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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
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Royalty
    (August 31, 1985- )
    Born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
    Son of King Salman of Saudi Arabia
    Named Minister of Defense (January 23, 2015)
    Named Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister (June 21, 2017)
    Considered the power behind the throne since King Salman began suffering from dementia
    His full name is the insanely long Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman bin Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud.
    As Defense Minister, he argued that Saudi military intervention in Yemen would quickly defeat the rebels and restore President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi; instead it developed into a drawn out war of attrition.
    He ordered a blockade on Yemen that resulted in over 50,000 children dying from starvation.
    Before launching an anti-corruption purge that consolidated his power, he had his mother placed under house arrest, reportedly to keep her from relaying her opposition to the purge to King Salman (2017).
    He is so intolerant of dissent that he orders the arrest of demonstrators whose positions he agrees with. (For example, prior to announcing the end of Saudi Arabia’s ban on women drivers, he ordered the arrest of 17 women’s rights activists – and kept more than half of them in jail even after lifting the ban.)
    The CIA concluded that he ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
    His government’s evolving explanations for Khashoggi’s disappearance (‘He left the consulate alive and we have no idea what happened to him.’ ‘He died at the consulate after getting into a fist fight.’ ‘Okay, he was murdered, but it was a rogue operation that the Crown Prince absolutely did not know about.’) were described by President Donald Trump as ‘one of the worst in the history of cover-ups.’
    He launched Vision 2030 to diversify the Saudi economy.
    He said the nation’s extreme religious conservatism was ‘not normal,’ and that his aim was to make Saudi Arabia ‘a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world.’
    He placed restrictions on the religious police.
    He made it legal for a Saudi woman to open her own business without getting permission from a husband or male relative.
    He allowed movie theaters to reopen in Saudi Arabia after a 30-year ban.
    He became the first senior Saudi royal to express support for a Jewish homeland (2018).

Credit: C. Fishel


 
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