1. PM of Lebanon is summoned to Riyadh on Friday and tenders his resignation the next day in Riyadh.
2. 50 high level figures detained including 11 members of the Royal family, 4 Ministers and Head of the revered and powerful National Guard.
3. Hundreds of bank accounts of individuals and corporations blocked.
4. Main private airport closed.
5. Ballistic Missile meant for Riyadh intercepted by Patriot System.
6. USD $430M in reward offered for the capture of 40 Houthi Leadership.
7. Saudi Prince dies in an 'accidental' Helicopter crash.
Everyone is writing furiously and trying to understand how a young upstart is able to overturn 80 years of established political and social norms with impunity.
The resignation of Hariri is very significant as he is a dual citizen (Lebanese and Saudi, which was granted to his father by King Fahd) and he was summoned to KSA twice in that week. Of special signifiance is his resignation speech was unusual in terminology and harsh criticism of Iran and Hezbollah so much that Michael Aouan the current President (closely aligned to Hezbollah politically) and Nasrallah have both refused to accept the resignation. For all intents and purposes, he is also currently detained in KSA.
So what is the play here - suspicions are high that KSA have failed in various schemes including Syria (where the opposition want to give up but KSA is refusing to let them) so by creating instability in Lebanon and threatening the hold of Hezbollah, create the proxy confrontation which they won't directly confront Iran. There is also suspicion that they are trying to draw Israel into a confrontation with Hezbollah and Iran by default. It seems that MBS has a vision of the ME that exists under the stewardship of his 50plus year rule without the Iranians. And this may be just the first act of the continuing tragedy of that region (of course generously assisted with American and British arms).
The Houthi missiles are very likely to have been a bad coincidence.
Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the Sadrist movement in Iraq also visited KSA in August and met with MBS - that was also a surprising move and the consequences of that have yet to appear to the surface.
Well here's the thing, see. At that level of power and wealth, they're *all* corrupt, in some form or another. The only difference is, these guys (ie. the ones who got arrested, including the dozens of other Royal Princes and Ministers) all got in the way of the Crown Prince's political ambitions in some way or another. And the Crown Prince isn't one to tolerate potential threats of any kind, real or imagined, significant or insignificant. So that's that.
Saudi corruption crackdown is more than a princely power play
â€œThe CEO is Responsibleâ€� : Khaw Throws SMRT Chief Desmond Kuek under the Bus
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan saved a part of his speech in parliament today to throw SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek under the bus. Making reference to Kuekâ€™s speech where he blamed â€œdeep-seated cultural issuesâ€� for SMRTâ€™s persistent problems, Mr Khaw said he held Kuek responsible.
â€œIt is the responsibility of management to set the right culture, professionalism, and excellence. It begins from the top and if there is poor work culture, the CEO is responsible â€“ you set the corporate culture.â€�
Harvey Weinstein Employed An Army Of Investigators And Ex-Mossad Agents To Suppress Stories About His Behavior
The strategy does point to the most probable reason for the Qataris fall-out with the Emiratis and Saudis - it appears that the Qataris had taken the position that the Arab world does not want a direct armed confrontation with Iran but MBS and the US had been headstrong in pushing ahead with it thus leading to the blockade of Qatar and the potential collapse of the GCC as a body. A new order is quickly being brought to bear with the Saudis, Emiratis, Americans with Israelis doubling down on a conflict with Iran.
"Iranians count their history not in decades or centuries, but in millennia. And as much as the US and its allies have tried to isolate it, contain it, sanction it for its nuclear program, with its diversified, oil-fueled economy and population of more than 80 million, Iran's power and influence across the Middle East has continued to grow, and not just among the Arab states. It is now cultivating closer ties with Turkey and Russia.
"Since King Cyrus the Great the Iranians have been a regional power," says Rami Khouri, senior fellow at the American University of Beirut. "They know how to do statecraft."
In comparison, says Khouri, the Saudis and its Gulf allies are "amateurs, and now they are trying to do something in Lebanon to show they are tough guys. But this is a hopeless endeavor."