Saudi Ambassador to US Turki Al-Faisal on Middle East Crisis

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Tonight in my capacity as head of foreign policy programs at the New America Foundation, I am hosting a dinner salon gathering to discuss the growing conflagration in the Middle East with Saudi Ambassador to the United States Prince Turki Al-Faisal.
His comments will be on the record — and I will post them as soon as possible.
More soon.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

32 comments on “Saudi Ambassador to US Turki Al-Faisal on Middle East Crisis

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  4. MP says:

    Carroll writes: “Umpires don’t have a team, they are there to call fouls and strikes. It should be entrusted to an umpire group who has nothing to lose or gain and therefore no bias toward one side or the other. An impartial court which both sides can present their case to would seem ideal to me.”
    Not to stretch this metaphor too much–because we’re in substantial agreement here–but umpires only have authority when both teams agree to a common set of pre-established rules. Off-sides calls only count when everyone agrees where the line is. But when the two sides have a hard time agreeing on where the line is, it’s much harder for the umpire’s ruling to be binding–or for the two teams to agree that the umpire’s call will be binding. So, the two teams have to participate in creating the ground rules; otherwise, neither team will abide by the umpire’s rulings. It’s also unclear to me whether there’s anyone left in the world who is truly distinterested in this conflict. Greenlanders? Mongolians?

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  5. Carroll says:

    MP…..
    Umpires don’t have a team, they are there to call fouls and strikes.
    It should be entrusted to an umpire group who has nothing to lose or gain and therefore no bias toward one side or the other. An impartial court which both sides can present their case to would seem ideal to me.

    Reply

  6. MP says:

    Carroll writes: “We should be disqualified and put the process into some group with clean hands.”
    Hard to see how this one works for a few reasons. Who is the “we” here? If “we” are disqualified” how can “we” also put this thing into “clean hands?” Do “we” decide whose hands are clean?
    The other, thornier problem is, who has clean hands? Virtually no one who has any stake in the problem. That means, you also have to get these stakeholders to entrust their fate to folks who have nothing to gain or lose. While that seems fair, and may be fair, it’s a little like asking non-players to make rules for the players, not something the players are likely to agree to.
    I tend to think that EVERYONE with a stake should be involved, perhaps with outside facilitators.

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  7. Carroll says:

    You are welcome MP….
    I would disagree with you on only one thing you stated above…and that is the US’s part. I don’t think the US can be an honest broker while AIPAC and other right wing neo and religious groups have so much influence on politics….not to mention our weapons industry lobbist…there are so many people, both in the Israeli goverment and in the US, that have an vested interest in things “not changing” that I don’t see any way the US could be fair or unbiased. We should be disqualified and put the process into some group with clean hands.

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  8. xman says:

    “….what doesn’t cut it is thinking your busman’s style hippy travel, flapping your sandels in the dust and mistaking your navel gazing chit chat bread breaking with street people along your vagabond trek from India to Israel is a substitute for an education and facts.”
    HA! i didn’t think you were capable of such good writing. kudos. too bad it bears no relation to reality. i have no desire to discuss my curriculum vitae with you on this forumn. just suffice to say that i’m very far from a “hippy” and mine has been no “vagabond trek”
    but of course, yours is a better education, carroll?! i guess ACTUAL EXPERIENCE doesn’t count for much in your book.
    the funny thing about your argument and your world view, is the simmilarity that it has to your despised president, W bush.
    1. a simplistic worldview based on no actual experience.
    2. a penchant for demagoguery
    3. and an inability to admit that you don’t know it all.
    oh, the hypocrisy! 🙂

    Reply

  9. Carroll says:

    No xman aka Brian….
    ….what doesn’t cut it is thinking your busman’s style hippy travel, flapping your sandels in the dust and mistaking your navel gazing chit chat bread breaking with street people along your vagabond trek from India to Israel is a substitute for an education and facts.
    It’s not…as evidenced by the fact that you repeat this same factless, pointless mantra endlessly…probably because the people on the street you talked to on your soul train trip have about the same level, or lack of, intelligence.

    Reply

  10. MP says:

    Carroll: “Israel has always known what they have to do to have peace.”
    First, thanks for the British Archive link. I’ll definitely be making use of it. I appreciate it.
    Second, I agree that both sides know what a lasting settlement would look like in terms of two states side by side. There may be some negotiations over exact borders. Some issues will be harder to resolve, such as Jerusalem–but basically, everyone, except the extremists on both sides, know what the map should look like in the end.
    Third, if the US can bring both sides to the table and get them to agree and implement a plan, it will be interesting to see how that changes, or if it changes, the dynamic in the ME. I think Israel has shown with its pullout of the Gaza strip that it has the will to control the Greater Israel groups in its midst. In fact, Kadima was elected on a platform of pulling out of the territories (though unilateralism doesn’t work, as Levy pointed out and events have proven). Moreover, if the Israeli public sees that real peace is in the offing and both sides are doing what has to be done, they won’t allow the Greater Israel folks to hijack the process. For example, there was much support within Israel for dismantling the settlements in Gaza.
    It will be interesting to see if Hizbollah, Hamas, Iran, and Al Quaeda change their tune once Israel and the Palestinians make peace.

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  11. MP says:

    “”If you haven’t caught onto the “whine” and the “they want to destroy Israe$ and push us into the sea” bu$$shit propaganda I can’t help you.”
    Seems Carroll’s “L” key is a bit $ticky.

    Reply

  12. xman says:

    carroll,
    how can someone purport to be such an expert as you about a geoplolitical situation as intractable as that in israel and the surrounding middle east when they have NEVER set foot in the area?!
    you know little of which you speak.
    books and the internet don’t cut it, honey.
    the view in jerusalem and damascus is alot different than from georgia.
    and one refutation to your key point above:
    “If you haven’t caught onto the “whine” and the “they want to destroy Israe$ and push us into the sea” bu$$shit propaganda I can’t help you.”
    propoganda?! book a flight. go to the arab middle east. talk to some folks on the street. see if the above is propoganda.
    stupid. stupid. stupid.

    Reply

  13. Carroll says:

    Going back to Steve’s report on Senator Hagel….
    Monday…
    “Although pro-Israel sentiment runs deep in the U.S. Congress, Sen. Chuck Hagel (news, bio, voting record), R-Neb., broke with the president on Monday and said Israel’s pounding of Lebanon was hurting America’s image in the Middle East. “The sickening slaughter on both sides must end now,” Hagel said. “This madness must stop.”
    I am not getting my hopes up but could there be a glimmer of a chance that he may actually be the one who could bring America back from the brink?

    Reply

  14. Carroll says:

    Yes GQ…I am very interested in peace.
    However after years of observing both actors in the Isr/Pal song and dance of death, destruction and bullshit…my opinion is:
    Israel is more responsible for the chaos than Palestine. Yes, “more”.. not “solely” responsible but ..”more’ responsible.
    I am not going to list all the endless,provoke and attack, cry and whine about security, steal more land, provoke and attack again. And I am not going to excuse Afarat or Sharon. Or excuse sucide bombers that blow up people and themselves or excuse IDF snipers that shoot 13 year old girls…on purpose ….and bulldoze homes for collective punishment.
    I am just going to say if you haven’t caught onto the “Game” Isr has played for 37 years nothing I can say will help you.
    If you haven’t caught onto the “whine” and the “they want to destroy Israe$ and push us into the sea” bu$$shit propaganda I can’t help you. Neither Iran nor any other Arab or “non state” actor has said a thing about Israel that past and present Israelis leaders haven’t said about Palestine and Arabs.
    Israel WILL NOT go to the peace table becuase they are NOT WILLING to give up everything they have and still are skimming off Palestine. They DON’T have to go to the peace table as long as WE keep giving them money and weapons. As long as the US/AIPAC/Israel/Loockheed/Congress ponzi scheme financied by the taxpayers continues they have NO REASON to ever want a settlement….except one that would give them another 50% of Palestine that would include all of their water and gas resources.
    And they will cry wolf and sob and beg money and arms and sympathy with their “they want to destroy us whine” until they get their way….which means that Palestine will be left with very little of their own land and resources, not enough to build a viable state of their own.
    You cannot have peace without justice and the Israelis aren’t going to be just in any settlement…therefore there will be no settlement and the Israelis will keep playing their game.
    Hence I have no patience with them any longer…and certainly no respect…they are inveterate liars and refuse to ever take responsibility for any of their actions…they have run around the world for 57 years above the law, outside the law, using their holocaust card as a get out of jail free for assassinations, spying, even on the US, indiscriminate killing of civilians..ad nausum. Translated..the Israelis are not honorable people.
    In summary…there will be NO PEACE..until Israel if FORCED to make peace.
    Enough is a gd enough. The entire question of Palestine, which is 90% of the Israeli’s problem, should be taken entirely out of their hands and settled by an international party…with no interference by the US…who is incapable of being an honest or evenhanded broker.
    My new personal feeling about Israel is I would not piss on them if they were on fire any more than I would urinate on this US adm if it was burning in hell.

    Reply

  15. Carroll says:

    yahaddasayit…..
    If you want to study the issue for yourself and not rely on religious myth or propaganda from either side of the Isr vr the Arabs/Palestine.
    I would first suggest you first go to the BBC site or PBS…both of those have a “timeline” of the entire history of Palestine and the surrounding region. (sorry don’t have link, too tired to look it up at the moment but you can google “timeline” and find it easily.)
    After that I would suggest you go the British National Archives on line or spend a few bucks and order the official documents from the archives published in book form:
    http://www.archiveeditions.co.uk/Leafcopy%5CA050-2.html
    Title: The Zionist Movement and the Foundation of Israel
    1839–1972
    Extent: c. 8000 pages, 10 volumes including maps

    Reply

  16. Easy E says:

    xman,
    mutual constructive engagement means israel must also act on u.n. resolutions.
    http://www.jatonyc.org/UNresolutions.html
    (many more not included on above link)
    the whole situation is tragic. bringing all sides to the bargaining table would be the civilized thing to do. appears that radical muslim elements do not have a monopoly on primitive barbaric behavior.

    Reply

  17. Mocu says:

    “I am hosting a dinner salon gathering”
    What’s this! It used to be “I’m having some friends over for dinner.” Now, its a Dinner-Salon-Gathering. No one ever told us Petroism was “in” and “friends over for dinner” was out, but we knew it anyway.
    We’re waiting in the servants’ quarters for our gossip bones.

    Reply

  18. xman says:

    iran’s “questioning of israel’s right to exist”? what about THE ENTIRE arab world, minus jordan and egypt questioning israel’s right to exist?! this is the prevailing view in the arab world.
    to coin pissed off american’s phrase, you are completely full of shit, easy!
    i’m not calling you an anti-semite, but you surely don’t have a clue as to the reality that israel has faced every day of its existence.
    what happened in qana is a horrific tragedy. and the blame for that sad incident primarily lies with hizbolla.
    But that is not the way the world interprets it. despite what you say about the mainstream media, world opinion excoriates israel. there is no nuance. just read most of the comments on this blog. there is no understanding of israel’s predicament. there is no fault placed at hizbolla’s doorstep, despite the fact that the terrorist organization is responsible and started this war. don’t think they’re terrorists? go live in their neighborhood for a while and see what they think of your way of life.
    there is no acknowledgement that hizbolla regularly uses civilans as human shields by cynically putting it’s missle launchers and arsenals in civilian neighborhoods. even purposely drawing fire to cause the IDF to kill civilains.
    while israel warns civilians and makes every attempt to avoid killing innocents, hizbolla deliberately and intentionally targets non-combatants. let’s cut all this sanctimonious bullshit. think israel and america are the devil? go try and live in syria. the freedom of speech you enjoy so much here will get you “disappeared” real quick. vocally disagree with your government in riyadh? or yemen? or beirut? good luck.

    Reply

  19. yahaddasayit says:

    If you are looking for those who don’t have a clue, try looking among the diplomats and tenured historians. Seems no position should be exempt nowadays.
    Lately, carrol offered a reasonable(though perhaps unpopular) opinion concerning some inhabitants of the Old Testament psyche. Then he posted that interesting 1940’s Arab’s perspective of his immediate past history.
    Since I am no technogeek maybe someone will offer an effective search method in which I can unveil xman’s recent gems.

    Reply

  20. Easy E says:

    Carrol’s analysis and perspective certainly makes much more sense than GQ. Continually using Iran’s questioning of “Israel’s right to exist” really gets nauseating. Kind of like being called anti-semitic if one questions the actions of Israel. Much of the mainstream garbage spewed to the American public about the Mideast has been distorted and manipulated by MEMRI, etc., to further Neocon/Likudnik/Israeli interests.
    MEMRI
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Middle_East_Media_Research_Institute
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MEMRI
    MUTUAL constructive engagement will be required to resolve ME dilemma. The world is catching on that this has not occurred since 1948. Perhaps American sheeple will finally start to wake up. If not, we will never be safe.

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  21. xman says:

    “Israel has always known what they have to do to have peace. They refuse to do it. Evidently they will continue to play their stall game of ” Israel’s right to exist” until they truely don’t exist.
    The US might kill a hundred thousand people for Israel or support Israel’s killing off maybe even a million, but no one is going to kill off 1 billion Arabs for Israel. And thanks to Isr’s own actions and attitudes for the past 57 years to the present that is how many enemies they are going to have.
    Start the countdown.”
    brilliant analysis, carrol.
    one downside of the internet is that it has empowered millions of people who don’t have a clue to hold court like they’re diplomats and tenured historians.

    Reply

  22. Claire Brown says:

    Just to let you know, because everyone on this site seems interested:
    Tomorrow, INN World Report is going to have on Stephen Walt, co-author of “The Israel Lobby & U.S. Foreign Policy,” as well as Syria’s Ambassador, Dr. Imad Moustapha. Both will talk about what has happened and what might happen in the Middle East.
    INN is non-profit, in fact completely viewer-sponsored. So Steve, I hope you don’t remove this post.
    By the way, today we had on Mahmoud Shalhoub, an American, originally from Qana, Lebanon. Mr. Shaloub lost 43 members of his extended family in the Qana bombing.
    You can stream INN World Report off the internet at:
    http://www.innworldreport.net
    Today and tomorrows’ shows should be up at the INN website later this week.

    Reply

  23. GQ says:

    Do you really believe everything you write, Carroll? I ask that in all seriousness because Iran’s president has questioned the right of Israel to exist no matter what they do. Hamas does not recognize the right to exist either. This is not a trivial matter and the flippant answer makes me question a need to seriously engage in a debate with you (as does your previous answer).
    I also don’t understand why you would rather ask a question about the Saudis taking sides–which you mention again in your response–than what can be done by the west to alleviate the tensions.
    Of course, judging by your hostile remarks it doesn’t look like you’re much interested in calming things down. Or am I mistaken? Because if you start out looking for a fight, you’re going to get one if you try hard enough. I just want an end to innocent lives being taken, regardless of who’s doing what to whom and who is doing more of it.

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  24. km4 says:

    Rice Is Cooked; French Step Up To The Stove
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/7/31/183529/248
    An excellent post !

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  25. Carroll says:

    And to answer your other question GQ..
    “- Will Arab and Muslim countries, in particular, the citizenry, ever truly recognize Israel’s right to exist. If so, what steps can be taken to make this happen?”
    Israel has always known what they have to do to have peace. They refuse to do it. Evidently they will continue to play their stall game of ” Israel’s right to exist” until they truely don’t exist.
    The US might kill a hundred thousand people for Israel or support Israel’s killing off maybe even a million, but no one is going to kill off 1 billion Arabs for Israel. And thanks to Isr’s own actions and attitudes for the past 57 years to the present that is how many enemies they are going to have.
    Start the countdown.

    Reply

  26. Carroll says:

    Gee, Carroll, that comment seems to provide the right-wing with all the “Liberals hate America” ammo they could dream of. Shouldn’t the goal be peace instead of having to take sides?
    Posted by GQ at July 31, 2006 07:15 PM
    Well, GQ, that is an amazingly stupid comment to my post.
    The question of where the Saudis would stand in the event of a regional war between the Arabs and Isr/US is a critical one. I seriously doubt they could straddle their royal thrones indefinitely between arab street rage and further Isr/US military actions in the region.

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  27. Easy E says:

    In 2004, the Brits wondered:
    “How Can 59,054,087 People Be So Dumb?”
    http://www.otoons.com/politics/dumb.htm
    Today, we should all be wondering after the carnage in Lebanon: WHY SHOULD MUSLIM COUNTRIES EVER TRUST THE U.S. AND ISRAEL AGAIN? All bets are off on any hope for peace. 59 million sheep allowed the “decider” to prove his true colors.

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  28. chophouse says:

    I also urge you to question the ambassador on whether the Saudis would conceivably switch to euro denominated oil as a measured response to the US backing of Israel and refusal to countenance an immediate ceasefire.

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  29. Mood says:

    Please ask the Prince about the possibility of using oil production as leverage for twisting the American arm for it to rein in Israel. Some gradual announced reductions if the Americans fail to exhibit any interest in even-handedness. A couple of ten dollar per barrel spikes should do the trick.
    Also, any leverage with a threat of converting partially from dollar demoninated oil to the euro?

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  30. GQ says:

    Gee, Carroll, that comment seems to provide the right-wing with all the “Liberals hate America” ammo they could dream of. Shouldn’t the goal be peace instead of having to take sides?

    Reply

  31. GQ says:

    I have a couple questions:
    – Will Arab and Muslim countries, in particular, the citizenry, ever truly recognize Israel’s right to exist. If so, what steps can be taken to make this happen?
    – What steps should the West take to earn the trust of Muslims and Arabs globally? Will these steps help to combat violent extremism?

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  32. Carroll says:

    Fanastic!…this is one I really want to read about. I wonder if there will be in clues into what it might take to tip the Saudis away from the US and onto the Arab street side. I really, really wonder if that could ever happen.

    Reply

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