Top Saudi Military Commander, Son Fired

  • Allegations of corruption against several other Defense Ministry officials and civilian employees are also being investigated.
  • In March this year, Human Rights Watch expressed concern over the arrest of 298 Saudi officials on corruption charges.
  • Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's anti-corruption campaign is seen by his critics as part of an effort to strengthen his grip on power.

According to Saudi media reports, Prince Fahd bin Turki, a senior member of the royal family and commander of the Joint Forces, and his son Abdulaziz bin Fahd, the deputy emir of the Al-Jawf region, have been fired by the Saudi government and are being investigated on corruption charges.

Lieutenant General Fahd bin Turki bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, centre right, was the commander of the Saudi-led coalition forces in Yemen.

A royal decree issued by the Saudi government has called for the removal of Prince Fahd bin Turki and his son Abdulaziz bin Fahd as part of a series of anti-corruption campaigns.

Allegations of corruption against several other Defense Ministry officials and civilian employees are also being investigated, according to a royal decree issued by Shah Salman.

Prince Fahd bin Turki was the commander of a Saudi-led military coalition in the ongoing war against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

A statement from the Saudi Ministry of Defense said the two members of the royal family, along with four other officials, had made “suspicious financial transactions” for which they would be investigated.

According to state media, on the recommendation of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, Fahd bin Turki’s deputy Mutlaq bin Salem has been appointed the new commander of the military alliance. Ali Shahabi, a Saudi writer and analyst, said the government’s decision to fire a commander was “a clear public warning against corruption in the military.”

This latest action of the government against the officers is a sign that there is corruption in the country. Several senior Saudi security commanders and officers were also fired last month on charges of bribery in tourism projects.

However, some critics say the removal and arrest of key members of the Saudi royal family and senior officials are aimed at removing obstacles to the Crown Prince’s rise to power.

In 2017, dozens of members of the royal family, ministers, and prominent businessmen were arrested and imprisoned at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in the capital, Riyadh. Several of them were released after agreeing to pay fines several weeks later.

The assassination of Jamal Khashoggi— a Saudi dissident, journalist for The Washington Post, former general manager and editor-in-chief of the Al-Arab News Channel— occurred on 2 October 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

In March this year, Human Rights Watch expressed concern over the arrest of 298 Saudi officials on corruption charges. The organization said that in a non-transparent judicial system, there were fears that such arrests could be made in a “possibly illegal manner.”

Those arrested included military and judicial officials. The men were arrested on charges of bribery and embezzlement of 379 million riyals ($101 million), according to the Saudi Anti-Corruption Agency.

According to the agency, the arrests came after an investigation into the criminal activities of 674 government employees. The agency, however, did not name any suspects or say when or how the corruption case was investigated.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s anti-corruption campaign is seen by his critics as part of an effort to strengthen his grip on power.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is currently going through a severe economic and political crisis. Economically, falling oil prices and the fight against the coronavirus have affected it.

The government has also faced international criticism over its intervention in Yemen and the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Commenting on the steps taken by the two campaigns and their results, AFP said:

“Finally, at the end of April, the Riyadh government-approved judicial reforms. Among other things, the announcement of the abolition of flogging, and the decision to ban the execution of offenders under the age of 18 is of paramount importance.”

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Joyce Davis

My history goes back to 2002 and I  worked as a reporter, interviewer, news editor, copy editor, managing editor, newsletter founder, almanac profiler, and news radio broadcaster.

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