Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman waves, standing next to IMF chair Christine Lagarde, at last week's investment conference. Saudi Press Agency via AP

You probably didn't see it on cable news, but on Tuesday last week the 32-year-old Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gave a speech that could have profound consequences for the future of the Middle East and the fight against radical Islamic terrorism.

MBS, as he's often known, told a gathering of the world's wealthiest investors and powerful political figures in Riyadh that he will return his country to "moderate Islam." A source who was in the audience for the speech said people were shocked to hear this said in public by one of the leaders of the country that keeps the two holiest sites in Islam.

  • "It was beyond epic," Tom Barrack, the billionaire investor and close confidant of Trump's who was at the conference, told me. "I have been doing business in the region for 40 years and I could have never imagined what we experienced in Riyadh."
  • Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE ambassador, said: "the Crown Prince is driving the reform toward a more open, progressive and modern Saudi Arabia, which ultimately is in everyone's interests. It's in everyone's interests that MBS succeeds." Asked whether MBS is floating a trial balloon, the ambassador said, "No, no, no. He's definitely all in."

Several sources who have spoken to MBS told me he's been saying the "moderate Islam" line privately for some time, but for him to say it out loud sets a marker for his ambitions.

Why this matters: What happens in Saudi Arabia will have a major echo effect in the Middle East and on Islam itself. Saudi-born hijackers staged the 9/11 attacks and prominent Saudis have funded the spread of terrorist ideologies in the region. MBS says he wants to wants to change this; to turn Saudi Arabia into a more progressive open society, to bring in new investment and stop the reliance on oil. He's made some changes — like allowing women to drive — and America and its allies are heavily invested in him succeeding.

A note of skepticism: I asked Middle East expert Elliott Abrams what he made of MBS' remarks. "The reform plans are real, but implementation will be difficult," he said. "Is he really going to allow the open practice of Christianity in the Kingdom? ... I certainly wish him well and think we should all do so. But given the strength of the Wahhabi establishment, and the lack of preparedness of the population for the 21st century in terms of education and work skills, he has a real struggle."

Trump's view: The president took a major bet on MBS, and so did his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who planned Trump's first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia. So far, the bet is paying off.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

FTX CEO predicts more U.S. crypto flight

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

FTX doesn't look much like a company valued at $25 billion. Its new headquarters, located in a sleepy part of The Bahamas, is so nondescript as to not even have a sign. But it does expect to soon have neighbors.

Driving the news: Founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried tells "Axios on HBO" to expect "more and more crypto flight from the states" if the U.S. doesn't soon create a regulatory regime for cryptocurrencies.

Developed countries reveal $100 billion climate finance plan ahead of COP26

Alok Sharma, head of the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, speaks in Paris on Oct. 12. ( Li Yang/China News Service via Getty Images)

After 12 years of fits and starts, industrialized nations on Monday put forward a detailed plan to provide at least $100 billion annually in climate aid to developing countries starting by 2023.

Why it matters: The plan, presented by representatives of Canada and Germany, is aimed at defusing one of the biggest sources of tension at COP26, which is the failure of industrialized nations to follow through on their financial commitments.

4 hours ago - Health

Moderna says COVID vaccine shows strong immune response in kids

Photo: Martin Galindo/Long Visual Press/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Moderna on Monday released trial results for its coronavirus vaccine for children aged 6 to 11, saying it provides a "robust" immune response after two doses.

Why it matters: Moderna said it will officially submit the results to the Food and Drug Administration for authorization in "the near term," meaning we could soon see two coronavirus vaccines available to protect approximately 28 million more kids in the U.S.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!