Game of Thrones. What happens to the princes in Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, several members of the royal family were arrested along with dozens of former and current government officials. The arrests were carried out by orders of the anti-corruption committee set up under Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Among the arrested is one of the wealthiest people in the world, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.

One of the most popular versions is that Prince Mohammad bin Salman, successor to the Saudi throne, is strengthening his power.

Leading expert at the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the Foundation of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Elbasy Zhaksylyk Sabitov:

This weekend, oil prices have peaked to the maximum since the spring of 2015 (the cost of a barrel of Brent crude oil reached 62.87 dollars – author). This was caused by the events in Saudi Arabia. Many investors were frightened by the facts. But what is happening there may be misleading to ordinary people. The total number of royalty today belonging to the Al Saud family is over 25 thousand people. This “overproduction of the elite” is a heavy burden on the kingdom's budget which causes numerous conflicts among the princes.

Another reason is the deteriorating economic situation in Saudi Arabia. The budget deficit was about nine percent of GDP. The unemployment rate rose to 12.3 percent. Total GDP growth is close to zero. Under these conditions, the Saudi authorities began economic reforms. The King of Saudi Arabia Salman will be 82 this year. According to some rumors, he already has dementia and Alzheimer's disease. And his son and successor Mohammad ibn Salman al Saud is young.

On November 5, about 60 people were arrested: more than a dozen princes, four incumbent ministers, and over 40 former and current influential civil servants, of whom Osama bin Laden's brother Bakr bin Laden is best known.

It is possible that a large part of the allegations of corruption is well grounded, but the primary factor of arrests is the aggravation of the political struggle in the new realities of economic stagnation. All prisoners have one thing in common. They belonged to the same elite group, which was not happy with the rule of the current King of Saudi Arabia.

Heir Mohammad ibn Salman clears his way to political power. The arrests are accompanied by anti-corruption rhetoric. It is planned to confiscate the property of all those arrested, which could amount to an astronomical sum of several hundred billion dollars, which can help the country survive the economic recession.

Thus, it can be stated that the arrest of high-ranking princes and officials in Saudi Arabia is an episode of the “political struggle for power” in conditions of “overproduction of the ruling elite.” Further preservation of the status quo without effective economic reforms and modernization attempts may bring the country to hitting the wall.

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