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Saudi Arabia’s repressive power politics

Ian Bremmer, Ph.D
 

US President Joe Biden famously said he would treat Saudi Arabia as a “pariah” for ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But with oil prices near record highs and Iran seen as a growing menace, he felt he had no choice but to go there to revive the US-Saudi relationship.

Biden didn’t get much out of his trip, which Princeton University professor and MBS confidante Bernard Haykel says was a “big win” for the Saudis and the crown prince himself. On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer speaks to Haykel, a Saudi expert, who discusses how MBS consolidated power, why the targeting of other journalists is unlikely, the kingdom’s strategic value to the US, MBS’s strategy to modernize his country, and the prospects for future warmer ties with Israel.

Bonus: MBS let women drive, but he’s cracking down harder than ever against his opponents inside and outside Saudi Arabia.

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