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    Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince (OP)


    Salaam

    Lets look at whats happening in Saudi Arabia.

    BAKU - King Salman of Saudi Arabia named his favourite son Mohammed bin Salman as next in line for the throne on June 21st. In addition to promotion, the King removed all titles from the former crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef.

    The reorganisation is nothing less than groundbreaking. Typically, Saudi Arabia has been ruled by kings in the 70s or 80s. But, in his 30s, bin Salman will become the youngest ruler in the history of the kingdom and thereby preside over the political, economic and social reforms in the country.



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    Re: Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

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    Salaam

    Another update.


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    Re: Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    Salaam

    Mohammed bin Salman: Saudi Arabia’s great young reformer may struggle to control the forces he has unleashed

    In the last of a three-part series on Saudi Arabia, Bethan McKernan asks whether the crown prince will be able to see through his ideas for reform


    At the closing ceremony of the King Abdul Aziz camel festival in the desert village of Rumah, 130 kilometres (81 miles) from Riyadh, ardah dancers in two rows wave their swords to the drumbeat. From behind the glass of the royal box, King Salman of Saudi Arabia beckons for his own sword, and with some effort rises to his feet. He lifts it over his head to join in with the performers. His son, newly appointed Crown Prince Mohammed, stays seated with his arms folded, nodding his head to the music.

    The stands at the race track are almost empty because of the tight security restrictions put in place for the royal party. But the spectators roar when the king stands up. One man walks up as close as he can get to the glass walls of the VIP section, where dozens of middle aged men in white thobes and keffiyehs surround the king and his heir. He uses his phone to take a photo through the glass but the inside light and reflection of the sun make for a poor picture. He sends it to about a dozen WhatsApp contacts anyway.

    “In your country, you have movie stars, celebrities,” he said. “In Saudi, we have the royal family.” Salman ascended to the throne after his 90-year-old half-brother Abdullah died of pneumonia in 2015. He appointed Mohammed, his eldest son by his third wife, as his successor last June, and the young prince is now by some stretch the second most powerful person in the kingdom.

    The state of 81-year-old Salman's health is a fiercely guarded secret, but when he dies, MbS, as he is known, will be the youngest king the modern state has ever seen. At just 32, he is expected to effectively set the tone for Saudi policy for decades.

    MbS’s rise has electrified Saudi society. Unlike older generations of the royal family, he has embraced media attention and his face beams down from billboards and television screens everywhere. To the young, the crown prince’s rapid ascent to power was taken as as sign that things in the conservative kingdom are changing. Now, reforms are being implemented quicker than even the most daring could have imagined a few years ago.

    “This country needs someone like him,” 25-year-old Yousif el Helw, from Jeddah, told The Independent.

    “I definitely think he is genuine [about reform], because he doesn’t have a reason not to be,” Mr Helw added.

    “He doesn’t need to do this for show, because the people have no say.”

    MbS is the driving force behind Vision 2030, the kingdom’s long-term economic plan to wean itself off dependence on oil, and has helped write a raft of socially liberal royal decrees allowing women to drive, reining in the notorious religious police and reopening cinemas. He has also promised a return to a more "moderate" Islam. His ideas are wildly popular in a country where 70 per cent of the 80 million strong population is under 30. Young people in the kingdom are hungry for the freedoms the growth of the internet and smartphones now allows them to see peers enjoying elsewhere.

    “Mohammed bin Salman genuinely seems to believe the country has been stuck in its old conservative ways for too long,” said Daniel Byman, a senior fellow at the Centre for Middle East Policy in Washington DC.

    “Education and driving for women – these moves are about more than just helping the population swallow the recent economic woes. But there’s always the question: ‘Why now?’”

    The rapid reforms do not stretch as far as addressing Saudi Arabia’s lack of freedoms of expression, assembly, or its liberal use of capital punishment.

    They also do not fundamentally change the guardianship system which effectively makes Saudi women second-class citizens. And in November, more than 200 members of the Saudi elite were locked up in Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton as part of an anti-corruption drive, a move that showed the new crown prince is as ruthless as he is charming.

    By consolidating his power base at home MbS hopes to be able to realise the kingdom’s vision of realigning the Middle East away from regional rival Iran. Domestic reform is also an indicator of good behaviour and progress - a potential pathway to gain international support for the new Saudi playbook.

    Under US President Donald Trump’s administration, Washington and Riyadh are now united by the idea that Iran is a definitive evil the world must stand against.

    “The US and Saudi have not been this closely aligned in years,” Mr Byman said. “There is a personal relationship and rhetorical harmony.”

    But the 32-year-old didn’t earn the dubious epithet “the most dangerous man in the world” for nothing.

    Western diplomatic sources say he has a reputation for recklessness. His policy within the Middle East to date has ranged from embarrassing to disastrous.

    Attempts to influence events in Lebanon and Qatar have for the most part backfired; and the kingdom’s involvement in Yemen’s civil war has stagnated to the point it is now being referred to as Saudi’s Vietnam.

    “Despite everything we’ve seen from Trump himself, it’s still actually quite hard to be friends with the Saudis right now,” said Farea al Muslimi, a Yemeni analyst and non-resident fellow at London’s Chatham House.

    “You can’t barefacedly sell arms [that are fuelling Yemen’s war]. No matter how much cleaning up the Saudis do of their image Yemen is still an ugly truth they are partly responsible for.

    “You could let dead people drive, not just women, but that fact is the same.”

    MbS’s strategy at home is bold and, like his foreign policy adventures, it isn’t guaranteed to work.

    Saudi Arabia is going through more upheaval at the moment than the modern kingdom has ever seen. Not everyone is ready for social change, and members of the House of Saud sidelined by the crown prince’s recent power grab could yet form blocs of opposition against him. The average Saudi citizen is suffering from fuel subsidy cuts and rising unemployment – factors which in the Arab Spring led to uprisings and war elsewhere in the region.

    Saudi Arabia stands on the cusp of real change – but with it comes the inherent risk of instability. Whether the new crown prince will be able to control the myriad forces he has unleashed both at home and abroad remains to be seen.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-mohammed-bin-salman-crown-prince-social-reforms-women-yemen-conservatism-a8199431.html

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    Re: Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    Salaam

    More comment


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    Re: Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    For anybody who wants to know why Saudi Arabia is going through such change.


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    Re: Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    Salaam

    Another update

    Mohammed bin salman is visiting the UK.


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    Re: Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    Salaam

    Another update

    Saudi prince says Turkey part of “triangle of evil” – Egyptian media

    Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has described Turkey as part of a “triangle of evil” along with Iran and hardline Islamist groups, Egypt’s Al-Shorouk newspaper reported on Wednesday. The Saudi prince also accused Turkey of trying to reinstate the Islamic Caliphate, abolished nearly a century ago when the Ottoman Empire collapsed.

    His reported comments reflect Saudi Arabia’s deep suspicion of President Tayyip Erdogan, whose ruling AK Party has its roots in Islamist politics and who has allied his country with Qatar in its dispute with Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf states. Turkey has also worked with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival in the Middle East, to try to reduce fighting in northern Syria in recent months, and Iranian and Turkish military chiefs exchanged visits last year.

    Al-Shorouk quoted Prince Mohammed as saying “the contemporary triangle of evil comprises Iran, Turkey and extremist religious groups.” The prince spoke to Egyptian newspaper editors during a visit to Cairo, on his first foreign trip since becoming heir to the oil-exporting giant last year.

    He said the dispute with Qatar could be long-lasting, comparing it to the US embargo of Cuba imposed 60 years ago, but played down its impact, dismissing the Gulf emirate as “smaller than a Cairo street”.

    Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic and trade links with Qatar last June, suspending air and shipping routes with the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, which is home to the region’s biggest US military base.

    However, the Crown Prince said Qatar would not be barred from attending an Arab summit hosted by Saudi Arabia later this month.

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180307-saudi-prince-says-turkey-part-of-triangle-of-evil-egyptian-media/

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    Re: Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    "The Saudi prince also accused Turkey of trying to reinstate the Islamic Caliphate, abolished nearly a century ago when the Ottoman Empire collapsed." I would love to believe that. And if Saudi Arabia won't do it, then step aside.
    Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    "When a person sees the road as too long, he weakens in his walk." - Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

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    Re: Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    The script which crown prince read was written by someone else
    Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    Allah (swt) knows best

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    Re: Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    Salaam

    Another update

    Arabias Knight

    Except to hear plenty of talking heads this week during Saudi Crown prince Mohammed bin Salmans visit to London, generally highlighting its diplomatic and commercial importance without mentioning how they profit from Riyadhs petro billions.

    First up at the weekend on Radio 4 Today programme was ambassador to Saudi Arabia between 2003 and 2007 Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles: ‘Hes a young man in a hurry, hes precisely the kind of leader that I used to hope Saudi Arabia would have when I was ambassador there. . . .he’s doing much more than bringing women back into the public space: he’s opening up the Saudi economy; he’s diversifying Saudi away from oil and, perhaps most important of all he’s changing the political and economic culture.’

    Alas, there was no time before or after this brown nosing of authoritarian ‘MBS’ (plus warm words for the closeness of Boris Johnsons relationship with the crown prince) to mention Sir Sherards post ambassadorial job at BAE Systems, acquired after supporting the dropping of Saudi bribery investigations against the company in 2006.

    Nor was there time to mention his current role at HSBC as ‘head of government affairs’ (and a director of HSBC Egypt). HSBC, it so happens, is already advising state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco on it forthcoming stockmarket listing, with more luctrative work in the offing if and when this goes ahead – especially if it chooses welcoming London

    PE No - 1465

    - - - Updated - - -

    Salaam

    Another update

    Naz Shah MP praises Saudi Crown Prince for his stance on women’s rights


    Naz Shah MP has said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman deserves our support because of his attitude to women’s rights.

    Writing in iNews the Labour Bradford MP said bin Salman is a reformist, echoing the sentiments of Downing St and the Foreign Office.

    The 30 year old is the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia and in recent years has launched a devastating war on Yemen, imposed an economic siege on Qatar and cracked down on his internal rivals. He is in Britain for a three day state visit during which he will meet the prime minister and government officials as well as the royal family.

    “His stay affects me first and foremost as a Brit: the Kingdom is one of our country’s key allies, not just in trade but in intelligence-sharing, which saves British lives,” Shah wrote.

    “Unafraid of upsetting the old guard… the Crown Prince has taken steps towards transforming how Saudi society views women.

    “First, the so-called ‘Religious Police’ … were reigned in. Only weeks later, women were given the right to drive. Soon after, the corrupt patronage networks (which many viewed as part of the essential structure of the Kingdom) that made it impossible for young people – especially young women – to build a career on merit were dismantled. And finally, ‘Guardianship’ – the medieval laws that enslave women to the whims of male relatives – were scaled back.”

    Shah’s comments were in stark contrast to the Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry who castigated bin Salman in a piece for the Guardian, especially his war on Yemen.

    She wrote that hundreds of Yemeni children have died from the worst cholera outbreak in modern history, thousands have succumbed to malnutrition, and an untold number of civilians have been killed by airstrikes on homes, streets, weddings and funerals.

    “This has been the human price of the three-year civil war in Yemen, in which all parties have shown a callous disregard for life, but where the large majority of civilian deaths lies irrefutably at the door of Saudi Arabia.

    “Yet today the architect of that Saudi intervention in Yemen – crown prince Mohammad bin Salman – will visit Britain, and will receive the red carpet treatment from the Tory government, as if he were Nelson Mandela. This is the man behind the rolling blockade of Yemen’s rebel-held ports, preventing the supply of essential food, medicine and fuel to Yemeni civilians, and – on all the available evidence – breaching international law by using starvation as a weapon of war.”

    https://www.islamicboard.com/newreply.php?do=postreply&t=134346796

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    Re: Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    Salaam

    Comedy about Arab British relations.



    This was made in the 1980s.

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    Re: Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    Salaam

    Another update


  16. #32
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    Re: Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    Salaam

    Another update

    Saudi Arabia says revamping education to 'eradicate any trace of Muslim Brotherhood'

    RIYADH:

    Saudi Arabia is revamping its education curriculum to eradicate any trace of Muslim Brotherhood influence and will dismiss anyone working in the sector who sympathises with the banned group, the education minister said.

    Promoting a more moderate form of Islam is one of the promises made by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman under plans to modernise the deeply conservative Muslim kingdom.

    The education ministry is working to “combat extremist ideologies by reviewing school curricula and books to ensure they do not reflect the banned Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda,” al-Isa said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

    It would “ban such books from schools and universities and remove those who sympathise with the group or its ideology from their posts,” he added.

    In September, a large Saudi public university announced it would dismiss employees suspected of ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, adding to concerns that the government is clamping down on its critics in academia and beyond.

    Earlier this month, Crown Prince Mohammed told CBS in an interview that Saudi schools have been “invaded” by elements of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been designated by Saudi Arabia as a terrorist organisation along with other militant groups such as al Qaeda and Islamic State.

    Internal threat

    The young crown prince has already taken some steps to loosen Saudi Arabia’s ultra-strict social restrictions, scaling back the role of religious morality police, permitting public concerts and announcing plans to allow women to drive.

    The ruling al Saud family has always regarded militant groups as a major internal threat to its rule over a country where appeals to religious sentiment resonate deeply and an al Qaeda campaign a decade ago killed hundreds.

    Since the kingdom’s founding, the al Saud have enjoyed a close alliance with clerics of the Wahhabi school of Islam who have espoused a political philosophy that demands obedience to the ruler. By contrast the Brotherhood advances an active political doctrine urging revolutionary action.

    A political Islamist organisation founded in Egypt nearly a century ago, the Muslim Brotherhood says it is committed to peaceful activism and reform through elections, and its adherents span the region, holding elected office in Arab countries from Tunisia to Jordan.

    Brotherhood members fleeing repression in Egypt, Syria and Iraq half a century ago took shelter in Saudi Arabia, some taking up roles in the kingdom’s education system and helping to establish the Sahwa or “Awakening” movement which agitated in the 1990s for democracy.

    The Sahwa mostly fizzled, with some activists arrested and others coaxed into conformity, though admirers and its appeal lingered.

    https://tribune.com.pk/story/1665562/3-saudi-arabia-says-revamping-education-eradicate-trace-muslim-brotherhood/

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    Re: Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    Salaam

    Can this be confirmed from other sources?

    Spread of Wahhabism was done at request of West during Cold War – Saudi crown prince

    The Saudi-funded spread of Wahhabism began as a result of Western countries asking Riyadh to help counter the Soviet Union during the Cold War, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the Washington Post.

    Speaking to the paper, bin Salman said that Saudi Arabia's Western allies urged the country to invest in mosques and madrassas overseas during the Cold War, in an effort to prevent encroachment in Muslim countries by the Soviet Union

    He added that successive Saudi governments had lost track of that effort, saying "we have to get it all back." Bin Salman also said that funding now comes mostly from Saudi-based "foundations," rather than from the government.

    The crown prince’s 75-minute interview with the Washington Post took place on March 22, the final day of his US tour. Another topic of discussion included a previous claim by US media that bin Salman had said that he had White House senior adviser Jared Kushner "in his pocket."

    Bin Salman denied reports that when he and Kushner – who is also Donald Trump's son-in-law – met in Riyadh in October, he had sought or received a greenlight from Kushner for the massive crackdown on alleged corruption which led to widespread arrests in the kingdom shortly afterwards. According to bin Salman, the arrests were a domestic issue and had been in the works for years.

    He said it would be "really insane" for him to trade classified information with Kushner, or to try to use him to advance Saudi interests within the Trump administration. He stated that their relationship was within a normal governmental context, but did acknowledge that he and Kushner "work together as friends, more than partners." He stated that he also had good relationships with Vice President Mike Pence and others within the White House.

    The crown prince also spoke about the war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition continues to launch a bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in an attempt to reinstate ousted Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi as president. The conflict has killed thousands, displaced many more, driven the country to the brink of famine, and led to a major cholera outbreak.

    Although the coalition has been accused of a large number of civilian deaths and disregard for civilian lives - an accusation which Riyadh denies - the crown prince said his country has not passed up "any opportunity" to improve the humanitarian situation in the country. “There are not good options and bad options. The options are between bad and worse,” he said.

    The interview with the crown prince was initially held off the record. However, the Saudi embassy later agreed to led the Washington Post publish specific portions of the meeting.

    https://www.rt.com/news/422563-saudi-wahhabism-western-countries/

  18. #34
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    Re: Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    Salaam

    You have to respect his honesty


    In spite of leftist propaganda, we shall continue to buy weapons


    Arab leftists and those influenced by their defeated culture have been criticizing Saudi Arabia for strengthening its military to develop it into a powerful deterrent force against any threats to its security and stability, such as the ones posed by the theocratic state of Iran. They concoct devious insinuations that imply military purchases are imposed on us by Western countries, especially the US.

    Saudi Arabia is a major regional power with huge financial resources. Its geographical spread is equivalent to that of a continent, and all Muslims around the world aspire to perform pilgrimage in the two Holy Mosques situated here. The country is located at the center of the global human populace, between the East and the West, which gives it a great advantage. It is for all these factors that Saudi Arabia is being targeted, whether directly as the Persian clerics aspire or indirectly by other international powers aspiring to have a foothold in our country. Our deterrent military power is thus a top priority. The purchase of weapons will undoubtedly contribute to deterring the avaricious countries.

    Western countries are also keen to sell us weapons for purely economic reasons as these sales would boost their economy. Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s signing of new deals for advanced weaponry with the US, the UK and other Western countries, makes us proud. The world nowadays only respects the powerful, and we happen to have the financial and human capacities needed to make the Saudi deterrent force capable of curbing the greedy.

    Betting on the right horse

    Saudi Arabia has had the political acumen of betting on the right horse, since the time of Abdulaziz till the reign of Salman bin Abdulaziz, which is the West that is now headed by the US. Meanwhile leftist Arabs have historically sided with the eastern camp, specifically with the defeated Soviet Union. In the end, all those who placed their hopes on the eastern camp failed. This defeat was not only related to the military but also to economic development. This is evident on any visit to Syria, Iraq, Libya or southern Yemen. One can easily see the huge gap between what we have been able to accomplish in terms of construction and services and what these countries achieved. It is not that the other side was not endowed with natural resources, because Iraq and Libya have rich petroleum deposits, financial resources and capabilities that could have made their countries develop on par with Riyadh, Abu Dhabi or Kuwait. However, their futile slogans and allegiance to the decadent left, brought them misery and suffering.

    In the end I wish to tell those influenced by the vanquished leftist ideology that we will deal with the West, and we will benefit from its superior civilization and its accomplishments — both its military feats and its other cultural achievements. These mainly deliver deterrence to our communities and also enhance welfare and services. As for you, your media, your intellectuals, and your criticism, these are nothing but the groans of a defeated force as it falls in the battle of civilizations.

    This article was originally published in Al Jazirah.


    https://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2018/03/28/In-spite-of-leftist-propaganda-we-shall-continue-to-buy-weapons-.html

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  20. #35
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    Re: Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    Quote Originally Posted by Junon View Post
    Salaam

    Can this be confirmed from other sources?

    Spread of Wahhabism was done at request of West during Cold War – Saudi crown prince

    The Saudi-funded spread of Wahhabism began as a result of Western countries asking Riyadh to help counter the Soviet Union during the Cold War, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the Washington Post.

    Speaking to the paper, bin Salman said that Saudi Arabia's Western allies urged the country to invest in mosques and madrassas overseas during the Cold War, in an effort to prevent encroachment in Muslim countries by the Soviet Union

    He added that successive Saudi governments had lost track of that effort, saying "we have to get it all back." Bin Salman also said that funding now comes mostly from Saudi-based "foundations," rather than from the government.

    The crown prince’s 75-minute interview with the Washington Post took place on March 22, the final day of his US tour. Another topic of discussion included a previous claim by US media that bin Salman had said that he had White House senior adviser Jared Kushner "in his pocket."

    Bin Salman denied reports that when he and Kushner – who is also Donald Trump's son-in-law – met in Riyadh in October, he had sought or received a greenlight from Kushner for the massive crackdown on alleged corruption which led to widespread arrests in the kingdom shortly afterwards. According to bin Salman, the arrests were a domestic issue and had been in the works for years.

    He said it would be "really insane" for him to trade classified information with Kushner, or to try to use him to advance Saudi interests within the Trump administration. He stated that their relationship was within a normal governmental context, but did acknowledge that he and Kushner "work together as friends, more than partners." He stated that he also had good relationships with Vice President Mike Pence and others within the White House.

    The crown prince also spoke about the war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition continues to launch a bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in an attempt to reinstate ousted Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi as president. The conflict has killed thousands, displaced many more, driven the country to the brink of famine, and led to a major cholera outbreak.

    Although the coalition has been accused of a large number of civilian deaths and disregard for civilian lives - an accusation which Riyadh denies - the crown prince said his country has not passed up "any opportunity" to improve the humanitarian situation in the country. “There are not good options and bad options. The options are between bad and worse,” he said.

    The interview with the crown prince was initially held off the record. However, the Saudi embassy later agreed to led the Washington Post publish specific portions of the meeting.

    https://www.rt.com/news/422563-saudi...ern-countries/
    I have seen the same report in sputnik. Thats not news though. The Green zone was an American project to stop the communist threat in the muslim countries that was started at the time of Jimmy Carter. This resulted in American agents who appeared to be some Islamic leaders.
    2 | Likes Zzz_, Junon liked this post
    Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    If you have broken a heart, what you offer is not Salah..

  21. #36
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    Re: Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    Salaam

    Another update


    MBS meets AIPAC, anti-BDS leaders during US visit

    Leaked itinerary shows MBS has met leaders of several right-wing Jewish organisations during ongoing US tour.


    Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, known as MBS, has met leaders from a number of right-wing Jewish organisations during his tour of the United States.

    The groups, which have donated millions to illegal settlement building and the fight against BDS (the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, include officials from AIPAC, Stand Up for Israel (ADL) and the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA).

    According to a leaked copy of his itinerary, Haaretz reported that MBS also met with leaders from the Conference of Presidents, B'nai B'rith and the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

    AIPAC, ADL and the JFNA have long targeted BDS, a non-violent movement that seeks to economically pressure Israel into providing equal rights and a right of return to Palestinians.

    Some of the pro-Israel US groups have spent millions in lobbying for the Combating BDS Act, a bill that seeks to stifle BDS.

    Meanwhile, JFNA gave almost $6m to illegal Israeli settlements between 2012 and 2015.

    JFNA supports a number of settlements over the Green Line (the border separating pre-1967 Israel from the Occupied Palestinian Territories), and helps families of Jews suspected or convicted of violence against Palestinians.

    'Pro-Israelis guard Washington'

    While Saudi Arabia does not officially recognise Israel, analysts have repeatedly said the overtures by MBS signal a warming of ties between the two countries. Mahjoob Zweiri, the director of the Gulf Studies Programme at Qatar University, said the MBS visit was "a PR campaign aimed to represent a new face of the kingdom to the US, one that was flexible and willing to change".

    "There was an old understanding from Arab leaders that the gates for Washington, DC are guarded by pro-Israeli leaders. This includes business leaders, groups such as AIPAC and others linked to Israel," Zweiri told Al Jazeera.

    "MBS is following that trend, he's trying to court the US and show them that he supports their plan for Israel-Palestine and their decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

    "Another dimension is that when Republicans are in power, it's widely believed they have closer ties to Israel and the Israeli agenda.

    "US President Donald Trump's 'deal of the century,' which recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, could also see a normalising of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, and force the Palestinians to agree to Israeli demands."

    As part of his two-week tour, MBS has already met Bill and Hillary Clinton, Senator Chuck Schumer, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He is expected to meet Oprah Winfrey, a media mogul and major opinion-maker in the US in the coming days. Other notable media meetings include dinner with Rupert Murdoch, CIA director and soon to be Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence, Defence Secretary James Mattis and Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/...091244300.html

  22. #37
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    Re: Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    Salaam

    The British ruling classes commenting on his performance so far

    Mohammed bin Salman’s first geopolitical outing since becoming Saudi Arabia’s crown prince last summer looks, through one lens, like a triumphal royal progress. Received with honours due a head of state in the UK last week, the 32-year-old heir to the Saudi throne will next week travel to the US, where he will meet President Donald Trump at the White House.

    Such fanfare, and an effusion of PR hype, invite the question of whether MbS, as he is known, is engaged in reforming or rebranding the kingdom willed to him by his 82-year-old father, King Salman. The answer is that he is doing a bit of both — albeit with some glaring gaps.

    He has moved fast to start freeing Saudi society from the stifling watch of a reactionary and misogynistic clergy. He has set unimaginably ambitious goals to transform the kingdom’s oil-dependent economy into a hive of private investment-driven innovation. These policies are the basis for ubiquitous advertising claiming that MbS is “opening Saudi Arabia to the world”, holding out to a population, two-thirds of which is younger than he is, the possibility of fulfilling lives and decent livelihoods.

    There are even signs the young prince is rethinking his foreign adventurism (he is defence minister as well as economy and energy overlord). He seems to be scaling back his war in Yemen after three years that have achieved little beyond mass civilian slaughter, famine and a cholera epidemic, at huge cost to both the kingdom’s reputation and its finances (a cost of $120bn so far, according to one Saudi defence expert).

    The Saudi-led blockade of Qatar that began in June, and MbS’s de facto detention in Riyadh in November of Saad Hariri, the Lebanese prime minister, served mainly to push Qatar towards Iran. The crown prince has now received Mr Hariri with the courtesy he denied him last year and it looks as though the US is pushing for a solution to the rift with Qatar, a distraction from the regional contest with Iran.

    But where is politics in all this? No one expects MbS to sprinkle pixie dust on an absolute monarchy that is rooted in a theocratically absolute brand of Islam and magic it into a Jeffersonian democracy. The point is that this young ruler, autocratic even by Saudi standards, has undermined each of the three pillars that hold the kingdom aloft — the ruling House of Saud, the Wahhabi clerical establishment, and the tribes. While that may eventually turn out to be a good thing, for now it is opening up an institutional vacuum in the country. It will take a lot more than expensive PR and consultants to fill that gap.

    The sprawling, faction-ridden House of Saud will not easily tolerate MbS’s monopoly of power. The al-Saud, understanding that over-reach and family rivalries brought down the first two Saudi kingdoms in the 19th century, have learnt to respect caution and revere consensus. Now the family is riven again, and it is not just hidebound gerontocrats who fear the young crown prince may be out of his depth.

    The way in which MbS, backed by King Salman, cleared his path to the throne last year has sown bitter seeds. Mohammed bin Nayef, the veteran interior minister and security tsar who was ousted as crown prince in the palace coup last summer, was branded a drug addict. Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, son of former King Abdullah, was removed as commander of the powerful National Guard under the cover of November’s arrest of princes and ministers, tycoons and media magnates. He was accused of embezzlement.

    There are problems beyond MbS blackening the names of his cousins. His appropriation of wealth, said by the kingdom’s attorney-general to be worth $100bn so far, not only sidesteps the rule of law and gives investors pause, it is also another way of monopolising power. It appears there is now another instalment of the November seizure of assets in the works. Well-placed Saudi and Arab sources say there is a new “no-fly list” containing the names of hundreds of wealthy Saudis banned from leaving the kingdom — but who only discover this once they get to the airport.

    Saudi Arabia needs change. It cannot survive on its depleting oil revenue. Its young citizens are restless; a fifth of them live below the poverty line. They are also potentially prey to the radical bigotry of the Wahhabis — the legacy of Ibn Abdul Wahhab that has cloaked and veiled the al-Saud with legitimacy from the 18th century. It is an unqualified good that MbS is striving to unpick this fusion of religious and political power. But building up institutions to underpin the new kingdom he aims to create will be vital — not an optional extra.

    https://www.ft.com/content/cec6b1c0-...e-cc62a39d57a0

  23. #38
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    Re: Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, toured the Mojave Air and Space Base in the California desert.

    He was greeted by British businessman and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, who accompanied him on the tour.

    The Crown Prince was briefed on modern technologies and a project of tunnels.

    Mojave is also the home to the National Test Pilot School, Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic/The Spaceship Company.
    http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/5...and-Space-Port
    Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    Allah (swt) knows best

  24. #39
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    Re: Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    Salaam

    My my how interesting, this is a long post but worth a careful read.

    Saudi Crown Prince: Iran's Supreme Leader 'Makes Hitler Look Good'

    In a wide-ranging conversation, Prince Mohammed bin Salman also recognized the Jewish peoples’ right to “their own land.”


    This much, at least, can be said for Mohammed bin Salman, the putatively reformist crown prince of Saudi Arabia: He has made all the right enemies. Among those who would celebrate his end are the leaders of ISIS, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas, as well as Yemen’s Houthi rebels, and the entire clerical and military leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran. As a bonus, there are members of his own family, the sprawling, sclerotic, self-dealing House of Saud, who would like to see him gone—or at the very least, warehoused at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh, where the 32-year-old prince recently imprisoned many of his enemies and cousins during an anti-corruption sweep of the kingdom.

    The well-protected Prince Mohammed does not seem particularly worried about mortal threats, however. He was jovial to the point of ebullience when I met him at his brother’s compound outside Washington (his brother, Prince Khalid bin Salman, is the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.). Prince Mohammed (who is known widely by his initials, MbS) seemed eager to download his heterodoxical, contentious views on a number of subjects—on women’s rights (he appears doubtful about the laws that force Saudi women to travel with male relatives); on Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, who is, in the prince’s mind, worse than Hitler; and on Israel. He told me he recognizes the right of the Jewish people to have a nation-state of their own next to a Palestinian state; no Arab leader has ever acknowledged such a right.

    Prince Mohammed, who is on a seemingly endless pilgrimage to the nodes of American power (he is in Hollywood this week) is an unfamiliar type for Middle East reporters accustomed to a certain style of Saudi leadership, which is to say, the functionally comatose model of authoritarian monarchism. Prince Mohammed’s father, the 82-year-old King Salman, is not overly infirm, but it is clear that his son is already in charge. And if the prince, his many handlers, and his partisans on Wall Street and in the White House (especially his fellow prince, Jared Kushner) are to be believed, he is in a genuine hurry to overturn the traditional Saudi order.

    Prince Mohammed’s visit to the U.S. is mainly a hunting trip for investment, and an opportunity for him to sell his so-called Vision 2030, an elaborate, still mainly unexecuted plan to modernize the Kingdom and end its dependence on oil. But in our conversation, I tried to focus Prince Mohammed on some of the more challenging problems of the moment, including his country’s cold war with Iran; its often-brutal military intervention in Yemen against the Iranian-backed Houthi; the status of women in a country that has practiced a form of gender apartheid for decades; Saudi Arabia’s relationship with Israel and the Palestinians; and his country’s own past support for Muslim extremists of the type he now condemns. I did not ask him about corruption, in part because it is a difficult-to-define concept in a country named for its ruling family, the expropriation of national wealth being a defining feature of absolute monarchies. But it is worth noting that Prince Mohammed recently purchased a yacht allegedly worth half-a-billion dollars. When Norah O’Donnell, of CBS, asked the prince about this, and other purchases, he said, “My personal life is something I’d to keep to myself and I don’t try to draw attention to it. … As far as my private expenses, I’m a rich person and not a poor person. I’m not Gandhi or Mandela.”

    Prince Mohammed dodges questions he doesn’t like, but he is still unusually direct for a Saudi leader. He reminded me in our meeting of Jordan’s King Abdullah II—a new-generation royal frustrated by do-nothing relatives, retrograde tribal politics, and fearful of both Shiite and Sunni extremism. (One difference, of course, is that Saudi Arabia is the linchpin of the Middle East; Jordan is not. If Prince Mohammed actually achieves what he says he wants to achieve, the Middle East will be a changed place.)

    The prince, in my conversation with him, divided the Middle East into two warring camps: what he called the “triangle of evil,” consisting of Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Sunni terror groups; and an alliance of self-described moderate states that includes Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Oman. About his bête noir, the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Prince Mohammed said, “I believe the Iranian supreme leader makes Hitler look good. Hitler didn’t do what the supreme leader is trying to do. Hitler tried to conquer Europe. … The supreme leader is trying to conquer the world.”

    Another key—though sub rosa—member of Prince Mohammed’s alliance is Israel, a country about which Prince Mohammed did not have a bad word to say. In fact, when I asked him whether he believed the Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland, he said: “I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation. I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land.” According to the former U.S. peace negotiator Dennis Ross, moderate Arab leaders have spoken of the reality of Israel’s existence, but acknowledgement of any sort of “right” to Jewish ancestral land has been a red line no leader has crossed until now. (My meeting with Prince Mohammed took place before the recent fatal violence on the Gaza-Israel border, but I do not believe that the crown prince would have moderated his views in light of these events. The Saudis, like many Arab leaders, have tired of the Palestinians.)

    Our conversation took place in Prince Khalid’s living room, beneath a painting depicting the 1945 meeting between President Franklin Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia (and grandfather of Mohammed and Khalid). Prince Khalid joined us, as did a wide array of aides and advisers, who sat on two couches and frowned with concern when it seemed as if the prince was veering toward bluntness. They seemed worried when the conversation turned to the matter of Saudi Arabia’s “guardianship” laws, which forbid Saudi women and girls from traveling without the permission of a male sponsor. Prince Mohammed, who recently lifted a ban that kept women from driving, seemed eager to acknowledge that he wanted to bring about an end to these guardianship rules. “Before 1979 there were societal guardianship customs, but no guardianship laws in Saudi Arabia,” he said, referring to a hinge year in Saudi history, in which the Iranian revolution, as well as an extremist Sunni siege of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, caused a conservative backlash in the kingdom. “It doesn’t go back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad. In the 1960s women didn’t travel with male guardians. But it happens now, and we want to move on it and figure out a way to treat this that doesn’t harm families and doesn’t harm the culture.”

    On issues related to human rights, openness, and the continued efficacy of the absolute monarchy model of governance, the crown prince was more circumspect and defensive, as you will see in this edited and condensed transcript of our conversation:

    Goldberg:
    It’s good to hear about some of the things you are promising to do in Saudi Arabia, but it’s very early in the process. Yours is a big, complicated country, and it’s very hard to shift culture. Could you start by talking about Islam, the role you think Islam should play in the world?

    Mohammed bin Salman
    : Islam is a religion of peace. This is the translation of Islam. God, in Islam, gives us two responsibilities: The first is to believe, to do good things, and not bad things. If we do bad things, God will judge us on Judgment Day.

    Our second duty as Muslims is to spread the word of God. For 1,400 years, Muslims have been trying to spread the word of God. In the Middle East, in North Africa, in Europe, they weren’t allowed to spread the word. That’s why they fought to spread the word. But you also see that, in a lot of countries in Asia—Indonesia, Malaysia, India—Muslims were free to spread the word. They were told, “Go ahead, say whatever you want to say, the people have free will to believe whatever they want to believe in.” Islam, in this context, was not about conquering, it was about peacefully spreading the word.

    Now, today, in the triangle of evil—

    Goldberg:
    The triangle of evil?

    MbS:
    Yes, I will explain in a moment. In this triangle, they are trying to promote the idea that our duty as Muslims is to reestablish the caliphate, to reestablish the mindset of the caliphate—that the glory of Islam is in building an empire by force. But God didn’t ask us to do this, and the Prophet Muhammad did not ask us to do this. God only asked us to spread the word. And this mission is accomplished. Today, every human has the right to choose their belief. In every country, it is possible to buy religious books. The message is being delivered. We have no duty anymore to fight to spread Islam. But in the triangle of evil, they want to manipulate Muslims, to tell them their duty as Muslims—their dignity as Muslims —requires the establishment of a Muslim empire.

    Goldberg: About the triangle—

    MbS: First in the triangle we have the Iranian regime that wants to spread their extremist ideology, their extremist Shiite ideology. They believe that if they spread it, the hidden Imam will come back again and he will rule the whole world from Iran and spread Islam even to America. They’ve said this every day since the Iranian revolution in 1979. It’s in their law and they’re proving it by their own actions.

    The second part of the triangle is the Muslim Brotherhood, which is another extremist organization. They want to use the democratic system to rule countries and build shadow caliphates everywhere. Then they would transform into a real Muslim empire. And the other part is the terrorists—al-Qaeda, ISIS—that want to do everything with force. Al-Qaeda leaders, ISIS leaders, they were all Muslim Brotherhood first. Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of ISIS. This is very clear.

    This triangle is promoting an idea that God and Islam are not asking us to promote. Their idea is totally against the principles of the United Nations, and the idea of different nations having laws that represent their needs. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Yemen—all of these countries are defending the idea that independent nations should focus on their own interests, in building good relations on the foundation of UN principles. The evil triangle doesn’t want to do that.

    Goldberg: Isn’t it true, though, that after 1979, but before 1979 as well, the more conservative factions in Saudi Arabia were taking oil money and using it to export a more intolerant, extremist version of Islam, Wahhabist ideology, which could be understood as a kind of companion ideology to Muslim Brotherhood thinking?

    MbS: First of all, this Wahhabism—please define it for us. We’re not familiar with it. We don’t know about it.

    Goldberg:
    What do you mean you don’t know about it?

    MbS:
    What is Wahhabism?

    Goldberg: You’re the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. You know what Wahhabism is.

    MbS:
    No one can define this Wahhabism.

    Goldberg:
    It’s a movement founded by Ibn abd al-Wahhab in the 1700s, very fundamentalist in nature, an austere Salafist-style interpretation—

    MbS: No one can define Wahhabism. There is no Wahhabism. We don’t believe we have Wahhabism. We believe we have, in Saudi Arabia, Sunni and Shiite. We believe we have within Sunni Islam four schools of thought, and we have the ulema [the religious authorities] and the Board of Fatwas [which issues religious rulings]. Yes, in Saudi Arabia it’s clear that our laws are coming from Islam and the Quran, but we have the four schools—Hanbali, Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki—and they argue about interpretation.

    The first Saudi state, why was it established? After the Prophet Muhammad and the first four caliphs, the people of the Arabian Peninsula went back to fighting each other like they did for thousands of years. But our family, 600 years ago, established a town from scratch called Diriyah, and with this town came the first Saudi state. It became the most powerful economic part of the peninsula. They helped change reality. Most other towns, they fought over trade, hijacked trade, but our family said to two other tribes, “Instead of attacking the trade routes, why don’t we hire you as guards for this area?” So trade grew, and the town grew. This was the method. Three hundred years later, this is still the way. The thought was always that you need all the great brains of the Arabian Peninsula—the generals, the tribal leaders, the scholars—working with you. One of them was Muhammad ibn abd al-Wahhab.

    But our project is based on the people, on economic interests, and not on expansionist ideological interests. Of course we have things in common. All of us are Muslim, all of us speak Arabic, we all have the same culture and the same interest. When people speak of Wahhabism, they don’t know exactly what they are talking about. Abd al-Wahhab’s family, the al-Sheikh family, is today very well known, but there are tens of thousands of important families in Saudi Arabia today. And you will find a Shiite in the cabinet, you will find Shiites in government, the most important university in Saudi Arabia is headed by a Shiite. So we believe that we are a mix of Muslim schools and sects.

    Goldberg:
    But what about the funding of extremists?

    MbS: When you talk about funding before 1979, you are talking about the Cold War. You had communism spreading everywhere, threatening the United States and Europe and also us. Egypt had turned in that time to this sort of regime. We worked with whomever we could use to get rid of communism. Among those was the Muslim Brotherhood. We financed them in Saudi Arabia. And the United States of America financed them.

    Goldberg:
    Was it a mistake?

    MbS: If we went back in time, we would do the same thing. We would use these people again. Because we were confronting a bigger danger—getting rid of communism. Later on we had to see how we could deal with the Muslim Brotherhood. Remember, one of the presidents of the United States called these people freedom fighters.

    We tried to control and manage their movements. But then came 1979, which exploded everything. The Iranian revolution [created] a regime based on an ideology of pure evil. A regime not working for the people, but serving an ideology. And in the Sunni world, extremists were trying to copy the same thing. We had the attack in Mecca [on the Grand Mosque]. We were in a situation of revolution in Iran, and they were trying to copy it in Mecca. We were trying to keep everything tied together, to keep everything from collapsing. We faced terrorism in Saudi Arabia and in Egypt. We called for the arrest of Osama bin Laden very early, because he was not in Saudi Arabia. We suffered quite a lot by fighting terrorism, until 9/11 happened. This is the story.

    Goldberg: I spent a lot of time in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the late 1990s, early 2000s, and it was generally understood that the militant madrassas were getting money from Saudi Arabia. It seems from what you’re saying that things got out of control—your government, your family, didn’t control spending and ideological support, and then it came back and hurt not only you but your friends and allies as well. Your big project, if I understand correctly, is to try to contain some of the things that were unleashed by your country.

    MbS: We used the Muslim Brotherhood in the Cold War—we did, both of us—

    Goldberg:
    I’m not saying the U.S. is innocent here—

    MbS: This is what America wanted us to do. We had a king who paid with his life trying to counter these people, King Faisal, one of the greatest kings of Saudi Arabia. When it comes to financing extremist groups, I challenge anyone if he can bring any evidence that the Saudi government financed terrorist groups. Yes, there are people from Saudi Arabia who financed terrorist groups. This is against Saudi law. We have a lot of people in jail now, not only for financing terrorist groups, but even for supporting them. One of the reasons we have a problem with Qatar is that we are not allowing them to use the financial system between us to collect money from Saudis and give it to extremist organizations.

    Goldberg: You think you’ll ever be friendly again with Qatar?

    MbS:
    It has to happen, one day. We hope they learn fast. It depends on them.

    Goldberg: You speak extraordinarily bluntly about Iran and its ideology. You’ve even equated the supreme leader to Hitler. What makes him a Hitler? Hitler is the worst thing you can be.

    MbS:
    I believe that the Iranian supreme leader makes Hitler look good.

    Goldberg: Really?

    MbS:
    Hitler didn’t do what the supreme leader is trying to do. Hitler tried to conquer Europe. This is bad.

    Goldberg: Yes, very bad.

    MbS:
    But the supreme leader is trying to conquer the world. He believes he owns the world. They are both evil guys. He is the Hitler of the Middle East. In the 1920s and 1930s, no one saw Hitler as a danger. Only a few people. Until it happened. We don’t want to see what happened in Europe happen in the Middle East. We want to stop this through political moves, economic moves, intelligence moves. We want to avoid war.

    Goldberg:
    Is the problem in your mind religious?

    MbS: As I told you, the Shiites are living normally in Saudi Arabia. We have no problem with the Shiites. We have a problem with the ideology of the Iranian regime. Our problem is, we don’t think they have the right to interfere with our affairs.

    Goldberg:
    I’m curious about Donald Trump and Barack Obama on this issue. It seems you think Donald Trump has a better understanding of this issue than Barack Obama.

    MbS: Both of them understand it. I believe that President Obama had different tactics. President Obama believed that if he gave Iran opportunities to open up, it would change. But with a regime based on this ideology, it will not open up soon. Sixty percent of the Iranian economy is controlled by the Revolutionary Guard. The economic benefits of the Iran nuclear deal are not going to the people. They took $150 billion after the deal—can you please name one housing project they built with this money? One park? One industrial zone? Can you name for me the highway that they built? I advise them—please show us something that you’re building a highway with $150 billion. For Saudi Arabia, there is a 0.1 percent chance that this deal would work to change the country. For President Obama it was 50 percent. But even if there’s a 50 percent chance that it would work, we can’t risk it. The other 50 percent is war. We have to go to a scenario where there is no war.

    We are pushing back on these Iranian moves. We’ve done this in Africa, Asia, in Malaysia, in Sudan, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon. We believe that after we push back, the problems will move inside Iran. We don’t know if the regime will collapse or not—it’s not the target, but if collapses, great, it’s their problem. We have a war scenario in the Middle East right now. This is very dangerous for the world. We cannot take the risk here. We have to take serious painful decisions now to avoid painful decisions later.

    Goldberg:
    Speaking of painful decisions, are you making the situation in Yemen worse though military actions that are causing humanitarian catastrophes? There’s a lot of justified criticism of your bombing campaigns.

    MbS: First of all, we have to go back to real evidence, real data. Yemen started to collapse not in 2015 [when the Saudis intervened], but in 2014—based on UN reports, not based on our reports. So it’s collapsing for one year before of the campaign started. We had a coup d’état in 2015 against a legitimate government in Yemen. And from the other side al-Qaeda tried to use this move for its own sake and to promote its own ideas. We fought to get rid of extremists in Syria and Iraq and then they started to create a haven in Yemen. It would be much harder to get rid of extremists in Yemen than Iraq or Syria. Our campaign is focused on helping the legitimate government and bringing stability. Saudi Arabia is trying to help the people of Yemen. The biggest donor to Yemen is Saudi Arabia. The people who are manipulating this aid in the 10 percent of Yemen not controlled by the government is the Houthis.

    What I want to say here, to make it simple, is that sometimes in the Middle East you don’t have good decisions and bad decisions. Sometimes you have bad decisions and worse decisions. Sometimes we have to choose the bad option. We don’t want to come here, as Saudi Arabia, and be asked these questions. We want to be asked about the economy, our partnerships, investment in America and Saudi Arabia. We don’t want to spend our lives arguing about Yemen. This is not something about choice here. This is about security and life for us.

    Goldberg:
    Do you believe in women’s equality?

    MbS: I support Saudi Arabia, and half of Saudi Arabia is women. So I support women.

    Goldberg: But equality? Equalizing society?

    MbS: In our religion there is no difference between men and women. There are duties to men and duties to women. There are different forms of equality. In the Saudi government women are paid exactly like men. We have regulations like this that are going into the private sector. We don’t want divided treatment for different people.

    Goldberg: But what about the guardianship laws? That’s something you want to change for good? I think everyone is impressed that you’re letting women drive, but for many Americans the main issues are the real structural impediments to women’s equality.

    MbS:
    Before 1979 there were societal guardianship customs, but no guardianship laws in Saudi Arabia. It doesn’t go back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad. In the 1960s women didn’t travel with male guardians. But it happens now, and we want to move on it and figure out a way to treat this that doesn’t harm families and doesn’t harm the culture.

    Goldberg:
    You’re going to get rid of these laws?

    MbS: There are a lot of conservative families in Saudi Arabia. There are a lot of families divided inside. Some families like to have authority over their members, and some women don’t want the control of the men. There are families where this is okay. There are families that are open and giving women and daughters what they want. So if I say yes to this question, that means I’m creating problems for the families that don’t want to give freedom for their daughters. Saudis don’t want to lose their identity but we want to be part of the global culture. We want to merge our culture with global identity.

    Goldberg: This is a values question. You come from a country that’s very different than ours—yours is an absolute monarchy, a place where people don’t have the right to vote, you have corporal punishment and capital punishment carried out in ways that a lot of Americans don’t like—

    MbS: We don’t share values. But I also believe that different states in the United States don’t share values. There are different values between California and Texas. So how come you want us to share your values 100 percent when you are not sharing values? Of course there is a foundation of values that all humans share. But there are differences, state-to-state, country-to-country.

    Goldberg:
    But absolute monarchy?

    MbS: Absolute monarchy is not a threat to any country. You say “absolute monarchy” like it’s a threat. If it were not for absolute monarchy, you wouldn’t have the United States. The absolute monarch in France helped the creation of the United States by giving it support. Absolute monarchy is not an enemy of the United States. It’s an ally for a very long time.

    Goldberg: That’s very clever, but it avoids the subject.

    MbS: Okay, each country, each regime, it has to do what the people think is workable. Saudi Arabia is a network of thousands of absolute monarchies, and then has a large absolute monarchy. We have tribal monarchies, town monarchies. Moving against this structure would create huge problems in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi fabric is much more complicated than you think. And actually our king doesn’t have absolute power. His power is based in law. If he is making a royal decree, he can’t say, “I’m King Salman and I’m doing this.” If you read decrees, you first see the list of laws that allow the king to take this decision. By the way, the queen of the United Kingdom, she has absolute power with any law. But she doesn’t practice it. So it’s complicated.

    Goldberg: Could you see yourself moving toward a system in which people vote for their representatives? When you start to let people choose who represents them, that’s change.

    MbS: What I can do is encourage the power of law. We would like to encourage freedom of speech as much as we can, so long as we don’t give opportunity to extremism. We can improve women’s rights, improve the economy. There is tension here, but we should do it.

    One American visitor told me a really interesting thing. He said that Americans don’t recognize the difference between the two things—there is the end, and there is the means. The end here is development, rights, and freedom. The way to get to it, and this is the American view, is democracy, but the way to get to it in Saudi Arabia is our more complex system.

    Goldberg: Let’s talk about the broader Middle East. Do you believe the Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland?

    MbS: I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation. I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land. But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations.

    Goldberg: You have no religious-based objection to the existence of Israel?

    MbS: We have religious concerns about the fate of the holy mosque in Jerusalem and about the rights of the Palestinian people. This is what we have. We don’t have any objection against any other people.

    Goldberg: Saudi Arabia has traditionally been a place that has produced a lot of anti-Semitic propaganda. Do you think you have a problem with anti-Semitism in your country?

    MbS: Our country doesn’t have a problem with Jews. Our Prophet Muhammad married a Jewish woman. Not just a friend—he married her. Our prophet, his neighbors were Jewish. You will find a lot of Jews in Saudi Arabia coming from America, coming from Europe. There are no problems between Christian and Muslims and Jews. We have problems like you would find anywhere in the world, among some people. But the normal sort of problems.

    Goldberg: Do you think Iran is bringing you and Israel together? Without Iran, could you imagine a situation in which you had other interests in common with Israel?

    MbS: Israel is a big economy compared to their size and it’s a growing economy, and of course there are a lot of interests we share with Israel and if there is peace, there would be a lot of interest between Israel and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and countries like Egypt and Jordan.

    Goldberg: I’m curious about your youth. This is a complicated job for a young man.

    MbS: I believe humans learn to the last days of their life. Anyone who claims he knows everything doesn’t know anything. What we are trying to do is to learn fast, to understand fast, to be surrounded by smart people. I don’t believe my youth is a problem. I believe the best creations in the world came from young people. Apple is a good example. Apple was created by Steve Jobs, who was in his early 20s when he started inventing. Social media, Facebook, created by guy who is still young. I believe that my generation can add a lot of things.

    Goldberg: One thing Steve Jobs had was freedom. He lived in a country where you could do anything. I don’t think anyone would describe Saudi Arabia as a place where you can do anything from a human rights perspective, from the perspective of freedom.

    MbS: In Saudi Arabia you can do whatever you want to do in a business, in what kind of work and what kind of project you want to develop. Also, there is a different standard of freedom of speech. In Saudi Arabia we have just three lines—anyone can write whatever they want to write, speak about whatever they want to speak about, but they shouldn’t reach these three lines. This is not based on the interest of the government, but on the interest of the people. Line one is Islam. You cannot defame Islam. Line two—in America, you can attack a person and his company or a minister and his ministry. In Saudi Arabia it’s okay to attack a ministry or a company, but the culture of the Saudis, they don’t like to attack a person, and they like to leave the personal issue out of it. This is part of the Saudi culture.

    The third line is national security. We are in an area not surrounded by Mexico, Canada, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. We have ISIS, al-Qaeda and Hamas and Hezbollah and the Iranian regime, and even pirates. We have pirates that hijack ships. So anything that touches the national security, we cannot risk in Saudi Arabia. We don’t want to see things that happen in Iraq happening in Saudi Arabia. But other than that, people have the freedom to do whatever they want to do. For example, we didn’t block Twitter. Or access to social media. Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat. Name it, it’s open for all Saudis. We have the highest percentage of people around the world using social media. In Iran they block social media and in other countries they block social media. Saudis have free access to whatever media around the world.

    Goldberg: I’m not so sure that Twitter is good for civilization, but that’s for a future conversation. Thank you very much.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/04/mohammed-bin-salman-iran-israel/557036/

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    Re: Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince

    Salaam

    Quote Originally Posted by anatolian View Post
    I have seen the same report in sputnik. Thats not news though. The Green zone was an American project to stop the communist threat in the muslim countries that was started at the time of Jimmy Carter. This resulted in American agents who appeared to be some Islamic leaders.
    Yes I was surprised to learn how far for example the relationship between the Sauds and the British went (pre WW1). Its been charged that the British cultivated, manipulated and used the Sauds to undermine the Ottoman empire by stirring up 'trouble'. And Im sure we all the know the story about WW 1. They've been great friends ever since.

    I think western powers, globalists (pick your favourite label) as you say are trying to infiltrate and remake Islam for its own interests.

    We need to look into this more.

    Just to add a response from Hamza bin Laden.

    Last edited by Junon; 04-03-2018 at 07:14 PM.

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