MWFpress — News of the purge came in the early hours of yesterday morning after King Salman decreed the creation of an anti-corruption committee chaired by the 32-year-old Crown Prince, who has amassed power since rising from obscurity less than three years ago.
The new body was given broad powers to investigate cases, issue arrest warrants and travel restrictions and freeze assets.
The royal decree stated: “The homeland will not exist unless corruption is uprooted and the corrupt are held accountable.”
The news was followed by reports that Prince Mansour bin Moqren had died in a mysterious helicopter crash and reports that another prince had been killed in a gunfight that was later found to be false.
Analysts said the goal of the purge went beyond corruption and aimed to remove potential opposition to Prince Mohammed as he pushes an ambitious and controversial reform agenda.
In September he announced the ban on women driving would be lifted and he is trying to break decades of conservative tradition by promoting public entertainment and visits by foreign tourists.
Saudi expert James Dorsey, a senior fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said: “The most recent crackdown breaks with the tradition of consensus within the ruling family whose secretive inner workings are equivalent to those of the Kremlin at the time of the Soviet Union.
“Prince Mohammed, rather than forging alliances, is extending his iron grip to the ruling family, the military, and the National Guard to counter what appears to be more widespread opposition within the family as well as the military to his reforms and the Yemen war.”
The news comes after the US promised to aid Saudi Arabia in neutralising “Iran’s destabilising influence” and battle extremism in the Middle East, the Pentagon has announced.
The statement backed defence links between the allies following Saudi Arabia’s decision to blockade Yemen’s ports to stop weapons coming in from Iran.
Marine Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway said: “We continue to maintain strong defence ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and work together on common security priorities to include combat operations against violent extremist organisations, and neutralising Iran’s destabilising influence in the Middle East region.”
A coalition led by Saudi Arabia have closed all ground, air and sea access to Yemen following a rocket attack on Riyadh.
The missile attack, thought to have been launched by Shiite Houthi fighters, was manufactured by Iran, Saudi Arabia claimed.
They said the attack was a “clear act of aggression” by Iran and “could rise to be considered an act of war”.
Donald Trump has backed the Saudi monarch King Salman on Twitter following his purge of the country’s elite following claims of corruption.
The President tweeted: “I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they are doing some of those they are harshly treating have been ‘milking’ their country for years.”-iuvmpress