The Saudi ARAMCO IPO is happening on the Saudi exchange just for Saudi citizens, where apparently there is a not-so-subtle campaign on well off and connected citizens (who wish to remain that way) to buy into the IPO. But there continues to be delays in opening it up to the rest of the world, with this partly reflecting fears of demands that might be made for more openness, and all that, with various Saudis not keen on that, especially apparently at ARAMCO itself.
However there are now reports of another development that might encourage domestic purchases but may further put off foreigners. This is a nw round of arrests of alleged dissidents, up to at least nine in the last week. These are all fairly prominents leading citizens, a philosopher, journalists, businessmen. What is curious and disturbing about this round is that badically all of these have reportedly been supportive of the regime and of the recent initiatives, at least the economic ones, by MbS, the Crown Prince. But they are being swept up? Why? Apparently the only thing that at least some of them have in common is that back in 2011 many of them (not clear all of them) made public statements sympathetic to the initial Araab Spring uprisings, a position never shared by the Saudi government. The theory is that thanks to Trump’s support and the apparent end of the mild disapproval by many foreigners after the murder of WaPo columnist, Jamal Khashoggi, MbS feels he can get away with clearing out even potential critics.