The Two Faces of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince

In Saudi Arabia, crown prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud is expected to succeed his 86-year-old father, King Salman. (In practical terms, MBS is already in charge.) The West is watching as Joe Biden’s team negotiates with the Saudis about the terms of the leaders’ first talk, which is expected in the coming months. 

Over the last five years, MBS has sent mixed signals about what kind of king he intends to be. Though he continues to deny his involvement, MBS has been held responsible by the world for the brutal murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was dismembered by at the Saudi consulate in Turkey. Prior to that, MBS had been making waves on Instagram and Twitter as a forward-looking leader. 

Undeniably, the crown prince has modernized Saudi Arabia, where women are finally allowed to drive and sit next to strangers at the movies. But it’s hard to reconcile that progress with some of MBS’s ruthless political moves and lashes of violence. If and when Biden finally meets with the crown prince, what should we expect? Learn more about MBS in our Instaread on Blood and Oil.

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