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January 30, 2009

Former Saudi Diplomat Throws Red Meat to Extremists in the Name of Peace

Prince Turki al-Feisal, former Ambassador to U.S. and author of vicious anti-Israel screed (

By now the sins of the ruling class in Saudi Arabia have been pretty well documented. In an effort to keep a lid on religious extremism in the country they rule, the Saudi Royal family allowed extremist clerics to spread a puritanical and violent interpretation of the Muslim faith to other countries, including Pakistan, which now has the bomb. Stephen Schwartz wrote in 2003," When bombs go off in Israel, Kenya, Indonesia, and elsewhere, Saudi Arabia is still the main source of the terrorist money. The kingdom is an unwavering nerve center of ideological indoctrination, incitement, and terrorist financing."

It shouldn't come as any surprise, but Prince Turki al-Feisal, former Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. recently penned an hateful and dishonest piece that was published at, which warned of damaged relations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia if President Barack Obama does not start turning the screws to Israel.

In his piece, the Prince writes "[N]ot only have the Israeli defense forces murdered more than 1,000 Palestinians, but they have come close to killing the prospects of peace itself." (Emphasis added.)

Didn't eight years of rocket and mortar fire from the Gaza Strip diminish the prospects for peace? Didn't Hamas' violent takeover of the Gaza Strip -- during which it threw Fatah members off rooftops -- diminish the prospects for peace? And how about the anti-Jewish incitement on Palestinian television. (The Prince must be familiar with this incitement. It is also a problem in Saudi Arabia.)

The Prince then threatens the U.S. asserting that if it wants to maintain its "special relationship" with Saudi Arabia, it wil have to drastically revise its policies vis a vis Israel and Palestine. In particular, Prince Turki al-Feisal insists that President Obama

condemn Israel’s atrocities against the Palestinians and support a UN resolution to that effect; forcefully condemn the Israeli actions that led to this conflict, from settlement building in the West Bank to the blockade of Gaza and the targeted killings and arbitrary arrests of Palestinians; declare America’s intention to work for a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, with a security umbrella for countries that sign up and sanctions for those that do not; call for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from Shab’ah Farms in Lebanon; encourage Israeli-Syrian negotiations for peace; and support a UN resolution guaranteeing Iraq’s territorial integrity.

Here, Prince Turki al-Faisal is asking for America to defend the Middle East Iran's nuclear ambitions while at the same time affirming Iran's anti-Israel agenda. Someone needs to inform the former ambassador he can't have it both ways. He can either ask for protection from Iran's ambition to dominate the Middle East, or he can affirm Iran's hostile anti-Israel agenda, but he can't do both.

It also doesn't help the good Prince's credibility much to accuse Israel of murdering Palestinians. Yes, Israel did kill Palestinians, many of them terrorists and members of Hamas, but this does not qualify as murder. The attack on Sept. 11, 2001 -- perpetrated by extremists from Saudi Arabia? That qualifies as murder. But defending one's population against rocket and mortar attacks that have been ongoing since 2001? That is not murder. That's fighting a war -- something that Saudi Arabia is ill-equipped to do, relying on the United States to protect it from Saddam Hussein in the 1990s, and now apparently, from Iran's nuclear ambitions.

By invoking Shebaa Farms, and asserting that it belongs to Lebanon, Prince Turki al-Faisal is attempting to gloss over a few facts. The UN has already affirmed that Israel withdrew from all of Lebanon in 2000. Also, Israel took the territory from Syria -- not Lebanon -- during the 1967 War. It appears that Shebaa Farms has become a relay baton that can be passed from one regime to another and used to club Israel -- apparently with Saudi Arabia's approval. The Prince should know that this is not the stuff that makes for peace.

Prince Turki al-Feisal also ignores an important fact. Israel has been attacked from nearly every bit of territory from which it has withdrawn since the 1990s. And yet he portrays Israel as the source of the conflict, closing his piece with the following sentence: "Let us all pray that Mr. Obama possesses the forefight, fairness, and resolve to rein in the murderous Israeli regime and open a new chapter in this most intractable of conflicts."

How can a man who serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Crisis Group, an organization that bills itself as trying to "prevent conflict worldwide" write such a dishonest and incendiary article? Does he really believe what he has written, or is he merely trying to mollify extremists in Saudi Arabia that hate the royal family as much as they hate Israel?

Posted by dvz at January 30, 2009 08:37 AM


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