House of Saud: A Family at War
Saudi Arabia stands at a crucial crossroads facing unprecedented change. The Kingdom has long enjoyed seemingly inexhaustible wealth and untold power and influence. But the House of Saudi is accused of spreading extremist ideology and even supporting violent extremists. This series looks at the challenges facing the new Crown Prince, 32-year-old Mohammed bin Salman, who has pledged to transform the country.
The first episode examines the new leader’s dramatic commitment to end extremism and to return to moderate Islam. Travelling from Eastern Europe to India, and across the bloody battlefields of Syria and Yemen, the programme traces the impact that huge amounts of Saudi cash and weapons have had around the world. In recent years, Saudi Arabia has worked closely on counter-terrorism with the west and revolutionary change is now promised inside the Kingdom. But growing regional conflict with Iran has now placed the country at the heart of the crisis in the Middle East.
This episode tells the inside story of how some of the most prominent and richest Saudi royals were caught up in the purge. The detentions opened the door on a highly secret world of kickbacks and bribes on a monumental scale, which have also embroiled many foreign governments and some of the world’s leading companies. The anti-corruption drive is led by the new crown prince, 32-year old Mohammed bin Salman, who has pledged to transform the country and to reform the country’s oil-dependent economy. But the programme hears from those who question whether the mass detentions were less about ending corruption and more about the crown prince removing any resistance to his succession to the throne.
The House of Saud, rulers of the modern kingdom for nearly a century are now facing a moment of unprecedented instability. This episode looks at how the family stays in power. The film features some of those who have worked for Saudi princes. They describe how the wealth allowed lives of privilege and pleasure out of the spotlight. But the growth of social media has meant Saudis are getting increasing insight into the behaviour of their rulers, including their transgressions. With this crucially important country facing a historic crossroads, the programme asks what the future holds for Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world.