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Saudi Arabia: Unravelling the MBS phenomenon, an enigma wrapped in multiple policies

It says something when even confirming the date of birth – 31 August 1985 – is seen as a breakthrough in getting a more exact image of arguably the Gulf region’s most talked-about – and influential – political personality. Deputy Crown Prince, secretary-general of the Royal Court, second deputy prime minister and defence minister Mohammed Bin Salman Bin Abdelaziz (MBS) is pushing Saudi Arabia towards a liberal economic overhaul and, by many accounts, driving bloody conflict in Yemen. But despite one extensive interview and his prominence in global newsflow and analysis, King Salman’s much-favoured 30 year-old son remains remarkably little known – while generating very mixed sentiments for a policy mix couched in management-speak and missiles.

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