Bin Salman hides own failures by sacking defence officials over corruption allegations

Developing Just Leadership

Yusuf Dhia-Allah

Muharram 14, 1442 2020-09-02

Daily News Analysis

by Yusuf Dhia-Allah

News from Saudi Arabia these days is like watching a horror movie, except that the Saudi horror show is real.

Sacking of senior Saudi defence officials over corruption allegations is the latest scandal to hit the airwaves.

While corruption should be rooted out wherever it occurs, there is something bizarre about the latest sackings in the medieval kingdom.

Two members of the ruling family—Prince Fahad bin Turki-II and his son Abdulaziz bin Fahad—were sacked together with four other officials on August 31.

Fahad bin Turki, 61—a senior member of the royal family—was Joint forces commander of Saudi troops battling—without success, it must be stated—Yemeni resistance fighters led by Ansarallah.

His son was the deputy emir of northern Al-Jouf region.

Both were fired and placed under investigation of the defence ministry for corruption, according to Saudi media reports.

A royal decree, issued in the name of King Salman but actually prepared by crown prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS), the kingdom’s de facto ruler, sacked the two royals.

Four other defence ministry officials face investigation into “suspicious financial dealings” at the Ministry of Defence.

MbS since is the defence minister of Saudi Arabia, appointed immediately after his father became king in January 2015.

With king Salman virtually incapacitated, crown prince MbS who is also head of the king’s court is in charge of everything.

His failures are so glaring that if there were to be any sackings, MbS should be the first to be sent to the doghouse.

As for corruption in the ruling family, it is like accusing a Dalmatian of having spots.

Corruption runs in the blood of the Bani Saud. They are professional thieves and robbers. It starts at the top.

It was not too long ago that they used to rob pilgrims’ caravans that came to perform Hajj or Umrah.

The Bani Saud hordes did not hesitate to even kill pilgrims.

In recent years, they have adopted more sophisticated ways of robbing people as well as state resources but they have not given up stealing.

After all, taking money from oil income or pilgrims’ revenues is as much stealing as robbing people at the tip of a sword or the barrel of a gun.

The Bani Saud, or whichever son happens to be king at a particular time, automatically treats the country’s oil income as personal fortune to be used as he deems fit.

MbS himself is the biggest thief and mass murderer. He is also totally incompetent.

Since he was appointed crown prince by his father—what qualifications does he have apart from being the king’s son?—he has taken control of all important portfolios into his own grubby hands.

He is a walking disaster. Anything he touches turns to dust.

The war on Yemen launched in March 2015 was his pet project. He thought he would wipe out the dirt-poor Yemenis in a matter of weeks if not sooner.

It is now more than five-and-a-half years and the war is still raging with no end in sight.

The Saudis have achieved none of their objectives, whether military or political.

The just-sacked Prince Fahad served as commander of the Saudi-led military coalition fighting against Ansarallah fighters in Yemen.

It is more than likely that he failed to achieve the objectives laid out for him by MbS, thereby resulting in his sacking over allegations of corruption.

It may very well be that he also indulged in corruption. Which Saudi ‘royal’ has a clean pair of hands?

If the Islamic hudood law for stealing were applied equitably, there would not be a single member of the ruling family with a safe pair of hands.

Fahad’s father, Turki had served as deputy defence minister earlier.

MbS appointed Mutlaq bin Salim, the deputy chief of staff, to replace Prince Fahad.

Would Mutlaq have any more luck in prosecuting the war against Yemen?

Saudi troops—commanders and ordinary soldiers—are grossly incompetent. They are also completely non-motivated.

After all, what purpose is served in killing innocent people in Yemen, mostly women and children?

The Yemenis, led by the revolutionary forces of Ansarallah are defending their country from foreign invaders.

Besides, being dirt-poor, they have little to lose. They do not live in air-conditioned houses or have luxury cars at their disposal, like the Saudi rulers.

The Yemens have much in common with the Afghans. Both have a long history of resisting foreign invaders.

MbS will not be able to change the course of war by sacking a few officials.

If he has any sense—a big if—he should end the war right away and sue for peace with the Yemeni resistance fighters.

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