Ben Hubbard is the Beirut bureau chief for The Times.
Christine Schraner Burgener, U.N. Special Envoy on Myanmar, discusses the ongoing unrest in the country where defiant protesters returned to the streets again today after security forces killed at least 18 on Sunday, according to the UN. Ben Hubbard, The New York Times Beirut Bureau Chief, talks about the Biden administration's handling of the release of the intelligence report into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and relations in the region. Nischelle Turner, host of "Entertainment Tonight", discusses the 78th Golden Globe Awards. Our Hari Sreenivasan talks to Elizabeth Kolbert, author of "Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future", about the unintended consequences of our efforts to solve the climate crisis. To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit
In Episode 127 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Ben Hubbard, the Beirut bureau chief for The New York Times about Saudi Arabia and the rise to power of Mohammed bin Salman. Topics include the ongoing oil price war, tensions with Iran, the war in Yemen, and the geopolitics of the Middle East. The two also discuss the impact of coronavirus for the region’s politics and security. According to Ben Hubbard, when King Salman of Saudi Arabia ascended to the throne in January 2015 and began bestowing enormous powers on his 29-year-old son, Mohammed bin Salman, it sent minds reeling. Given Saudi Arabia’s importance as the wealthiest country in the Middle East and a key partner of the West, foreign officials, journalists, experts, and spies had long scrutinized the Saudi royal family to anticipate who might come to power in the future—and MBS, as he was known, had remained far off the radar. Who, they wondered, was this inexperienced young prince who swiftly asserted his control over the kingdom’s oil, military, finances, and domestic and foreign policy? And could he be trusted?  Ben closely tracks MBS’s trajectory to shed light on the man and the critical country he controls. He explores Saudi Arabia’s closed and opaque society and tracks Mohammad bin Salman from his earliest days in power. With vows to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from oil, loosen its strict Islamic social codes, and champion the fight against extremism, the young prince won admirers on Wall Street and in Washington, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood with his grand visions for a new Saudi Arabia and a reordered Middle East. In 2017, Saudi Arabia made global headlines by announcing that it would lift its long-time ban on women driving and hosting a lavish “Davos in the Desert” conference, where MBS wowed international financiers with plans for a new $500 billion city that he said would be powered by sustainable energy and staffed by robots—serving as “a roadmap for the future of civilization.”  However, Hubbard’s reporting from a half-dozen countries and hundreds of interviews with a range of sources reveals that a harsher reality was building quietly behind the hype. To secure his path to the throne and quash opposition to his plans, the young prince empowered a covert team to silence critics at home and abroad while deploying new technologies to consolidate his authoritarian rule. He soon made headlines again, for forcing the resignation of the prime minister of Lebanon; locking hundreds of princes, businessmen, and government officials in the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton on allegations of corruption; for the hacking by Saudi operatives of cell phones of Saudi dissidents, journalists (including a suspected attempt on Hubbard himself), and others who supported views critical of the Saudi regime; and most infamously for his links to the operatives who killed Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.  Their conversation explores these palace intrigues, as Ben and Demetri consider how this bold (and perhaps dangerous) new leader is changing the face of the Bedowin kingdom, both for the better and for the worse. If you are interested in becoming a supporter of Hidden Forces, head over to our Patreon Page and subscribe to one of our three content tiers, giving you access to the overtime, transcript, and rundown to this and all prior episodes. All subscribers also gain access to our overtime feed, which can be easily added to your favorite podcast application.  Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou Subscribe & Support the Podcast at Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod
Ben Hubbard, the Beirut bureau chief for the New York Times, talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his new book, MBS: The Rise to Power of Mohammed Bin Salman. Hubbard explains how he started writing about Saudi Arabia and its crown prince, MBS's unexpected rise to power, and the recent international incidents that have made him more notorious in the west: The murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and the hacking of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos's phone. He also discusses the Saudi government's relationship with the Trump administration, how bin Salman has resisted political liberalization, and how he has used armies of bots on Twitter to distract critics online. Plus: Is there any meaningful dissent within Saudi Arabia that could unseat MBS? Featuring: Ben Hubbard (@nytben), author, MBS: The Rise to Power of Mohammed Bin Salman Host: Kara Swisher (@karaswisher), Recode co-founder and editor-at-large More to explore: On Reset, Arielle Duhaime-Ross explores why — and how — tech is changing everything. On Recode Media, Peter Kafka interviews business titans, journalists, comedians and podcasters about the collision of tech and media. On Pivot, Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway talk about the big tech news stories of the week, who's winning, who's failing, and what comes next. And on Land of the Giants, Jason Del Rey chronicled the rise of Amazon. Season 2 will focus on Netflix and is coming soon! About Recode by Vox: Recode by Vox helps you understand how tech is changing the world — and changing us. Follow Us: Newsletter: Recode Daily Twitter: @Recode and @voxdotcom Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
'New York Times' Beirut Bureau Chief Ben Hubbard says Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is full of contradictions: He ended a ban on women driving, but his agents also carried out the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Hubbard's book, 'MBS,' tells the story of the enigmatic leader. Hubbard says MBS could rule the country for the next 50 years.Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Writers & Lovers' by Lily King.
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4 hours, 22 minutes
Podchaser Creator ID logo 238621