SRINAGAR: As Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known more as MbS, chaired an official board meeting, he sparked a style storm online with his Kashmiri Shahtoos shawl and quilted gilet on social media.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

“Fashion lovers surfed for the traditional headwear or shemagh worn by the crown prince, with one account tweeting that it was a Kashmiri Shahtoosh shawl that costs $746 (2,800 SAR),” Arab News reported, adding that, a cohort of fashion lovers on the social media platform have gone wild over a quilted gilet worn by MBS. “The prince showed off a $6,551 casual sleeveless vest by UK luxury cashmere brand Franck Namani,” the report added.

According to Arab News, it is reported that many royal fans began searching for the vest online, only to be disappointed by the ultra-exclusive fashion brand’s website as it requires registration and a password to enter adding that  not to be outdone, fans soon found the traditional headwear or shemagh a Kashmiri Shahtoos shawl.

If it is Shahtoos, then it is defiance to the conservation efforts for the Tibetan antelope called Chiru. If MBS flies in his charter with this shawl, he may go to jail for 18 years.

But that is beyond the fashion statement.

It’s not the first time the Saudi crown prince has sparked a style storm online. In 2019, he was photographed attending the Formula E races in Riyadh and for the occasion donned a navy-coloured Barbour jacket worn over a crisp white thobe that immediately sent the internet into overdrive.

Besides the popularity bestowed by fashion attires, lately, Saudi’s MBS has been grappling with his growing unpopularity in overseas as well as in Muslim countries for his policies.

According to Aljazeera, since he outmanoeuvred more senior rivals in 2017 to become crown prince, MBS has received favourable coverage in international media, with a multitude of reports focused on his economic and social reforms in the conservative kingdom. However, previous arrests and an ongoing crackdown on dissent in the kingdom, as well as the gruesome murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, have shifted the focus towards the darker side of MBS’s record. This also includes thousands of civilian deaths in Yemen and a rapid rise of the number of executions since his ascent to power.

According to BBC, when Joe Biden was declared the winner, the Saudi leadership in Riyadh took rather longer to respond than they did when Donald Trump was elected. “This is hardly surprising: they had just lost a friend at the top table,” it said.

President Trump was a massive ally and supporter of Saudi Arabia’s ruling Saud family. He chose Riyadh as the destination for his first foreign presidential visit after taking office in 2017. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, formed a close working relationship with the all-powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

According to BBC, at a time when every major Western intelligence agency suspected the crown prince of being behind the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, President Trump refused to blame him outright.

There may also be a flip flop on Yemen War policy as Biden recently told the Council on Foreign Relations that he would “end US support for the disastrous Saudi-led war in Yemen and order a reassessment of our relationship with Saudi Arabia”. It is believed that pressure from an incoming Biden administration on the Saudis and their Yemeni allies to settle this conflict is now likely to increase, the report added.

Pertinent to mention that, President Barack Obama, under whom Biden served as vice-president for eight years, was increasingly uncomfortable about Saudi Arabia’s conduct of the war against Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

“Alert to the war’s unpopularity on Capitol Hill, President Obama cut back on US military and intelligence aid to the Saudi war machine. The Trump administration reversed that move and effectively gave the Saudis a free hand in Yemen,” BBC reported.


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