Keep in mind that Saudi Arabia is a lot closer to Keeping Up With The Kardashians than it is to The West Wing. The royal family has total sway, but they have to fight the clerics for control, and there are a bunch of peasants (and foreigners) whose existence depends on their largesse.
MBS busted onto the scene hard as a schemer and master manipulator who sees himself as a modern ibn Saud. He's going to modernize Saudi Arabia. He's going to bring the country beyond oil. And he's going to do it the Saudi way, which is through court intrigue, manipulation and nonparliamentary maneuvering.
He's proclaimed that Jared Kushner is in his pocket. He knows that Trump likes to take money from the Saudis. And he knows that Turkey has been faltering ever since a half-baked coup attempt got a lot closer to unseating Erdogan than Erdogan thought was possible.
Jamal Kashoggi, for his part, was the nephew of Adnan Kashoggi, the world's premiere arms dealer for a generation. He embedded with Saudi jihadis fighting alongside the mujahedin in Afghanistan. His family is legacy, but not royal, but just like the bin Ladens, the Kashoggis have been palace courtiers for generations. And he's been vocal in his disapproval of MBS' maneuverings.
Bear in mind: MBS is the kinda guy that can lock up and shake down 500 royals and aristocrats and get away with it. He can bomb Yemen back to the stone age and get away with it. He can fire the oil minister and defense minister and take both of their jobs as his own and get away with it. And frankly he was unprepared for the world to give a shit about a Saudi dissident disappearing in Turkey:
On Oct. 10, eight days after Mr. Khashoggi went missing, Prince Mohammed called Jared Kushner, the adviser and son-in-law to President Trump, according to people briefed on the phone conversation.
Why the outrage, Prince Mohammed asked in English. Government officials and business leaders had turned from lavishing praise on the prince to criticizing him.
Two people familiar with the call said Mr. Kushner, along with national security adviser John Bolton, delivered a tough message that Prince Mohammed needed to get to the bottom of Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance fast.
Mr. Trump warned of “severe punishment” if the U.S. determined the Saudi government was implicated, and sent U.S. Secretary Mike Pompeo to Riyadh to press the Saudis for answers.
The prince’s confusion soon turned into rage. “He was really shocked that there was such a big reaction to it,” said a person close to the royal court. “He feels betrayed by the West. He said he would look elsewhere and he will never forget how people turned against him before evidence was produced.”
Fundamentally? The Saudis did this in such a slap-dash fashion because they thought they could. They've discovered they can't. It's going to be an interesting recalibration.