The previous king, Fahd bin Abdul Aziz was known for his extravagant vacations in Spain’s Costa del Sol. The posh resort town of Marbella is where he built his palace named “Mar Mar”, and each year for a month or more he would stay there. Luxury villas and hundreds of rooms in five-star hotels would be reserved for his entourage, and anywhere between ninety to three hundred million dollars would be spent by the royal family on the vacation. Thus it comes as no surprise that the local tourist industry welcomed them with open arms, and the king was visited by the Spanish sovereign King Juan Carlos, the Prime Minister and even the US Secretary of State.
Other powerful Saudi royals can be seen living it up on the French Riviera. They fly on private jets, buy the finest jewels and dine at exclusive restaurants. Saudi prince al Walid bin Talal has summered in Cannes for the last thirty years, and owns a 281 foot yacht called “the Kingdom” that he bought from Donald Trump. The yacht comes complete with a disco studio and helicopter. Examples of extravagance include one Saudi prince buying a $1.2 million emerald and diamond necklace, while a Saudi princess purchased a $10,000 Christian Lacroix outfit with pink and purple raccoon boas. Saudi royalty has property in most countries in the world including Pakistan where they have built huge walled compounds for themselves in which they do as they please. They visit the area once a year, usually during the hunting season. Their excesses know no bounds.
Several Spanish media outlets reported that a British agency provides large groups of women to accompany the Saudi men during their vacations in Spain, on two conditions: the women must be young and blonde, and must be replaced every fifteen days. In addition to such illegal excesses, many active-service policemen are hired illegally to moonshine as bodyguards for the royal family. Such blatant violations of the law go totally unpunished due to the influence this family exerts around the world. Prince Nayef bin Fawwaz Al Shalaan has been indicted for smuggling tons of cocaine from Colombia via Paris on the royal 727 jet, but he is outside the reach of law on Saudi soil. The Saudi interior minister threatened to cancel lucrative business deals if the narcotics investigation continued, and the case was swept under the carpet. Thus not only do these royals have obscenely extravagant vacations, they also don’t have to adhere to any law or regulation as they have immunity as a result of their formidable influence backed up by oil money.
All this plundering of national wealth is being done in the backdrop of plunging per capita incomes, discrimination, segregation, human rights violations, corruption, terrorist threats, high unemployment rates, repressive and inaccurate interpretation of Islamic law and lack of freedom. The royal family functions in total isolation and seems to be far removed from the plight of the common man. Protest is dealt with aggressively and criticism is censured immediately. It is no wonder that frustration among the population is growing and more and more people are turning to more radical outlets. While people starve in the streets and languish in prison because of injustices perpetuated by the monarchy, the princes’ sip cocktails on their yachts in the Mediterranean with money that belongs to the people. How this is allowed to continue is beyond my comprehension?
Described as the fifth richest man in the world at an estimated $22 billion net worth, Prince al Walid defended the riches of the Saudi royal family, as well as their spending habits. "Wealth is a blessing," he said. "You know if wealth is used properly, it is not abused but rather used, there's nothing wrong with that." According to them the proper use of the Islamic Republic of Saudi Arabia’s money is traveling by private jets to exotic locations, staying in private palaces, buying jewels and branded goods, womanizing and drinking, and abusing the rule of law. Isn’t that what they do in their own country also? You’re on the right track Prince. May God help your people.
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