Review: Saudi’s ruthless visionary

Jim Muir assesses a profile of Prince Mohammed bin Salman

The World Today
Published 5 October 2020 Updated 6 October 2020 3 minute READ

Jim Muir

Former Middle East correspondent, BBC

MBS: The Rise to Power of Mohammed Bin Salman
Ben Hubbard, William Collins, £20.00 

In 2009, an American diplomat sought out one of Saudi Arabia’s best-known journalists, an insider whose thoughts on the country’s future the diplomat was keen to garner. The kingdom was in transition, the journalist told him: within ten years, it would have a new leader from a younger generation. ‘No one knows who this will be,’ he added.

The journalist was Jamal Khashoggi, and he was to give the man who did emerge as leader, Muhammad bin Salman, a much bigger headache in death than he did in life. 

Barely six years ago, MBS was little known even to Saudi-watchers. Taking notes but rarely speaking, he stuck close to his father, Prince Salman, the long-serving governor of Riyadh who was named defence minister and then became crown prince in 2012.

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