Category Archives: Saudi Arabia

Will a Saudi Prince Really Come to Israel?

President Obama with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef. Photo: Screenshot.

Is the Middle East going to experience another historic moment with the visit of Saudi Prince Talal bin Waleed to Israel in what could be the most significant move toward peace between the Arabs and Israelis since Anwar Sadat’s iconic trip to Israel? Or is this merely a rumor?

The Jerusalem Post ran the story of Prince Talal’s visit, subsequently ran a denial, and then scrubbed everything. What the Jerusalem Post thinks of the original story is anyone’s guess.

Unlike the Post, however, no Arab source has retracted the story. In fact, Paul Miller of the Salomon Center for American Jewish Thought contacted Moroccan Journalist, Aziz Allilou, who broke the story in the Arab world outside of Saudi Arabia. On the basis of this exchange, Mr. Miller reports that there is neither an official confirmation nor denial of the story, which originates with credible Saudi media sources in Arabic.

It is highly unlikely that the Saudi government would let the story run without a disclaimer if it were not true. And so far the story not only has legs, but it also portends the most dramatic movement toward peace in the region in recent memory.

First there is Prince Talal himself. A media tycoon and highly successful investor who frequently appears on business channels, the Saudi multibillionaire is the modern visage of Saudi Arabia. Soft spoken, impeccably dressed, his insights into the ebb and flow of international markets are highly sought after.

An Arab moderate, the prince has urged his Arab brothers and sisters to shift policy toward Israel in search of a more peaceful, prosperous, and homogenous Middle East.

This appeal was followed by a statement of cosmic proportions. According to Saudi media, the prince intends to embark on a seven-day pilgrimage of the Holy Land and pray in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Calling for Muslims in the Middle East “to desist from their absurd hostility toward the Jewish people,” the prince went on to announce that Saudi King Salman has instructed him to open a direct dialogue with Israel’s intellectuals in pursuit of amicable ties with all of Israel’s Arab neighbors.

Prince Talal denounced the growing waves of anti-Semitism in the region and praised Israel as the region’s sole democratic entity.

The story gains credibility considering that the Saudis and the Israelis have had five “secret” meetings to discuss common defense and intelligence issues related to President Barack Obama’s policy of strengthening Iran economically while permitting the terror state to become a potential nuclear power with a breakout capacity that is unknowable.

If the prince is successful in achieving his aspirations, he will be inscribed in history as one of the Middle East’s, if not one of the world’s, great visionaries.Amid the despair in the region generated by Obama’s Iran policy, Prince Talal’s pronouncements are uplifting and portend a bright future and a potential military and intelligence cooperation that will serve as a bulwark against an Iran emboldened and strengthened by Mr. Obama’s naïve policies.

In arrogantly thinking he alone could decide the future of the Middle East, Mr. Obama has unleashed the unintended consequences that frequently shape great events: in this instance for the betterment of all the peoples of the Middle East but ultimately to the detriment of America’s interests.

Mr. Obama might awaken one day to a Middle East where America will face the diplomatic and strategic unintended consequences of his choice to embrace her enemies while rebuffing her friends.

We should applaud Prince Talal and wish him every success. May his journey open a path to the betterment of the entire region and for a lasting reconciliation between Israel and her neighbors.

If the story cannot be substantiated or is perhaps nothing more than a trial balloon, even that shows progress. For if it were true, this could well be the most promising breakthrough toward peace between Arabs and Israelis since Sadat’s speech to the Israeli Knesset. If Prince Talal will not be breaking bread with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu any time soon, it cannot be overstated how Prince Talal, a member of the Saudi royal family, condemnation of anti-Semitism and praise for Israel’s democracy, is still a giant step in the right direction.

Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a senior fellow with the Salomon Center for American Jewish Thought. @salomoncenter. This article was originally published by The Observer. 

فإن الأمير السعودي تعال حقا إلى إسرائيل؟

الشرق الأوسط سوف تواجه لحظة تاريخية أخرى مع زيارة الأمير السعودي طلال بن الوليد إلى إسرائيل في ما يمكن أن يكون خطوة الأكثر أهمية نحو السلام بين العرب والإسرائيليين منذ رحلة السادات الشهيرة إلى إسرائيل؟ أم أن هذا مجرد إشاعة؟

جيروزاليم بوست ركض قصة زيارة الأمير طلال، في وقت لاحق يدير الإنكار، ثم تغسل كل شيء. ما جيروزاليم بوست يفكر في القصة الأصلية هو تخمين أي شخص.

على عكس بوست، ومع ذلك، لا يوجد مصدر العربي قد تراجع عن القصة. في الواقع، بول ميلر من مركز سالومون اليهودي الفكر أمريكا اتصلت الصحفي المغربي عزيز Allilou، الذي كسر القصة في العالم العربي خارج المملكة العربية السعودية. على أساس هذا التبادل، وتقارير السيد ميلر انه لا توجد أي تأكيد رسمي ولا إنكار هذه القصة، التي تأتي مع مصادر إعلامية سعودية موثوقة باللغة العربية.

فمن المستبعد جدا أن الحكومة السعودية لن تسمح على المدى القصة دون إخلاء لو لم يكن صحيحا. وحتى الآن القصة ليس لديه سوى الساقين، لكنه ينذر أيضا الحركة الأكثر دراماتيكية نحو السلام في المنطقة في الذاكرة الحديثة.

أولا هناك الأمير طلال نفسه. A قطب الاعلام والمستثمر الناجح للغاية الذي يبدو في كثير من الأحيان على القنوات التجارية، والملياردير السعودي هو محيا الحديثة في المملكة العربية السعودية. تحدث لينة، ويرتدون ملابس منزه، اكتشافاته في المد والجزر من الأسواق الدولية وسعى للغاية بعد.

عربي معتدل، حث الأمير أشقائه وشقيقاته العربية في تغيير السياسة تجاه إسرائيل بحثا عن أكثر سلما وازدهارا، ومتجانسة الشرق الأوسط.

وأعقب هذا النداء ببيان ذات أبعاد كونية. وفقا لوسائل الإعلام السعودية، يعتزم الأمير للشروع في رحلة حج لمدة سبعة أيام في الأراضي المقدسة وأداء الصلاة في المسجد الأقصى في القدس.

تدعو المسلمين في الشرق الأوسط “إلى الكف عن العداء سخيف تجاه الشعب اليهودي”، ذهب الأمير على أن يعلن أن العاهل السعودي الملك سلمان وطلب منه فتح حوار مباشر مع المثقفين إسرائيل في السعي لتحقيق علاقات ودية مع كل من اسرائيل الجيران العرب.

ندد الأمير طلال تزايد موجات العداء للسامية في المنطقة، وأشاد اسرائيل ككيان الديمقراطي الوحيد في المنطقة.

مصداقية مكاسب القصة معتبرا أن السعوديين والإسرائيليين لديهم خمسة اجتماعات “سرية” لمناقشة قضايا الدفاع والاستخبارات المشتركة المرتبطة لسياسة الرئيس باراك أوباما لتعزيز إيران اقتصاديا في حين يسمح للدولة إرهاب أن تصبح قوة نووية محتملة مع قدرات متقدمة هذا هو مجهول.

إذا كان الأمير ناجحا في تحقيق طموحاته، وقال انه سيتم المدرج في التاريخ باعتباره واحدا من الشرق الأوسط، إن لم يكن أحد في العالم، visionaries.Amid عظيم اليأس في المنطقة الناتجة عن سياسة أوباما تجاه إيران، تصريحات الأمير طلال هي النهضة وتنذر بمستقبل مشرق والجيش المحتملين والتعاون الاستخباراتي التي من شأنها أن تكون بمثابة حصن منيع ضد إيران جرأة وتعزيز سياسات أوباما ساذجة.

في التفكير بغطرسة وحده يمكن أن يقرر مستقبل الشرق الأوسط، والسيد أوباما العنان العواقب غير المقصودة التي كثيرا ما تشكل الأحداث العظيمة: في هذه الحالة من أجل تحسين جميع شعوب الشرق الأوسط، ولكن في نهاية المطاف على حساب مصالح أميركا .

السيد أوباما قد توقظ يوم واحد إلى الشرق الأوسط حيث ستواجه أمريكا من عواقب غير مقصودة الدبلوماسية والاستراتيجية لاختياره لاحتضان أعداء لها في حين رافضة صديقاتها.

ينبغي لنا أن نشيد الأمير طلال ونتمنى له كل التوفيق والنجاح. قد رحلته تفتح الطريق لتحسين المنطقة بأسرها وللمصالحة دائمة بين إسرائيل وجيرانها.

إذا كانت القصة لا يمكن إثباتها أو ربما ليس أكثر من بالون اختبار، حتى أن يظهر تقدما. لأنه إذا كان صحيحا، وهذا يمكن أن يكون جيدا اختراق الواعدة نحو السلام بين العرب والإسرائيليين منذ خطاب السادات في الكنيست الإسرائيلي. إذا الأمير طلال لن يتم كسر الخبز مع رئيس الوزراء الاسرائيلي بنيامين نتنياهو في أي وقت قريب، فإنه لا يمكن المبالغة كيف الأمير طلال، وهو عضو في العائلة المالكة السعودية، إدانة معاداة السامية والثناء على ديمقراطية إسرائيل، لا تزال خطوة عملاقة في الاتجاه الصحيح.

إبراهيم H. ميلر هو أستاذ فخري في العلوم السياسية، جامعة سينسيناتي، وزميل بارز في مركز سالومون للفكر اليهودي الأمريكي. salomoncenter. تم نشر هذه المقالة في الأصل من قبل المراقب.

Saudi Arabia says ready to confront any Iran mischief

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir warned Iran Thursday to use the economic benefits of a new nuclear deal to help its people and not fund “adventures in the region.”

“If Iran should try to cause mischief in the region we’re committed to confront it resolutely,” Jubeir said after meeting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, days after the landmark deal was struck granting Tehran sanctions relief in return for dismantling and mothballing most of its nuclear program.

Kerry will also head to the Gulf in Aug. 3 seeking to allay fears over the Iran nuclear deal. The Saudi minister said the meeting with the Gulf Cooperation Council would take place in Doha.

Back at work only days after an 18-day negotiating marathon to seal the unprecedented accord, Kerry met al-Jubeir, the beginning of a charm offensive designed to win over the many doubters in the United States and abroad.

“All of us in the region want to see a peaceful resolution to Iran’s nuclear program,” Jubeir said after their talks.

He welcomed a deal with a “robust and continuous inspections regime to make sure Iran does not violate the terms of the agreement,” adding it should also have an effective and quick “snapback” mechanism that allows for sanctions to be quickly reimposed if Tehran violates Tuesday’s accord.

Under the deal, Iran will win relief from crippling sanctions in return for dismantling and mothballing much of its nuclear industry so it cannot quickly develop an atomic bomb.

“We hope that the Iranians will use this deal in order to improve the economic situation in Iran and to improve the lot of the Iranian people, and not use it for adventures in the region,” Jubeir said.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with al-Jubeir at the
White House on Friday in his first meeting with a key ally following the Iran nuclear deal, a White House official said on Thursday.

The official said Obama and al-Jubeir would discuss the Iran accord among other things.

Iran stands accused of supporting the militia Houthi group in Yemen who overran the capital and parts of the country, forcing the Western-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and his government into exile in Riyadh.

Saudi-led warplanes have been waging air strikes against the rebels since March, helping to force the militia into retreat with ministers from Hadi’s exiled government now preparing to visit the southern city of Aden to assess the damage.

Majority Sunni Gulf countries have remained wary of the U.S. overtures to arch-foe Iran, believing the nuclear deal will only embolden Tehran’s Shiite leaders.

(With Reuters and AFP)

Saudi Arabia to Go Nuclear

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by Michael Lumish// Saudi Arabia and Russia are getting rather chummy these days. Toward the middle of last month, Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, visited with Vladimir Putin during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.  On Thursday, June 18, Saudi Arabia signed six agreements with Russia, including a nuclear deal which could see Russia building up to sixteen nuclear power plants on the Saudi Peninsula.

According to the National Interest:

The main agreement was a legal framework for civilian nuclear cooperation, with Saudi TV reporting that the country may pay Russia to operate as many as sixteen civilian nuclear power reactors. If accurate, such a deal would be hugely beneficial for both sides: Russia’s Rosatom would receive a lucrative contract, topping up government coffers, while the Saudis would be able to export significant amounts of oil and natural gas that are currently used to meet high domestic energy demand.

The various agreements contain a number of provisions including cooperation on the Yemen issue.  The nuclear arrangements are generally being interpreted in economic terms and in terms of the Russian relationship with OPEC.  As Nuclear Power Industry News notes the deal could mean up to $80 billion dollars flowing into Russian coffers due via nuclear construction projects.

As Reuters reports, such a deal would also allow Saudi Arabia to sell oil on the international market that might otherwise have been diverted for domestic consumption.  However, it should also be noted that Saudi Arabia has already signed nuclear cooperation deals with the United States, France, South Korea, China and Argentina.

Meanwhile, Nuclear Power Daily tells us:

According to Russia’s state-run atomic energy agency Rosatom, the deal for the first time in the history of Russian-Saudi relations creates a legal framework for bilateral cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. It opens a number of prospects, including cooperation in construction and operation of reactors, nuclear fuel cycle services as well as education and training.

This story has largely gone under the radar in the western press, particularly the American press, and reading most of the reports, so far, this all sounds relatively benign.  The National Interest even claims that the deal is “good news” while blandly noting that “a friendlier Saudi-Russian relationship raises some concerns for the United States.”

My suspicion – and it is only a suspicion – is that the Russian-Saudi deal is, at least in part, a reaction to the nuclear deal that United States President Barack Obama hopes to shortly conclude with Iran. Analysts are predicting that Obama’s Iran nuke deal will fuel a nuclear arms race throughout the Middle East and, in all likelihood, this is what we are looking at.  It could be that the primary motivation of the Saudis is simple economics.  By building nuclear facilities for domestic energy consumption they can sell more oil on the international market.  What is also quite likely, however, is that Saudi Arabia, like Iran, has cast its eye on the potential for a nuclear weapon. It seems highly unlikely that Sunni-controlled Saudi Arabia, not to mention Sunni-controlled Egypt, is going to look kindly upon a Shia bomb in the neighborhood.

The Russian-Saudi deal is a preliminary step that will allow Saudi Arabia to begin its own nuclear weapons program.  They may not do so, however.  It could be that Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the Sunni-Arab world, are perfectly content to see their Shia rivals become the dominant Muslim force in the region, but I would not bet on it.

Ultimately, this development may have dire consequences not just for the Middle East, but the entire planet.  Given the instability brought about by the misnamed “Arab Spring” a nuclear arms race throughout the Middle East is potentially disastrous.  As such weaponry begins to proliferate within the region there is absolutely no telling whose hands they might end up in. Imagine the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) with nuclear weaponry.

Curbing online extremism in Saudi Arabia

The number of social media users surged in Saudi Arabia in recent years, and so did the number of extremist who have resorted to social networking sites to spread their ideology.

On Twitter alone, more than 6,000 accounts tweet to Saudis in an effort to promote a militant ideology. The content is then re-tweeted by thousands of other accounts.

Moreover, the Saudi Ministry of Interior revealed on more than one occasion the existence of Twitter accounts that aim to recruit young Saudis, in addition to inciting to target Saudi cities, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

While the Saudi government has taken a series of measures to curb extremism and cut the financing of terror groups, the spread of militant supporters remains a challenge.

“It’s more challenging than ever to track and control the flow of the terrorists’ public and private communication, but the hardship doesn’t mean it’s an impossibility,” Salman Al Ansari, an analyst based in Saudi Arabia, told Al Arabiya News.

Al Ansari referred to a report published by the Saudi embassy in Washington D.C. website which outlined the measures undertaken by the government to battle terrorism.

“The report divided combating terrorism into three parts: men, money, and mind…Men for combating the ones who are involved in direct terror related crimes. Money; for combating terrorism financing. And Mind for combating the terrorist ideology and mindset.

“When we look at cyber terrorism we can simply put it under the Mind part since most of the terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda work heavily on spreading their ideology and ideas through the cyber world.”

Additionally, Al Ansari said social media companies carried some responsibility in curbing content that incited violence.

“Social media platforms are companies, and any company should abide to the common global laws that forbid facilitating any communication service to terrorists.

“Saudi Arabia as any other country, requires higher urgency from all global online companies to combat cyber terrorism with promptness and efficiency,” he added.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group has been particularly active online where it recruits many of its followers both from Europe and the Middle East.

According to one Saudi official, almost 46,000 websites promote content in support of ISIS.

“Websites are good propaganda tools for Daesh [ISIS] because they are away from physical control, supervision or restrictions,” Hassan Al-Daajah, an expert in security affairs and social media issues was quoted by Al-Watan newspaper in May.

“These sites are easily accessible and they are spreading among all members of Saudi society,” he said, adding that “terrorist” organizations implement their agenda through the use of “emotional and passionate” messages.

When asked about what he would recommend as an efficient policy to counter cyber terrorism, Al Ansari said it was more of a global problem than one country’s issue.

However, an increase in investment in cyber security and raising public awareness about the “seriousness of the kingdom regarding combatting cyber terrorism” are two polices he recommended.

Additionally, he pointed to a “Strict enforcement of law upon global social media companies” and “activating the activities of the U.N. center of combating terrorism and passing the Saudi demands on cyber security as a global policy.”

How Obama Made Peace Between Israel and the Saudi Arabia

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by  , a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.

In Washington D.C., the new director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry and a former Saudi Major General, both of whom run think tanks with close ties to their respective governments, shook hands.

It wasn’t their first time.

Obama wasn’t there when it happened, but in a way he was responsible for it.

Both men are foreign policy experts who help shape the foreign policies of their countries and had conducted five previous meetings. The topic of the meetings was Iran.

Obama wouldn’t have been pleased by their meeting or by what it represented, but he had brought them together. While Dore Gold, the Israeli, insisted that they had common ground because “We’re both allies of the United States”, it was Obama’s betrayal of both countries that had led them here.

While Obama likes to talk about making peace in the region, his only successful peace effort was this accidental byproduct of his disastrous policies. He had unintentionally managed to bring the Israelis and the Saudis together by alienating both countries with his permission slip for a nuclear Iran.

It was not a peace that he was likely to claim credit for.

Saudi Arabia was Israel’s oldest and most venomous enemy. Ibn Saud had called the Jews, “a race accursed by Allah according to his Koran, and destined to final destruction.” He had vowed to be content eating nothing but “camel’s meat” rather than give up hating the Jews.

“The word of Allah teaches us, and we implicitly believe this O Dickson, that for a Muslim to kill a Jew, or for him to be killed by a Jew ensures him an immediate entry into Paradise and into the august presence of Allah. What more then can a Muslim want in this hard world,” he had added.

And he meant it.

The origins of most of the anti-Israel activities in the Muslim world and the West can be found in Saudi Arabia. The poisoning of academia was funded by Saudi Arabia. The diplomatic and military leaders of the United States and the United Kingdom were turned against Israel by the Saudis. Anti-Israel narratives wound their way into the press and the public forums courtesy of their hired gun PR agencies.

Even BDS has its heavily disguised origins in the boycott of Israel promoted and enforced by the Saudis.

The Saudis haven’t stopped any of this. They are still waging Ibn Saud’s Koranic war against the Jews using academics, retired politicians, diplomats and generals, along with think tanks and PR agencies as their fronts, but they have found something that they hate and fear even more than the Jews.

The Sunni hatred of Shiites is nearly as old as the Islamic hatred of Jews and the Wahhabi forces of the Saudis had conducted massacres of Shiites that closely resemble ISIS actions today.

But this is more than hatred.  The Saudis are afraid.

Obama’s appeasement of Iran has already led to the fall of Yemen and Iranian naval attacks in international waters in the Persian Gulf. And everyone knows that worse is yet to come.

While the Saudis rush to frantically go nuclear before Iran does, their military, despite its billions in American equipment is unreliable. Obama has aligned with the Iran-Syria-Russia axis despite its members being even more hostile to the United States than the Saudis.

The Saudis have far more influence in Washington than the Israelis ever did, though their influence is subtle and understated, without the gaucherie of an AIPAC dinner. But Obama won’t be moved by the slow infusion of subtle narratives from think tanks, retired diplomats and assorted insiders that the Saudis have ably used to turn American politicians around on issues like the War on Terror or Israel.

Obama has decided what he wants to do and the Saudi-orchestrated drumbeat of criticism, like Netanyahu’s speeches, is an irritant that won’t change his worldview.

The Saudis have tried to play a variety of cards. They tried and failed to cut a deal with Putin. They likely played a significant role in removing Morsi from power in Egypt after his flirtation with Iran. That gave them access to a more reliable military than their own force of princes, but the best proven air force in the region still belongs to Israel.

If there is to be any non-American action against Iran’s nuclear program, it will come from Israel.

The United States has spent generations trying to push for peace between Sunni Muslim states and Israel. Perversely, Obama has come closest to achieving that peace by abandoning both sides while backing Jihadist groups and states hostile to both Israel and Sunni Muslim governments.

Obama’s backing for the Muslim Brotherhood ended up bringing Egypt and Israel closer together. Now his backing for Iran is bringing Israel and the Saudis together.

These relationships are not the final and ultimate peace solutions rhapsodized over by naïve crowds and politicians. Those will never come as long as tribalism and theocracy rule the day. They are pragmatic and temporary interactions made necessary by Obama’s transformation of American foreign policy.

The wave of instability created by Obama’s backing for Muslim Brotherhood regime change and then Iranian expansionism has made even formerly stable countries feel insecure. Israel’s best asset in this crisis is its invulnerability to the sectarian waves of Shiite and Sunni conflicts and the rising tide of the Muslim Brotherhood’s brand of political Islamism. While there are a few Muslim Brotherhood members in Israel’s Knesset under the United Arab List banner, there is no risk of them taking over the country.

Even Netanyahu’s reelection has improved Israel’s standing in the Middle East by demonstrating that it has a reliable and steady government that is publicly at odds with Barack Obama.

For the Saudis, the Israeli option is the final option. And it’s not clear that they are doing anything more than exploring it to send a very particular message to Obama and Iran. But in a region swiftly being divided between Iran and various Muslim Brotherhood splinter groups, including Al Qaeda and ISIS, the Jewish State may have become the most reliable counterweight to Iran and Obama.

The old American strategy had sought to create peace between Jew and Muslim under the security umbrella of the Pax Americana. Instead it’s the collapse of the umbrella that has come closest to bringing peace through war against common enemies. By destabilizing the Middle East and turning on the Saudis and Egyptians, Obama accidentally made Israel seem like a more credible partner.

Making the Middle East worse succeeded where trying to make it better had failed.

The post-American world that Obama has been building is a very different place. It is a world in which aggressors like Russia and China are reshaping regions to their liking through conquest and intimidation, but it is also a world in which former allies of the United States are trying to build dams against the tide.

If Hillary succeeds Obama, the resulting post-American world will be a very dangerous place, but like the countryside after the flood waters have washed much of it away, it may also be an interesting place.

Obama has destroyed the international accomplishments of Wilson, FDR, Eisenhower and Reagan while claiming to be their rightful successor. The world is returning to where it was a century ago. And on this new map of the world, an alliance between Israel and the Saudis is only one more strange new territory.

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