The Saudi revolution begins
Muhammad bin Salman could transform the Arab and Islamic world for the better.
How to ensure he succeeds
One Saudi cleric thundered that letting women drive would lead to immorality and alack of virgins.
Another declared that women were incapable of taking the wheel because they were half-brained.
Still another drew on science, ruling that driving would damage their ovaries.
Such tosh is at last being cast aside.
On June 24th Saudi women will be allowed to drive their cars.
That is one step towards emancipation; among the others must be an end
to male "guardianship", for example, in deciding women can study or travel abroad.
Yet getting women behind the wheel is a welcome blow against the idea that Islamic piety is best shown by repressing them.
Female drivers are the most visible aspect of a social revolution,
one brought about not from the streets
but the palace of Muhammad bin Salman, the crown prince.
Cinemas have opened;
music is performed in public;
the killjoy morality police are off the streets.
Social liberalisation is part of the crownprince's ambition to wean the economy away from oil.
But as our special report sets out, his changes come with more authoritarianism at home,
and recklessness abroad.
The world must hope that the bold prince triumphs over the brutish one.
Saudi Arabia is uniquely disliked by Westerners of all politicalstripes.
They are appalled by its sharia punishments and mistreatment of women,
and scared by its Wahhabi form of Islam,
which has fed gruesome jihadist ideologies such as that of Islamic State.
Despite the kingdom's wealth, businessmen would rather work in freewheeling Dubai than Riyadh.
Fellow Arabs often deride Saudis as rich, lazy and arrogant.