Mohammed bin Salman is the uncrowned king of Saudi Arabia, ruling the Kingdom with an iron fist. He took power by force and coercion from Muhammad bin Nayef and he consolidated that power by kidnapping, detaining and torturing members of the Saudi Royal Family and prominent businessmen like Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in the Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh, he even kidnapped the Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri and imprisoned his own mother. He also ordered the murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2017. If you enjoy our content, please become a patron to get our premium exclusive episodes, and our public episodes ad-free. 1
MBS also has an army of flies, tiger squads, gold cars and a lavish lifestyle, he owns the world’s most expensive home, the Serene $500M yacht and Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, but the painting he paid $450M for proved to be a fake. MBS has a very dual personality: he’s modern but also medieval at the same time. The Saudi state essentially treats women as permanent legal minors. But MBS is also implementing Vision 2030 to modernize Saudi Arabia, he allowed women to drive, he brought back cinemas, he reduced the power of the religious police and clerics, he wants green energy cities, and to move away from dependency on oil. 2
In the context of president Biden’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia and meeting with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and MBS, “the reset”, with a gallon of oil priced $5, we think it’s important to also highlight the relations between US and Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region like Qatar, Yemen, Syria, , Bahrain, Lebanon (United Arab Emirates), as well as the Iran – Saudi Arabia proxy conflict, known as the Middle Eastern Cold War.
Saudi Arabia has a young population, 60% of Saudis are under 30 and use Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. MBS’ army of flies – bots and hackers - created by Saud Al Qahtani ensures that no critical posts happen, and his tiger squads – hitmen – target those who dissent like Saad Al Jabri.
Women can now drive but Saudi Arabia still imprisons activists like Loujain al Hathloul. Some of the laws governing sex segregation have been relaxed, but Saudi Arabia's guardianship system ensures that men still have ultimate control over most aspects of women's lives. We also discuss the beheadings in Chop Chop Square (Deera or Al-Safaa Square), the executions of those who oppose the regime, the arrest of Ali Nimr during the Arab Spring, the lashing of blogger Raif Badawi, MBS’ war in Yemen, and we draw a parallel between Mohammed Bin Salman and Putin.
We also discuss the connection between the Wahhabi-Salafi Islam ideology in Saudi Arabia and Daesh (Isis), Al Qaida, and other terrorist groups: the ideology is so similar that the manuals used by Saudi kids in school are the same books used in terrorist indoctrination schools in the caliphate areas.
The Trump visit in Saudi Arabia and the glowing orb in the now infamous photo depicting King Salman, Trump and Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al Sisi touching the orb is also a point of discussion. 3
1. Alexandra Ma. Lebanese Prime Minister, Who Got Kidnapped in Saudi Arabia.... Business Insider. December 2018. ⇤
3. Bill Bostock. The Sinister, Glowing Saudi Orb that Trump Touched.... Business Insider. March 2020. ⇤
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