Five Things You Need to Read Today

1. The Saudi Ataturk

I’ve drawn your attention a few times in the past to the guy I’ve named “the most interesting man in the world,” Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. MBS, as he is called by Western reporters and commenters, has been presenting himself as a liberal reformer who is opposed to radical Islam. As they say on the Internet, “Huge, if true.

But secular modernizers have a certain history in the Middle East, and while MBS has talked in liberal terms, there was always a question about whether he is actually following the model of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the early 20th-Century Turkish ruler who was an anti-Islamist modernizer–but also a ruthless secular dictator.

This question has come to a head because of the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. By “disappearance,” I mean that there’s evidence Khashoggi was lured to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, assassinated, dismembered with a bone saw, and sent back to Saudi Arabia in boxes–all by the order of Mohammed bin Salman. But that’s where things get complicated.

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