— Mohamed Othman (@Othmanbay) April 22, 2015
On Tuesday, as Saudi Arabia announced it was ending its military operations in Yemen, known as "Decisive Storm," and embarking on an unclear path of actions in the country that would be known as "Restore Hope," the Twitter account of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal sent out a celebratory message to Saudi troops.
"Congratulations to our wise leadership on the success of the operation," the message read, before adding that in recognition of the work done by the Royal Saudi Air Force, he would give out 100 cars made by luxury brand Bentley to 100 pilots who took part.
Alwaleed's message was popular: It was retweeted at least 28,000 times. But perhaps it was a little too popular. The account has now deleted the tweet, offering no explanation of whether the deal was still on, or why it was tweeted in the first place. Screenshots of the tweet are all that remain.
The decision to delete the tweet may be a reflection of some of the responses to Alwaleed's message, many of which mocked the opulence of the gesture.
— Hussain Alessa (@Hussain200261) April 21, 2015
However, while some showed support for the prince's message, many criticized it. For example, some Saudis, like blogger Essam Alzamil, argued that the Bentley offer showed that Saudi royals had no regard for the damage caused by the bombing campaign (at least 944 people were killed in "Decisive Storm," and thousands more were injured).
هل شعوري منطقي والا مبالغ فيه. لما أشعر أن إهداء الطيارين سيارات فارهة فيه نوع من الإسفاف لما يقومون به؟
— عصام الزامل (@essamz) April 21, 2015
Others pointed out that the money would be better spent on hospitals and health care.
100سيارة بنتلي، قيمتها مئة مليون ريال = مستشفى ب50 سرير بإحدى مدن الوطن..التي تحتاجه. الوطنية لا تحتاج ضجيجا، تحتاج أن تتلمس وجع الوطن
— محمد الحضيف (@Mohmd_AAlhodaif) April 21, 2015
There were critics in Yemen, too, where those who had seen the devastation complained that those who had wrought the damage were now being rewarded.
— Ammar Al-Aulaqi (@ammar82) April 22, 2015
Critics all around the world soon chimed in.
— Jeremy Walker (@Jwalkerpress) April 21, 2015
— Nanice (@itsmenanice) April 21, 2015
Prince Talal bin Al Waleed offered 100 Bentleys to 100 fighter pilots who bombed Yemen. Makes you wonder, how cheap is human life after all?
— Hamza Malik حمزہ ملک (@hmz_mlk) April 23, 2015
In the Saudi press there are reports that Alwaleed's Twitter account had been hacked, though the prince has not officially commented. A number noted that members of the Saudi military are barred from receiving gifts for performing their duties.
Still, Alwaleed has shown a penchant for the luxury before. The prince, who is the grandson of Ibn Saud, the first Saudi king, is worth $23 billion, and he has become a major player in the American tech scene, with -- somewhat ironically -- a big stake in Twitter purchased in 2011.
And just last year, he was reported to have bought 25 Bentleys for members of Saudi football team Nasr FC after they won the league.