Go to contents

Saudi in Trouble - Corrupt Royal Family

Posted May. 02, 2003 22:21,   


Saudi is on the verge of collapse. So are the world economy and politics which relies heavily on the cheap oil of Saudi Arabia. The problems of Saudi are deeply rooted in the Palace. Robert Baer who worked for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency as an intelligence operative in charge of the Middle East for 21 years exposed the historical background and details of this collapsing Saudi dynasty. The Atlantic Monthly, a U.S. magazine of authority put an abridged edition of Mr. Baer`s `Sleeping with the Devil` on its May edition.

The daily supply of oil from Saudi has decreased from 28% to 18% in the last 10 years.

Saudi, however, is still the central pivot point on the stabilization of the world oil price as it has a production capacity of 200 million surplus barrels a day. Saudi once produced additional 500 million barrels during the Iran-Iraq war during the 1980s and the Gulf war which occurred between 1990 and 1991 along with other neighboring countries of the Gulf region to stabilize the oil price. Saudi supplied 900 million barrels to U.S. after the 9.11 terror attack for two weeks.

If Saudi stops producing oil, the current oil price of around $30 a barrel will soar up to $150 a barrel. It is not an unrealistic figure. If terrorists destroy the oil field of Buqayq, the daily production of oil, 680 million a barrel will reduce to 100 million barrels a day.

The actual state of the Saudi royal family is, however, more worrisome than terrorist attack. 6 families of the Middle East have 60% of the oil all reserved over the world. The Saudi royal family is the strongest among those as it has 20% of the world reserved oil. The first king of Saudi was Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud. He founded Saudi Arabia and named the after his tribe in 1932. He had over 40 children.

King Fahd(80), Crown Prince Abdullah(79), Minister of National Defense Sultan, Minister of Interior Nayef, state governor Riyadh are all children of King Saud. In Saudi, princes elect a King instead of the first prince`s succession of the crown. King Fahd`s successor will be Crown Prince Abdullahm. However, the internal conflict among the prices has now just started.

The reason behind this is that Crown Prince Abdullah is considering a reform which restricts the privilege and wealth of the royal family.

The gross national products (GNP) Per Capita of Saudi which was 28,600 dollar in 1981 dramatically dropped to 6,800 dollar in 2001. It is because the oil price has been dropping but the population expanded. Saudi ranked almost the first place in birth rate in the world last year. 1000 people had about 37.25 children according to the figure. Yet, the population of royal family has increased more rapidly. One price generally has 40 to 70 children. Hence now there are around 10,000 to 12,000 princes and 30,000 royal family members in Saudi. They are not only involved in various businesses with their vested interest but also they are extorting money from ordinary civilians to fulfill their desire for luxurious life.

Crown Prince Abdullah is almost the only figure among the royal family who live simply. He lives in a tent of a pastoral tribe and eats milk of camel and date palms.

Prices are desperately sticking to King Fahd as they believe Crown Prince Abdullah will conduct a reform ridding corruption in the royal family. King Fahd has not recovered from the heart attack in 1995. Prices are desperately trying to extend his life supplying all the best doctors and medicines.

The corrupted princes has been financially assisting extremist Islam fundamentalist to put complaint of people down. Particularly, the last son of King Fahd, Abdul Aziz took an effort to aid 100 million dollars to the Afghanistan Taleban regime in 1997. According to the U.N. Security Council, Saudi aided 500 million dollars to Al-Queda for 10 years.

The Bush administration was at a loss as Richard Perle, Chairman of the Defense Policy Board criticized Saudi a greenhouse of terrorists. Just within hours after Perle`s statement, Secretary of State Colin Powel called the foreign minister of Saudi and President Bush personally invited the ambassador of Saudi in the U.S. to a Crawford ranch. U.S. can not end the relationship with Saudi royal family. Saudi is investing trillions of dollars in U.S. banks and the stock market.

Saudi is also providing good business opportunities to influential politicians. An oil company which vice President Dick Cheney worked for as president could sign a 14000 million oil well development contract from Saudi government. Condoleezza Rice. National Security Advisor of the White House also previously worked for a U.S. company as a senior executive memeber which has cooperative ties with a Saudi oil company.

Even if Saudi accepts to take western way of democracy, it is also a problem. If the election is conducted in a rapid manner, the first president will be mostly likely Osama Bib Laden.

Eun-Taek Hong euntack@donga.com