Mohammed bin Salman: The Future of Saudi Arabia, US Relations, Biography, Documentary – Compilation

Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud (born 31 August 1985), colloquially known as MBS, is a Saudi Arabian politician who is the crown prince, deputy prime minister, and minister of defense of Saudi Arabia. Listen to an audiobook on MBS for free:

He also serves as the chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs and chairman of the Council of Political and Security Affairs. Bin Salman controls the government of his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz. In June 2017 King Salman removed his nephew Muhammad bin Nayef from the position of crown prince and appointed Mohammed bin Salman in his place.

Bin Salman rules an authoritarian regime. There are no democratic institutions in Saudi Arabia, and elements of repression are still evident. Human rights activists, women’s rights activists, journalists, former insiders, and dissidents are systematically repressed through tactics including torture, jailing, and killings, and bin Salman is said to use a group of assassins known as the Tiger Squad to carry out extrajudicial killings. He was personally linked to the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who had criticized the Saudi government, but he has denied involvement in the killing. Bin Salman was behind the Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen which has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis and famine there. His government has overseen a crackdown on feminists. Bin Salman was also involved in the escalation of the Qatar diplomatic crisis, the detention of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the start of a diplomatic spat with Canada, the arrest of members of the Saudi royal family in November 2017, and the alleged phone hack against Amazon chairman Jeff Bezos.

Bin Salman has touted reforms in an effort to rebrand his regime’s image internationally and within the Kingdom. These include regulations restricting the powers of the religious police, the removal of the ban on female drivers in June 2018, and weakening the male-guardianship system in August 2019. Other cultural developments under his reign include the first Saudi public concerts by a female singer, the first Saudi sports stadium to admit women, an increased presence of women in the workforce, and opening the country to international tourists by introducing an e-visa system, allowing foreign visas to be applied for and issued via the Internet. The Saudi Vision 2030 program aims to diversify the country’s economy through investment in non-oil sectors including technology and tourism.

In August 2016, Donald Trump Jr. had a meeting with an envoy representing Mohammed bin Salman and Mohammed bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi. The envoy offered help to the Trump presidential campaign.[175] The meeting included Joel Zamel, an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation, Lebanese-American businessman George Nader, and Blackwater founder Erik Prince.[176][175]

Upon Trump’s election, support for bin Salman was described as one of the few issues where rival White House advisers Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon agreed.[66] Bin Salman was subsequently invited to the White House and given the treatment typically afforded to foreign heads of state by diplomatic protocol, while only holding the position of Deputy Crown Prince at the time.[177] He subsequently defended the Trump administration’s travel ban for nationals of 7 Muslim-majority countries, stating that “Saudi Arabia does not believe that this measure is targeting Muslim countries or the religion of Islam”.[178] Kushner also inquired as to how the U.S. could support Prince Mohammed in the succession process.[177] After bin Salman acceded to Crown Prince, Trump reportedly said, “We’ve put our man on top”.[179] Trump initially supported the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar,[180] despite opposition from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis,[181] though he later changed his position.[182] Bin Salman later reportedly claimed Kushner had provided intelligence assistance on domestic rivals to bin Salman during the 2017–19 Saudi Arabian purge,[183] which Trump had personally expressed support for.[184] Trump and his administration also firmly supported bin Salman during global backlash following the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi.[185]

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