‘Reforms part of shock therapy’

February 28, 2018
Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman
Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman

Saudi Gazette report

— Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, said a new wave of reforms was part of the “shock” therapy needed to modernize the Kingdom’s cultural and political life, and compared anti-corruption drive launched late last year to chemotherapy.

“You have a body that has cancer everywhere, the cancer of corruption. You need to have chemo, the shock of chemo, or the cancer will eat the body,” the Crown Prince told the Washington Post’s David Ignatius in an interview late Tuesday night.

“The Kingdom couldn’t meet budget targets without halting this looting,” he said.

The Crown Prince said he remembers corruption personally, as people tried to use his name and connections starting in his late teens. “The corrupted princes were a minority, but the bad actors got more attention. It harmed the energy of the royal family.”

All but 56 of those arrested have now been freed after paying restitution: “Most of them know they have made big mistakes, and they have settled.”

Speaking on the government shake-up announced on Monday, Crown Prince Muhammad said the effort was to install “high energy” people who could achieve modernization targets.

“We want to work with believers,” he added.

The Crown Prince said he had been planning the Defense Ministry changes for several years “to get better results for Saudi defense spending.”

He also described ambitious plans to mobilize Yemeni tribes against the Houthi militia and their Iranian backers in Yemen.

Speaking on Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Crown Prince Muhammad said he had been unfairly criticized for pressuring Hariri to resign in November.

“Now he’s in a better position” in Lebanon, relative to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia, the Crown Prince said.

February 28, 2018
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