Event / Intelligence Squared

Reform and Repression in Saudi Arabia, with Madawi al-Rasheed and Jeremy Bowen

8 Dec 2020 – 18.00 - 19.00
In 2018 journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi regime operatives, shocking the world and drawing widespread condemnation. Mohammad bin Salman, the kingdom’s young crown prince denied any involvement in the killing but his reputation as a moderniser was quickly tarnished. In contrast to the international persona he had built as a reformer by allowing women to drive and permitting concerts in Saudi Arabia for the first time, the brutal killing reminded the world that the kingdom was still one of the most repressive societies on earth.

On December 8, Madawi Al-Rasheed, a Saudi dissident and author of the new book The Son King, will come to Intelligence Squared to describe what she sees as essentially a con-trick: a purported programme of reforms that mask a new regime of oppression. In conversation with the BBC’s Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen, she will discuss the Saudi regime’s new online strategy of disinformation intended to promote a progressive image to the outside world, while cracking down on diverse critical voices—religious scholars, feminists and dissident youth at home. Al-Rasheed will also challenge what she calls an Orientalist view of despotism in the West, that sees dictatorship as the only pathway to stable governance in the kingdom. Join Al-Rasheed and Bowen as they explore the challenges facing the fragile Saudi nation.


Book bundles include one ticket for the online debate, plus a copy of Madawi Al-Rasheed’s book The Son King: Reform and Repression in Saudi Arabia, with free UK P&P. Books will be posted within 1-2 weeks of the event finishing. Click here to purchase a book bundle.

The Son King: Reform and Repression in Saudi Arabia by Madawi Al-Rasheed is available to buy from Primrose Hill Books (£20 with free UK P&P). Intelligence Squared+ subscribers get a discount on this book, and similar discounts on other books. Click here for more information and to subscribe. 

The Son King
Reform and Repression in Saudi Arabia
Intelligence Squared