U.S. President Donald Trump has voiced his "great confidence" in the leaders of Saudi Arabia, following a series of arrests in the kingdom targeting well-known princes and businessmen.
The U.S. president tweeted his sentiments, saying that King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "know exactly what they are doing".
Furthermore, Trump suggested that some of those arrested had been exploiting the kingdom for years, saying they had been "'milking' their country".
Over the weekend, Prince Mohammed set up a new anti-corruption committee, which swiftly moved to arrest 11 princes, four current ministers, several businessmen and a number of former government ministers. High-profile billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, dubbed "the richest Arab", was among the detained.
According to reports, the arrested individuals are being held in the luxurious five-star Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh.
Many in the kingdom were exuberant about Trump's positive affirmation
Prince Alwaleed's connection to Trump
Among those detained, Prince Alwaleed, in particular, has an interesting past with Trump, who is also a billionaire businessman.
The Saudi prince and Trump have had past business dealings. During the U.S. presidential campaign, Prince Alwaleed also sparred with Trump via Twitter on multiple occasions.
In December 2015, Prince Alwaleed called Trump a "disgrace"
He was responding to an accusation from Trump, suggesting the prince aimed to control U.S. politicians
Later in January, Trump tweeted an obviously photo-shopped meme citing Prince Alwaleed's connections to Fox News
Prince Alwaleed owns a 6.6 percent stake in 21st Century Fox, which is the parent company of Fox News.
Prince Alwaleed responded, pointing out that he has bailed out Trump on two occasions
In 1991, Prince Alwaleed bought Trump's yacht, which had been turned over to creditors while the billionaire was $900 million in debt. A few years later, in 1995, the Saudi billionaire was part of the group that bought the Plaza Hotel in New York City, also paying off Trump's debt on the hotel.
However, after Trump took office, Prince Alwaleed has taken a less hostile tone towards Trump
"My company, Kingdom Holding, would benefit a lot from Trump's policies," Prince Alwaleed told CNBC in October, saying that the U.S. President is "correct in saying $5.3 trillion in U.S. stock market value has been created under his watch".
Many experts have pointed out that the arrest of Prince Alwaleed and the other wealthy businessmen and leaders could have wide-reaching financial repercussions.
Comparing the situation to the United States, Robert Jordan, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia said: "It’s the equivalent of having Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Colin Powell arrested," according to TIME.