MBS | Ben Hubbard

Summary of: MBS: The Rise to Power of Mohammed bin Salman
By: Ben Hubbard


Welcome to an eye-opening journey as we delve into the intricate life and rise to power of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), as documented by Ben Hubbard. In this book summary, you will discover the progressive yet autocratic nature of MBS’s rule as he brings forth groundbreaking social changes, including giving Saudi women the right to drive, modernizing the kingdom’s economy, and marginalizing extremists. However, amid these reforms lies a darker side to MBS’s leadership, exemplified by the silencing of political dissidents, the abduction of Saudi nationals abroad, and the chilling murder case of exiled Saudi commentator Jamal Khashoggi. Hubbard’s comprehensive examination sheds light on MBS’s intriguing world, built upon a complex web of family ties, political intrigue, and ruthless power plays.

Portrait of an Autocrat

New York Times Beirut bureau chief Ben Hubbard presents an informative book that delves into the complex young ruler of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman. It is an in-depth account of MBS’s rapid rise, highlighting both his achievements in modernizing Saudi Arabia’s economy and giving women the right to drive, and his brutal nature as a dictator who arrested his own mother. The book is based on Hubbard’s personal experience of reporting from the Middle East for over a decade, backed by hundreds of interviews. The investigation offers an illuminating inside look into MBS’s influential power in changing the region.

The Contradictions of MBS

Women’s rights versus political oppression in Saudi Arabia under Mohammed bin Salman’s rule are explored by Hubbard. While MBS granted women the right to drive, work, and travel, the push for more rights can lead to imprisonment. Additionally, he turned the kingdom into a police state, beating protesters and intimidating political opponents. Hubbard leaves no room for doubt that MBS’s agents murdered political commentator Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey, shedding light on the dualities and complexities of MBS’s leadership.

The Rise and Brutality of MBS

This summary highlights the life and journey of MBS to the throne of Saudi Arabia. After losing his two eldest brothers, MBS and his father developed a strong bond. Even though he studied power and politics, he was still a long shot for the throne until a series of events improved his chances. Once his father ascended to the throne, MBS was appointed as the minister of defense and locked his mother in a palace. After becoming the crown prince, Saudi Arabia began to kidnap dissidents living abroad for punishment. Criticism of the regime was also met with swift arrest, and journalists were banned from speaking to the media. MBS then orchestrated the kidnapping of Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri, forcing him to read a resignation letter on live television. The crown then seized the assets of many royals and businessmen, justifying the arrests as an anticorruption crackdown, which Hubbard regards as pure hypocrisy given MBS’s lavish spending.

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