Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Bin Salman has been touring the United States for nearly three weeks, stopping in cities on both coasts. During his four-day visit to Washington D.C., Bin Salman sat down for an off-the-record interview with the Washington Post and assured reporters that Saudi Arabia had not established an alliance with Jared Kushner in order to influence U.S. policies towards his kingdom. Bin Salman also met with President Trump at the White House. When asked about the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, he admitted that it was “painful” for his country and that it complicates a U.S.-led peace deal.
The prince also spoke about his vision for his country to foster a more moderate Islam. He recently helped put forward a policy that would grant women the right to drive. He hopes to steer his country towards a less conservative practice of Islam by cutting back on Saudi funding for the spread of Wahhabi ideology. However, according to CNN, analysts point out that Bin Salman also has increased domestic repression, consolidated his own political power, and ignored the issue of male guardianship, a major obstacle to gender equality.
Beyond revealing his political agenda, the main reason for the prince’s visit was to reassure U.S. investors of his kingdom’s bright future. Throughout his trip, he has revealed snippets of his country’s domestic and foreign politics. For instance, as the guest on CBS’s 60 Minutes on March 18, he discussed his country’s stance on nuclear weapons, stating, “Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.”