Saturday, 12 February 2011

"Fears of a Muslim Brotherhood Takeover are Overblown"

Ali Alyami, writing in the Weekly Standard, explains why Western fears of a Muslim Brotherhood takeover are overblown:

The millions of Arabs who took to the streets and risked their lives to bring an end to centuries of oppression are not likely to accept theocratic dictatorships after ridding themselves of tyrannical ruling dynasties. Most of the rebelling generation grew up in the age of transformative modern technologies and knowledge of their human rights. They spend more time debating worldly issues over social media than reading the Koran or going to mosques. Their perceptions of themselves and the world they want to be part of supersede nationalism, tradition, and religious indoctrination. This reality is overlooked in the current avalanche of analysis and predictions.
Instead of concentrating on fear of Islamists, the West ought to focus on the unprecedented shift in attitude among Arabs in addressing their multitude of grievances. For the first time, the Arab people have publicly recognized that their misfortunes are not the fault of outsiders— the West, Israel, colonialism—but the result of the hierarchical and totalitarian Arab methods of governing in which the individual is subservient to the state and to the whims of absolute rulers.

Read the entire article here.

I think Alyami is right. The influence of the Muslim Brotherhood will most probably not be as great as is feared in some Western and Israeli circles. Now it is important to support all the positive new forces in Egypt who brought about the downfall of the hated dictator.

Fouad Ajami´s article in the Wall Street Journal is also recommended reading:

The Egyptians will be tested again as to their fidelity to democratic ways. But if this standoff that ended in the demise of the dictator is any guide, the Egyptians may give us a consoling tale of an Islamic people who rose to proclaim their fidelity to liberty, and who provided us with a reminder that tyranny is not fated for the Arabs.   

Entire article here.

The negative influence of American diplomats in Egypt and the Middle East

Michael Rubin highlights in his Commentary article the less than positive influence of American diplomats, who supported Mubarak and other Middle East autocrats while opposing George W. Bush ´s freedom agenda:

As Bush held firm, Mubarak wavered. Arab heads of state may have disliked Bush, but they respected him. After Bush not only ousted Saddam but oversaw Iraq’s first free elections in January 2005, they understood they could not dismiss his resolve. It is ironic that while American pundits tried to paint the Iraq war as diminishing American influence in the region, even Muammar Qaddafi’s own advisers ascribe the Libyan leader’s nuclear about-face to a combination of fear and respect for Bush after the Iraq invasion. As for Mubarak, in March 2005 he not only ordered the parliament to amend the constitution to allow contested elections, but he also freed Nour.
Still, Mubarak’s embrace of reform was neither open-ended nor sincere. His strategy then—just as it would be facing protesters in Tahrir Square—was to wear down opponents. Mubarak believed he could outlast Bush. No sooner had he announced reform than he eviscerated it. After blessing contested elections, he shortened the campaign to prevent his opponents from getting their message out. State-controlled media devoted round-the-clock coverage to Mubarak but refused to broadcast his opponents’ speeches and campaign events. Security forces harassed crowds seeking to attend opposition events and rallies. On election day, police cordoned off ballot stations in opposition strongholds. Mubarak won more than 88 percent of the vote; Nour received 7 percent.
In his efforts to undermine reform, Mubarak found a surprising and disappointing ally in the State Department. With the insurgency gaining strength in Iraq, Bush deferred management of Middle East reform to Foggy Bottom. Diplomats crave stability, not change. Not only did many career diplomats wish to punish Bush for launching an Iraq war they deeply opposed, but most ambassadors also believed that Arab autocracy rather than democracy better ensured American national security. Their arguments gained ground in January 2006 after Hamas won the Palestinian elections in Gaza. (The problem in Gaza, however, was not the elections but the State Department’s willingness to bless the participation of groups who sought to enforce their will through the barrel of a gun.)

Rubin suggests that American diplomats change their way of working:

The Egyptian turmoil should lead to greater introspection at the State Department. Even though Cairo hosts America’s largest embassy after Baghdad, and hundreds of the State Department’s most promising Arabic linguists have passed through its language school in Tunis, no diplomat foresaw this revolution. This should raise questions about how diplomats do their jobs. Too often American diplomats report on meetings with officials in their host countries. In the aftermath of Egypt’s revolution, Clinton should demand that America’s representatives spend more time socializing in slums and frequenting working-class coffeehouses rather than elite clubs. They should produce fewer memoranda about conversations and more holistic reports on the state of society. This will require better language skills, higher standards for tenure, and less-comfortable circumstances for America’s representatives, but the stakes for change have never been higher.
In the months to come, Obama must be more president than pundit. He cannot substitute statements for decisions. His choices will reverberate for generations. If he chooses wisely, he may usher in a true Arab spring in which Arab leaders will give priority to their society’s betterment rather than seeking to distract society with external hatred. But if Obama chooses poorly, the damage he will do to American national security will last decades.

Read the entire article here.

(image by

Friday, 11 February 2011

Mubarak was forced out by the Egyptian people

The people of  Egypt have chased the dictator out of his palace. This is truly a popular revolution. The Obama administration and the rest of the West cannot take any pride in how they have handled the uprising.

The Powerline blog´s description is very much to the point:

the administration has put on a pathetic show throughout the Egyptian crisis. It has seemed that President Obama's principal object has been to give the appearance of being in the know and of having some control over events, when in fact the administration has generally been clueless and has been at best a bystander. This accounts, I think, for the inconsistencies in the administration's position from day to day. As events shift, Obama shifts with them, like an irrelevant player who tries to get in front of a crowd so as to create the illusion that he is leading it.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Mubarak completely out of touch with the Egyptian people

Hearing Mubarak speak a few minutes ago confirmed that he is totally out of touch with the people of Egypt. No wonder the pro-democrcy demonstrators are furious. And the demonstrations will continue and grow until Mubarak is chased out from the presidential palace.

Shale gas will end Europe´s dependence on Russian energy

Shale gas will revolutionise the global energy market. In Europe it means that countries like Ukraine and Poland will free themself from the dependence on Russian gas and oil. It also will make such projects as the Russian-German Nordstream much less interesting. This is why the Russians are trying to belittle the importance of the coming energy revolution. But there is little Putin and his henchmen can do to prevent a new and better energy future for a great number of countries.

Dallas Parker´s article "Shale Gas: Global game changer" in PennEnergy should be obligatory reading for decisions makers.

Here is an excerpt:

The distribution of shale gas is so widespread that locally produced shale gas may become the standard fuel in many places. Traditional gas imports (by pipeline or as LNG) may become incremental sources.

The potential of shale gas implies a loss of political leverage for some sellers. For example, Russia has used threats of interruptions – and actual interruptions – like old-time gunboats, notably with Ukraine, but with other European countries too.

I recently attended a conference on shale gas in Poland on behalf of Mayer, Brown. The Poles share with other Europeans concerns about fracking, water recycling, and environmental issues. They have no tradition of American-style entrepreneurship. What they do have is reliance on Russia’s Gazprom in a power-constrained economy. They want to accelerate the development of their shale gas reserves. This story is repeated many places

Read the entire

Corruption on a high level in France

A sad state of affairs in France:
IT is a scene worthy of a Graham Greene novel. European ministers of state jet around exotic African destinations on holidays courtesy of the local strongmen, while the oppressed masses start marching for their revolution.
Except this is not fiction; it is the reality swirling around French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his corruption-prone ministers

Read the entire article in the Australian here.

Putin´s "shithouse" programme a total failure

Vladimir Kara-Murza writes about Putin´s failed anti-terrorist programme in the World Affairs Journal:

Another year, another terrorist attack in Russia. On January 24, a suspected suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in the arrivals zone at Domodedovo, Moscow’s busiest airport. Thirty-five people were killed and more than a hundred were injured. As Vladimir Putin prepares for this year’s parliamentary “elections” and a possible return to the Kremlin in 2012, his “pacification” of the North Caucasus has once again been proven a failure. Not that more proof was needed after last year’s attack on Lubyanka metro station – literally under the nose of the FSB, Russia’s Federal Security Service.
A decade ago, the Kremlin rejected a political track in favor of the “shithouse” strategy. Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov, whom Mr. Putin himself called “the lawfully elected president, whether we like it or not,” was branded a “terrorist” and killed. Any reference to him or his associates still stirs the Kremlin’s wrath, as was shown last week by the Russian Foreign Ministry’s protest over an event in Washington featuring Ilyas Akhmadov, Mr. Maskhadov’s former foreign minister. What had been a classic separatist movement in Chechnya was hijacked by Islamist fundamentalists and spread out to neighboring Ingushetia and Dagestan. For this transformation, Mr. Putin’s heavy-handed and cynical approach to the Caucasus bears a direct responsibility.

Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Mubarak legacy: Torture, imprisonment, repression of dissent, murder, disappearances

David Keyes, director of describes Hosni Mubarak´s human rights horrors:

Few know the cruelty of Mubarak’s regime better than (Kareem) Amer, who spent the last four years in prison for criticizing the dictator and “insulting” Islam on his blog. When I asked him to describe Mubarak’s record, he said: “Many human-rights activists and journalists were imprisoned during his reign. Some were beaten and tortured. Others were abducted or disappeared without a trace. The most important of these incidents was the disappearance of the Egyptian journalist Reda Helal in the heart of Cairo in 2003. Many believe the security services were behind the abduction because of his political views.” Amer said the worst of Mubarak’s crimes have been committed in the past few days. “The security forces have used great violence against demonstrators,” he said. “They opened fire on them, killing scores.”

Read the entire article here.

PS now reports that Kareem Amer went missing last night in Cairo: has just received word that Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer, recently released after four years in prison, has disappeared.  Kareem is a member of's blogger board and we are horrified at this news. 
Last night around 11 pm Kareem left Tahrir square with a friend.  They were warned not to go through Kasr Elnil because of ambushes and arrests there.  It is not known if they used that exit, but Kareem and his friend have not been heard from since.  Their phones are off and they are not in their apartments.  "Mubarak has started to hunt us down," a friend of Kareem's told  "One more week in power and he will kill us all." 

PS 2
Maybe it is good to remind readers about what Obama´s Egypt envoy Frank Wisner had to say about his friend, the dictator:

Wisner said he considered Mubarak’s continued leadership in his country “critical.”

“It’s his opportunity to write his own legacy -- he’s given 60 years of his life to the service of his country,” Wisner said. “This is an ideal moment for him to show his way forward, not just in maintaining stability and responsible government, but actually shaping and giving authority to the transition that has to be underway.”

Not so hard talk by BBC´s Stephen Sackur

Russia´s brave opposition politician Boris Nemtsov taught BBC´s Stephen Sackur a lesson in his Hard Talk interview last night. Robert Amsterdam reports on the double standards in the west when dealing with dictator Vladimir Putin:

Boris Nemtsov appeared on the BBC's HardTalk last night, delivering a scathing rebuttal to presenter Stephen Sackur's insistence that Nemtsov's call for sanctions against Russian leaders was improbable. In his defense, Nemtsov brought up the ongoing Western sanctions and harsh rhetoric against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.  As Nemtsov indicates, Sackur's position reflects the bizarre Western bias, which upholds the mythology of Russian democracy, whilst claiming to see through that of its smaller, and less powerful neighbours. 

SS: Do you think any Western government is going to take seriously your call for sanctions on Russia? 

BN: I'm talking about sanctions, not against the state, but against persons who destroy people's rights in this country--

SS: You're talking about the state's President, the state's Prime Minister.  So do you want sanctions from the West on Vladimir Putin, and do you think that's a serious proposition? 

BN:  Absolutely.  You are talking mainly about double standards. Why [did] you implement sanctions against Lukashenko? What's the difference between Putin and Lukashenko? One guy is a dictator, [the] other guy is a dictator. Why are you ready to implement sanctions against Lukashenko, and do not touch Putin? Can you explain to me? What's the difference? Maybe you know?

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Egypt pro-democracy supporters face "great danger"

The pro-democracy demonstrators are in great danger, when the US supported Egyptian "transition team" - appointed and led by dictator Mubarak - orders the security services to take action:

"The protesters have now entered the most dangerous phase of this conflict," Fouad Ajami, a professor of Middle Eastern studies at Johns Hopkins University said on CNN's AC360. "They are known to the security services. They have bet it all. And if indeed this regime survives -- if this regime truly, in a way, deludes us that it has changed ... most of these protesters, the leaders of these protesters are in great, great danger. I've been talking to several Egyptian intellectuals. This is now the most dangerous phase for those who dare stand up to the regime."

Read the entire arcticle here.

"In Egypt, President Obama sides with efforts to limit democratic change"

It is very sad that the Obama administration has totally misjudged the popular uprising in Egypt by supporting the "orderly transition" led by Mubarak and his henchmen. The Washington Post editiorial says it all:

THE OBAMA administration's latest flip on Egypt - it now publicly backs "the transition process announced by the Egyptian government" - is driven by fear of the dangers that could come with a victory by the pro-democracy movement headquartered in Cairo's Tahrir Square. "There are forces at work in any society . . . that will try to derail or overtake the process to pursue their own specific agenda," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Saturday. Most likely she was referring to the Muslim Brotherhood, a fundamentalist movement that many in Washington worry could hijack an uprising currently led by secular liberals.
Egypt's Islamic threat cannot be discounted. But the administration has focused on the wrong problem - and, as a result, has taken the wrong side. The biggest threat to the stated U.S. objective of a "real democracy" in Egypt is not an extreme opposition but the very regime the administration is backing - which is attempting to limit change and perpetuate its hold on power beyond President Hosni Mubarak's announced retirement in September.

The state of the European Union: " Pretension Without Power"

Doug Bandow´s article in Forbes is probably not favourite reading for eurocrats in Brussels. But quite a few ordinary Europeans would probably agree with his assessement:

The alternative to more German-funded rescues could be the collapse of the Eurozone.  A majority of Germans would like to restore the D-Mark.  Options include creating a two-tier euro, separating stronger and weaker economies.  Or the weaker links could leave (or be expelled).  Such a process would be economically painful and likely kill further political consolidation.
However, the EU has less political credibility today than before the Lisbon Treaty. The body remains fractured, with three “presidents” and an ineffective “foreign minister.”  The organization also fails to field a military, and member states, including Great Britain and France, are shrinking their armed services. The E.U.’s objective of becoming the globe’s third Weltmacht, alongside America and China, looks ever more like a fantasy.
That was never a realistic objective, however. Europe is not a nation. No matter how much the Eurocrats huff and puff, the European Project no longer is the Europeans’ project.
Europe still matters because the Europeans matter. But the E.U. likely will remain a “dwarf power,” in State Department parlance, with more pretension than reality. Europe finally has a phone number–but no one in Washington has much reason to call.

Read the entire article here.

Russia expels Guardian´s Moscow correspondent - for telling the truth

On December 1 the Guardian´s Moscow correspondent Luke Harding wrote this, based on leaked American embassy cables:

Russia is a corrupt, autocratic kleptocracy centred on the leadership of Vladimir Putin, in which officials, oligarchs and organised crime are bound together to create a "virtual mafia state", according to leaked secret diplomatic cables that provide a damning American assessment of its erstwhile rival superpower.
Arms trafficking, money laundering, personal enrichment, protection for gangsters, extortion and kickbacks, suitcases full of money and secret offshore bank accounts in Cyprus: the cables paint a bleak picture of a political system in which bribery alone totals an estimated $300bn a year, and in which it is often hard to distinguish between the activities of the government and organised crime.
Among the most striking allegations contained in the cables, which were leaked to the whistleblowers' website WikiLeaks, are:
• Law enforcement agencies such as the police, spy agencies and the prosecutor's office operate a de facto protection racket for criminal networks.
• Rampant bribery acts like a parallel tax system for the personal enrichment of police, officials and the KGB's successor, the federal security service (FSB).
• Investigators looking into Russian mafia links to Spain have compiled a list of Russian prosecutors, military officers and politicians who have dealings with organised crime networks.
Putin is accused of amassing "illicit proceeds" from his time in office, which various sources allege are hidden overseas.

Harding has now been expelled from Russia. What better proof is there for the fact that Harding and the US cables told the truth about Putin´s criminal regime?

Read the entire article here.

Addendum (14.2)
It is now reported that Russia has reconsidered and let Harding return after first expelling him. Probably the expulsion was the work of FBI acting without consulting the President´s office, which does not want its image campaign spoiled.

(image by

Monday, 7 February 2011

Paul Krugman back to normal again

In an earlier post I had something positive to say about Paul Krugman´s euro analysis. But I should have understood that it was only a temporary "improvement". The old leftist Krugman is back: Now he claims that the uprising in Egypt was caused by global warming!

Noel Sheppard´s comments are worth reading.

Obama is wobbling on democracy in Egypt

Stephen M. Walt asks "Is Obama wobbling on democracy for Egypt?", and seems think that he is (and so do I):

 If the news reports I've seen are correct, the United States is now getting behind a political transition that will be orchestrated by the new Vice President Omar Suleiman, a close Mubarak associate. It's not even clear if the United States now thinks Mubarak has to step down. Instead, Secretary of State Clinton seems to be suggesting that we need to help VP Suleiman "defuse" the street demonstrations, which would remove most of the impetus for change.
 And if subsequent reforms are mostly cosmetic and individuals or groups associated with the old regime end up retaining power in a subsequent election, they are likely to have no more legitimacy than Mubarak has right now. And the U.S. image in the region, which is bad enough already, will take another big hit.

Read the entire article here.

Walt refers to this article by Asli Bâli and Aziz Rana, both contributors to Foreign Policy in Focus. The two professors conlude their article with these words:  

Supporting the demands of the Egyptian people, rather than an "orderly transition" managed by a fatally compromised Egyptian regime, will require Washington to enter into unchartered territory in its Middle East policies. The United States will have to redefine stability in terms that embrace local concerns with democratic legitimacy. As a consequence, Western leaders must recognize that the alternatives presented by events in Egypt are not solely a region of adversaries or clients. There is also the possibility of a region with its own internal priorities and resources, one that can be engaged with rather than dictated to.
The following weeks will provide a profound opportunity to reset the U.S. and European approach. Perhaps the high rhetoric of Barack Obama's Cairo speech may yet be redeemed. If not, events in Cairo and beyond will represent the death knell of the president's promise of a better posture for the United States in the Middle East and the wider Muslim world. It will make clear that for all the talk of freedom and moderation, the United States seems willing to jettison both at the slightest turn of events.
Asli Bâli is acting professor of law at UCLA School of Law and an editor at Middle East Report and Aziz Rana is assistant professor of law at Cornell Law and author of The Two Faces of American Freedom out now from Harvard University Press. They are contributors to Foreign Policy In Focus.

The article by the professors was written a few days ago. Obama has unfortunately chosen the path indicated in the last two sentences of the article.

Obama´s Egypt envoy Wisner´s law firm works for dictator Mubarak

The Independent´s Robert Fisk tells the true story of Mubarak´s friend Frank Wisner, chosen by another Mubarak friend, Hillary Clinton:

Frank Wisner, President Barack Obama's envoy to Cairo who infuriated the White House this weekend by urging Hosni Mubarak to remain President of Egypt, works for a New York and Washington law firm which works for the dictator's own Egyptian government.
Mr Wisner's astonishing remarks – "President Mubarak's continued leadership is critical: it's his opportunity to write his own legacy" – shocked the democratic opposition in Egypt and called into question Mr Obama's judgement, as well as that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The US State Department and Mr Wisner himself have now both claimed that his remarks were made in a "personal capacity". But there is nothing "personal" about Mr Wisner's connections with the litigation firm Patton Boggs, which openly boasts that it advises "the Egyptian military, the Egyptian Economic Development Agency, and has handled arbitrations and litigation on the [Mubarak] government's behalf in Europe and the US". Oddly, not a single journalist raised this extraordinary connection with US government officials – nor the blatant conflict of interest it appears to represent.

White House officials seem to have said that they were astonished by Wisner´s  remarks. But Obama´s Fox interview shows that the administration in reality is doing exactly what Wisner told the audience in Munich. From the WH point of view the only problem with Wisner´s message was, that it was delivered a day too early and without the kind of obfuscated language that is the trademark of the present administration.

Obama´s "win-win" interview

While preparing to entertain guests for the Super Bowl, the leader of the free world graciously found some time to speak for the thousands of exhausted pro-democracy demonstrators, who continue their brave and peaceful fight for ousting the hated dictator Hosni Mubarak:

The United States can't force out Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak but the Egyptian people will no longer allow unresponsive government without representation or free and fair elections, President Obama said in an interview Sunday with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly.
With that in mind, an orderly but meaningful transition to a new government will reduce the possibility of a radical, anti-American government, the president argued in a pre-Super Bowl XLV interview.

"What I want is a representative government in Egypt and I have confidence that if Egypt moves in an orderly transition process, they will have a government in Egypt that will work together with us" as partners, Obama said from the White House, where he was preparing to entertain about 100 guests for the Super Bowl game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers

Read the entire article here.

The  interview, which has been described as a "win-win" for Obama and Fox News, was most certainly also a win for Hillary Clinton´s family friend Mubarak, but perhaps less of a win for the pro-democracy demonstrators, who have had to fight the thugs sent to attack them by the criminal regime. Maybe it would have been wiser for Obama to concentrate on entertaining his Super Bowl guests?  

Addendum (9.18 AM)
A voice from Tahrir Square:

Many of the protesters who gathered in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the protests, vented anger at reports that the United States was supporting the idea of a negotiated transition undertaken by Mr. Suleiman while Mr. Mubarak remained in power. “The extremists aren’t here in Egypt, but they will be if the United States persists!” said Noha El Sharakawy, a 52-year-old pharmacist with dual citizenship in both countries.


Sunday, 6 February 2011

"The west should cheer,not fear, this cry for freedom in Egypt"

The Guardian´s Andrew Rawnsley writes about the west´s choices in Egypt:

Having conceded that to the so-called "realists", we must then ask them a question. Are they saying that Arabs are never allowed to aspire to democracy for fear that revolution might go the (highly country, culture and time-specific) way of Iran after 1979? That is a counsel of utter despair and racist condescension which consigns millions of people to the dead end of indefinite dictatorship.
Anyone with any sense of history knows the road to liberal democracy can be bumpy and bloody. Britain took centuries to progress from tyrant kings such as Henry VIII to representative parliamentary government. Americans killed each other in a civil war which left more of them dead than any other conflict. The UK and the US have yet to reach a state of democratic perfection. But we also know something else about democracy, something which was best expressed by Winston Churchill: it is the worst form of government – except for all the other ones.

Democracy is best at building stable, prosperous, resilient and tolerant societies over the long term. There has never been an armed conflict between two genuinely established democracies. The most promising path to sustainable peace and security in the Middle East and the most reliable bulwark against murderous extremism is not the chimeric "stability" of dictators. It is the nurturing of democracy.
Our espoused principles and our long-term self-interest are both served by encouraging freedom. When liberty contends with tyranny, we should be on the side of all the citizens of the world enjoying the precious rights that we so take for granted. It is time that the leaders of the "free world" unknotted their tongues and said that with crystal clarity.

Right he is!
Read the entire article here.

Shame on BP!

The Economist notes the following:
Now BP is in bed with Rosneft and has shaken hands with Mr Sechin, who is widely seen as the architect of the attack on Yukos, an oil firm that was dismantled with scant regard to the law in 2004. Yukos's main shareholder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is now in jail. He was ostentatiously given a second prison sentence just as the BP-Rosneft deal was announced.
Read the entire arcticle here.

Mubarak no poor man - family fortune over 70bn $

Hillary Clinton´s family friend, socialist president Hosni Mubarak should be comfortable in retirement. The man who according to US envoy Frank Wisner has served his country for 60 years, has also served himself and his family quite well:

President Hosni Mubarak's family fortune could be as much as $70bn (£43.5bn) according to analysis by Middle East experts, with much of his wealth in British and Swiss banks or tied up in real estate in London, New York, Los Angeles and along expensive tracts of the Red Sea coast.
After 30 years as president and many more as a senior military official, Mubarak has had access to investment deals that have generated hundreds of millions of pounds in profits. Most of those gains have been taken offshore and deposited in secret bank accounts or invested in upmarket homes and hotels.
According to a report last year in the Arabic newspaper Al Khabar, Mubarak has properties in Manhattan and exclusive Beverly Hills addresses on Rodeo Drive.
His sons, Gamal and Alaa, are also billionaires. A protest outside Gamal's ostentatious home at 28 Wilton Place in Belgravia, central London, highlighted the family's appetite for western trophy assets.
Amaney Jamal, a political science professor at Princeton University, said the estimate of $40bn-70bn was comparable with the vast wealth of leaders in other Gulf countries.

Read the entire article here.