Tag Archives: saudi arabia

Da Vinci Buyer ?

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The true buyer behind the recent blockbuster $450.3 million sale at Christie’s New York of Leonardo da Vinci‘s Salvator Mundi is Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the Wall Street Journal revealed today.

 

MDC says ….. OK…. Enjoy the painting.

Yesterday, the New York Times broke the story that a lesser-known Saudi prince and distant relative of Bin Salman, Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed, had been the winning bidder of the Leonardo. “[B]ut he is a proxy” for the crown prince, an unidentified “Saudi art world” source told the WSJ.

Observers had found it strange that a figure like Prince Bader, nearly unknown outside of his home country, would be behind the purchase of the most expensive painting of all time. (Indeed, yesterday artnet News’s Andrew Goldstein and Julia Halperin speculated about the possibility that he was buying Salvator Mundi on behalf of Prince Mohammed.)

The WSJ adds some interesting context on the purchase:

Mohammed bin Salman, known by his initials MBS, was identified as the painting’s buyer in U.S. intelligence reports, according to people with direct knowledge of the information. American officials have closely watched Prince Mohammed’s activities, particularly as he moves to sideline contenders to the throne and has arrested rivals in the Saudi capital.

The blockbuster art acquisition now appears to be a move in a much bigger geopolitical game unfolding across the Middle East. The WSJ report notes that Saudi Arabia’s big auction move may be an effort to win “cultural bragging rights” and focus attention on its own emerging art scene, especially given the decade-long and frequently splashy art buying spree of the Qatari royals.

The Qataris have made headlines in recent years by setting art-market records, among them the $250 million paid privately for Cezanne’s The Card Players in 2012.

Yesterday, the Louvre Abu Dhabi had tipped off its followers to further news about the possible owner of Salvator Mundi when it began posting on social media that the 500-year old painting was headed for the just-opened institution.

The WSJ notes that the Abu Dhabi destination may also help explain the Saudi crown prince’s political motives for acquiring it. The United Arab Emirates, of which Abu Dhabi is the capital, has deepened ties with Saudi Arabia amid Prince Mohammed’s ascent to power. The UAE has long tried to establish itself as a cultural hub, with mixed results. Both Saudi Arabia and the UAE cut diplomatic ties with Qatar this past summer after long-simmering tensions.

The ruler of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Bin Zayed has acted as a mentor for Saudi’s Prince Mohammed as he moves forward with his own grand plans for the country.

Make Saudi Arabia Great Again

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The mass weekend arrests by Saudi Arabia could be due to both the stated purpose of cracking down on corruption and a power grab by the kingdom’s young, reform-minded crown prince who may soon take the throne, said Robert Jordan, former U.S. ambassador to the kingdom.

On Saturday, 11 princes, including well-known billionaire investor Alwaleed bin Talal, and four ministers, including the one in charge of the National Guard, were arrested, according to various reports, along with a number of former ministers.

MDC says, Saudi Arabia’s arrest of Prince Alwaleed ‘would be like arresting Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos,  or Bill Gates’ in the United States. Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding has major stakes in Fox, Time Warner, Citigroup, Twitter, Apple, Motorola and many other well-known companies, as well as several satellite television networks that are prominent in the Arab world.

We would also like to add that our Duffus POTUS commented in tweets Monday evening, President Trump appeared to endorse Saudi Arabian King Salman’s decision to remove a prince who headed the National Guard and create a new “anti-corruption” committee on Saturday.

“I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they are doing….” the president tweeted.

He completed the statement with a second tweet.

“….Some of those they are harshly treating have been ‘milking’ their country for years!” he wrote. MDC would like to add, Trump acts like a dictator and basically endorsed a dictator’s executive decision move.

The arrests happened hours after King Salman created an anti-corruption committee chaired by his 32-year-old son, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. MBS, as the crown prince is known, could become king later this year or in early 2018 when his 81-year-old father abdicates the throne. wd9wuDb

At 11pm on Saturday, guests at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh got a rude awakening. Businesspeople and consultants who were staying in one of Riyadh’s most opulent digs, along with diners and visitors, were all told to assemble in the lobby with their bags. No one knew why.

As guests made their way to buses to be taken to other hotels in the Saudi capital, senior officials were making plans for new arrivals who weren’t prepared for a night away from home, let alone a spell in a five-star hotel. They were soon to become the highest-profile prisoners in the modern kingdom’s history. And the most pampered.

From midnight, buses arrived in the sprawling complex disgorging princes, business leaders, other royals, their guards and their captors. The arrivals marked the start of an extraordinary episode that exposed the kingdom’s elite to rare public scrutiny and showed that, even when accused of high crime, the powerful maintain privileges.

By dawn on Sunday, more than 30 of Saudi Arabia’s most senior figures, among them blood relatives of senior rulers, were locked inside the hotel, accused of corruption. Their ignominious arrests were the talk of the country, and so too was the fact that they were far from a prison cell, where most citizens facing similar charges could expect to find themselves.

 

Middle East

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The West has meddled in the Middle East ever since that bubbling crude that same stuff that made the BEVERLY HILLBILLIES rich, gushed up and turned to gold.

Until the Presidency of Richard Nixon, the global oil companies took ninety percent of the money the oil produced from oil producing nation. Nixon blew that set-up big time and we had our first oil embargo that changed the financial arrangement to a fifty-fifty share. Kissinger was late to a meeting and that started it all.

That is a little known historical fact from the Middle East, as it is known by those powers that be there.

Today the crude underpinning that supports the Middle East economies, the Russian economy, Venezuela, Mexico and Canada, countries in Africa, and as destructive as we Americans can be, whether by land, or by sea, we are pumpin and frackin as fast as our greedy little corporations can move feeling this is the last hoorah delivered by crude. After all the oil game can’t last forever. And if we don’t frack now and get those pipes laid, the people may stop us in our tracks and that would be very, very bad to the oil business.

Oil is the dark side, the shadow side, the inner lubricant allowing the planet to move its’ plates more easily. Pumping oil is a modern way to get our rocks off. Our chromosomes have been transformed and we produce mutated beings that mature physically by age eleven and mature mentally maybe at fifty years old.

Toxic environments here and there produce toxic thinking. Toxic politicians playing with our water, our air, our land, have been the agents of the large corporations that in order to survive have depleted the planet and it’s life forms to a point of no return.

It is too late to stop the insanity in the Middle East, and we can no longer meddle in the Middle East, we are the problem not the solution.

Sometimes you have to let a situation, hit bottom be it personal, or someone you care about. The healing will come when responsibility is taken for this planetary destruction. That responsibility is the oil companies and their politicians who were bought and paid for.

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Jihad for Rehab

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Swap jihad for lush rehab: Saudi Arabia opens relaxation center for jailed Al-Qaeda extremists.

Saudi Arabia hopes to put imprisoned Al-Qaeda militants on the right path and make them drop their thoughts of jihad by offering them spa treatments, exercise and counseling at a new luxurious rehabilitation facility in the capital, Riyadh.

As part of the program de-radicalization program, inmates will be able to relax in the center in between sessions with counselor and talks about religion, reports AFP.

The Riyadh rehab center is designed to accommodate 228 prisoners: 19 inmates in each of the facility’s 12 buildings.

The facility spreads over an area equivalent to around 10 football pitches (over 10 hectares) and includes an Olympic-size swimming pool, a sauna, a gym and a television hall. The prisoners will also have access to special suites where they can spend time with visiting family members. Besides that, as a bonus for good behavior, they could get a two-day break with their wives.

The center was created by the Prince Mohammed bin Nayef Center for Counseling and Care – established seven years ago to rehabilitate extremists imprisoned during a Saudi crackdown on the local branch of Al-Qaeda. The prince himself survived a suicide bomb attack in 2009, which was claimed by Al-Qaeda.

“Just under 3,000 [prisoners] will have to go through one of these centers before they can be released,” Interior Ministry spokesperson General Mansur al-Turki told the agency.
Another similar facility has already been opened in the western port city of Jeddah, while three more are planned for different parts of the kingdom.

The Riyadh center though is the first one to offer jailed Al-Qaeda members – or the “deviant group,” as they are referred to by the country’s authorities – a lap of luxury as a boost to reconsider their beliefs.

It is planned that during the day prisoners will attend seminars on religious affairs.

“In order to fight terrorism, we must give them an intellectual and psychological balance… through dialogue and persuasion,” said the director of the rehabilitation centers, Said al-Bishi.

So far, some 2,336 Al-Qaeda prisoners have been through Saudi rehabilitation schemes, he said. No more than 10 per cent of former inmates rejoin extremist groups, Bishi noted, adding that such proportion is “encouraging.”

However, the program does have its opponents, especially given that some there have been some high-profile returns to the ranks of jihad. For instance, Saeed al-Shehri – a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who went through a rehabilitation program in Saudi Arabia – upon his release traveled to Yemen and became deputy leader of Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula.

Liberals are particularly unhappy with the religious content of the program, saying that it draws on an ultra-conservative version of Islam – which not so different from Al-Qaeda’s own.

Source: rt

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U.S. Oil Production Increasing

 

MDC shares excerpts from the Associated Press.

U.S. oil output is surging so fast that the United States could soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest producer.

Driven by high prices and new drilling methods, U.S. production of crude and other liquid hydrocarbons is on track to rise 7% this year to an average of 10.9 million barrels per day. This will be the fourth straight year of crude increases and the biggest single-year gain since 1951.

The Energy Department forecasts that U.S. production of crude and other liquid hydrocarbons, which includes biofuels, will average 11.4 million barrels per day next year. That would be a record for the U.S. and just below Saudi Arabia’s output of 11.6 million barrels. Citibank forecasts U.S. production could reach 13 million to 15 million barrels per day by 2020, helping to make North America “the new Middle East.”

The last year the U.S. was the world’s largest producer was 2002, after the Saudis drastically cut production because of low oil prices in the aftermath of 9/11. Since then, the Saudis and the Russians have been the world leaders.

Whether the U.S. supplants Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest producer will depend on the price of oil and Saudi production in the years ahead. Saudi Arabia sits on the world’s largest reserves of oil, and it raises and lowers production to try to keep oil prices steady. Saudi output is expected to remain about flat between now and 2017, according to the International Energy Agency.