Saudi Arabia: Reforms or just power games?

Saudi Arabia: Reforms or just power games?

Formation of an anti-corruption committee

Dozens of princes, former ministers and prominent businessmen have been detained across Saudi Arabia in an unprecedented anti-corruption campaign. The arrests happened after King Salman ordered the creation of an anti-corruption committee, headed by his son, Crown Prince Mohammed.

Saudi Arabia: Reforms or just power games?

Reforming the country or silencing potential rivals?

The newly formed committee possesses wide ranging powers, including the ability to issue arrest warrants, freeze assets and impose travel bans. Saudi Arabia's crown prince has vowed to fight corruption in the world's top oil exporter. Thirty-two-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud is widely regarded as the driving force behind opening up the ultra-conservative country.

Saudi Arabia: Reforms or just power games?

One of Middle East’s richest in hot waters

One of the arrested, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, is a billionaire and business tycoon who has extensive investments in Western companies such as Twitter, Apple, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, Citigroup, the Four Seasons hotel chains and the ride sharing service Lyft. One of the Middle East's richest persons, Prince Alwaleed, is also known for being one of the most outspoken Saudi royals.

Saudi Arabia: Reforms or just power games?

'Homeland will not exist unless corruption is uprooted'

The detainees include ex-finance minister Ibrahim al-Assaf and former head of the royal court Khaled al-Tuwaijri. Three former state officials were also sacked earlier before being detained. "The homeland will not exist unless corruption is uprooted and the corrupt are held accountable," said a royal degree connected to the arrests.

Saudi Arabia: Reforms or just power games?

Too much happening too quickly

In other developments, the Saudi monarch removed the prominent prince in charge of the National Guard. The development followed the resignation of a close ally, Lebanon's prime minister Saad Hariri. These political developments further shake up Saudi Arabia and the greater Middle East as regional conflicts rage on the kingdom's borders.

Dozens of princes and former ministers have been arrested in Saudi Arabia in a wide-ranging crackdown on corruption. Could Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman be cementing his control by undermining potential rivals?

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