Not the hottest topic in the world, but there is specific change happening in Saudi Arabia, and whilst oil is less important and the Middle East is less important to global stability that once in the past, significant changes in Saudi Arabia, an ongoing alley of western countries in the region has the potential to be significant. The changes centre around the new “leadership” of Mohammad bin Salmon, more commonly referred to as MBS. The nickname makes him sound cooler than he is and probably makes us cognitively take him less seriously.Meanwhile, he just purged the Kingdom of competitors to the crown (more difficult than it sounds) and become one of the closest allies of the Trump administration (as stupid as it sounds).
To learn about MBS, some good pieces to read are
- London review of books on Saudi Arabian royal family changes within the context of the Trump administration
- Major profile of MBS by the most plugged in journalist in the Middle East – Dexter Filkens of the New Yorker
- A piece from Prospect magazine in the UK wondering if MBS will save Saudi Arabia
Royal families and oil money. The “Keffiyeh” doesn’t have the same ring to it as “The Crown”, and the definitive Netflix drama may never be made, but money and power and strange family relationships have their intrigue. You never know when the Middle East might be back in the thick of it again.