New crackdown likely in Saudi Arabia

New crackdown likely in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman remanded more than 200 figures, including 11 princes and many businessmen, journalists, scholars and bureaucrats, on Nov. 4 in a shock operation. Claims of a coup attempt in Riyadh following the prince’s official visits of the United States and Europe which was later dismissed as a drone being shot down is allegedly the foundation for a new crackdown prepared by Salman and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces Mohammed bin Zayed.

Egypt plays leading role

Former Egyptian interior minister Habib al-Adly is playing a leading role in the provocations in Saudi Arabia. Al-Adly headed the interrogations and torture of those remanded in the Nov. 4 palace coup. He was directly involved in the interrogations of Saudi scholars Selman el-Avde, Muhammad Sharif, Avad el-Karni and Ali Badahdah, among others. All the scholars arrested in Saudi Arabia in 2017 and 2018 have been figures who support the Syrian and Egyptian resistance.

Tensions flare

In an exclusive interview with Yeni Safak daily, Saudi Arabian researcher Hisham Ali said that four days before the April 21 coup ploy, in which heavy gunfire was heard near the palace in Riyadh, four officers were killed in the Jizan region of Saudi Arabia. He added that tensions were rising across the country as opinion leaders and scholars were remanded and media outlets were censored. The researcher said that Salman was preparing the groundwork to remand those who opposed him.

Saudi boosts ties with Israel, Vatican

Ali stated that Salman’s statements on Israel, western visits and interfaith dialogue with various Catholic authorities show that a series of ne-gotiations were being made.

In early April, Salman said Israelis are entitled to live peacefully on their own land, another public sign of an apparent thawing in ties between the two countries.

“There are a lot of interests we share with Israel and if there is peace, there would be a lot of interest between Israel and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries,” he added.

On Nov. 19, Israel Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz indicated that his country has had “secret” contacts with Saudi Arabia against Iran, which shocked many given the fact that Saudi Arabia and Israel do not have formal diplomatic relations. Additionally, Saudi opened its airspace to Israel in February 2017.

King Salman also met French cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who heads the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in Riyadh last week Wednesday during the first visit to the kingdom by such a senior Catholic authority. It followed a series of meetings between senior Saudi figures and representatives of other Christian traditions in recent months.

UAE takes Saudi hostage

Ali said that Salman’s U.S. and European contacts were facilitated entirely by Zayed. The researcher added that Zayed was after imperial powers, and had taken Saudi Arabia hostage in the process and was using Salman to play with Riyadh and drag it into the abyss.

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