Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is in the midst of a drive to battle corruption and consolidate power in the kingdom, jailing 11 princes, four ministers and dozens of businessmen last week.
As David Ignatius wrote in The Washington Post on Sunday, the 32-year-old crown prince has developed a special relationship with the person closest to holding that title in America - Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser.
According to Ignatius, the Saudi royal was emboldened to make his move by the support he has received from members of Trump’s inner circle, who view him as “a kindred disrupter of the status quo” with a Trump-like combination of populism and personal wealth. Kushner is seen as key among these backers, and spent days with the prince during a trip to the kingdom last month. “The two princes are said to have stayed up until nearly 4 a.m. several nights, swapping stories and planning strategy,” Ignatius reported.