Mohammed bin Salman, Prince of Saudi Arabia
Once upon a bloodbath, 57 year old Mohammed bin Nayef was forced to give up his title as Prince of Saudi Arabia to his more handsome, 32 year old cousin named Mohammed bin Salman (MbS). MbS obtained his law degree at the top of his class, established a Saudi youth leadership non-profit, let women drive, advocated a moderate form of Islam, reduced the country’s religious police, and established a hefty recreational project for sports and culture to shape Arabia’s future.
Forbes Middle East named him “Personality of the Year” in 2013, and he was placed on the cover of Times in April 2018. When Mohammad smiles in pictures with his neatly trimmed beard and messy middle eastern eyebrows, he squints his eyes like it’s real. His smile, what he stands for, the future of Saudi Arabia—it’s all real.
In 2017, MbS made a statement to the Washington Post that he wanted to concentrate on developing the Saudi Society, and to not continue living in the post-79 era. The youth of Saudi Arabia “don’t want to waste our lives in this whirlpool that we were in the past 30 years. We want to end this epoch now.”
And he’s totally right! The post-79 era in the Middle East is history. But a new one has arrived. One that hides behind deplorable deeds and Mohammad’s neatly trimmed beard and barbaric smile, passed down through a family tree of violence.
The Yemen conflict. In 2015, MbS waged war against the Houthi rebels. His target? The innocent citizens under Houthi control. Millions of Yemeni, including children, are dying from disease and famine. They are desperate for basic human necessities like medicine and water. The innocent are being used as a weapon for MbS to win a chess game they want nothing to do with.
Jamal Khashoggi. You’ve heard of him by now: journalist and critic of Saudi Arabia given a lethal injection and dismembered inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul. Oh and this was on the orders of MbS—not that he hasn’t already gotten away with murder. But in this instance, he literally got away with murder.
His family. Remember the original prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Nayef? He’s rarely seen outside his palace without guards, and was reportedly placed under house arrest. Not only did MbS take his title, but he froze Nayef’s bank accounts, and Nayef was removed as head of interior ministry. MbS conducted a psychotic mass arrest with 381 people detained at a Ritz-Carlton (that’s one hell of a jail), including hundreds of his cousins. He called this an “anti-corruption crackdown”, which really is a corrupted way to secure his seat. But I suppose you can only win musical chairs by getting rid of the other players.
Alright, Alright, so MbS has done some shady stuff. But he did lift the ban that blocked women from driving and reduced the [you-only-read-this-in-dystopian-novels] religious police. That’s cool, right?
Let’s rewind to almost six months ago, when Saudi Arabia froze all new trade with Canada because they urged for the release of multiple activists—ones that included siblings Samar and Raif Badawi. Samar’s father filed a court case against her for disobedience under male guardianship. She was imprisoned in 2010, and released for her uncle to be the male guardianship instead. In 2012, her brother, Raef Badawi, was arrested for insulting Islam on his blog, and was sentenced in June 2013 to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes. In July 2018, Samar was arrested by Saudi authorities. Both are still detained.
I see the Saudi Arabian government is still not a fan of opinions then.
I’m curious: why has MbS created so many narratives about what he stands for, and why has he not been tried for massive human rights violation?
Why is the UK supporting the Saudi Arabian military?
Why has the US failed to prioritize human rights over self-interests?
And for the love of all that is mighty, why are leaders shaking hands with an indoctrinated and deranged imbecile who has no sense of the reality inside his own country?
Because of oil.