“These arrests achieve three main objectives: Further consolidation of power, concrete action against corruption, and a clear message to all Saudi citizens,” said Miriam Eps, regional security analyst at Manama-based risk management consultancy Le Beck International. “Importantly, I think it also sends another, very clear message that domestic critics should think twice before speaking out, regardless of their position.”

The reaction of the Saudi business community “will really relate to how the arrests are perceived,” she said. “The main concern here is some uncertainty as to why these individuals were detained, i.e., questions as to whether it truly is just corruption-related or something more.”

Appointing less prominent royals from clans other than King Salman’s to official positions may address some concerns regarding power sharing, she said. But “it is also liable to cause apprehension that the lifestyle many royal family members are used to and expect could be threatened,” she said.

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