Prince Alaweed bin Talal – owner of one of Saudi Arabia’s largest companies Kingdom Holdings and a $300 million stake in Twitter – has promised 100 Saudi bomber pilots free Bentleys after their role in Operation Decisive Storm. This was a four week long bombing campaign on Yemen, which has left 944 people dead and 3487 people wounded, as well as destroying many of the population’s homes.
Bin Talal made the promise via Twitter, although his Tweet has since been deleted. I can’t read Arabic but I’ve been reliably informed that this Tweet says ‘I congratulate our wise leaders on the victory of Operation Decisive Storm and the beginning of Operation Restoring Hope. To recognise the one hundred participating Saudi pilots I am pleased to present them with 100 Bentley cars.’
The campaign against Yemen began when rebels allied with Iran known as the Shiite Houthi overthrew the Saudi backed government and exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to Riyadh. At the beginning of the campaign the Saudis stated that the aims of the operation were to oust the government and restore Hadi to power, and even though this hasn’t been achieved they’re calling it a victory and this dude is giving everyone involved free Bentleys. Apparently they can call it a victory because the threat to Saudi Arabia has been removed, although I’m not sure how they’re measuring that exactly.
Bin Talal himself is one of the richest men in the world (so rich he once sued Forbes for undervaluing his wealth). He’s the grandson of Saudi Arabia’s founder Ibn Saud and has an estimated fortune of $23 billion, which includes investments in Apple, Time Warner and Citigroup. He can basically do what he wants and regularly does stuff like this, although perhaps not as extreme – once he gave a bunch of Bentleys to a Saudi Arabian football team he supported after they won the league. And why not? A Bentley is pretty much like a peanut to him.
Maybe all the pilots can bury their Bentleys in their gardens for use in the afterlife like this Brazilian businessman. I mean they may as well – bin Talal will probably just buy them another one anyway.