Reports say that Apple Corporation (AAPL) has about $207 billions in cash (that was before the latest good results came out on Tuesday). All these beautiful useful gadgets, some necessary and some not so necessary, and some American technical ingenuity/creativity have made a lot of money for Apple during the past decade. They may use it to buy back shares, pay more dividends, expand into new products, or acquire subsidiaries.
Reports also claim that Saudi Arabia used to have over $700 billion in foreign exchange (Forex) reserves (its Sovereign Fund managed by its monetary agency SAMA). All of it from oil revenues. These have probably been depleted by somewhere over $100 billion over the past two years, since the new regime of His Majesty King Salman Bin Abdulaziz and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince to the Crown Prince (and Minister of Defense) Mohammed Bin Salman came to power. The latter is the putative conqueror of Yemen: he has been pouring Saudi money and American (and British) bombs (cluster bombs and otherwise) all over the poor country of Yemen for seven months. With the goal of establishing a government to his liking in Sana’a.
Too much power and money can make even the most impotent of potentates blind to past history. All it takes is a tablespoon of foolish vanity, and the rich young Arab princes have plenty of that. Hence this new quagmire in Yemen, which promises to go on long after former president Hadi (Bin Zombie) evacuates his Riyadh hotel suite for wherever the hell he’ll end up. Long after Al Qaeda (the Saudi-led AQAP) expand their newly acquired territory in the South beyond Al Mukalla. Long after the Caliphate of ISIS expand their current use of the porous border to attack civilian Ismailite (quasi-Shi’a) inhabitants of Najran and Jazan.
Hence the new barely-veiled threats by Saudi officials of sending newly hired Arab and African (and Western?) mercenaries into Syria.
The IMF has noted that Saudi reserves could vanish within five years. That is possible if the funds are used at current rates and crude oil prices remain near current low levels. Especially if the need arises to buy public approval with new royal handouts. Especially if the princes continue their costly genocidal war on Yemen and expand their intrusion in Syria into an official military confrontation with their Iranian and Lebanese rivals, even if the “boots on the ground” are rented foreign mercenaries.
Hopefully their reckless policies do not doom the economies of the other Gulf states.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum