Mohammed Bin Salman is deftly playing a chess game aimed at positioning the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a foreign policy leader both regionally and internationally, exploiting each of the great powers’ primary weaknesses (and desires): energy prices in the US, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and China’s desperation to assert its regional dominance. His sudden rise to the head of the desert kingdom was consolidated recently with his appointment as Prime Minister and heir apparent to his aging father, securing his untouchability and immunity when it comes to human rights violations, putting partners like the United States in the particular quandry of not being able to use their traditional soft power levers and leaving evermore domestic dissidents at risk.
- Women, religion, economic growth: prince Bin Salman’s reform programme proceeds, bringing relief to part of the society, but also many questions.
- The Crown Prince may be soon called to relpace his old father and lead the Kingdom. But there are also growing signs of his vulnerability.