News Release

* Asia * Saudi * Lebanon

JAMES BRADLEY, [in Vietnam] james at jamesbradley.com
As Trump begins his Asia trip, Bradley is available for comment. He is author of several bestsellers including Flyboys, Flags of Our Fathers and The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia.

CHRISTOPHER DAVIDSON, [In Britain] cmd@christopherdavidson.net, @dr_davidson
Davidson’s books include After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies and Shadow Wars: The Secret Struggle for the Middle East.

Davidson said today: “What seems to be a mixture of high profile arrests (and apparently also mysterious deaths, following the helicopter crash in Asir province), can be read as a multi-pronged effort to remove all possible opposition in advance of the King’s expected abdication and the crown prince’s expected succession.

“While some media outlets have been content to take at face value the Saudi authorities’ message that this is an ‘anti-corruption drive,’ and have focused mostly on the arrest of billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the reality is that in the last 24 hours several of the crown prince’s key potential rivals and critics have also been taken out of the running, including: a prominent son of former King Abdullah who has been in charge of the all-important national guard, a son of former Crown Prince Muqrin, the head of King Abdullah’s court, and a former finance minister who has already demonstrated that he is willing to speak publicly about the true condition of the Saudi economy.”

RANIA MASRI, [in Lebanon] rania.z.masri@gmail.com, @rania_masri
An Arab-American academic based in Lebanon, Masri is available to discuss the workings of Lebanese politics. She just translated Hezbollah leader’s Hassan Nasrallah’s speech following Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri’s submitting his resignation from Saudi Arabia.

Following Saudi actions, Rula Jebreal tweeted: “Following PM Hariri’s staged resignation, Saudi diplomats are vacating Saudi embassy in Beirut. Prospect of Israeli war is looming.” But Amal Saad asked, “who needs Israel” when you have the prospect of Saudi intervention in Lebanon?