This seems like a key paragraph in David Ignatius’s column on what appears to be unfolding in Saudi Arabia.
MBS is emboldened by strong support from President Trump and his inner circle, who see him as a kindred disrupter of the status quo — at once a wealthy tycoon and a populist insurgent. It was probably no accident that last month, Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, made a personal visit to Riyadh. The two princes are said to have stayed up until nearly 4 a.m. several nights, swapping stories and planning strategy.
Mohammed bin Salman is just 32 years old and only recently selected as Crown Prince by his 81 year old father who himself became King in 2015. I am not so naive as to think something so dramatic as this turns entirely on the US. But the US, or any great power with a close ally-verging-on-client state, is often a restraining force. Perhaps not so much about human rights or the rule of law but often when it comes to dramatic and possibly destabilizing actions. I would not discount the degree to which Trump and perhaps Kushner on his own offered a green light or even pushed the Crown Prince to be audacious.