The ruthless campaign to save Mohammed bin Salman


With every passing day, the Saudi prince looks more likely to survive the Khashoggi scandal

Roula Khala

The once flamboyant Saudi billionaire, Alwaleed bin Talal, looked visibly uncomfortable in a television interview last week as he dispensed effusive praise for Saudi Arabia’s crown prince. Two weeks earlier, Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri laughed nervously on stage as he applauded Mohammed bin Salman.The Saudi financier and the Lebanese prime minister have been targets in the young prince’s ruthless attempt to impose his will on Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East. But exhibiting public support appears to be a requirement now that Prince Mohammed is in trouble, and on a drive to clear his name.

Since Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi columnist, was strangled and his body dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month, the propaganda campaign designed to insulate Prince Mohammed from a crime supposedly committed by rogue aides has gone into overdrive. Enlisting friends is not sufficient; victims too must join in the whitewashing. It is a charade that can be well captured by a popular Arab saying: “You kill and walk in the victim’s funeral procession.”


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