Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh By HAMAD I MOHAMMED / REUTERS. @Adobe Stock Images.

Bernard Haykel is a professor of Near Eastern Studies and the director of the Institute for Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia at Princeton University.

Many journalistic accounts of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Prince Mohammed bin Salman (often referred to as MBS), depict him as power-hungry and corrupt, and cite these two impulses for his behavior and policies. When King Salman designated MBS as his heir in June 2017,  MBS effectively became the most powerful man in the kingdom.

This article was first published in The Washington Post