14 March 2018, The Tablet

The challenges facing Saudi heir as he heads for U.S.

Genuine reform or mere rebranding? After visiting the UK, Mohammed bin Salman is now on his way to New York and Washington

The challenges facing Saudi heir as he heads for U.S.

The profusion of red carpets that greeted the recent visit to the UK of Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, raised eyebrows. Next week, he is due in New York and Washington, where he can expect the same mixture of official fawning and public scepticism. The heir to the Saudi throne will no doubt again be accompanied by an effusively hyperbolic PR blitz. It raises the question of whether MbS, as the 32-year-old wunderkind is known, is a genuine reformer, or is merely rebranding the kingdom’s rulers.

When his father, the 82-year-old King Salman, succeeded to the throne in 2015, he handed the keys of the kingdom to his youngest son, favoured over his older brothers.

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