Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman rules Saudi Arabia day-to-day on behalf of his father, the king. The heir to the throne is a man of contradictions. He presents himself as a young, progressive leader, a supporter of women in the workplace and, famously, behind the wheel. But he is also conducting a bloody war in Yemen, stands accused of targeting civilians and children and employing famine as a weapon. He’s rounded up political dissidents and the CIA believes he is behind the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the crown prince.
Earlier this month, after an Iranian missile and drone attack on Saudi oil facilities, the United States committed additional American troops to help defend the Saudis. It was nearly midnight by the time we spoke with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on Tuesday, at the royal court in Jeddah. There was a lot to ask. Our first question was about the death, a year ago, of Jamal Khashoggi, something the crown prince has never discussed in a television interview.