Can Saudi Arabia Balance Social and Economic Change?

August 09, 2021

The World Bank issued a stark warning in its 2018 outlook for the Saudi economy: “The Kingdom likely faces a looming poverty problem.” The bank has since noted in its 2019 and 2020 outlooks that “while no official information is available on poverty, identifying and...

What Will It Take for MBS to Rehabilitate His Image?

April 28, 2021

On April 10, the Saudi Ministry of Defense announced the execution of three soldiers after what it called a “fair trial” in a specialist court. The men were convicted and sentenced to death for the crimes of “high treason” and “cooperating with the enemy.” Aside from the...

Mohammed bin Salman’s Neom: A Case of Giga-Narcissism

March 31, 2021

Despite rumors to the contrary due to the somewhat soiled reputation of a leader better known for, according to US intelligence, commanding the murder of a Washington Post journalist than his contribution to the future of humankind, Business Insider reassuringly reports that “work is pressing...

The Talented Mr. Bin Salman

March 04, 2021

Mohammed bin Salman is a charming fellow. The tall, dark and handsome Saudi prince known as MBS has seduced world leaders and eager pundits left and right. To his supporters, MBS became first in line to the Saudi throne by championing reform in a deeply conservative Gulf kingdom, taking on...

Serious Politics Is Not About Recalibration

March 01, 2021

Donald Trump’s brand of hyperreality over the past four years relied heavily on melodramatic plotting to keep the audience invested in the performance. To reestablish the more sober style of hyperreality the Democratic Party as an ideological force has come to represent, US President Joe Biden...

The Magnanimous Gesture of Mohammed bin Salman

February 15, 2021

Donald Trump famously cultivated a personal friendship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). To critics of the evil prince, Trump claimed that his loyalty was justified by the hundreds of billions of dollars of arms sales their friendship generated. The fact that those weapons served...

Mohammed bin Salman’s Shaky Legacy in a Troubled Saudi Kingdom

September 07, 2020

Una Galani is the associate editor of Reuters’ Breakingviews division, which the news agency describes as “the world's leading source of agenda-setting financial insight.” Last week, Breakingviews published her review of the book “Blood and Oil” by Wall Street Journal reporters Bradley...

Saudi Repression Strong as Ever But Aims Lower

November 26, 2019

Thanks to the gruesome murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, everyone who may have previously been indifferent to the brutally repressive nature of the Saudi regime should have no illusions about its absolute commitment to repression. Before the Khashoggi assassination, readers...

Has MBS Emerged Intact After His Crimes?

November 11, 2019

It was first reported and initially denied by Saudi authorities. Then it was acknowledged as a “rogue” operation gone wrong. For the past year, every honest observer has clearly understood that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), ordered and most likely even stage-managed...

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Jamal Khashoggi Continues to Haunt the World’s Conscience

October 02, 2019

On October 2, 2018, Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi expatriate journalist, walked into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. What then transpired resembled a 1920s American gangland-style killing, complete with the victim’s final pleadings, the executioners’ harsh words and the chilling sound of a bone...

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