“The Saudi’s have the former gold and diamond mine property in South Africa listed for sale. Look at the price; that’s one hundred dollars an acre,” Vick’s sticky note said.
Vicky and I had several discussions about the mines while we were waiting those few days for the Prince to arrive and then several more after we saw the gold, diamonds and rubies Crown Prince Sultan al-Zahab had acquired to pay for the Chinese weapons.
There was no way that amount of wealth could be extracted from a depleted mine. He could not remove those kinds of things from the royal treasury without a lot of attention that he would not want. Once they were gone he would have no way to replace them.
At the time I was willing to bet the Crown Prince manipulated production to convince the King to close the mine as not being productive enough to pay the costs. This would allow the Prince to divert the production to fund his terrorist ambitions. It all made sense to me the more I thought about it.
The mine property covered six thousand acres, both mines, all mineral rights and what was left of the airport, the short runway close to the mine, and the town including the hotel where I killed the group of them.
I wondered why they wanted to sell now. Then the thought hit me; the Saudi war in Yemen was not going good for them, much worse than the world knew. The factions they were supporting had stalled in their offense because their arch enemy Iran was aggressively supporting the other side.
Iran had sent them missiles and now an occasional missile was falling in the homeland. Oil prices were down so oil revenue was down and the cost or running a proxy war was always high.
Saudi Arabia was a unique country, rich in history. For centuries nomads roamed the desert and ruled by terror, controlling the trade routes and oasis water. Then they were controlled by various European and Asian powers, the Assyrians , Medes, Achaemenids, Romans, Turks, Mongols, the Ottoman dynasty, the French and finally the British.
Then along came more powerful sheikhs with bigger following of cut-throats and forced the nomad tribes to join or die and eventually forced an end to colonial rule and declared a king. To maintain power the King collected taxes, bribes and blackmail to generate revenue that was divided among the nomad tribes.
Then came the massive oil revenue money that flowed in buckets, needing to be divided. The solution to the division of the money and keeping the nomads in line was a process of naming royal princes, princes and other delegations, nominally buying loyalty. This process ate hundreds of billions of dollars. With declining oil revenues and the proxy war, the royal reserves were being depleted at an alarming rate. Then the King died, internal power struggles grew tremendously and became the norm.
Now the kingdom was struggling internally and the heirs to the throne were resorting back to the old ways. Princes and their following were being charged with corruption and other offences that carried long prison terms or the death penalty, some simply disappeared.
It was under this cloud that the power struggle cultivated support for the proxy war as a distraction and to unify. Proxy wars were never won, always ending in stalemates unless you were willing to commit your own troops and overwhelming firepower.
The house of Saud was not going to commit troops. The nomads may have pledged loyalty but there were still deep seated resentments against the house that fighting and dying would bring out.
It had become a quagmire and was eating funding, creating the need to unload anything not needed and a dead mine surely was not needed. They were being sneaky about it by selling it through a third party broker and listed by the original mine name.
Six million was chicken feed if it turned out it could be even a marginal mine and paid its way. Worst case scenario – it could be a hole in the ground. Even a hole in the ground had uses. I had several in mind if it went that way.
Paying for it with some of their own money I had stolen would be a riot. I had Lorrie contact the broker for information. I had Marcy call Jeanna to find someone who could do a survey and geological study of the mine and its continued viability. I called Jake to see if he was interested in surveying the equipment, if it came to that.
After that there were discussions about the air show in two weeks. I was surprised that there were several local organizations that wanted to participate.
We were advertising free hot dogs, but the local fire department ladies auxiliary, the local VFW and the Foreign Legion wanted to have food booths with crab cakes, hamburgers, cheese burgers, corn on the cob and a dozen more carnival type dishes.
The ice cream shop in town wanted a hand dipped ice cream booth, just to name one.
July was also recruitment month for the local National Guard; they also had asked for a spot for a booth. Lorrie had a number for the commander of the barracks on the Denton highway.
“Good afternoon Major Scott, Ambassador Jones; I understand you want a booth at the air show?” I asked.
“Yes, I talked with Lorrie, is there problem?” Scott replied.
“No problem at all, I just wondered if you would like to spice things up a little,” I said.
“What do you mean?”
“I am assuming that you have plenty of blanks for the M60 and M16 that your men could use for a demonstration. We have several late Viet Nam era Hueys that still have army markings on them. Find a few villains and have the helicopters drop a few of your men into a fire fight with blanks and then your men man the booth.”
“When I was a youngster Dad carried me and a couple friends to a open house at the armory. They even let us fire a machine gun with blanks – that was the thrill of the summer,” I said.
“I will have to check on it and let you know, you know all about how the chain of command works,” he replied.
Marcy’s meeting was enlightening; the weather had been good and was predicted to be a dry month. Not good for farmers but great for construction. The pipes from Qtown were ahead of schedule and gaining.
The contractor putting in the pipes had rented one of those new super sized trenchers. It cut a trench wide enough for both pipes at the same time as fast as the men could walk. It was GPS controlled – it was on grade with the engineer’s specs on the first pass.
The same was true with the truck stop and dealership but then Bob’s construction had so many sub-contractors on site they were nearly bumping into one another.
Tuesday I did not go Washington; I let Ben deal with the fiasco that was Washington. I did call and tell him that I was flying to Harrisburg Wednesday to watch the raid on Avon Heights and offered seats on the helicopter.
After a few minutes of thought I called Lorrie and ordered a second helicopter with pilot, copilot and two crewmen sent to Harrisburg International tomorrow morning.
Andy, Vicky and I spent the next three hours on a VCATS call to Biff and Ed. Four of the ministers were making changes so that JBG security could move into the guest cottages. That transition should happen in the next couple days for them. The others would be in place by the end of the week.
Lorrie had another flight to Turkey on Thursday with the C5 that we were going to utilize to drop off the rest of the armored Suburbans and cases of equipment needed in Portugal to set up communications.
Somehow all of this was going to work out but the ride was not going to be a smooth one.
It was nearly 1600 when Ben called; Jaed had rented a box truck from Pennsylvania Truck Leasing and Rentals to be picked up tomorrow morning. They were the International truck dealer for the Harrisburg area.
To finish out the day I made a stop in Roberts’s office for an update. Jaed and Tiam had just finished a conversation on the dark web site confirming what we already knew and then a few more.
Jaed and the group were setting the timers on the bikes Wednesday morning and then loading them in the truck. Their plan was to deliver them to the water park. They would be placed on various bike stands in the fireworks viewing area starting at noon on the Fourth.
“The General kept another appointment, this time to Iraq. TV stations and papers reported on his visit,” Robert said.
“OK,” I replied.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.