• Pour le #New_York_Times utiliser l’argent public pour s’acheter un yacht tout en adoptant des mesures d’#austérité pour les autres c’est juste un « paradoxe » de dirigeant « dynamique »


    He has slashed the state budget, frozen government contracts and reduced the pay of civil employees, all part of drastic austerity measures as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is buffeted by low oil prices.

    But last year, Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince, saw a yacht he couldn’t resist.

    While vacationing in the south of France, Prince bin Salman spotted a 440-foot yacht floating off the coast. He dispatched an aide to buy the ship, the Serene, which was owned by Yuri Shefler, a Russian vodka tycoon. The deal was done within hours, at a price of approximately 500 million euros (roughly $550 million today), according to an associate of Mr. Shefler and a Saudi close to the royal family. The Russian moved off the yacht the same day.

    It is the paradox of the brash, 31-year-old Prince bin Salman: a man who is trying to overturn tradition, reinvent the economy and consolidate power — while holding tight to his royal privilege. In less than two years, he has emerged as the most dynamic royal in the Arab world’s wealthiest nation, setting up a potential rivalry for the throne.

    #Saoud #Arabie_Saoudite #vol

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  • Wikileaks: Saudi Arabia and #Azhar on the ’Shia encroachment’ in Egypt | Mada Masr

    Faisal sent another “secret and urgent” cable to the Saudi king and prime minister that said the Al-Azhar sheikh met the Saudi ambassador in August 2010, and told him that the Iranians were pushing for a meeting for rapprochement between different sects, and that the Al-Azhar sheikh “didn’t want to make a decision in this regard before coordinating with the [Saudi] Kingdom about it .”

    Then, in September 2011, newly appointed Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed #al-Tayyeb condemned “the attempts to propagate Shia beliefs in Sunni countries, especially Egypt, and next to the minaret of Al-Azhar, the bastion of the people of Sunna.”

    Amr Ezzat, a freedom of religion and belief officer at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), says that Al-Azhar cannot be dealt with as one body with a unified intellectual reference. He considers it a jungle of diverse ideas and religious directions, with the Al-Azhar chiefdom at the top, which has the authority to coordinate with several political players, given that its main concern is maintaining stability.

    That’s why Al-Azhar continues to play an essential role as an institutional alternative in moments when the state needs to resist political religious movements and crack down on them, according to Ezzat.

    But in general, Ezzat thinks that the concept of “Shia encroachment” is highly exaggerated.

    He adds that the Saudi government is afraid of the increase of Iranian influence in the area because of the Shia population that lives in East Saudi, which is close to the Shia communities of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Lebanon, who are considered enemies of the Saudi regime.

    But he says that there’s an overestimation of the relation of Shia communities outside of Iran. For example, Ezzat says that a group of Egyptian Shia who decided to demand their rights to practice their beliefs and rituals after the 2011 revolution has a deep political disagreement with Iran.


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