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Daily Brief: Crown Prince's Purge Shakes Saudi Kingdom


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. November 6, 2017 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA Crown Prince's Purge Shakes Saudi Kingdom Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered dozens of arrests among the kingdom's elite (NYT) in what was ostensibly a crackdown on corruption over a weekend of turmoil in which Lebanon's prime minister also announced his resignation. At least eleven of the crown prince's cousins, four ministers, and tens of former ministers were among those arrested without formal charges or apparent legal process (Reuters). Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said he would resign in a televised address from Riyadh on Saturday, citing an alleged plot on his life (BBC) and denouncing the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group and political party Hezbollah. Separately, a high-ranking Saudi prince, Mansour bin Muqrin, and eight other officials were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday (AP); officials have not yet identified the cause of the crash. ANALYSIS "It is hard to see how a new hyper-modern, economically advanced kingdom is going to emerge out of backstabbing and purges, conducted at the highest level," Madawi Al-Rasheed writes for Middle East Eye. "This steady seizure of power has given rise to resistance within and outside the royal family, and Mohammed bin Salman's elevation to crown prince was not unanimously supported when the top royal princes met to approve it," CFR's Elliott Abrams writes for the New York Times. "The kingdom is at a crossroads: Its economy has flatlined with low oil prices; the war in Yemen is a quagmire; the blockade of Qatar is a failure; Iranian influence is rampant in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq; and the succession is a question mark. It is the most volatile period in Saudi history in over a half-century," Bruce Riedel writes for Al-Monitor.  PACIFIC RIM Trump Pressures Japan Over Trade Imbalance In a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe while visiting Tokyo, U.S. President Donald J. Trump said U.S. companies need "reliable" access to the Japanese market to "eliminate" the U.S. trade imbalance (Japan Times). At the same time, he emphasized the country's "solidarity" with Japan over the North Korean weapons threat. Ahead of Trump's visit to South Korea, Seoul announced sanctions on eighteen individuals (Reuters) at North Korean financial institutions. CFR President Richard N. Haass writes that China will likely continue to resist deploying its full leverage in North Korea despite urging from President Trump. VIETNAM: A typhoon off Vietnam's south-central coast (VOA) over the weekend killed at least forty-nine people, including nine members of a cargo ship that sunk.  UNITED STATES Suspect Identified in Texas Church Massacre Authorities identified twenty-six-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, who received a "bad conduct" discharge from the U.S. Air Force in 2014 (WSJ), as the shooter in a massacre at a church in Sutherland Springs, TX, that killed twenty-six people. Kelley was found dead in a wrecked vehicle (WaPo) after a civilian pursued him from the church. U.S. President Donald J. Trump urged Saudi Arabia to list the state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco on the U.S. stock exchange (Al Jazeera) in a phone call on Sunday with King Salman. Aramco is expected to sell five percent of its shares next year in what could be the world's largest initial public offering. SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA U.S., Afghanistan Probe Civilian Deaths The U.S. military and Afghan Defense Ministry have announced investigations into reports of up to twenty-two civilian deaths (RFE/RL) during a joint U.S.-Afghan operation last week in Kunduz Province. The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor said on Friday she will seek a war crimes investigation into the conflict in Afghanistan (Al Jazeera); an ICC report last year said both Afghan and U.S. forces may have committed such crimes. INDIA/PAKISTAN: Heavy smog covered large swaths of Pakistan and India (AP) over the weekend. The pollution appeared to cause the deaths of eight people in vehicle accidents (Dawn) in Pakistan's Punjab Province. MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Dozens of Saudi Strikes Reported Around Yemeni Capital Locals reported at least twenty-nine air strikes (Al Jazeera) in and around the province of Sanaa on Sunday after Saudi Arabia accused Houthi rebels in Yemen of launching a ballistic missile toward its capital Riyadh. Saudi Arabia said it will temporarily close all air, land, and seaport access to Yemen (Reuters) to stem weapons flows to Houthi rebels from Iran. CFR's Michael P. Dempsey writes that neither Iran nor Saudi Arabia are expected to abandon the conflict in Yemen anytime soon in the Washington Post. SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Red Cross: Widespread Fraud During Ebola Outbreak The Red Cross has reported up to $6 million was lost to fraud in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia (AP) due to overbilling, fake invoices, and collusion between Red Cross staffers and one Sierra Leonean bank during the region’s ebola outbreak from 2014 to 2016. The organization said it is "outraged" by the discoveries. SOMALIA: The United States has ordered all non-essential staff to leave its Mogadishu mission (VOA) in light of "specific threat information" against them.  EUROPE Leak Reveals British Queen's Offshore Investments A new leak of millions of financial documents dubbed the Paradise Papers shows about $13 million of Queen Elizabeth II's private money is invested offshore through funds in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda (BBC). The leak also reveals U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross invested in a shipping company owned by close associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin (RFE/RL). This CFR Backgrounder lays out the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. GERMANY: The island of Fiji will preside over a new round of UN climate talks (France 24) opening in Bonn, Germany, on Monday. Delegates from nearly two hundred countries aim to clarify the rules under the Paris Agreement (BBC) over the next two weeks.  AMERICAS Venezuelan Lawmaker Takes Refuge in Ambassador's Home The vice president of Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly has taken refuge in the home of the Chilean ambassador in Caracas (BBC) following a Supreme Court decision on Friday to strip him of his immunity from prosecution. MEXICO: The national oil company Pemex has announced Mexico's largest onshore oil discovery (Reuters) in a decade and a half in the eastern state of Veracruz.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. Forward This Email | Subscribe to CFR Newsletters | Unsubscribe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  


Date: November 06, 2017 at 11:04PM