Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman bin Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud, born August 31, 1985.
Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, is the sixth son of King Salman bin Abdulaziz. His mother is Princess Fahda bint Falah bin Sultan Al Hathlin Al-Ajami.
MBS became crown prince of Saudi Arabia after he led a coup against Prince Mohammed bin Nayef Al Saud, the former Minister of the Interior, on June 21, 2017. Since then, the Kingdom has taken a very different approach to foreign policies, described by some as impulsive, reckless and hasty.
Domestically, MBS’s reign has been characterized by tyranny and dictatorship. He has launched crackdowns against dissidents, human rights advocates and feminist activists, most of whom remain in detention enduring miserable conditions.
MBS has also launched campaigns against fellow royals and business leaders, many of whom he detained until they relinquished their money and assets.
His brutal campaigns have also targetted opponents abroad, many of whom have received threats of death and kidnapping unless they agree to cease speaking out against his regime. His agents carried out the brutal killing of journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi, who was lured to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul before being murdered and dismembered.
Why is he worthy of this award?
MBS offers words of support to Palestinians, but offers key support to the Israeli occupiers of their land.
The Israelis have said he is a key player in encouraging peace between Israel and the Gulf states.
MBS himself has said that Israel has the right to a homeland and to live in safety and peace. He has called for Arab and Muslim children to be raised to love Zionism.
His journey towards consolidating relations with Israel, which did not start until a few years ago, has seen him become the first Arab leader to be awarded an honorary Israeli title from the Friends of Zion Museum. It was given in October, and rewards his efforts in completing the normalization deals between Israel and the Gulf states.
MBS has done the impossible, by making the country of the Two Holy Mosques move towards holding fully-fledged official relations with the Israeli occupation state.
During his reign, a remarkable shift occurred in the Saudi position on Israel, as he provided airspace for Israeli aircraft to cross towards Bahrain and the UAE, while closing it to the planes of Qatar. This resulted in violations, classified as racial discrimination in international law, against the Qataris, preventing them from performing Hajj and Umrah. It separated families living between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
MBS has also provided support to Israelis who visit the Arab Gulf states, while at the same time launching bloody air strikes against civilians in Yemen, which resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians and the displacement of millions, creating the worst humanitarian disaster in the world.
In addition to the above, his supporters in the Saudi media have helped pave the way for normalization with Israel. TV dramas have been broadcast refuting the idea of historical hostility between Arabs and Israelis, ignoring the concept of Israel as an occupying force that violates the rights of the occupied. Friday sermons (Khotba) have also been directed to urge peace with the Israelis.
His father, King Salman, is still said to consider Israel an enemy. But this is unlikely to affect MBS’s views. After all, he placed his own mother under house arrest for objecting to his policies. His sick elderly father will never be an obstacle to his ideas.