Saudi Arabia arrested 11 princes, including a prominent billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, and dozens of current and former ministers, reports said, in a sweeping crackdown as the kingdom’s young crown prince consolidates power. The kingdom also announced the creation of a national anti-corruption committee.
The government said the anti-corruption committee has the right to issue arrest warrants, impose travel restrictions and freeze bank accounts. It can also trace funds, prevent the transfer of funds or the liquidation of assets and take other precautionary measures until cases are referred to the judiciary. Saudi nationals have long complained of rampant corruption in government and of public funds being squandered or misused by people in power. Meanwhile, the kingdom’s top council of clerics issued a statement saying it is an Islamic duty to fight corruption— essentially giving religious backing to the high-level arrests being reported.
The king ousted one of the country’s highest-level royals from power, removing Prince Miteb bin Abdullah as head of the National Guard. He was replaced by Prince Khalid bin Ayyaf al-Muqrin, who had held a senior post with the guard. Prince Miteb was once considered a contender for the throne. His ouster as head of the National Guard essentially sidelines one of the most formidable rivals to the current crown prince, who has amassed enormous power in less than three years since his father, King Salman, ascended to the throne.
It comes just three months after Prince Mohammed bin Nayef was ousted from the line of succession and from his post as interior minister, overseeing internal security. With the two princes now sidelined, control of the kingdom’s security apparatus is now largely centralized under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also defense minister.
Foreign diplomats predict MBS, set to be the first millennial to occupy the Saudi throne, could well be in control of Saudi Arabia for at least half a century.
Source Credit: CNN/ Times of India
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