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Can Mohammed bin Salman really save Saudi Arabia?

The young crown prince seems to have transformed one of the Middle East’s most traditional nations in months—but does he know what he's doing?

By Jane Kinninmont   April 2018

©HARD BAKER / IN PICTURES VIA GETTY IMAGES

Even as western governments have bonded themselves closely to Saudi Arabia, thinkers and writers have long said the monarchy could not last. Here was a bloated and sclerotic ruling family, they said, presiding over a system of what has been called gender apartheid, only marginally less repressive of everyone else than it was of women. Fearing democracy, the Al Saud promoted an intolerant version of religion as a distraction. Sages acknowledged that petrodollars and American weapons could prop up this…

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