The direct attack was undoubtedly met with threats of a coup. Whether one was actually planned didn’t matter. He had to assume these threats were credible since so many interests were under attack. So he struck first, arresting princes and ex-minsters who constituted the Saudi elite. It was a dangerous gamble. A powerful opposition still exists, but he had no choice but to act. He could either strike as he did last Saturday night, or allow his enemies to choose the time and place of that attack. Nothing is secure yet, but with this strike, there is a chance he might have bought time. Any Saudi who would take on princes and clerics is obviously desperate, but he may well break the hold of the financial and religious elite.Sponsored Links
In the midst of this, an external enemy saw an opening. A day before the strike, a missile was fired at Riyadh from Yemen by the Houthis – a Shiite sect allied with Iran. Saudi officials say the missile was produced by Iran, although the Iranians deny this. It was a serious attempt to strike Riyadh, but the Saudis intercepted the missile.