Defining an Arab Kleptocracy: “Sultan’s Fortune is Estimated at $270 Billion”………

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Sultan’s fortune is estimated at $270 billion, which he distributed between his sons prior to his death in order to shore up their political position in the competitive princely arena. The reality is that every senior prince has placed his favorite sons in important positions in the Kingdom .…….. The Al Saud resembles a family business, established in 1932. Ibn Saud managed to conquer and unite the vast territory of the Arabian Peninsula, give it his family name, and alienate, divide, and control his cousins and brothers in order to establish a clear and undisputed line of succession through his sons. After Ibn Saud’s death, his sons, though never entirely united, maintained enough coherence to keep the store running. That is no longer true of the thousands of princes that they produced. As the older generation dies off, the new generation has fallen to fighting in front of the customers. Indeed, with the ratio of royals to commoners now at one to a thousand (compared to one to five million in the United Kingdom), the challenge of managing princely privileges, salaries, and demand for jobs has never been more intense. Royal perks include lifetime sinecures and domination of the civil service, which enable the princes to award contracts and receive commissions on top of their salaries. So the Saudi regime is divided, its legitimacy is questioned …….….

This lady knows her country, but she won’t travel home anytime soon.

The amount mentioned is staggering, nay mind boggling. No wonder the Saudi semi-official media (alarabiya, Asharq Alawsat) call him Sultan of Plenty. If true, he had to earn, loot, and steal plenty to get to the $ 270 billion. Yet million of people of the Arabian Peninsula struggle to find jobs, housing, and the basic necessities of life. The unemployment rate is in double digits (over 30% for young people), millions are out of work and more live under poverty than we’ll ever read about in Saudi media or Western media like the Washington Post. He does not appear on the annual Forbes list of richest people; that covers only normal mortals not princes and shaikhs. His nephew al-Waleed Bin Talal is listed, along with the information claiming that his fortune is ‘self-made’. The folks at Forbes editorial must think al-Waleed started flipping burgers at the Dairy Queen in Riyadh and moved up from there. Just like Steve Forbes. It can’t be stupidity, can it?


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