Saudi Arabian Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Paris,  June 2015. 
Charles Platiau / File Photo / REUTERS

His command of the issues was solid, his delivery even better. His body language signaled confidence, even though he was the youngest and least experienced person in the room. He had charisma. But most important of all, he made a more powerful case for his country than any Saudi official had done before.

To be sure, it would be unwise to form any serious judgments about Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, with whom colleagues and I met in Riyadh for a couple of hours, following a single encounter. Still, it’s hard not to appreciate how the 31-year-old MbS, as he is known in Washington, seems determined to take on his country’s hardest problems at such an early stage in his political career. By spearheading a campaign for sweeping change in Saudi Arabia, he is putting everything on the line. Whether he’s guided by ambition or

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  • BILAL Y. SAAB is Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Peace and Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.
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