It really is starting to look as though the Saudi crown prince has read The Prince. Latest rumor to reach me from sources inside Saudi Arabia is that Alwaleed bin Talal, the legendary mega-investor, has been spirited out of the country, which suggests perhaps permanent exile in Switzerland or something. I’m told that some impressive-looking motorcades and large security forces were observed arriving at the airport last night.
It has been confirmed that President Trump spoke on the phone with crown prince Mohammed bin Salman yesterday, and it is widely believed—or at least people on Saudi Arabia are saying—that Trump blessed the moves bin Salman has taken. This all happens just a few days after Jared Kushner visited Riyadh. I’m sure that was just a coincidence.
Apparently the crown prince has been making statements about the need to embrace “moderate Islam,” which if genuine, one of my correspondents there tells me, would be like Henry VIII breaking with the Church.
While we await further events, perhaps it is time to take in a brief scene from one of the old “Yes, Minister” episodes that featured a ministerial visit to the Middle Eastern country of “Qumran,” but which is surely meant to be Saudi Arabia.*
* The subtext is that the British delegation is spiking their orange juice with visits to the “communications room.” You’ll get it.