Being a fighter pilot, in general, sounds like a sweet gig on the surface. You fly in fast jets, and you get to wear sunglasses a lot. But to the 100 Saudi fighter pilots bombing Houthi rebels in Yemen right now, it just got better. Saudi prince Al-Waleed bin Talal promised each and every one of them a Bentley.
Oddly enough, bin Talal deleted the tweet shortly after, but I think the offer still stands.
In case your Arabic is a little rusty, the original reads:
I congratulate your success of Operation Decisive Storm and the start of Operation Restore Hope. In appreciation of the 100 Saudi pilots which carried this out I will be gifting them 100 Bentley cars.
In case you’re doubting the capability of the Prince to gift 100 Bentleys, don’t doubt for too long. Not only is he a member of the Saudi royal family, and founder, CEO, and 95% owner of the Kingdom Holding Company conglomerate, if you merely speculate that he is not-quite-as-rich-as-he-claims-but-still-filthy-filthy-rich, he’ll try to sue the pants off you.
So let’s just assume he’s got the money for it. Oh, and he’s also got a golden throne which sits in the middle of his private Boeing 747. And he’s a major shareholder in News Corporation, which owns Fox News.
Saudi Arabia said it finished its airstrikes as of yesterday, though it reserves the right to keep them going. As of now, it says it’s choosing to focus on the “political process.”
And in case you’re just now catching up to what’s going on in Yemen, Iran-backed rebels known as Houthis have been steadily marching across the country, taking over government installations, killing people, and generally stirring up trouble, all while chanting their slogan,“Death to America, death to Israel, damnation to the Jews.”
Seriously, that’s their slogan. Catchy.
Of course, this being the Middle East, it’s a whole lot more complicated than a strict Good-versus-Evil narrative. But for the time being, just know that Saudi Arabia considers the Houthis a destabilizing threat, the US may be considering a blockade, and that an estimated 150,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, with over 700 dead.
But hey, at least these guys are getting a Bentley out of the whole thing. So there’s that.
Photo credit: Steven Byles