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7 Questions for Mohammed bin Salman

Prince Mohammed bin Salman, from 'Saudi Strike Force' video

Prominent Western interviews with Mohammed bin Salman have been seriously lacking in hard, pointed questions, so here are a few that future interviewers might consider using or adapting.

1) The blockade of Yemen imposed by your government and its allies is primarily responsible for creating what the U.N. has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis with more than eight million people on the brink of famine and millions more suffering from malnutrition. You have claimed that your government wants to help the people of Yemen, so why is it purposefully starving millions of them to death?

2) In your recent interview with The Atlantic, you stated, “the Shiites are living normally in Saudi Arabia. We have no problem with the Shiites.” Yet your government executed Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in 2016 for leading a peaceful movement protesting against discrimination against Shiites in your kingdom, and your government’s forces carried out a brutal crackdown that devastated the predominantly Shiite town of Awamiya only last year. If you don’t have a “problem” with these people, why is your government executing and attacking them?

3) There are credible reports that several of the detainees held in the so-called “anti-corruption” purge last fall were subjected to torture and that one later died of his injuries. Why should foreign businesses risk investing in your country when their business partners might end up being hauled away and treated similarly?

4) The blockade of Qatar imposed by your government and three other states is now almost ten months old. Since the blockade was imposed, Qatar has developed closer relations with both Turkey and Iran in response, and has refused all of your other demands as well. Hasn’t the blockade failed, and if so why haven’t you and your partners ended it?

5) The Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen is now over three years old. The stated goals of the coalition were to expel the Houthis from Sanaa and reinstall former President Hadi. Former President Hadi has virtually no support in Yemen now, and the Houthis seem as entrenched and intransigent as ever. At what point will your government admit that the coalition’s war effort has failed?

6) The journalist Iona Craig reported last year that coalition planes have conducted systematic, deliberate attacks on Yemen’s food production and distribution. Why are your government and its allies waging war on Yemeni farmers and fishermen?

7) You have talked about promoting a “moderate Islam open to the world and all religions,” but what can that possibly mean in practice when other religions are still outlawed in your country and sectarian hatred is promoted as a matter of government policy?

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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