Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sudden generosity of House of Saud

"King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia announced financial support measures, worth an estimated SR135bn ($36bn), in a bid to avert the kind of popular unrest that has toppled leaders across the region and is now closing in on Libya’s Muammer Gaddafi.   The measures include a 15 per cent salary rise for public employees to offset inflation, reprieves for imprisoned debtors, and financial aid for students and the unemployed.   Saudi Arabia’s ruling family has thus far been spared the type of popular discontent that has toppled presidents in Tunisia and Egypt and brought Libya to the brink of civil war.  The announcement of the Saudi relief measures coincided with King Abdullah’s return to the country after three months. He had been abroad for medical treatment. Among those on hand to greet him was King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of neighbouring Bahrain, which is struggling to contain a surging opposition movement."  (thanks Khalid)

PS The New York Times wrongly identifies a much lower figure in today's issue.