Skip to comments.Our Fair Weathered Saudi Friend: What to make of recent comments by Prince Muhammad bin Salman?
Posted on 04/06/2018 7:17:24 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Have we entered a new period of sweetness and light with our Arab neighbors? On Monday The Atlantic published an interview the magazines editor Jeffrey Goldberg conducted with Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.
Hours after its publication, the responses began pouring in.
The basic line, repeated by all major newspapers, is that the Saudi crown prince recognized Israels right to exist. Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt gushed about it on his Twitter feed.
Referring to the interview as amazing, Greenblatt wrote that all should watch [Muhammad bin Salman].
He is far from perfect [and] there is a long road ahead, but in a region long dominated by hateful despots, [the prince] envisions a very different future for Muslims, Jews, Christians and all in the Middle East.
Other commentators were even more exhilarated.
Are the princes fans correct? Is his ascendance to the Saudi crown the harbinger of a reformation of Islam and the beginning of a new era in Islamic relations with the Jews and the world as a whole? Not really.
Most of the reports on the interview have focused on the princes remarks in which he ostensibly recognized Israels right to exist. But did he actually recognize Israels right to exist? Did he distinguish himself from all the other Arab leaders who to date have recognized that Israel exists but not admitted it has a right to exist? Lets check the text.
Goldberg asked the prince, Do you believe the Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland? Muhammad replied, 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.
Does this mean that he recognized Israels right to exist in the Land of Israel? Maybe. Maybe not.
Where is the Israelis own land? In Jerusalem? In New York? Goldberg tried to find out. He asked, You have no religious-based objection to the existence of Israel? Muhammad responded, 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 dont have any objection against any other people.
In other words, it certainly appears that the prince has a religious-based objection to the existence of Israel.
As Dr. Harold Rhode, a recently retired adviser on Islamic Affairs in the Office of the US Secretary of Defense explains, during much of his conversation with Goldberg, Muhammad engaged in the Islamic practice of taqiyya, or dissimulation for the benefit of Islam. According to the Koran, Muslims are permitted to lie about Islam to advance the faith.
This conclusion is easily reached when considering his responses to other questions, which like his answer regarding Israel, were deliberately imprecise. Goldberg asked Muhammad simple direct questions and he responded with answers that were either misleading or open to multiple interpretations.
Consider their discussion of Wahhabism. Since Saudi Arabia was established 85 years ago, it has been governed under Wahhabist Islam. Wahhabism, a school of Islam founded in the 18th century by the radical Islamic scholar Ibn Abdel el-Wahhab, views itself as the only legitimate version of Islam. Wahhabism calls for the abrogation of all novel interpretations of Islam. It aspires to Islamic global dominion. And upholds jihad.
Since at least 1979, the Saudis have invested billions of petro-dollars in spreading Wahhabist Islam throughout the world.
But when Goldberg asked Muhammad about those petro dollars, the crown prince acted like he didnt know what Goldberg was talking about.
This Wahhabism, please define it for us. Were not familiar with it. We dont know about it, Muhammad said innocently.
Goldberg responded with amazement, What do you mean you dont know about it? Unmoved, he responded, What is Wahhabism? Goldberg replied, Youre the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. You know what Wahhabism is.
Muhammad countered, No one can define this Wahhabism.
He then proceeded to deny any connection with the creed of Saudi Arabia while boldly and entirely dishonestly presenting the kingdom as a paragon of religious tolerance where all forms of Islam, including Shiite Islam, are treated equally.
Another statement from Muhammad that generated significant interest was his claim that there is no Islamic religious duty to propagate Islam in the non-Islamic world today.
In his words, Today in non-Muslim countries, every human being has the right to choose his or her belief.
Religious books can be bought in every country. The message is delivered. Now it is no longer a duty for us to fight for the propagation of Islam.
While Muhammads statement is refreshingly straightforward, its meaning is less so. He made his statement as a way of arguing that the calls for jihad and the establishment of a caliphate by the Muslim Brotherhood are un-Islamic.
Certainly, it would be significant if the Saudis stopped funding the radical mosques they founded worldwide.
It would be even more significant if he said that his regime is ordering the mosques the Saudis established throughout the world to preach peaceful coexistence with the non-Islamic world and to reject jihad. But he said nothing of the sort.
Moreover, it is hard to take his claims seriously since he then went on to deny any familiarity with Wahhabism, the creed that has ruled his kingdom for four generations.
Perhaps Muhammads most creative mendacity came in his remarks regarding the status of women in his kingdom.
Goldberg began, Do you believe in womens equality? The prince responded shrewdly, I support Saudi Arabia, and half of Saudi Arabia is women. So I support women.
Goldberg asked the prince if he intends to abrogate the so called guardianship laws, which prohibit women from leaving their homes without a male relative accompanying them.
We want to move on it and figure out a way to treat this that doesnt harm families and doesnt harm the culture, he replied In other words: Absolutely not.
So it went over and over again throughout the interview.
In short, Muhammad said nothing revolutionary.
He bore no glad tidings of a strategic shift in the Saudi Islam or in the manner that the Saudis relate to the world, including the Jews.
Which brings us back to the main question. What did we learn from this interview? The most significant thing that came out of the interview is that Saudi Arabias crown prince is very keen to cooperate with the US and with Israel in everything related to defeating what he refers to as the triangle of evil.
The three sides of his triangle are Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the terrorist groups the Muslim Brotherhood has spawned, including al-Qaeda and Islamic State.
As far as Iran is concerned, Rhode explains that the primary enemy of the Khomeinist revolution was not the US or Israel.
Khomeini exploited pan-Islamic hatred for Israel and the US to win legitimacy from the Sunni Muslim world which he and his successors aspire to lead, alongside the Shiite Muslim world.
For them, Rhode continues, hatred of the little Satan and the great Satan is a means to achieve their true goal of destroying Saudi Arabia and every other Sunni regime and dominating the entire Islamic world.
As far as the Muslim Brotherhood and its terrorist offshoots are concerned, following the so-called Arab Spring, the Saudis recognized that the Muslim Brotherhood is the only actor in the Sunni Arab world capable of overthrowing their regime.
In other interviews, Muhammad has listed Turkeys neo-Ottoman leader, President Recep Erdogan, as the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. As such, Muhammad considers Erdogan an enemy no less than Iran.
Given Turkish behavior in the region and globally, there is every reason to agree with his assessment.
Whatever the case, Muhammads interview with Goldberg provides further proof if any was needed that the Saudi crown prince is very eager to receive American and Israeli cooperation in his bid to defeat the triangle of evil.
To be sure, it is fantastic that the Saudi leader wishes to cooperate with Israel in defeating our common foes.
But Rhode warns that we need to take his commitment to tactical cooperation with Israel with a grain of salt.
It isnt that Muhammad is insincere, Rhode says.
The problem is that Muhammads regime is built on shaky foundations. Muhammad instigated a blood feud with powerful forces within his family when he carried out a string of arrests last year. Among those arrested were several prominent princes.
Rhode explains that the Saudi ruling clan divvied up the organs of government among branches of the family. For instance, one branch controls the Defense Ministry, another controls the Education Ministry, and so on down the line.
In the Islamic world, humiliation is worse than death, Rhode notes.
When Muhammad arrested the other princes, he humiliated them, Rhode says.
And they will never forgive him. They will wait for the day they can exact revenge for their humiliation even if it only comes when their great-grandchildren have succeeded them.
Under these conditions, there is a significant danger that Muhammad will sabotaged by forces within his own extended family. Israel must take this danger into consideration with every step it takes in Muhammads direction. Even if Muhammad acts in good faith, there is reason to suspect those around him will use his cooperation with Israel to harm him and Israel.
Does this man that Israel should keep Muhammad at arms length? Of course it doesnt. But it does mean that Israel mustnt assume that since he holds absolute power, his power is unchallenged.
As to the great promise Muhammad embodies (or doesnt embody), here the situation is cut and dry.
Prince Muhammad is obviously a partner in everything relating to fighting Iran and the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas. But given the tactical nature of his commitment to Israel, and the absence of any indication that he intends to reform Islam in any significant way, Israel has no interest in making any concessions to him in exchange for its relations with him. The Saudis will not take their tactical alliance with Israel out of the (admittedly see-through, proverbial) closet.
For now, we have a Saudi ally in the young crown prince. So long as no one in Israel loses his head, and no one in Saudi Arabia exploits the alliance to chop off Muhammads head, we will be able to work together to achieve common goals. That is a glad tiding, even if it doesnt include signing ceremonies with doves and balloons.
What’s the Islamic doctrine that justifies lying? Let’s just let greed run its course by not getting in the way of the export of huge amounts of oil and gas into the world market. The Middle Eastern countries will have to pump more and more oil to maintain the income needed to maintain their economies as the price of oil drops. Russia will take a big hit too. They’ll have less money to modernize their military.
Fourteen months after President Trump took office, Something that no previous Saudi sucking Prog Socialist DemoRat pResident could get off his knees to accomplish in the last 70 years.
The only thing that gives me pause about this saudi son of an islamist is that he paid top dollar for a Da Vinci painting of Jesus, and that he’s very suspicious of the iraninans.
However, they should always remain nuclear targeted.
We saved his behind in Las Vegas!
It’s the Trump awakening. He’s opening eyes around the world to fake news, fake diplomacy, fake democracy.
The left has tried to co-opt the notion of ‘woke’ that Trump has been spreading.
First he won the election. Woke. Then he has had great Foreign Policy successes. Woke. Then a good start to tax reform. Woke. Immigration lies and deceit. Woke. Deep state lies and conspiracies. Woke. Obama lies and crimes that would make Nixon blush. Woke. Hillary lies, crimes, and cover ups. Woke. Media anti-Trump bias. Woke.
I love Carolyn Glick but sometimes she has unrealistic expectations and makes the perfect the enemy of the good.
sorry, meant Caroline Glick
NEVER going to happen. Koran forbids it.
He’s still our great ally, willing to fight to the last dead American.
You did not figure out 30 years ago that the talking point of “energy independence” our politi-whores have spewed since the 70’s is bullcrap?
Our elites bought into the “Peak Oil” theory. There was a conscious decision made, dating back to the 1960’s, that we should buy all the foreign oil we could afford to buy and leave vast reservoirs of US oil in the ground, waiting for the day when we would have the only proven reserves able to tap. Oil is the lifeblood of a modern economy, the one ingredient a modern mobile military simply MUST have to function, and the most strategic resource that there is.
We have no problem keeping the price of oil at a reasonable level, even if that means the spigot of domestic production needs to be opened up for brief periods of time...
You can always count on greed. As more and more NG liquidification facilities come online, our exports of NG will climb putting us in competition with Russian gas with which Russia has intimidated Europe. Our first LNG deliveries to Europe were last year. They’ll grow. Same with oil exports. As long as there is a buck to be made, business will go after it. The Middle Eastern countries are staring into the abyss.
President Reagan's concept of trust but verify pertains here. In that context, he can be trusted. Until he can't. I doubt Israel or President Trump need to be told that. Obama wouldn't have to be told either, he'd just be on Iran's side.
The snake is doing what Mohammad preached that any devout Muslim can do and remain a good Muslim as well as right with G-d - you can lie barefaced to the infidel, if it helps further Islam.
Chatter in Saudi is that MbS will take over in Saudi before 04JUL2018
Although it is not unlikely that MbS will take over soon, i.e. replace the present king, the date is just to drum up support against MbS.
Saudis Move to Push Oil Prices Higher, in Break From Past Policy
DUBAISaudi Arabia is maneuvering to push oil prices up to at least $80 a barrel this year, shifting away for now from its long-time role as a stabilizing force in global energy markets.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the countrys day-to-day ruler, is behind the move, aimed at raising revenue as his government seeks to carry out a wide-ranging economic overhaul, senior Saudi officials said.
Oil price https://www.bloomberg.com/quote/CO1:COM
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