Arabic music had always had an influence on Western music and pop culture. I discovered the depth of this influence through a rather unlikely source — Nooriyah, a Saudi, London-based DJ/producer, who launched an Instagram video series that went viral in early 2021 exploring the phenomenon.
Years before the Saudi leadership turned its back on the native Islamists who co-founded the kingdom, the movement had already been in decline. It is these longstanding problems, not just the current political environment, that make the Wahhabi decay irreversible.
The closest Prince Turki al-Faisal comes to expressing regret is when he writes that he and his American counterparts might have been too focused on the immediate aim of winning the war in Afghanistan, rather than the potential long-term consequences of their actions.
Fear of ending up in a state-run Home of Care was echoed in every interview I conducted with women who sought asylum abroad after leaving the kingdom. Understanding this institution is crucial to understanding what the women are running away from.
In early 2020, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman executed two plans — an oil war and a crackdown on dissident family members — that exemplify his blunt, risky methods of consolidating power for himself and raising Saudi Arabia’s profile.