Defecting Saudi Prince: Royal Family in Panic at Arab Revolts, Thousands imprisoned

Russia Today got a scoop on Monday with an interview with a defecting Saudi prince:

“In recent weeks Saudi Arabia has launched an offensive against anti-regime activists arresting many and sentencing some to years in jail. Total number of political prisoners has now surpassed 40 thousand according to some reports. The crackdown has even forced a member of the ruling family to defect. RT Arabic spoke exclusively to Saudi prince Khaled Bin Farhan Al-Saud – who accuses the monarchy of corruption and silencing all voices of dissent.”

RT reports

Prince Khaled maintains that the royal family is in an absolute tizzy about the Arab upheavals and has arrested thousands of dissidents.

Posted in Saudi Arabia | 20 Responses | Print |

20 Responses

  1. In 1975, the Embassy was in Bonn.
    I went there seeking a visa. I wanted to swing through there on a tour of the region.
    After I made my requet, the consular officer asked me if I was a Muslim ? No.
    Did I have business in the kingdom ? No.
    What was the purpose of my visit ? Tourism. I wanted to visit, see the sights, meet the people.

    He called another consular officer over, and they spoke in Arabic. Then I was asked to wait. He left.
    After 20 minutes, he returned.
    “We don’t have tourists in Saudi Arabia,” he told me as a matter of plain fact.

    There are no citizens of KSA, only subjects.
    Technically, slavery was outlawed there in the 1960’s.

    • ““We don’t have tourists in Saudi Arabia,” he told me as a matter of plain fact.”

      He was correct Brian. I have had a lot of interaction with Saudi Arabs, many of them friends with whom I attended university in the US. Saudi Arabia did not then, and does not now, have a tourist industry. In order to visit Saudi Arabia today one still must have a solid Saudi contact who will take responsibility for the visit.

        • Thanks for the link, Professor. It looks like the Saudis are beginning to think seriously about setting up a tourist infrastructure. I hope a visit will not require a Saudi contact, as it has in the past. This development represents a bit of forward thinking.

        • parsing the article,
          I believe the nascent tourism industry is primarily for KSA subjects, and secondarily for GCC subjects.
          Those would be all Muslims, I think.

  2. It is important to know that this prince is from the farthest branch of a tree that extends far and wide and is considered a nobody. Until this publicity, no one had heard of him. The king stopped subsidising every member of the royal family back in 2005, so it is easy to see how some don’t like having to find employment. He has – according to my source from the group he claims to have joined in London – taken funds for taking this public action, by the anti-Saudi dissidents.

    The footage by RT shows a repeating loop of demonstrations from last year that did not spread. They must assume that by repeating it viewers will believe Saudi Arabia is suffering protests and riots. It is not. One protest a year ago does not equate to ‘under riots’.

    Lastly, RT including footage of Afghanistan or Pakistan doesn’t exactly bolster credibility. Anyone familiar with Saudi Arabia will know this is a borderline clown-car show.

    There is repression of free speech regarding the royal family and Islam, and I have several friends who have ended up in prison for such – on both sides of the spectrum: too liberal or too ‘extreme’. But the Saudis look at the NSA/DEA/FISA issues in the US, the ‘Pussy Riot’ protest in Russia, etc (pick a country under perfection and name it), and ask, what is everyone’s problem? One couldn’t criticise the royal family in England until recently in history; this is not unusual. Quaint, but not worthy of implying a military driving around the streets of Riyadh, machine guns cocked and ready. BMWs yes, but not a tank or armed vehicle in sight.

  3. I have no reason to doubt anything in this report.

    However, it is worth keeping in mind that RTV frequently airs the propaganda message of the Russian government, particularly on Syria, and Saudi Arabia and Russia are on two different sides of the Syrian conflict.

  4. In the reporting, on the recent “uptick” in drone strikes in Yemen, was included the following:

    link to

    SANAA, Yemen — At least seven suspected militants from Saudi Arabia were among the alleged al-Qaida members killed in Yemen in a recent wave of U.S. drone strikes, senior Yemeni officials said Friday, suggesting that Saudis are increasingly crossing the border to carry funds or seek terrorist training.


    The senior Yemeni officials who said the seven Saudis were among the victims of the drone attacks said intelligence suggested the foreigners had crossed the border between the neighboring countries to either ferry in money to the terror group or to train in al-Qaida camps.

    “Al-Qaida is especially recruiting tech-savvy and well-educated Saudis,” one of the senior security officials said.

    He added that the terror group also is bringing in Pakistanis, who are explosives experts. He cited Ragaa Bin Ali a Pakistani bomb maker who was killed in a drone strike.””

    It’s hard to know, however, if the report of Saudi deaths are (cough) accurate and/or if those individual were fighting *with* AQAP in the Yemeni conflict or preparing for Saudi attacks on the Saudi Kingdom.

    I wonder if the covert Saudi supporters of the Taliban and Al-Qa’ida in Afghanistan/Pakistan are also financially supporting AQAP. Risky business, imho.

  5. Big surprise – the perversion of Islam and persecution of innocents continues under the usurper totalitarians. They cannot stand the idea of any Arab thinking differently than them – so much so that they will arm, fund and even provide troops to any tinpot dictator in the region to prop them up (unless, of course, the tinpot dictator in question happens not to be Muslim. Or the wrong kind of Muslim. Or anyone who dares question their bullshit worldview).

    The sooner the Arab world can purge itself of these animals, the better off the rest of us will be. I don’t care if there is one person protesting or a million – bless them all and give them the strength to stand up to the cowards and liars of the “Kingdom”.

  6. History repeats: In the early 1960s a group of Saudi princes, led by Prince Talal, flew to Cairo and called for constitutional democracy for Saudi Arabia. Talal even wrote a proposed constitution for Saudi Arabia which would have created a constitutional monarchy and expanded civil rights. Talal later returned to Saudi Arabia and became a rich businessman. In 2007 he again advocated for a more liberal Saudi Arabia.
    There is no reason to expect much change in Saudi Arabia as the same forces — wealth to finance a welfare state, strong US support, an extreme clergy, a conservative ethos — persist.
    link to

  7. Perhaps people ought to suspend some judgement on Saudi Arabia until they have been there personally, for more than a weeks’ visit. I choose to live there and have for years; one tends to give up setting the record straight.

    MEMRI and others will always find footage to demonise. If Saudi Arabia chose to, there is no shortage of footage about atrocities in the US. The Zimmerman trial, Weiner’s latest sext, school massacres on a frequent basis…these could be used as propaganda against America as being a barbaric dangerous country. But they are not. The return courtesy is never granted: media stories are *far* easier to swallow whole. That saves any intellectual rigour.

    Those in glass houses…

    • Alia,

      “The U.S. also has some bad things, so that makes the horrific repression in Saudi Arabia okay”, is NOT an argument. It is really weak excuse-making.

      I am truly sorry you are so brainwashed. I guess it’s the BMWs?

  8. Again, no real news. Just phony sensationalism, diversions.

    “Russia Today got a scoop on Monday—”
    “Defecting Saudi Prince: Royal Family in Panic at Arab Revolts, Thousands Imprisoned”

    Scoop? 17 days after “Prince Khalid Bin Farhan Al-Saud announced his defection from the Saudi Arabian royal family on July 27.” He was already disinfected from royalty.

    link to

    Sounds like Prince Khalid Bin Farhan is only a prince in name, not with wealth or power. The King years ago, stopped supporting the princes except for those of the 2,000 families that share the wealth and controlled power. Since there are about two to four thousand princes in Saudi Arabia, that leaves a thousand more or less without lots of money and controlled power.

    As far as the “Royal Family in Panic–Thousands in Prison” I doubt if there’s any panic and that most of the 40,000 in prison has accumulated over the last decade and not “in the recent weeks”

    The uprisings in Bahrain in the last few years(decades?) which had some coverage here clearly exposed the corruption of both the Saudi and the US governments–the 5th Fleet is stationed at Bahrain. BFD, move it and the heck with Saudi Arabia and Israel.

    Another waste of reading and time. Professor you’re getting sloppy.

    By the way, I worked in the Middle East in the late 70’s, Riyadh for a year.

    Again, all moves and plays by the Billionaires controlling the world.

  9. Wow, people defending the Saudi autocracy here as if it were Gadafi or Assad. I guess anything is good to some radicals as long as it is as different from democracy as possible.

  10. Alia,

    This is not about the US, and it’s utterly irrelevant to this conversation in my mind. This is about the people of the middle east, and the fact that we all are constantly used and abused by the local, regional and global heavyweights. Who is importing Wahabist/Salafist fighters to Syria, giving them weapons and arms and encouraging them to ramp up the sectarian bloodbath? The Saudis. Who sent troops into neighboring Bahrain to help brutally repress a popular uprising? The same. This is not a goddamn game – ordinary Arabs are constantly victimized in these horrific struggles for power between the Gulf, Israel, the US, Russia and Iran. These various countries all have their own interests, but none of them care one whit about the safety, culture or rights of the locals. The Saudi royals and their army of fundamentalist clerics are the biggest promoters of Arab on Arab or Muslim on Muslim violence in the world. And for what purpose? To keep Iran in “check”? To further their influence in the Levant? Whatever it is, it is not worth the violence they are contributing to Syria right now. I don’t care what Saudi Arabia is like to you or anyone else – what I care about, and what others like me care about, is that the Saudis stop advancing the cause of the Wahabist ideology at the expense of all of our lives. And spare me any government proclamations about Wahabism or jihad – the royal family owes its crown and wealth to Wahabism and will never turn its back on that ideology.

    • … but they have GREAT swimming pools, and are now mining “fossil water” from under the desert, for a profit of course, and really cool HypocrisiParties! And so MANLY in those sweeping outfits and facial hair so neatly trimmed… re Syria, have a taste of what’s happening ‘on the ground’ today, and tomorrow, and on and on… link to Stop in, stay a while, and look around at what the Game is wreaking… in some ‘national interest,’ of course.

    • We’ve felt, and still feel, that deadly Wahhabi effect in the further non-Arab eastern world, such as in Pakistan (though a good deal of the radicalization is self-inflicted). Indonesia and Malaysia seem to get more influenced over time as the treatment against their sectarian minorities worsens.

      Canada’s govt (a right-wing conservative majority) was blunt in its security assessment, listing Sunni Islamist extremism mostly of the Salafi/Wahhabi kind, as its top domestic and foreign threat among others. Despite Canada’s opposition (ignoring the ideologue pro-Israel motivation) against Bashar Al Assad, a monster that indeed needed to be taken out – slamming Russia and Iran for their support – Canada wisely did not jump on the rebel band wagon like the rest (still provided humanitarian aid though), precisely because of the threat of Salafi/Wahhabi/Sunni extremist jihadists in the otherwise legitimate Syrian movement, but they came to be and ruined it (and Canada is not as beholden to the Gulf Arab states as the US to support it). Canada is now worried about jihadist rhetoric within certain Sunni mosques here.

  11. Brave, I guess. Unfortunate its met with some apologist responses who seem to overlook the 40,000 souls locked up on questionable charges, regardless of how many years it took to collect them. If we had been discussing Gitmo I’m sure the reaction would have been different.

    Regardless, the dictatorial monarchy, an ironic pro-US Wahhabi fundamentalist regime and hence the US looks over, has been busy in its police state crackdown and not just in its extended Bahrain ‘province’.

    They’re violently squashing the Arab protests of the marginalized Shia Muslims in the Eastern province.
    link to

    Women’s rights activists have also been feeling the squeeze, particularly this case involving helping a Canadian woman.
    link to

  12. The saudis are still killing women just by witchcraft charges… and dont forget they are the main sponsors of the wahabi jihadis in Syria thanks to the support of the US, NATO and Qatar.

Comments are closed.