When Mohammed bin Salman took over as the de facto head of the ultra-conservative nation five years ago, some people in the West hailed him as a reformer who would bring about change in the country.
However, the honeymoon period came to an abrupt end in 2018 when Saudi dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi was brutally killed at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
An overview of the most important recent events is as follows:
Mohammed, who was 31 years old at the time, was named Crown Prince by King Salman on June 21, 2017, capping off the spectacular ascension of the ambitious defence minister.
This comes at a time when Riyadh is in the midst of a major spat with Qatar, which it accuses of backing terrorism and of being too close to Saudi Arabia’s archrival Iran.
During the spectacular purge that took place in November 2017, around 380 royals, top officials, and business tycoons were detained. The purge was described as an anti-corruption effort.
A great number are hosted for many weeks at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh. After reaching huge financial settlements, the majority are granted their freedom.
The announcement that women would be allowed to drive starting in June 2018 was made by the monarchy in September 2017, putting an end to the sole driving restriction for women that existed elsewhere in the globe.
In addition, movie theatres have been reopened, mixed-gender audiences have been allowed at music events, and women have been granted access to sports stadiums.
The suppression of female activists who had pushed for the freedom to drive has partially muted the joy that was aroused by the announcements.
In November of 2017, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation in a televised speech from Riyadh. He cited Iran’s “hold” on his country as the reason for his decision.
His government is accused of being coerced by Saudi Arabia in an effort to undermine the influence of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah organisation, which is a power-sharing partner in Lebanon.
In the midst of rumours that he is being held under house arrest, Hariri is now in Riyadh for the better part of two weeks. As a result of France’s intervention, he went back to Lebanon and retracted his resignation.
In 2015, Saudi Arabia led an Arab coalition that was sent to Yemen to defend the internationally recognised government against Huthi rebels who were supported by Iran. Riyadh became involved in the conflict as the leader of the alliance.
The involvement of Saudi Arabia in the war leads to an escalation of the conflict, which then affects the whole of the nation and results in the most severe humanitarian disaster that has ever been recorded by the United Nations.
The coalition has been criticised for carrying out airstrikes that have killed a large number of civilians, some of whom were injured in marketplaces and hospitals where they were bombed. The intervention does not succeed in routing the insurgents.
In March of 2018, the prince will embark on his first international journey as heir, during which he will go to Egypt and Britain. While in Britain, he will have lunch with Queen Elizabeth II.
After that, Prince Mohammed will spend more than two weeks in the United States, where he will meet with President Donald Trump and see prominent figures in the technology industry in Silicon Valley. Furthermore, he travels to Spain and France.
The murder and dismemberment of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, has prompted outrage on a worldwide scale.
Prince Mohammed has said that he did not order the assassination. The administration throws the blame at renegade security employees.
A Saudi court finds five persons guilty of the murder and sentences them to death, but the sentence is eventually commuted to life in prison for each of them.
Since a result of this scandal, the crown prince will be viewed with suspicion in Western countries, as he has been linked to the murder by a UN rapporteur as well as the CIA.
In December of 2019, the energy powerhouse Saudi Aramco will successfully conduct the largest initial public offering ever.
This decision is absolutely necessary in order to successfully implement Prince Mohammed’s ambitious plan to transform the economy’s reliance on oil.
In April of 2021, Prince Mohammed makes a declaration that raises a stir by stating that he wishes to establish “excellent ties” with Iran. In Iraq, negotiations between the world’s most sworn enemies get under way.
Iran’s description of the fifth round of negotiations, which will take place in April 2022, as “constructive and serious,” has led to rumours that the Islamic republic and the Sunni monarchy may reestablish diplomatic ties, which were severed in 2016.
A truce for a period of two months, beginning on April 2, 2022, has been agreed upon between the Saudi-led coalition and the Huthi rebels in Yemen.
President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi of Yemen, who is supported by Saudi Arabia, has announced from Riyadh that he would be transferring authority over to a new leadership council. This council will engage with the Huthis on a sustainable peace agreement.
The cease-fire is extended for a another four weeks in June.
The White House makes the announcement on June 14 that Vice President Joe Biden would meet with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, signalling the conclusion of efforts to isolate the crown prince as a result of Khashoggi’s killing.