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America Should Get Behind Saudi Arabia's Revolutionary Crown Prince

Dennis Ross

Also available in العربية فارسی

Washington Post

February 12, 2018


The heir apparent has seemingly read the mood of the kingdom's youths, seeing a readiness for change -- and the danger of perpetuating the status quo.

I have just returned from my second trip to Saudi Arabia since Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old crown prince, became the driving force for change in the kingdom. His efforts to transform Saudi society Amount to a revolution from above. Many seem to equate him with the shah of Iran, who thought he could Westernize his country without modernizing its social, religious roots and was ultimately swept away in the revolution that produced the Islamic Republic of Iran. I see him as more like Mustafa Kemal Ataturk—a leader who revolutionized Turkey by taking away the power of the religious base and secularizing the country. To be sure, "MBS" is not trying to secularize Saudi Arabia...

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