Mid-day update on turmoil in Saudi Arabia

Flag of Saudi Arabia on flagpole. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

I had been thinking that there might be enough news out of Saudi Arabia for an update every few days.

Silly me.

This is my second post of the day, my third since news of the crackdown broke on Saturday.

Another Saudi prince died over the weekend. During a gun fight. With government forces. While the government was trying to arrest him.

11/6/17 – Zero Hedge – Second Saudi Prince Confirmed Killed During Crackdown – A prince was killed during a firefight between his security team and the government. The government team (military? Security agency? Police?) was trying to arrest him.

This prince was the youngest son of King Fahad.

King Fahad ruled from 1982 through 2005. He was one of Ibn Saud’s 45 sons and the fourth of the six sons who ruled.

That would make the now departed Prince a grandson of Ibn Saud, one of the second generation. He would not be of the family line of MSB, but a first cousin instead. The implication is he would be a potential challenger to MSB.

Stephen Green comments on this article at Instapundit:

..(T)hey have thousands of them (princes). The question seems to be whether a few deaths and a little infighting will bring them more or less into line with Crown Prince Salman — or if they’ll stage a revolt.

Will all the rest of the princes fall in line, knowing otherwise they could be arrested, or have their hidden money confiscated, or thrown in jail for many years, or killed in a shootout?  Or, will they all get together and try to pull off a coup? Or, will those not yet arrested get on the next private flight out of Saudi Arabia (after the flight ban is lifted of course) and take any money not yet frozen?

I suppose it is time for the conspiracy theory spinners to revisit that helicopter crash over the weekend.

11/6/17 – Reuters at Yahoo News – Purge of Saudi princes, businessmen widens, travel curbs imposed – More arrests on Monday, with a high-profile entrepreneur the only named individual.

Banks are reportedly freezing accounts of those who were arrested.

A government official says this is the end of “phase 1”, with the investigation having been underway for three years. The investigation will reportedly continue.

11/4/17 – Million Dollar Way – His initial assessment on Saturday was

…the prince (MBS) just took a preemptive strike on a coup.


Previous posts:


Oh, here are a few older articles I was storing up:

10/9/17 – Reuters – Oil rises above $56 on Saudi export cut – I sure don’t understand the oil market. Article says the Saudi announcement that they will curtail exports by 560K bopd in November is providing support for Brent oil still sitting at $56.  Also affecting the market is that production of 1.49M bopd is offline in the U.S. Gulf because of hurricane Nate.

Wait a second…a million and a half barrels is off the market and oil only rose a few dollars to $56? Half a million will be taken off the market next month and oil didn’t move?

My little brain thinks that much oil being off the market ought to push prices up further than $56.

For prices to only be at that level tells me several things. First, oil isn’t going to get anywhere close to the $100 needed by the Saudis and all the rest of OPEC to balance their national budget. Second, shale drilling and production in the US will continue to grow, but not at breakneck speeds. Solid, steady growth would be great for everyone.

10/13/17 – Wall Street Journal – Saudi Arabia Weighs Giving Up on International IPO for Aramco – The Saudis are reconsidering where to list. The plans to list on an international exchange, New York or London most likely, are being reassessed. Other options are sale of a large portion to China, listing on the Riyadh exchange only, Riyadh in 2018 and international listing in 2019, or pulling the offering completely.

The roadblock at the moment is separating the Saudi family interests from Aramco.

The plan is to offer 5% of Aramco for $100B with an implicit valuation of $2T (as in trillion).

10/20/17 – Million Dollar Way – Week 42 – Increasing discussion that the IPO isn’t going to happen. MDW’s analysis is that Saudi Arabia is in a fight for its survival.

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