Sunday, April 8, 2018

The best thing that ever happened to Saudi Arabia is Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. At age 32 he has become the leader of Saudi Arabia, or to be more accurate he's the dictator of Saudi Arabia.

Prince Mohammed (C) orders coffee with former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg (2nd-R) at a coffee shop in New York.

I will call the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "Mr. Salman".

This might be wishful thinking but I think Mr. Salman is an atheist. He wants to reform Islam in his country but I think he would be pleased if his cult went extinct.

Of course I might be totally wrong. He might still suck up to Allah. But who cares? He is going to throw out the Islamic bullshit and that's a good thing.

The rest of this post is a copy & paste job from the Wall Street Journal. This blog has numerous copy & paste jobs and that's a good thing because when I write stuff it's boring.

Wall Street Journal - Saudis Want Fewer Weapons, More Disney in U.S. Business Talks. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has met with top executives from Amazon, Microsoft and other companies in Hollywood and Silicon Valley.

When President Donald Trump last month used colorful cardboard posters to illustrate the billions of dollars of military equipment the Saudis are buying from the U.S., Prince Mohammed, who sat next to him, looked visibly uncomfortable.

“It’s peanuts for you,” Mr. Trump told the prince, who shook his head and smiled.

Privately, many Saudis seethed over the president’s comments, which they felt blunted the kingdom’s message. “They think we are only about oil, military and camels,” said a Saudi close to the official delegation.

To be sure, the bulk of Saudi business with the U.S. remains oil and weapons. Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia signed a $450 million joint venture with Boeing Co. to maintain and repair military aircraft in the kingdom, part of a broader plan to create over 40,000 domestic defense jobs by 2030.

Broadening Saudi Arabia’s commercial ties with the West has become a top priority in the past two years since Prince Mohammed unveiled a plan to diversify its economy away from the oil reserves that built its wealth.

The kingdom is planning to publicly list its state oil giant, known as Aramco, to raise capital for investments in other sectors. At the same time, American shale-oil companies have vaulted U.S. crude output ahead of Saudi Arabia’s production for the first time this year since the early 1990s, changing the economic relationship between the two countries.

Prince Mohammed’s team is negotiating a stake in the world’s largest talent agency, Endeavor LLC, and working on deals to build data centers with Amazon and Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc.Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund has taken big stakes in tech companies like Uber Technologies Inc.

On Tuesday, Saudi officials showed up at Disney’s offices with a once-unthinkable idea: a Disney presence in Saudi Arabia. They want Disney to be part of several entertainment hubs being planned in their country, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Saudi Arabia “is keen in building a strategic partnership with these companies that include theme parks, resorts, live shows and everything in between,” said a spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, singling out Disney, Warner Bros. and Universal.

Disney has given no indication it will support the Saudi pitch.

“Like so many places in the world, they are interested in exploring the idea of having a Disney park,” a Disney spokeswoman said before Tuesday’s meeting. “They will be presenting some concepts and we will respectfully hear them out.”

Saudi officials have also discussed film and television partnerships with top executives from Netflix Inc., Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. and Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, some of whom attended a dinner Monday for Prince Mohammed hosted by 21st Century Fox Inc. and News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch. News Corp. owns the Wall Street Journal.

Among the prominent businessmen and royals detained on undisclosed charges of corruption was Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, one of the world’s richest men and a prominent Disney investor.

Prince al-Waleed, who bailed out the financially troubled Euro Disney resort in 2014, first approached the entertainment giant last year about a theme park in Saudi Arabia, but talks halted after his detention in early November, according to people familiar with the matter.

Prince al-Waleed, who has since been released and maintains his innocence, wasn’t available for comment, a spokesperson said.

Saudi Arabia’s finance minister, Mohammed al-Jadaan, who is traveling as part of the delegation, said would-be investors have nothing to worry about —and that the corruption crackdown has created new opportunities for them.

“We are basically creating a level-playing field” for investors, Mr. Jadaan said.

—Benoit Faucon contributed to this article.

Write to Margherita Stancati at and Ben Fritz at

Appeared in the April 6, 2018, print edition as 'Saudis Court a Broader Array of Firms.'

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