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Biden's Trip to Saudi Arabia Viewed as a Win for the Saudis | GZERO World

Saudi Arabia proved it's still the key player in the Gulf

Joe Biden's pledges to prevent Iran from getting the bomb and to defend Saudi Arabia from an attack were "music to Saudi Arabia's ears," Bernard Haykel, a professor at Princeton University and confidante of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World. Biden's controversial trip was largely viewed as a big win for the Saudis, while the US didn't get much out of the discussions because Biden's team didn't do their homework, says Haykel.

The Saudis "were able to show that they have tremendous convening power" by bringing in all the Gulf leaders, thus demonstrating that Riyadh is the most important player there — and the partner you need for political and energy stability.

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Oil, Entitlement, & How MBS is Changing Saudi Arabia | GZERO World

Oil, entitlement, & how MBS is changing Saudi Arabia

What is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman really doing to modernize Saudi Arabia? On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer asks Princeton University's Bernard Hayel.

MBS, as he's known in the West, is "basically banking on the bulk of the population that's under 30, [who think] he's a rock star because of the things he's doing."

Meanwhile, "anyone over 40 hates him because he's taking away entitlements" and changing the modus operandi of the country.

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Blowback on MBS From Khashoggi Murder Saved Many Other Journalists, Says Expert | GZERO World

Blowback on MBS from Khashoggi murder saved many other journalists, says expert

US-Saudi relations were strained after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which the CIA says was ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aka MBS. And he knows it was a risky move.

"I don't think that they will ever do anything like that again," says Bernard Haykel, a professor at Princeton University and MBS insider.

Still, he tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World, the regime will continue to be very repressive and authoritarian, doing things like mass executions of convicted terrorists from al-Qaeda and the Islamic State but also dissident Shiites.

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How MBS Consolidated Power in Saudi Arabia | US Alignment on Core Strategic Interests | GZERO World

How MBS consolidated power in Saudi Arabia

What sets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, better known as MBS, apart from other autocrats who've risen to power in recent years?

He's consolidated power by "emasculating" his own family, including America's pick to succeed his dad, says Bernard Haykel, a professor at Princeton University and MBS confidante.

The effort "was extremely brutal and messy at times," he tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

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Ian Explains: From Biden’s Pariah to Core Partner | US Saudi Visit a Win for MBS | GZERO World

From Biden’s pariah to core partner: US Saudi visit a win for MBS

In October 2018, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in Istanbul. The CIA says de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aka MBS, gave the order.

That led US President Joe Biden to ghost MBS, and even label him a "pariah."

But after Biden's recent Middle East trip, the Saudi crown prince now looks less like a pariah and more like a partner, Ian Bremmer explains on GZERO World.

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Saudi Arabia’s Repressive Power Politics | Why Biden Needs MBS | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

Saudi Arabia’s repressive power politics

US President Joe Biden famously said he would treat Saudi Arabia as a "pariah" for ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But with oil prices near record highs and Iran seen as a growing menace, he felt he had no choice but to go there to revive the US-Saudi relationship.

Biden didn't get much out of his trip, which Princeton University professor and MBS confidante Bernard Haykel says was a "big win" for the Saudis and the crown prince himself. On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer speaks to Haykel, a Saudi expert, who discusses how MBS consolidated power, why the targeting of other journalists is unlikely, the kingdom's strategic value to the US, MBS's strategy to modernize his country, and the prospects for future warmer ties with Israel.

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GZERO Media

Will Biden say sorry to MBS?

Bizarre marriages of convenience dominate the geopolitical landscape: Russia and China; Iran and Venezuela; Israel and Turkey. The list goes on.

When President Biden came into office, he said he wouldn’t give a “blank check” to the world’s autocrats, including those associated with longtime US allies.

As part of his human-rights focused foreign policy, Biden rejected any dialogue with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the 36-year-old de facto Saudi leader who’s credited with big reforms like allowing Saudi women to drive. He’s also overseen acts of incredible brutality, including the murder of dissident-journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the scorched-earth military campaign in Yemen.

But two years in and ample crises later, Biden is ready to sit down for a face-to-face with MBS next month in Riyadh. Why the massive about-face?

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