Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal – who severed ties with the Forbes rich list in 2013, claiming it understated his wealth (they ranked him the 26th billionaire in the world) – allegedly promised luxury Bentley cars to fighter pilots who are carrying out bombing raids in Yemen.
The monarch tweeted the offer soon after Saudi Arabia announced to end the “first stage” of its bombing campaign targeting Houthi rebels.
Al-Waleed, who has a following of 3 million users on Twitter, wrote: "In appreciation of their role in this operation, I'm honored to offer 100 Bentley cars to the 100 Saudi [fighter] pilots".
While there were many who appreciated his “generosity,” there were many who criticized the prince’s insensitivity toward the situation in Yemen – and rightfully so.
The now-controversial tweet by Al-Waleed has been deleted, however, screenshots are obviously available.
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Hundreds of people have died and thousands others have been injured and/or displaced as a result of the military operation, which Saudi Arabia launched on March 27.
“Since 19 March 2015, conservative estimates indicate that over 1,080 people have been killed, with some 4,350 people injured, and more than 150,000 people displaced,” according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Of those dead, around 400 were reportedly civilians, including over 115 children.
In addition, the Saudi invasion allowed the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula aka AQAPl – the terrorist group’s branch in Yemen – to expand its reach after it took control of a major airport and an oil export terminal in southern part of the country on April 16.
Despite several pleas from human rights organizations and the fact that there is no credible threat from the Houthis to Saudi Arabia, the kingdom has refused to back down. In fact, the monarch government appears entirely unfazed by the loss of innocent life, considering the fact that Saudi royalty is now offering luxury cars as motives to pilots to bomb more people in Yemen.
Muhamed Qubaty, a former political advisor to Yemeni government, stated earlier this month that the alleged danger to Saudi soil from the rebels was “just a gimmick.” He explained the Houthis were not a legitimate threat, adding “the bigger issue is the continued suffering of the civilians.”
However, the kingdom seems least interested in the rehabilitation of the war-weary Yemeni people – even when it can do a lot to help.
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Just to put things in perspective, Al-Waleed offered 100 Bentleys to pilots; the starting price of just one car is around $180,195, so the prince would shell out at least $18,019,500 – an amount that can be used to treat, rehabilitate and feed the thousands of people who have been affected by the Saudi airstrikes.