In an effort to demonstrate support, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has embarked on a domestic tour this week with his favorite reckless son despite the crisis spawned by his killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia circling wagon mode displays global pressure levels against the kingdom for the gruesome murder.
Many in the West are wondering. If such modest criticism of Mohammad bin Salman by a journalist can trip him to act like a thug, the man is a pretender, not a visionary. Sooner or later, he will mire people connected to him with scandals and other unimaginable acts of revenge.
Roads were lined with Saudi flags and images of the king and his son Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, when they arrived in the central region of Qassim late on Tuesday. Distinguished figures greeted them and children offered flowers.
The tour is the latest public outreach by the 82-year-old monarch, apparently intended to shore up the power of Prince Mohammad, known as MbS, who has taken over day-to-day rule but whose international reputation was battered in the month since Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
State media said the king laid the foundation for new or planned projects worth $1.12 billion and ordered the release of some people from debtors’ prison in Qassim, a conservative province in the heart of the Arabian peninsula. Analysts saw this as a move to appease the conservatives in the kingdom.
Once again , Saudi Arabia circling wagon mode displays global pressure levels the kingdom is facing. These pressures have not yet abetted almost five weeks since the murder.
Forcing International Figures to Speak
In another move that demonstrate Saudi Arabia circling wagon mode, which is an indicator of the global pressure levels the kingdom is experiencing, Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, an international businessman from the kingdom, said last Sunday that an official investigation into the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi will exonerate the country’s leader.
Prince Alwaleed was detained last year with dozens of other wealthy Saudis in a move by the crown prince to consolidate power, reform the country, and line his pockets.
Was Alwaleed threatened again if he did not publicly take a stand by Mohammad bin Salman? Only MbS can answer that question. The prince was stripped of most of his money under the cover of “fighting corruption”. No one knows what happened to the $100b Mohammad bin Salman was able to shakedown from the 200 or so people he detained. It is highly likely it ended in MbS personal bank account.