Answering President Obama’s “Free Riders” Allegations

In yesterday’s Arab News and Alsharq Al-Awsat, HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal defended the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against some of U.S. President Barack Obama’s disparaging comments quoted in the recent Atlantic article, “The Obama Doctrine.”

In the article, President Obama declared that “free riders” – that is, other countries, which by clear implication he included Saudi Arabia and an unspecified number of additional Arab allies – “aggravate me.” Obama stressed that he wants such countries to take action for themselves, rather than wait for the United States to lead.

As Prince Turki points out – but which the article overlooks, ignores, or downplays – this is exactly what Riyadh has done. In keeping with American intelligence and targeting assistance that the president himself authorized, Saudi Arabia has responded to the threat represented by Iran-backed insurgent rebels along the kingdom’s southern border. The kingdom has also been the sole country thus far to contribute to the New York-based United Nations Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force – to the tune of $100 million.

In addition, the kingdom has initiated the formation of a multi-country coalition numbering nearly two dozen Arab and Islamic countries designed specifically to fight terrorism and terrorists wherever they appear, including within Saudi Arabia itself. Further, not mentioned are the steps Riyadh has recently taken alongside the armed forces representatives of more than two dozen other Arab and other Islamic allied countries. For the second year in succession, the representatives witnessed the kingdom’s mobilization and deployment of more than 130,000 of its armed services personnel. This demonstrates precisely the kinds of defense capabilities that Washington officialdom has long stated it wishes to see manifested by and within the kingdom and other GCC countries.

HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal speaking at the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations’ Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference.

What Prince Turki did not point out but other prominent Saudi Arabians have is how Obama administration officials, in contrast to the president’s recent remarks, have repeatedly commended Saudi Arabia in ways other than those noted. They have done so in regard to the kingdom’s creative approach to doing what it can to end the scourge of extremist violence within and beyond its borders.

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HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal Keynote Address to the 24th Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference

Keynote Address by HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal delivered at the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations’ 24th Annual Arab-US Policymakers’ Conference, “U.S.-Arab Relations at a Crossroads: What Paths Forward?,” on October 14, 2015, in Washington, DC.

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HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal


 

Mr. Bosch, Dr. Anthony,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

When the waves of Arab unrest began in 2010, the future of the Middle East seemed even more uncertain than it is today. In the midst of political turmoil, Saudi Arabia was forced to strengthen and clarify its own foreign policy. From that time on, the Kingdom structured its foreign policy leadership, and its vision for its own future, around these three words: unity, stability, and responsibility.

The unity that Saudi Arabia advocates, and the vision it promotes, is the unity of the Arab gulf: in the past few years, the Kingdom has made a great effort to prioritize the oneness of the Gulf, and its shared interests, over small and transient differences. In the struggle to restore the legitimate government to power, in Yemen, the Kingdom has succeeded in forging a coalition of the GCC countries and likeminded Arab and non-Arab countries to achieve that aim and prevent the usurpers of power, the Houthis and the forces of the deposed president, Ali Abdallah Saleh, from forcing themselves on the Yemeni people.

And as sectarian violence deepens rifts and breaks apart homes across the Arab world, Saudi Arabia’s call for unity has become more urgent than ever. Iraq and Syria are among the countries following the same heartbreaking narrative: citizens with the same shared history, the same ancient religion, and the same homeland being torn apart by radicalist groups exploiting sectarian divisions for their own gain. Groups like ISIS, and I call them Fahish, which in Arabic means obscene, the Shi’ite militias in Syria and Iraq, Hezbollah, and the Houthis hold out the texture of religious fanaticism in order to gain loyalty — by giving the young a militant identity, a sense of belonging and a vision for which to fight. But the unity of radicalism is an illusion: it cannot exist without an enemy. It reaches not towards harmony but towards domination and control. Fahish is the symptom of the disease of anarchy in Syria and Iraq. The disease lies in Damascus, where Bashar al Assad continues to murder his people with poison gas and barrel bombs.

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Keynote Address by HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal at the 2014 Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference

HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal delivered a keynote address at the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations’ 23rd Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference. He was introduced by Dr. John Duke Anthony, Founding President & CEO of the National Council. The conference, on the theme “Framing and Charting the Region’s Issues, Interests, Challenges, and Opportunities: Implications for Arab and U.S. Policies,” was held October 28-29, 2014, at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center in Washington, DC.

Speaker:
HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal – Chairman, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; former Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United Kingdom and to the United States of America; former Director General, General Intelligence Directorate, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

For more information visit the National Council’s Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference homepage.

Keynote Address by HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal at the 2013 Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference

HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal delivered a keynote address at the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations’ 22nd Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference. He was introduced by Dr. John Duke Anthony, Founding President & CEO of the National Council. The conference, on the theme “Navigating Arab-U.S. Relations: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities,” was held October 22-23, 2013, at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center in Washington, DC.

Speaker:
HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal – Chairman, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; former Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United Kingdom and to the United States of America; former Director General, General Intelligence Directorate, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

For more information visit the National Council’s Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference homepage.

Keynote Address by HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal at the 2012 Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference

HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal delivered a keynote address at the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations’ 21st Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference. He was introduced by Dr. John Duke Anthony, Founding President & CEO of the National Council. The conference, on the theme “Arab-U.S. Relations Amidst Transition within Constancy: Implications for American and Arab Interests and Policies,” was held October 25-26, 2012 at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center in Washington, DC.

Introduction:
Dr. John Duke Anthony – Founding President & CEO, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations

Speaker:
HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal – Chairman, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; former Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United Kingdom and to the United States of America; former Director General, General Intelligence Directorate, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

For more information visit the Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference homepage.

HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal on Charlie Rose

His Royal Highness Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Sa’ud, former Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United Kingdom and the United States as well as Chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, recently appeared on The Charlie Rose Show. A short clip from his interview is below and the full interview is available on The Charlie Rose Show website.

HRH Prince Turki will be a Featured Keynote Speaker on October 25, 2012 at the National Council’s 21st Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference in Washington, DC. Register now to hear HRH Prince Turki as well as many other internationally renowned specialists analyze, discuss, and debate issues of over-arching importance to the American and Arab people’s needs, concerns, interests, and key foreign policy objectives.