Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 05, 2017

Saudi Arabia - This 'Night Of The Long Knives' Is A Panic-Fueled Move

Yesterday the ruling Salman clan in Saudi Arabia executed a Night of the Long Knives cleansing the state of all potential competition. The Saudi King Salman and his son Clown Prince Mohammad bin Salman initiated a large arrest wave and purge of high ranking princes and officials. Part of this internal coup was the confiscation of huge financial estates to the advantage of the Salman clan.

The earlier forced resignation of the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri is probably related to the last night's events. The Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahoo endorsed the resignation. This guarantees that Hariri will never again be accepted in a leading role in Lebanon.

In Saudi Arabia eleven princes, including sons of the deceased King Abdullah, more than thirty former and acting ministers as well as the heads of three major TV stations were taken into custody or put under house arrest. The National Guard Commander Prince Mitieb Bin Abdullah was relieved from his post and replaced with Prince Khalid Bin Abdulaziz al Muqrin. The National Guard was the last intelligence and security power center held by the Abdullah branch of the al-Saud family.

An earlier purge in July had dethroned the former Crown Prince Nayaf and replaced him with the young Mohammad Bin-Salman. Then the Nayef branch of the al-Saud family was removed from all power centers. The Abdullah branch followed yesterday. The purged officials were replaced with stooges of the ruling Salman clan.

The Salman branch of the current king and clown prince has now eliminated all of potential internal competition. This goes against the consensus model that had been the foundation of the Saudi family rule over the last century. Tens of thousands of clans and people depended on the patronage of the removed princes and officials. They will not just sit back as their fortunes evaporate.

One effect of the purges will be the concentration of Saudi wealth in the hands of the Salmans.

One of the arrested persons is the allegedly sixth richest man of the world, Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal (video). He has (had?) an estimated net-worth between $18 and $32 billion. Al-Waleed had publicly clashed with U.S. President Donald Trump. (Al-Waleed is (was?) the largest shareholder of Citygroup which selected Barack Obama's cabinet before receiving a huge government bailout.) Another casualty is Bakr bin Laden, brother of Osama Bin Laden, chairman of the Saudi Binladin Group and fifth richest man of the country.

Official pretext for the purge are corruption allegations going back to 2009. This financial subterfuge will allow the ruling Salmans to confiscate the wealth of the accused. The total haul of this raid will amount to dozens of billions of dollars. A new anti-corruption committee was installed under Clown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. It has dictatorial powers and can freeze and confiscate whatever financial assets it deems worth its attention:

It may take whatever measures it deems necessary to deal with those involved in public corruption cases and take what it considers to be the right of persons, entities, funds, fixed and movable assets, at home and abroad, return funds to the state treasury and register property and assets in the name of state property.

The events in Lebanon and Riyadh would have been impossible without U.S. approval and support. In late October Trump's son in law and senior adviser Jared Kushner made an unannounced visit to Saudi Arabia. In a tweet yesterday Donald Trump, sworn to the Wahhabi orb, named the price for his consent and cooperation:

Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump - 12:49 PM - 4 Nov 2017

Would very much appreciate Saudi Arabia doing their IPO of Aramco with the New York Stock Exchange. Important to the United States!

A primary listing of Aramco oil conglomerate at the NYSE will give the U.S. government regulatory and legal authority over the most valuable company of the world.

Also last night Yemeni forces fired a medium range missile from north Yemen towards Riyadh airport. The well targeted 1,000 kilometer (660 miles) shot is impressive and unprecedented. The Saudi air-defense near the airport, U.S. Patriot systems manned by contractors, launched four interceptor missiles (video) towards the incoming Yemeni projectile. The Saudis claim that one of the interceptors hit the target. A uprising smoke column was seen from the airport (video). It is not possible to say if it was the result of the original missile or of an interception.

That the Saudi capital can be hit will come as another shock to many Saudis. It discourages investment in Saudi Arabia.

The Yemeni missiles, fired by the original Yemen army under former president Saleh, may have their origin in Iran. But they could also be older ones Yemen had purchased elsewhere decades ago. The Saudis will surely blame Iran without explaining how such missiles could be smuggled through their tight blockade cordon around the resistance held country.

The missile launch is unlikely to be related to the Hariri resignation or to the purge in Riyadh. It takes days for the Yemenis to prepare such a missile and its launch. It is presumably in retaliation for Wednesday's devastating Saudi air attack on an open market in the northern Saada province of Yemen. According to Yemeni sources more than 60 people were killed. After the missile launch on Riyadh Saudi jets again bombed the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

Since the incapacitated King Salman took the throne in Riyadh his ruthless 32 year old son Mohammad bin Salman has taken control of all branches of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi launched a war on a defenseless Yemen and supported al-Qaeda, ISIS and other "rebels" against the Iraqi and Syrian governments. He split the Gulf Cooperation Council by attacking Qatar. After a stalemate in Yemen and Qatar and losing in Iraq and Syria he has now initiated a war against Hizbullah in Lebanon. None of these bloody initiatives has achieved its aim of weakening the influence of the perceived enemy Iran. All of them helped Iran to consolidate its position.

The financial position of the Saudi state is in disarray. To the applause of the western claque Bin Salman announced the economic, social and religious liberation of Saudi Arabia. But little, if any, of the grand promises have been delivered.

Yesterday's purge can be perceived as a panic-fueled move. All of Bin Salman's endeavors have failed. The successful targeting of Riyadh's airport only underscores this. He is under pressure but unable to deliver. The internal resistance to him is growing.

When Hitler initiated the Night of Long Knives against the socialist part of his party he was on an upward trend of his political power. The country was at peace, its international standing was growing, the economy surged and the majority of the people endorsed him. Bin Salman's remake of that night comes while his initiatives fail. It is doubtful that the consolidation he seeks will be equally successful.

Posted by b on November 5, 2017 at 06:43 AM | Permalink

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Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 6, 2017 4:14:14 AM | 98

Sorry I'm not trying to be a smartarse but there is indeed a city called Tripoli in Lebanon. Up north it is the second largest behind Beirut.

Tripoli is a fairly common name there are 3 in amerika one in wisconsin another iowa and don't remember where last one is. I learned all that back in the day when someone reckoned that there were indeed blocklayers busier than one-armed beiruti ones they were in Tripoli - pub yaks - it cost me $10 to learn it was Lebanon not Libya which at that time was an oasis of peace and prosperity.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Nov 6, 2017 4:49:41 AM | 101

There is a Tripoli in Lebanon. Italian/Latin place names have been used several times.

Simple google search will do.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 6, 2017 4:51:53 AM | 102

It seems to me that the last time Hezbolla and Israel fought, Israel got its ass handed to it. Two lessons were learned, IMO; Hezbolla learned a lot about Israeli tactics and weapons; and Israel learned what a formidable force Hezbolla had become, with full command of the latest weapons system.
I just can't see how Saudi Arabia could do much; Hezbolla, on the other hand could do great damage to SA.
I guess we'll see...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Nov 6, 2017 4:52:47 AM | 103

@ somebody 101
Thanks. that one had me stumped.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 6, 2017 4:56:41 AM | 104

Not sure if postd yet but the pathetic Saudi now threats Iran!

Saudi Arabia threatens Iran after Yemen missile strike

Posted by: Anon | Nov 6, 2017 5:05:53 AM | 105

V. Arnold.
US cannot fight a groud war, and neither can it's current day stooges.
Something that surprised me recently in thinking about the US war machine, is that it has never been a ground power outside its pissing posts. It can project naval and air power, but not ground power. Any country that can defend against US air power, can fend off the US. Israel is now the same.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 6, 2017 5:06:26 AM | 106

96 Pantaraxia

That would be Russian-Israeli ties. And I doubt any of it is illegal if Kushner was careful about paying taxes. And he would be having seen what was done to his father.

This is capitalism. Lev Leviev lives in Britain. He does not need the US for money laundering.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 6, 2017 5:07:35 AM | 107

Peter AU 1 | Nov 6, 2017 5:06:26 AM | 105

Yes, exactly. Russia's S-400 AA system has become the must have system for just that reason.
With its (S-400) far reach; the systems presently in Syria could include Lebannon under the umbrella. I'm a bit unsure why U.S. and Israel are still using their air power in Syria?
Many questions with few substantive answers...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Nov 6, 2017 5:14:12 AM | 108

V. Arnold

Not only S-400, but as we have seen in Vietnam and Lebanon/Hezbolla vs Israel, good ground tactics and determination can defeat pure air superiority.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 6, 2017 5:31:07 AM | 109

re 101 etc.

Tripoli is not an Italian/Latin place name. It is Greek, and means three cities, or triple city. Tripoli in Lebanon is the HQ of the Sunni community.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 6, 2017 5:38:28 AM | 110

Peter AU 1 | Nov 6, 2017 5:31:07 AM | 108

Indeed, good point. Afghanistan would also be an example of just that, as is Syria, presently.
Some famous general (who's name escapes), from WWII, had said air power without troops on the ground can never win a war; history, so far, has proven him correct.
Appreciate your feed back; very helpful in sorting through the fog...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Nov 6, 2017 5:46:13 AM | 111

V. Arnold | Nov 6, 2017 5:46:13 AM | 110
Afghanistan needs to go alongside Vietnam and Lebanon/hezbolla. I guess sooner or later US troops in Afghanistan will be scrambling from roof tops onto choppers to get out of the place.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 6, 2017 6:00:49 AM | 112

add to 107

There are clear Trump/Kushner Russia/Putin connections via Chabad and the Christian Right Wing but they are politically toxic as they go to religious freedom and the separation of religion from the state.
Chabad is very Jewish Russian, and the World Congress of Families is 100% Christian American, but they share an agenda and a connection to Russia/Putin and Israel and the right wing settler movement.

I don't think it would fly in the US to ask a religion to register as a foreign agent.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 6, 2017 7:24:52 AM | 113

>>>>> Peter AU 1 | Nov 6, 2017 4:14:14 AM | 99

Lebonese forces arrest ISIS member in Libya...?

There is indeed a town called Tripoli in Lebanon. It's up north and a hot bed of Salafism.

Meanwhile that shit-for-brains Mr Astonishing himself, Thamer Al-Sabhan, is back tweeting:

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:50 A.M.) – The Saudi Minister of Gulf Affairs, Thamer Al-Sabhan, tweeted on Monday morning that Saad Hariri’s resignation will never allow Lebanon to be the same again.

“Lebanon after the resignation will never be the same as before,” the Saudi minister claimed.

Perhaps the British or French could drop one of their concrete bombs on him - if they started raising money to pay for it on Kickstarter, I'd cough up a few bob.

Posted by: Ghostship | Nov 6, 2017 8:38:33 AM | 114


This old article from June 2017 might explain the arrests of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Osama bin Laden's brother:

Once-mighty Hariri firm in Saudi is finished: sources - France - RFI

A collapse in oil revenues that began three years ago left the kingdom unable to pay private firms it had contracted. Most were in the construction sector, chiefly at Saudi Oger and another firm, the Saudi Binladin Group.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Nov 6, 2017 9:26:02 AM | 115

An interesting run of tweets by Magnier at the moment. Lebanon calling for the release and return of their PM, Hariri's Saudi business partner killed resisting arrest. Saudi's put out arrest warrant for their front man in "Syrian opposition" Seems like the clown prince has contracted rabies if this is correct, biting anything and everything.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 6, 2017 9:38:59 AM | 116

There is an aspect of Saudi Arabia that has not been covered. That is "patronage" (I use the word loosly), and how it could become the source of MBS's downfall.

The Saudi powerbase was dependent on the King getting all the revenue and then giving each Prince a sum of money, which was then given by each Prince in turn to his own circle, who then repeated the process all the way down the line. ie, to the "lowest of the low", a widow in a Souk - if she had any connection at all with the reigning line. This is the original system at the time of Saud (1st) and Faisal. It was used to STOP the princes getting any real power, luxury was allowed, but nothing else. (Failure to "share"by the Upper echelons - would have meant a knife in the back in those days)

But, the "patronage" must still exist. Which means that all those Princes that have been sidelined recently will expect the cash flow to continue, otherwise their own positions will be in question. So will all those dependant further down the line, which is a lot of people.

I know a Saudi - who was an "employee" of Waleed. (Actually a sort of well paid slave. No family life and "on call" day and night. He then had a "burn-out") He is STILL dependent on Waleed - who will(?) provide a revenue during the rest of his life (as a sort of mutual agreement, actually quite common). As you can imagine - he is very worried at the moment.

That concerns the "Saudi" line. BUT there are also the other tribes that were not part of the largesse before, and definitely cannot expect MBS to support them now. I suspect (but have no proof) that they may have been some of the ones who have been executed for "crimes" unknown. There was at least one "Saudi" Prince among them.

Many Princes will probably have other means of support to fall back on - but do not expect for them to get jobs. That is for foreigners - as only "others" work.

Posted by: stonebird | Nov 6, 2017 10:37:33 AM | 117

@99 Peter AU 1

Neither of the two. It's just that there are two cities named Tripoli on the map, but not because you're seeing double due to home brew or whatever. One big Tripoli in Libya, one smaller Tripoli in Lebanon.

I've been where you are now.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Nov 6, 2017 11:12:55 AM | 118

@116 Peter AU 1

Maybe there's method in MBS's actions. Garrie at the Duran has been leaning increasingly to the thought that the Hariri decommissioning is actually a way of Saudi's getting out of Lebanon, as part of its pivot to Russia (for protection) and China (for oil sales in Yuan - which will require that Russian protection!).

We all jumped on the Hariri thing as the start of a ploy against Hezbollah, and Israel was right there giving voice. But Nasrallah urges calm - strange thing, I consistently forget that the path of peace is the best response to provocation. And the action of Lebanon in not accepting Hariri's resignation may stymie the expected internal turmoil.

Possibly an attempted ploy has been counter played elegantly? Was MBS witting or unwitting in the ploy? Does he approve or disapprove the counter play? Yet to be seen. It's one stream of possibility worth watching, perhaps.

Posted by: Grieved | Nov 6, 2017 11:21:18 AM | 119

Abbas is to visit Riyadh today after a possible meeting with Al Sisi.
Lots of activity in the ME..

Posted by: Lozion | Nov 6, 2017 1:02:07 PM | 120

Not all of us, Grieved. See my post at #50

Although to be fair, I can't say I concluded anything....

Posted by: poster formerly known as oneoffposter | Nov 6, 2017 1:05:05 PM | 121

@115 petri.. that is a very relevant link and info.. i was unaware of saad hariris involvement in saudi oger, or that they went defunct july 2017... it seems to feed strongly into what is happening with him now... thanks..

@119 grieved.. i think lebanon and in particular nasrallah is reading and playing this very well.. at this point, it looks like another boondoggle for saudi arabia.. this clown prince doesn't seem to be able to get much of anything right..

Posted by: james | Nov 6, 2017 1:33:52 PM | 122

@ Grieved
An interesting take by Garrie that pulls a lot of emerging pieces together.
Puling out Hariri (wasn't he the Saudi voice of Sunni Lebonese government antagonism to the Syrian government?) and the Saudi appointed heads of the HNC suposedly negotiating at Geneva for the Syrian "opposition".
Taking out the HNC talking heads at this time is interesting because I also read somewhere in the MSM yesterday of one of the Trump appointees talking about how to get the Astana talks back to Geneva so the US can gain control of the negotiations.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 6, 2017 2:53:27 PM | 123

Muslim dude commentary is quite suspect.
For one thing, the Saudi elite have always ruled through consensus. While one faction might be on top at any given time, the various factions were part of the overall equation in terms of heading various ministries, parts of the 3 different military groups, public/private corporations, etc.
What's going on now is unprecedented: a blatant consolidation of power - financial, military, and government under one specific faction.
B said this very clearly in the core article.

Posted by: c1ue | Nov 6, 2017 3:34:10 PM | 124

@Peter AU1,

Tripoli is the capital of Libya but also a city in the north of Lebanon, the main Sunni-majority city of Lebanon. In Arabic these two cities are called "Tarablus".

As for your previous question, I am British-raised Muslim of Bangladeshi origin, I mainly post on Syrian Perspective and very rarely come on MoA, though I do think b's articles are incredibly good in their analytical content.

Being a Muslim with some Arab friends, I do have some understanding of the culture others don't.

Posted by: Muslim Dude | Nov 6, 2017 3:41:46 PM | 125

Muslum Dude 125 Thanks for clarifying that. A couple of years back now, somebody with I think a similar user name, from Oman, was commenting at the saker blog.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 6, 2017 4:13:25 PM | 126

Reason why Nasrallah said wait and see is that Hariri and his networks are deep in the revo. Maybe Sissi asked for his head?

Posted by: Mina | Nov 6, 2017 4:20:28 PM | 127

If war is in the making, Hariri would not fly back to Beirut, right? So:

-Kushner flies in to Riyadh to greenlight MSB’s power grab.
-MSB obliges Hariri to step down offering protection in the Kingdom in exchange as he is Saudi citizen as well.
-KSA forces Lebanon to sidestep Hezb, which wont happen.
-KSA uses various pretext (Yemen/Hezb/Iran nexus as the Great Shaytan) & Aoun’s refusal to recognize Hariri’s resignation as an affront and uses it to further escalate..


Posted by: Lozion | Nov 6, 2017 4:51:36 PM | 128

What if Hariri is being held back in SA in order for SA/Israel to have a pawn in a post war Lebanon?

For sure, Iran and ïts¨Hezbollah¨ is in the US/IS/SA consortium crosshairs.

Would not be surprised if a blockading SA Vessel is sunk by ¨Iran supported Houthis¨ This, of course
could be followed by an attack on some Iranian oilrig---

One thing is sure: prepare for higher gas at the pump.

We know how and when war starts. How and when it ends is anybody´s guess.

Posted by: CarlD | Nov 6, 2017 5:35:38 PM | 129

Well, the Saudi fuckers just declared they consider themselves to be at war with Lebanon. Because, you know, Houthis launching a couple missiles on Ryadh isn't proof of Saudi incompetence at waging war but actually proof that Lebanon attacked them.
This is going to be interesting...

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Nov 6, 2017 6:16:37 PM | 130

@peter AU

Tripoli is the second largest city of Lebanon and has been a nest of ISIS and other Sunni extremist...

Posted by: Virgile | Nov 6, 2017 6:32:50 PM | 131


Posted by: XXX | Nov 6, 2017 6:37:59 PM | 132

Reuters is here trying to ignate something.
As with reuters role in arab revos
In fact the tweets in question are almost a week old

Posted by: Mina | Nov 6, 2017 7:04:26 PM | 133

@132 XXX...further to petris link @ 115, Abdul Aziz bin Fahd is also linked to 'Saudi Oger.' the bankrupt company that owed millions.. "..Saad Hariri, took over Saudi Oger and became Lebanon’s prime minister for 14 months before he was ousted in 2011. Saad Hariri and Prince Abdul Aziz are known to be close." from wikipedia.. he also owns 50% of mbc which the remainder is owned by his maternal uncle Waleed bin Ibrahim al Ibrahim (who was also arrested nov 4th)."

Posted by: james | Nov 6, 2017 7:35:37 PM | 134

Who knows WTF is going on?

There is "Qanon" on 4Chan - that these moves in Saudi Arabia are actually about taking down the international criminal "cabal" of secret societies that try to control the world: The deep state/cia, banksters, aristocratic families, Illuminati, Bush, Clinton, Saudi wahhabi ISIS/al-Qaeda/Netanyahoo et al. etc etc groups - who are supposedly opposed by the eastern alliance of Russia, China, Iran and secular middle eastern states in conjunction with Western military-intelligence "white hats".

On the other hand, MBS moves and statements in Saudi Arabia looks like same nefarious globalist forces want a big WW3 against the eastern alliance, as they are desperate now their plans for 7 countries in 5 years post 9/11 is a decade overdue and looks permanently stalled in Syria.

Hope it is the first scenario, although this is the stranger of the two.

Posted by: wantpeace | Nov 6, 2017 10:02:00 PM | 135

Tricky news from KSA: "But, the "patronage" must still exist. Which means that all those Princes that have been sidelined recently will expect the cash flow to continue, otherwise their own positions will be in question."

Reasonable expectation, but already two princes were killed, so their cash flow is in question. KSA is moving away from oligarchy, and toward autocracy.

Tricky news from Lebanon: I checked few times news from Lebanon on Google News so now it pesters me with the current headlines from Lebanon. Next to news about Hariri etc. there are pieces like:

Suspect arrested in Lebanon homicide, second man wanted in fatal ... 5, 2017
Luis Manuel Marquez-Rivera, 45, of North Lebanon, is charged with criminal homicide in the death of Carlos Villarreal-Berrios on Oct. 28.

Shawal, Safirul back for Singapore games vs. Lebanon and Bahrain
ESPN FC-Nov 5, 2017
Singapore's upcoming opponents Lebanon have improved to the extent that they are now one of Asia's strongest teams, according to head ...

Oakland, Lebanon High football teams make player's dream a reality hours ago
LEBANON, Tenn. (WKRN) – The season is over, the grass is beginning to heal, the lights are turned off, and for just a few moments, it did not ...

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 7, 2017 2:00:25 AM | 136

Piotr Berman | Nov 7, 2017 2:00:25 AM | 136 "Google News so now it pesters me with the current headlines from Lebanon."

Not to worry. Google is working hard in your interests ensuring you do not recieve fake news.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 7, 2017 2:10:28 AM | 137

Night of the Long Khanjars.

Posted by: Michael McNulty | Nov 8, 2017 10:13:58 AM | 138

Actually, the princes like Al-Waleed ibn Talal have probably most of assets in the west, some as major ownership shares in companies like City Bank, and some under management in "private banks". To get those, KSA would need to have some legal process with cooperation from USA and other western countries. In other words, they would need to take sides: cooperate with (current ruler of) KSA or not.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 8, 2017 12:55:14 PM | 139

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