“Greed is all right, by the way. I want you to know that. I think greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself.….” Ivan Boesky at UC Berkeley Commencement Ceremony in 1986, months before he went to prison.
“Oil revenue is said primarily to enrich the Al Saud. The embassy explains that Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Finance distributes a portion of the country’s oil proceeds to each Saudi royal family member in the form of monthly stipends. At the time the secret cable was issued, every royal reportedly received a monthly allowance from birth, on a sliding pay scale of US$ 800 (for distant royals) to US$ 270,000 (for sons and daughters of King Abd Al-Aziz). The embassy calculated these stipends to total more than US$ 2 billion of the Saudi government’s US$ 40 billion annual budget. For this and other reasons, the embassy concludes that “getting a grip on royal family excesses is at the top” of priorities for Saudi Arabia. In addition to the state-budgeted stipend, the cable reports, a royal may obtain a bonus of as much as US$ 3 million, as reward for getting married or building a palace. The existing stipend-and-bonus system provides Saudi royals with a significant incentive to procreate, particularly since stipend distributions begin at birth. It was stated that the central life aspiration of one Saudi prince was to have more children, so as to increase his monthly allowance. According to the cable, some members of the Al Saud resort to “royal rakeoffs” in order to supplement their already-substantial income. Such schemes may include confiscating land from commoners and reselling it to the government for a substantial profit; borrowing from the banks and defaulting on these loans; and acting as “sponsors” to “sometimes hundreds” of expatriate workers who are permitted to work locally as long as they pay monthly fees to the royals (this latter arrangement reportedly earns a single royal sponsor an average of US$ 10,000 per month from 100 ex-pats). Al Saud land and asset grabs are said to have caused resentment among the populace. In one instance, Defense Minister Prince Sultan bin Abd Al-Aziz allegedly ordered Mecca officials to transfer to him a plot of land that had belonged to one family for centuries………” Wi…Wiki…..Wikileaks
I don’t know what all this fuss is about. We, on my Gulf, do not need Wikileaks cables to tell us all about these royal robberies, and more. People know everything that is happening: who stole which land and when and how. Legends, true legends, are handed down now, about shady deals, “midnight” deals, and expropriation of lands by potentates and their retainers. It is the same story all over my Gulf region, but perhaps to different degrees. God is Great, but to some another great deity looms, an all-consuming deity that is at least considered good if not openly greater.