Resource November 9, 2018

Meet the Journalist: Sarah Aziza

Author:
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stands with Deputy Crown Price of Saudi Arabia and Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud before a bilateral meeting at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., March 16, 2017. Photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith, Department of Defense. United States, 2017.
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Saudi Arabia is radically, and rapidly, transforming. Much has been made of the sweeping reforms...

A Saudi woman sits in a car during driver's training at a university in Jeddah. Image by Faisal Al Nasser. Saudi Arabia, 2018.
A Saudi woman sits in a car during driver's training at a university in Jeddah. Image by Faisal Al Nasser. Saudi Arabia, 2018.

In the past few years, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has invested millions in promoting an image of himself as the pioneer of a new, more liberal, Saudi Arabia. Prior to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the Western media largely accepted and celebrated this narrative. Yet, long before Khashoggi's death, the Crown Prince was already revealing a ruthless commitment to control. Beginning in 2016, the Crown Prince began upending traditional patterns of governing, consolidating immense, unilateral power, and ushering in a new era of autocratic, activist rule. Sarah Aziza traveled to Saudi Arabia in the summer of 2018 to investigate a series of arrests, ordered by the Crown Prince, which swept up dozens of citizens under vague "anti-terrorism" charges. Civil rights activists and feminists were locked up alongside religious leaders, academics, and journalists.

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