitter in 2014. Interestingly enough, he called for the prosecution of Saudi officials who’d backed the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi the previous year.
Then Saud went even further, publically endorsing a coup to remove King Salman.
A few days later he made his final populist gesture, and his Twitter account went silent forever.
Seven little Soldier Boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.
Another dissident prince, Prince Khaled bin Farhan, who fled to Germany in 2013, claimed that Saud had been tricked into flying from Milan to Rome to discuss a business deal with a Russian-Italian company seeking to open branches in the Gulf. But the plane that took him didn’t land in Rome, it landed in Riyadh.
Prince Khaled gladly told about special arrangements between King Salman and Washington in order for “the show to go on”.
Six little Soldier Boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.
August of 2017: News agencies around the world relay Al-Jazeera’s short report.
26-year-old Prince Salman Bin Saad Bin Abdullah Bin Turki Al Saud died in Saudi Arabia. The cause of death of the man, whose name everyone had just learned, was not disclosed. The local CIA chief and spokesman of Saudi Aramco vanished almost at the same time. Nobody knows whether they are alive.
Only public and significant cases were mentioned above. In fact, up to a hundred people vanish per year in the Family of several tens of thousands.
Five little Soldier Boys going in for law;
One got in Chancery and then there were four.
Now let’s get down to it. During the last weekend 11 members of the Family, 4 ministers and a dozen of court officials have been arrested as part of a special operation. The so-called “anti-corruption” investigation was headed by Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman.
Let’s look at the detained:
- Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah, former one time pretender to the throne.
- Former finance minister Ibrahim al-Assaf, a board member of national oil giant Saudi Aramco
- Economy minister Adel Fakieh
- Former Riyadh governor Prince Turki bin Abdullah,
- Khalid al-Tuwaijri, former head of the Royal Court.
- Bakr bin Laden, chairman of the big Saudi Binladin and brother of Osama bin Laden (!)
Four little Soldier Boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
On November 4 King Salman ordered both minister of National Guard and commander of The Royal Saudi Naval Forces to be replaced. Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah and navy commander Admiral Abdullah bin Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Sultan were both replaced, with no official explanation given. They have not been charged with anything yet.
Three little Soldier Boys walking in the zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a billionaire with investments in Twitter and Facebook (all for naught), is among those deposed. He owns 9.9% of Kingdom Holding, a Saudi venture company, with multi-million dollar investments around the world.
Alwaleed is known for his typically Eastern quirks. Two thirds of his servants are women of 25 years of age and younger. He opened a resort in Saudi Arabia staffed entirely by little people.
He has also bought a yacht and a hotel from Donald Trump. When Trump announced his plans to run for president, the Prince had a peculiar reaction:
You are a disgrace not only to the GOP but to all America.
Withdraw from the U.S presidential race as you will never win.
— الوليد بن طلال (@Alwaleed_Talal) 11 December 2015
Mr. Trump, who has inherited $800 million from his father, rose up to the challenge immediately:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 12 December 2015
Two little Soldier Boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up and then there was one.
On the night of November 5 the show went on.
Prince Mansour bin Muqrin and seven (maybe more, no one knows for sure) officials died in a helicopter crash near the Yemen border. This happened hours after the information about the arrests was made public.
Prince Mansour — the son of Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, the former Director General of Saudi Intelligence Agency, who has fallen out favor with King Salman.
Someone lost their nerve because of a potential London IPO, and tried to halt the momentum of the road show. If you don’t play by the rules, prepare for yet another “Tehran”.
One little Soldier Boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.