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Over 16000 runners take part in Pune Half Marathon        India's coal output up 10% to 156 MT during Apr-Nov        Iran arrests 10 over suicide attack on police        Trump chooses new Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, against Mattis wishes        Can special consideration be shown to man with skin disorder: HC asks Centre        BJP files caveat in SC over 'rath yatra' in WB        'Won't hesitate from another surgical strike if need arises'        Kohli booed by Australian fans, Head, Ponting critical of crowd behaviour        Pujara, Rahane put India in driver's seat        Prabhu links creativity & business opportunities to cheap beverages in Goa        Merkel gets boost with ally's party win        Rouhani warns weakened Iran less able to fight trafficking        More than 225 terrorists killed in J&K so far this year: Army        Glad key people shedding fear, breaking silence on govt decisions: Chidambaram        Modi used surgical strikes for 'political capital': Rahul        Krishnamurthy Subramanian appointed as Chief Economic Advisor for 3 years        Indian Super League: Kerala Blasters' Hopes Hanging By A Thread After Defeat Against Pune City        31st GST Council to meet on Dec 22 in Delhi        Trump may nominate Heather Nauert as UN Ambassador: Reports        Qatar injects more cash into Gaza for Hamas employees        
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International News
Donald Trump Praises Saudi Rulers After Mass Arrests for Corruption
 
(Washington, Nov 06, 2017):US President Donald Trump on Monday endorsed a move by Saudi Arabia’s future king that tightened his grip on power through the arrests of royals, ministers and investors in an anti-corruption purge.

The endorsement cemented a US-Saudi relationship that has improved dramatically under Trump's presidency, partly because of both leaders' vision of confronting Riyadh's arch-rival Iran more aggressively in the region.

Trump tweeted on Monday that he had "great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia" following the mass arrests - the biggest such purge of the kingdom's affluent elite in its modern history.

Trump also tweeted that "they know exactly what they are doing," adding: "Some of those they are harshly treating have been 'milking' their country for years."

The purge was the latest in a series of dramatic steps by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or MbS as he is commonly referred to in Western circles, to assert Saudi influence internationally and amass more power for himself at home.

A US official who declined to be named told Reuters that MbS "has become the primary driver of Saudi policy-making. He has moved aggressively to sideline opponents, concentrate decision-making authority, and establish himself as the undisputed heir to the al Saud legacy."

"He seeks to reinvigorate the public’s confidence in the Saudi monarchy by diversifying the economy, loosening religious restrictions, and carrying out wide ranging social reforms,” the official said.

'IMPRESSIVE FEAT'

Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the president's senior adviser, who has cultivated a close relationship with MbS, recently returned from Saudi Arabia, fuelling speculation on whether he may have had wind of MbS' plans.

The White House said at the time the trip was reported that it was within the context of Kushner's efforts on Israeli-Palestinian peace conversations.

Among those arrested were billionaire investor Alwaleed bin Talal, who is one of the kingdom’s most prominent businessmen and whose investments in companies like Twitter make him the most recognized Saudi name on Wall Street.

"It's an impressive feat to have basically neutered virtually all of the sources of potential opposition, dissent rivalry, whether it's religious, media, political, military," said Rob Malley, vice president for policy of the International Crisis Group.

"On the other hand... it's always risky to make too many enemies at the same time. It's not clear how those enemies can react," said Malley, a former senior adviser on Middle East affairs under President Barack Obama.

Also detained was Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, who was replaced as minister of the National Guard, a pivotal power base rooted in the kingdom's tribes. That recalled a palace coup in June that ousted Mohammed bin Nayef as heir to the throne.

A former senior US intelligence official cautioned that given the National Guard's loyalties, MbS could face a backlash.

"I find it difficult to believe that it (National Guard) will simply roll over and accept the imposition of new leadership in such an arbitrary fashion."

ANTI-IRANIAN CONFRONTATION

US-Saudi ties had been strained under Obama, who Riyadh felt considered their alliance less important than negotiating the Iran nuclear deal.

But the Trump administration has vowed to confront Iran much more aggressively in the region, where it shares the Saudi view that Tehran is fomenting instability via a number of proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen among other countries. Tehran denies the allegations.

Events in Saudi Arabia in recent days appeared to open the prospect for a sharper confrontation with Iran and its proxies.

Saudi Arabia accused Lebanon on Monday of declaring war against it because of what it called aggression by the Iran-backed Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah.

Saudi-allied Lebanese politician Saad al-Hariri quit as prime minister on Saturday, announcing his resignation from Riyadh and blaming Iran and Hezbollah in his resignation speech.

Also on Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s air defense forces intercepted a ballistic missile fired from warring Yemen over the capital, Riyadh.

The Pentagon praised Saudi Arabia for "exposing" Iran's role in Yemen and Tehran's provision of missile systems to Houthi militia fighting there.

"Between that (Hariri's resignation) and the missile launch on Riyadh ... the coincidence of those two does mean that the prospect of some escalation, some strike either against Hezbollah or against Iran or against both is more likely, certainly than it was a few days ago," Malley told Reuters.


Iran arrests 10 over suicide attack on police
Trump chooses new Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, against Mattis wishes
Merkel gets boost with ally's party win
Rouhani warns weakened Iran less able to fight trafficking
Trump may nominate Heather Nauert as UN Ambassador: Reports
Qatar injects more cash into Gaza for Hamas employees
Singer Mika Singh Detained in Dubai for Sending Obscene Messages to 17-year-old: Reports
Conditions Met for Assange to Leave Embassy in London, Says Ecuador President
Pakistan slashes non-salary budget by 10%
Moscow dismisses 'groundless' US claim Russia breaching arms treaty
AgustaWestland deal 'middleman' Christian Michel brought to India
Don't be like Hitler: sacked Lankan PM tells President Sirisena
Sri Lanka court suspends Mahinda Rajapakse's powers as PM
Nigerian President denies death, body double rumours
France to consider state of emergency to prevent worst civil riots: govt spokesman
India To Host G20 Summit In 2022, 75th Year Of Independence, Says PM Modi
PM Modi Meets Saudi Crown Prince, Investments, Defence Ties Discussed
US strike in Afghanistan's Helmand killed 23 civilians: UN
Ukraine bars Russian men aged 16-60 from entering country
Ex-diplomat Zurabishvili elected Georgia's first woman president
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
Vaikom Vijayalekshmi ties knot with Anoop
 Vaikom: Playback singer Vaikom Vijayalekshmi has tied knot with Anoop N. at Vaikom Mahadeva temple.  
Mohanlal's Odiyan: Official trailer launched
Mammootty narrates Odiyan's intro?
Sradha Kapoor as Saina Nehwal: First look poster is out.
KERALA NEWS
Activist Rehana Fathima, Who Attempted Sabarimala Trek, Arrested Over Facebook Post
 (Kochi, Nov 28, 2018): Model and activist Rehana Fathima, who tried to reach Kerala's Sabarim
Good news for Keralite Nurses: IELTS cut-off reduced to 6.5
BJP leader K Surendran, 71 others granted bail
Sabarimala protests: Arrests up to 2061, Kerala HC warns police
NATIONAL NEWS
Can special consideration be shown to man with skin disorder: HC asks Centre
 New Delhi, Dec 9 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre whether a man suffering from a rare
BJP files caveat in SC over 'rath yatra' in WB
More than 225 terrorists killed in J&K so far this year: Army
Glad key people shedding fear, breaking silence on govt decisions: Chidambaram
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