Considering the allegations of the Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in his hack, the Gulf nation has certainly stepped on quicksand by vandalizing its relations with him. In a personal feud, the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) has bruised the economic interests of his empire, where the plans of Amazon expansion into his nation have streamed down to a conjecture.
The de facto Saudi leader has ironically been trying to modify his conservative Kingdom and give it a high-tech touch. However, the instilled prudence in Saudi’s identity is somehow making it difficult to believe that such dreams would turn true.
While the cloud computing arm of the US’ tech giant, Amazon Web Services has been considering to open several data centers across the Gulf Kingdom by early 2019. However, the plan looks to be on the verge of changing after brutal killing of Jamal Khashoggi. The Washington Post journalist and Saudi dissent was one of the leading critics of the Crown Prince Mbs.
In October, Khashoggi was dismembered by a 15-member hit squad at the Istanbul Embassy of Saudi. Days after, Turkey released an audio revealing that the murder took place on the orders of Saudi Crown Prince MbS. The incident, which was globally criticized, led to unforeseen clashes between the Saudi leader and Jeff Bezos, owner of The Washington Post. On the other hand, pro-Saudi media outlets started demanding the Gulf nation to boycott Amazon and its owner.
While Bezos chose to remain silent in the matter, his journal ensured to criticize the Saudi Arabia’s role in high gear. Although the world’s richest man had no say in it, he believes that the “unrelenting coverage” of Khashoggi case on the Post became a reason for Saudi’s unjustified retaliation.
In February, Jeff Bezos and his estranged wife MacKenzie Bezos officially announced their divorce, which became a golden opportunity for The National Enquirer. The next day of the announcement, the American Media Inc. tabloid released an article shaming the Amazon owner for his personal choices.
It was an exposing article that revealed the intimate conversations of Jeff Bezos with his girlfriend, former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez. The supermarket tabloid triggered a fire that was captured by several other media portals, defaming the Amazon owner. However, the challenges before him didn’t end there.
Jeff Bezos had launched private investigations to discover the hacker who provided his personal text messages to the tabloid. Later in a medium blog, he enlightened the world about the e-mails he received from AMI, blackmailing him to halt the probe to avoid the publicizing of certain intimate pictures exchanged between Bezos and Sanchez.
The soared issue led to a fall in Amazon stock, with a 5 per cent drop in first two days since the divorce announcement. Statistics revealed that it brought Amazon’s market cap down to about $793 billion. In the first week of February, it was reported that the firm was doing worst than both the NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange as a whole.
The waning Amazon stock market was an outcome of the “unusual actions” taken by the National Enquirer, which appeared irrational to many, as the tabloid majorly covers glamour, celebrities and powerful politicians. However, the coverage was justified as “good journalism” by the publisher.
According to Jeff Bezos the action was “taken on behalf of the Saudi Government”, as the tabloid has been suspected to be a pro-Saudi media source.
Before the incident, Saudi Crown Prince Mbs and Bezos were on good terms. During his last year visit to the United States while courting investors, the Saudi leader had personally met the Amazon owner. However, the relations changed with multiple uncertain events that occurred since October.
The escalated tensions between the two sides have put the Amazon Web Services expansion to the oil-rich nation on hold. It is being considered that the Saudi Crown Prince has been taking silent actions against Jeff Bezos through indirect sources. A pro-Saudi tabloid; the Enquirer’s report on the Amazon owner affected his life at both personal and professional levels.
In a situation like this, Bezos’ retaliation cannot be considered implausible. Although IT experts stated that Amazon has put the decision of spreading its wings till the Arab nation on hold, chances for abandoning it in entirety are much higher. Will ties between the two parties deteriorate further, or the situation will take some unexpected turn?