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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Ordered The Arrests Of Princes, Ministers

Many saw the move as a way to concentrate power under the king's son and successor.
Posted at 11:44 AM, Nov 05, 2017

Saudi Arabia's next in line for the throne had several high-ranking officials arrested Saturday in what was called an anti-corruption purge

Authorities arrested 11 princes, four sitting ministers and tens of former ministers.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the arrests. He's the 32-year-old son of King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud Salman, who took the throne in 2015.

Mohammed bin Salman became crown prince in June, when the king changed the line of succession.

Many saw the anti-corruption purge — approved by royal decree only hours before the arrests — as another step to coalesce power under the young prince.

One prominent Saudi caught up in the purge is Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a billionaire investor with holdings in Western companies like Twitter and Apple. 

Separately, the king replaced the heads of Saudi Arabia's National Guard and Royal Navy.

Mohammed bin Salman is seen as a top adviser and favorite son of King Salman and has championed a number of modernizing reforms for the kingdom. He's called for a return to a more "moderate Islam" and was likely behind a royal decree allowing women to drive. He also wants to diversify Saudi Arabia's oil-based economy.