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Saudi Arabia purges princes, ministers as way is made for Crown Prince

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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

It’s being called an anti-corruption operation, but the true purpose for a stunning array of arrests made by a task force led by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was to clear away any opposition to his ascension to the thrown.

The orders came down from King Salman. This anti-corruption committee’s scope is wide and effectively unchecked. So far 11 princes, four ministers, and dozens of former ministers have been arrested.

“Laws will be applied firmly on everyone who touched public money and didn’t protect it or embezzled it, or abused their power and influence,” King Salman said in comments shown on state TV. “This will be applied on those big and small, and we will fear no one.”

Corruption is easy to find and exists pretty much everywhere, making it the ideal tool through which the crown can purge anyone who may be a roadblock to King Salman’s favorite son, 32-year-old Prince Mohammed, from taking control of the Arab nation. “MBS,” as Prince Mohammed is often called, now has a clear shot to the throne when his 81-year-old father dies.

Nobody seemed exempt from the purge as the King’s nephew, Prince Alwaleed, was among those arrested. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the richest men in the world, was also arrested.

This is an important developing story that is not getting enough attention in the U.S. media. We will be updating this story and adding more regularly.

Further Reading

Saudi Purge Sees Senior Princes, Top Billionaire Detained – Bloomberg

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-04/saudi-national-guard-chief-economy-minister-out-in-reshuffleKing Salman had already sidelined other senior members of the royal family to prevent any opposition to the crown prince, 32-year-old Prince Mohammed, known as MBS among diplomats and journalists, who replaced his elder cousin, Muhammed bin Nayef, in June. That maneuver removed any doubt of how succession plans will unfold following the reign of King Salman, now 81.

“The hardline approach is risky because it will solidify the dislike many powerful Saudis have for the crown prince, but it is likely that MBS succeeds, and emerges from this episode more empowered,” Hani Sabra, founder of Alef Advisory, a Middle East political risk practice, wrote in a note. “We can’t confidently project when a leadership transition will take place, but today’s developments are a signpost that MBS is moving toward the role of king. ”

Saudi Arabia Arrests 11 Princes, Including Billionaire Waleed bin Talal

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/04/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-waleed-bin-talal.htmlThe king had decreed the creation of a powerful new anticorruption committee, headed by the crown prince, only hours before the committee ordered the arrests.

Al Arabiya said that the anticorruption committee has the right to investigate, arrest, ban from travel or freeze the assets of anyone it deems corrupt.

Two Saudi ministers and navy chief replaced, crown prince leads new anti-graft committee | Arab News

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1188516/saudi-arabiaThe Commander of the Navy, Adm. Abdullah Al-Sultan, was relieved of his position and replaced by Fahad Al-Ghofaili, who is promoted to the rank of Admiral.

King Salman also ordered the formation of a new anti-corruption committee headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and comprising the chairman of the Monitoring and Investigation Commission, the chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Authority, the chief of the General Audit Bureau, the Attorney General and the head of State Security.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Doug Olson

    November 5, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Should we look for Trump to try the same thing here? He is just narcissistic enough to do so, regardless of what the Constitution says.

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Foreign Affairs

White House plan to kick Iran from Syria leaked

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White House plan to kick Iran from Syria leaked

Syria has been in a state of disarray for nearly a decade now. Ever since the infamous “red line” that President Obama failed to enforce, the Middle Eastern nation has been suffering through war, poverty, and occupation by hostile forces ranging from the Islamic State to Russia and Iran.

The Islamic State may no longer be an occupying threat in Syria, but Iran and Russia are. The White House has a plan to push them out of the country. It does not involve military engagement, though U.S. military personnel may engage if they feel threatened. Instead, the plan is to offer aid to the Syrians wherever they need help, except where Iran and Russia have a presence.

This represents a huge chunk of the crumbling nation.

Trump administration has new plan to drive Iran out of Syria

“There’s a real opportunity for the U.S. and its allies to make the Iranian regime pay for its continued occupation of Syria,” said Mark Dubowitz, chief executive at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank strongly opposed to the Iranian regime.

Driving Iran out of Syria would be one prong in an approach that would also involve continuing to destroy remaining pockets of Islamic State fighters and finding a political transition after the exit of both ISIS and Iran that does not call for Syrian President Bashar al Assad to step aside.

My Take

Any measure that does not put Americans in harms way is worth pursuing. As long as Syria is as vulnerable as it is, there are risks to both American and Israeli interests in the region. The war-torn nation needs help rebuilding so they can rightly remove Iran’s and Russia’s presence.

Perhaps more importantly is the need to rejuvenate a homeland for millions of refugees. They are already causing major problems in countries throughout Europe and Asia. If we can expedite the renewal of their homeland, it will prompt many to return.

We have no business fighting battles in Syria. The White House plan would use diplomacy and economic pressure to rid Syria of their occupying forces. It’s a long shot, but it’s better than further military conflicts.

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News

Australia considers moving their embassy to Jerusalem

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Australia considers moving their embassy to Jerusalem

When U.S. President Donald Trump announced he would be moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the international outcry was fairly universal. The thinking for decades has been that if the international community recognizes Israel’s capital, then tensions and conflict in the region would grow.

A year after the announcement, not much has changed. Conflict is still there, though not notably higher. The world hasn’t ended even though we’re months away from the move being completed. Now, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated he may be willing to follow President Trump’s lead and move their embassy to Jerusalem as well.

My Take

A nation should be allowed to declare its own capital. Israel is the only nation on the planet that the international community refuses to allow this privilege because they believe the “contested” lands in Israel will some day be “returned” to the Palestinians.

Even as just about every world leader pushes for a two-state solution, it’s refreshing to see concessions being made to Israel instead of the incessant cries for Israel to concede everything they have.

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Democrats

Heidi Heitkamp just blew her reelection hopes to smithereens

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Heidi Heitkamp just blew her reelection hopes to smithereens

Things weren’t looking good for Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) in her race against Republican Kevin Cramer. Her no-vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation made her poll numbers fall, but there was still hope at the incumbent’s camp that she could turn it around in the last three weeks.

Those hopes just blew up in their faces.

An ad posted to the Bismarck Tribune by her campaign attempted to shame Cramer by listing the names of dozens of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or rape who allegedly stood with her. Here’s the problem. Some of the women listed are coming forward saying they didn’t give permission to use their names, do not support Heitkamp, or weren’t victims as indicated by the ad.

By trying to pretend she was the sensitive one, Heitkamp outed victims against their will.

Women Say Heitkamp Campaign Identified Them as Sexual Assault Survivors Without Their Permission

https://www.sayanythingblog.com/entry/women-say-heitkamp-campaign-identified-them-as-sexual-assault-survivors-without-their-permission/In a separate Facebook post, Eve Lancaster of Bismarck also indicates that her name was included in the letter without her permission. She describes herself as “disgusted” and “furious.”

I’ve communicated directly with two of the women who say they were misidentified and I’m working on getting more information from them.

I’ve reached out to the Heitkamp campaign for comment about this ad, asking how it came to be and how the names were chosen for the ad, but the Senator and her Senate/campaign staff don’t typically respond to me.

The irony here is that the ad was supposed to portray a thoughtful and proactive Senator who was willing to hear the concerns of victims. It demonstrated the exact opposite, demonstrating that neither she nor her team took the time to actually reach out to the women they were allegedly trying to support.

She has issued an apology of sorts.

“Sexual assault is a serious crime – and one that too many North Dakota women have experienced,” Heitkamp said. “In an attempt to bring awareness to this issue and push back against dismissive comments toward sexual assault survivors by Kevin Cramer, our campaign worked with victim advocates to identify women who would be willing sign the letter or share their story.”

Too little, too late.

My Take

This should be the end of her campaign. In a sane world, you can’t do something like that and still keep your job. This is the political world where sanity is not required, but hopefully the people of North Dakota will hear about this and be rightly disgusted.

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