The crown prince of Saudi Arabia is giving his country shock therapy
In a wide-ranging late-night interview at his palace here, Saudi Arabia’s young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman described a new wave of reforms as part of the “shock” therapy needed to modernize the kingdom’s cultural and political life.
“MBS,” as the headstrong 32-year-old crown prince is known, began the conversation just before midnight Monday, at the end of a day that had brought new royal decrees shaking up the Saudi military and government bureaucracy and appointing a woman to a cabinet ministry, Tamadur bint Youssef al-Ramah as deputy minister for labor. For more than two hours, MBS discussed his campaigns against corruption and Muslim extremism, as well as his strategy for the region.The crown prince said he has public support, not just from restless younger Saudis but also from a chastened royal family. He rejected criticism of his domestic and regional policies, which some have described as risky, and argued that the changes are essential to finance the kingdom’s development and combat its enemies, such as Iran. Asked whether he might release human rights activists before his visit to the United States in late March, he said Saudi standards were different than American ones and “if it works, don’t fix it,” but he added later through an aide that he would consider reforms in this area, as in others.