The Saudi Monarch, King Saliman, is aged and frail. His days are numbered. In Islamic terms, he has been liberal during his reign, establishing, for instance, that women should (at some time in the future) be permitted to drive cars. King Saliman is one of many of children sired by his father with multiple wives in a tradition that goes back 100+ years to when the modern Saudi nation arose out of the rubble of the Ottoman Empire which was dismantled following World War I when the Turks sided with the losing side, the Germans. The origins of multiple wives dates back to Mohammed who authorized up to four (4) wives, and quick and easy 90-second divorces so one could always have four wives plus a stable full of former wives/concubines.
Abdul-Azziz bin Abdulrahman as-Saud (also called Ibn Saud), the first Modern King patched the kingdom together by forming alliances with the dozens of tribes through marriages which cemented ties under his leadership. Reportedly, by the time he had consolidated the kingdom, he had several hundred wives in peculiar arrangements in accordance with Islamic laws. Where he could not build alliances, he applied the sword to bring recalcitrants into line. He fathered about 45-sons.
The Imperial Dynasty, the house of Saud was formed.
The Saudis adhere to the Sunni, (very conservative Wahhabi, Salafist) branch of Islam which for 1200 years has been in mortal competition with the Shia branch of Islam. The Saudis lead the Sunnis, and they also dominate in the holy cities of Medina and Mecca. Iran is the head of the Shia branch who blame the Sunnis for the death of one of Mohammed’s successors, thus the never ending conflict between them.
Oil was discovered. Saud’s Arabia was awash in oil. Thousands of foreigners arrived on Saud’s doorstep bearing all manner of gifts as they vied for his favor. Among them was a New York banker, Peter Bush, who gained favor because he controlled enough money to exploit that oil on a grand scale. He was nevertheless a hated Infidel, and his contract, while favorable gave Saud 51% of all profits with no burden to share on the investment side. Peter got 49% of the profits and paid for the whole exploitation program. In the process, he amassed hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars (much of it secretly stashed in offshore banks and investments).
There are strings attached to that vast fortune, and the Bush clan are obliged to dance when anyone in the house of Saud pulls their strings. Peter ran the Bush show for a long time until his son, CIA Director George H. W. Bush assumed control. Naturally, H.W. Bush utilized CIA assets to serve and to protect the house of Saud. Had he refused, the Saud family would have eviscerated the Bush family fortune.
Bush’s strings were pulled, and he attacked Saddam Hussein after he tried to take over Kuwait, with close kinship to the Saudis. He failed to remove Saddam, and thought he had neutralized him as Reagan did to Muamar Gadhafi in Libya. FAIL! Later, still terrified of a reinvigorated Saddam, the Saudis ordered Bush Jr. to take Saddam out, which “W” Bush dutifully did under the hollow, phony, false ruse of taking out terrorists who took down the World Trade Center Towers. He did a lousy follow-up which Barak Hussein Obama added to in spades. Bush and Obama basically turned all of Iraq over to Shia Moslems – Iranians. This led to Saddam’s Republican Guard gathering itself together and morphing into al Qaeda in Iraq, which became ISIS, both Sunni Moslems Involved in fighting the hated Shia. They gained the favor and Billions of dollars from the Saudis who supported the ISIS going after Shia and their kin, the Alawites (and a genocidal campaigns against Christians) in Iraq and Syria.
King Saliman overturned the apple cart when he elevated his liberal son, Mohammed Saliman to Crown Prince over the heads of others in the line of succession. This appointment created a highly volatile situation and put Crown Prince Saliman on track to become the most powerful Saudi king ever.
For the past fifty or so years, imperial transitions have been a relatively peaceful process based on consensus and compromise within the vast family. This activity included input from, and agreement among religious leaders.
Earlier, Prince Saliman rapidly arose within the hierarchy where the King appointed him to powerful key positions within the government. With his authority, Mohammed Saliman engaged himself in issues for which he has been criticized:
1) Qatar has been aiding Shia (Iranian) terrorists who have caused harm to Saudi Arabia and her allies such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt, and others. Things have not panned out well, and Mohamed Saliman is taking heat for bungling things.
2) There has always been strife between members of the Sunni and Shia tribes in Yemen, and the minor Houthi (Shia) tribe have been engaged in low level conflict with the majority Sunnis for decades. Iran began providing large scale training and war material support to the Houthis which drove the country into a full fledged civil war. To support the Sunnis and to protect Saudi Arabia’s southern flank from the feared and hated Shia, Prince Saliman entered the fray. The Saudi air force has vigorously attacked the Houthis who have continued to gain, and Prince Saliman is being criticized for failing to contain the Shia Houthis. The Saudis have basically isolated the country by blockading ports, airports, and borders which has brought out a famine where the Houthis are much more affected than the Sunnis. Houthis are being decimated by the starvation program.
3) The Saudis (not the Crown Prince) have backed a series of losers, Al Qaeda, ISIS, and disasters such as the Taliban and Obama’s reprehensable Arab Spring. We all know that Saudis (not necessary the rulers) bankrolled the attacks of 9/11 which were carried out by mainly Saudi militants.
Under the guise of taking on corruption, Crown Prince Saliman has boldly gone after all possible political competitors, opponents, and assassins.
Over the years corruption indeed has cost the country well over 100 billion dollars and allowing this to continue is not sustainable.
[In Islamic societies those who spend around a decade memorizing the Koran to gain the title of Imam expect generous compensation once ensconced in their positions. In this writer’s experience and studies, I have never heard of an Imam taking a vow of poverty. Think about that. Imams, Islamic “holy” men are among the most corrupt beings one will encounter.]
In this crackdown, the Saudi religious community has officially supported the Crown Prince (who they despise) because corruption is against sharia laws.
Crown Prince Saliman has arrested and locked up over a dozen “royal”, family members of high stature (including his predecessor, the top general) who were likely plotting against him.
Prominent billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who acquired substantial amounts of FOX news stock and used this power to shut Bill O’Reilly’s post 9/11 weekly segments emphasizing Saudi Royals’ misbehavior and abuses in America down was locked away
Reportedly Prince Bandar bin Sultan – Saudi Arabia’s most famous arms dealer, longtime former ambassador to the US, and recent head of Saudi intelligence – was among those detained as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s so-called “corruption purge”. The arrest and detention of Bandar would constitute the most significant high profile figure caught up in the purge – even above Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. Bandar has been close to multiple US administrations and involvement in events ranging from Reagan’s Nicaraguan Contra program scandal, to making the case for the Iraq War as a trusted friend of Bush and Cheney, to directing Obama’s involvement in US-Saudi covert operations overseeing the arming of jihadists in Syria, etc.
First blood: Probable foe, Prince Mansour bin Murqrin, the son of former Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz (Prince Saliman’s overturned predecessor) was in the southern part of the kingdom near Yemen when an aircraft he was in mysteriously crashed killing (eliminating) Muqrin.
Crown Prince Saliman has also arrested hundreds of businessmen, politicians, and religious leaders (Imams) who were in one way or another partnered with his rivals.
The Crown Prince’s crackdown has resulted in the closure or seizure of at least 1,700 banks, bank accounts, investment houses and accounts throughout the kingdom.
Prince Saliman has neutralized his opposition to assure that his ascension to the throne will be relatively unhindered.
He will quickly promote those who are loyal to him.
As to the hundreds in detention or being investigated, we can be assured that many will “vanish” without explanation. Being that they are in opposition to the Crown Prince, they will be “vigorously” interrogated to learn who they are linked to which will lead to more detentions and their ultimate “vanishing” or, in some cases banishment for those considered less dangerous. Ultimately, hundreds will face consequences not of their liking.
Billions of dollars will be “recovered” and much of that likely disbursed to reward and retain those loyal to the Crown Prince.