Asia Watch

Saudi Upheavals

The notion that modernity comes in many forms is exemplified in the person of Saudi’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. In the latest quixotic adventure, the Crown Prince has arrested 11 princes on corruption charges; including the billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.

Nov 6, 2017
The notion that modernity comes in many forms is exemplified in the person of Saudi’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. In the latest quixotic adventure, the Crown Prince has arrested 11 princes on corruption charges; including the billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. Since June, through various royal decrees, the young crown prince has consolidated his grip on government’s affairs. A display of consolidation was shown in a separate move when he recently replaced the head of the Saudi National Guard and the navy chief with the minister of economy.
 
These arrests along with replacing the high officials indicate an accelerated change in the kingdom that first came to light when came after Muhammad bin Salman replaced Muhammad bin Nayef as the crown prince.
 
All these moves, collectively, show the ruthless manner in which Muhammad bin Salman has consolidated power so far. Being the young crown prince and with so much power and authority in his hands, he’s setting himself up to rule the kingdom for a long time with no opposition.
 
He can be seen as one of the typical dictators of the Middle East ruling the country with the U.S approval. As many commentators and analysts see him as the new face of modernity for his liberal ideas –lifting the ban on women driving, indicating privatisation of oil, and initiating projects and resorts where Saudi laws don’t apply– his bold and authoritarian decisions provides a truer image of him.
 
His erratic behavior has already created a crisis in the Middle East as the war in Yemen is not ending soon and the diplomatic standoff with Qatar is yet to be solved.
 
Keeping all these contradictions and adventures initiated by the young prince, we should be prepared to expect more unpredictable moves and adventurism from the Saudi government.
 
Nation, November 6, 2017

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