How much do you want to bet Iran is busy pumping lost of money into funding logistics for al-Qaida’s and ISIS’ next campaign?
The great Saudi sheikh up: How the king’s favourite son is preparing to rule by purging traditionalists – like the prince who owns the Savoy Hotel – in a bid to take power away from hardline Islamic clerics and modernise the kingdom
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (pictured far left) was barely known outside Saudi Arabia before his father (pictured top centre) became king of the leading oil exporter in 2015. But since being lined up as the next leader, the 32-year-old has made monumental changes as part of a drive to promote ‘moderate and tolerant Islam’ in the strictly religious country.
Early today a newly-formed anti-corruption committee arrested 49 people, including 11 princes, four ministers and dozens of former ministers. Among those detained in five-star hotels in the capital Riyadh is billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal (pictured bottom right) – who is one of the richest men in the world and owns the British capital’s top hotel the Savoy. The arrests mainly involve traditionalist figures, who are loyal to the kingdom’s ultra-conservative branch of Sunni Islam Wahabbism.
Detaining them will help the prince with his plans to revert Saudi Arabia to a more ‘moderate Islam’ and ‘eradicate the remnants of extremism very soon’, plans he described to the media late last month. His modernisation plans have included lifting the ban on women drivers and investmenting $500billion (£381billion) in a new city and business zone.
The country’s national guard Minister Prince Miteb bin Abdullah (pictured top right) and navy commander Admiral Abdullah bin Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Sultan have both been replaced with no explanation. Another key arrest is Bakr bin Laden (pictured bottom centre), chairman of the Saudi Binladin construction group, and brother of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.