The Lawfare Podcast: Ben Hubbard on MBS

Jen Patja, Jacob Schulz, Ben Hubbard
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With
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Saudi Arabia continues to be a mainstay of newspaper headlines, whether it be for its oil price war with Russia or for news about Turkish indictments in connection with the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But making sense of Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, Mohammed Bin Salman, known widely as MBS, can be a difficult proposition. He has made social reforms—lifting the ban on women driving and taking power away from Saudi Arabia’s infamous religious police—but he has no interest in political reform and has a propensity to take impulsive and remarkably violent action, both in the foreign policy space and toward perceived enemies within Saudi Arabia and beyond. Ben Hubbard, Beirut bureau chief for the New York Times, provides an account of the young prince’s rise and his early years in power in Saudi Arabia. Jacob Schulz talked with Hubbard about MBS's rise to power, his influence on domestic life in Saudi Arabia, his relationship to Jared Kushner and the Trump administration, and about the White House response to Khashoggi’s murder.



Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Jacob Schulz is a law student at the University of Chicago Law School. He was previously the Managing Editor of Lawfare and a legal intern with the National Security Division in the U.S. Department of Justice. All views are his own.
Ben Hubbard is the Istanbul bureau chief for The New York Times. An Arabic speaker with more than a decade in the Middle East, he has covered coups, civil wars, protests, jihadist groups, rotten fish as cuisine, religion and pop culture from more than a dozen countries, including Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and Yemen. He is the author of “MBS: The Rise to Power of Mohammed bin Salman.”

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