Saudi crown prince cracks down on royals and ministers to consolidate power

Saudi crown prince cracks down on royals and ministers to consolidate power

Saudi Arabia has arrested dozens of princes and former officials, including a well-known billionaire with extensive holdings in Western companies, as part of a sweeping anti-corruption probe that further cements control in the hands of its young crown prince. The photos of their meeting did little to quiet speculation over his surprising move and current status. This was apparent for the world to see in October, when Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, senior ministers and government officials hosted the world's top executives, policymakers and global business leaders for three days in Riyadh to explore potential partnerships and future investments. Under the crown prince, the kingdom is also expected to lift a public ban on cinemas and has encouraged mixed-gender celebrations - something unseen before.

He added, "Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is upending this arrangement and centralizing all power within his position as crown prince".

West Texas Intermediate for December delivery advanced as much as 36 cents to $56 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was trading at $55.86 as of 2 Hong Kong.

"One element that's not part of the transformation drive is more tolerance of political differences and differences in opinion about the directions Saudi should take", said Lori Boghardt, from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. No immediate connection was drawn between the events.

The prince was traveling with a team of other government officials.

The dramatic clampdown on business figures could deal a blow to investor confidence, potentially derailing sweeping Vision 2030 reforms, the brainchild of Prince Mohammed.

Salman's role at the heart of the royal system earned him respect as well as fear among his peers in the family.

In July, Prince Mohammed's most formidable challenger to the throne, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, was plucked from the line of succession and ousted from his post as interior minister, overseeing internal security.

Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah is among those detained.

Meanwhile, Saudi banks reportedly started freezing bank accounts of the suspects.

It is a message that resonates with the masses who seethe over a culture of privilege among old-generation royals.

Prince Alwaleed is chairman of the company, which has investments in Twitter, Apple, Lyft, Citigroup and hotel chains like the Four Seasons, Movenpick and Fairmont.

On Saturday, the king also replaced economy and planning minister Adel Fakeih with Mohammad Al Tuwaijri, his deputy. Saudi Arabia's journey began more recently, but the country has set very aggressive targets for the levels of foreign direct investment it wants to attract, particularly into its industrial and technology sectors.

Over the past year, the Crown Prince has become the decision-maker on military, foreign, economic and social policies.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh last month. The question is whether he is showing the maturity and steadiness to use such a long reign to create a viable, modern Saudi Arabia. She won a seat on the Jeddah local council in 2015, when women could run for office for the first time. He is also majority owner of the popular Rotana Group of Arabic channels. Conservative clergymen with large followings have criticized movement toward such reforms. A yearslong war he has overseen as defense minister against Iranian-allied rebels in Yemen has not made the kingdom safer. The Saudi government says it is fighting Iran-backed Houthi militants there.

Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on Reuters and Associated Press news reports. The official spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.