Rumors that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has hired mercenaries to torture recalcitrant royals and officials sleeping in the ballroom of the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh have been circulating since shortly after last month’s
“corruption crackdown” naked cash grab.
Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman
Now, Middle East Eye reports that one of MbS’s guests has reportedly died under torture rather than fork over his money and assets to his domineering relative. He was reportedly beaten and tortured so bad his family members had difficulty recognizing his body.
Major general Ali Alqahtani, who was detained in early November as part of an alleged anti-corruption drive, had been working in the royal guard forces.
He was the manager of the private office of Prince Turki Bin Abdullah, the son of former king Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, according to the newspaper.
Alqahtani died on 12 December after being tortured with electric shocks, and his family struggled to recognise him after receiving his body, according to sources, the newspaper reported.
We know this might come as a shock to some – Tom Friedman and the New York Times said MbS was such a nice guy! But that doesn’t change the fact that he is effectively extorting members of his own family to help plug a gaping hole in the Saudi government’s budget, willfully employing violence when necessary in a fashion that would make Tony Soprano proud. Case in point: Yesterday, we noted that the Saudi government had reportedly made Prince Alwaleed bin Talal – one of the world’s richest men - an offer he cannot refuse: Either fork over $6 billion to the Treasury, or spend the rest of his life being strung upside down and tortured by foreign mercenaries.
Back when oil was at $100 and above, the Saudi economy was firing on all cylinders, and nobody even dreamed that the crown jewel of Saudi Arabia - Aramaco - would be on the IPO block. But official data released earlier this week showed the Saudi economy contracted this year for the first time in eight years. It’s estimated to have shrunk by 4% as thousands of state-subsidized jobs have disappeared.
But despite the contraction, the Saudis have announced a radically expansionary budget for 2018. The government is forecasting spending at 978 billion riyals ($260.8 billion), up 10% on 2017 estimates, as the royal family’s proxy war against Iran in Yemen enters its third year.
Even though oil prices are seemingly stuck at $50 a barrel, the Saudi government knows that its survival depends in part on placating the country’s citizens, who’ve grown accustomed to the trappings of a lavish welfare state.
This goes back to one of the reasons MbS has been able to get away with his crackdown: millions of regular Saudis have lauded MbS’s treatment of his fellow royals, seeing it as their long-overdue comeuppance.
Given that political opposition to the Crown Prince – who is expected to soon succeed his ailing father as king.