It is hard not to laugh at a representative of one of the world’s most oppressive and intolerant regimes condemning the most democratic, liberal and tolerant government in the region as a “murderous… regime.” It is also hard to take seriously the prince’s professions of deep concern for the sufferings of Hamas, a terrorist group that is aligned with Saudi Arabia’s chief enemy, Iran, and whose destruction he would no doubt be delighted to witness.
Max is, of course, correct. And it is also worth analyzing Prince Turki’s undisguised threat:
If the US wants to continue playing a leadership role in the Middle East and keep its strategic alliances intact – especially its “special relationship” with Saudi Arabia – it will have to drastically revise its policies vis a vis Israel and Palestine.
It’s not as if Saudi Arabia’s disposition toward the U.S. is born of gracefulness or international good will. The Saudis have been playing (relatively) nice with the U.S. as an absolute necessity for their own survival.
It should be noted that the Financial Times seems to have become a kind of cheerleader for al-Faisal. FT editors wrote, “Anyone with a stake in the stability of the wider Middle East should take very seriously the warning set forth,” and went on:
The Saudis have emitted a crescendo of warnings, as Arab leaders over the past decade have lost faith in American leadership and signaled they may make their own arrangements: hostile to Israel, in detente with Iran, and turning their backs on the US – unless it can restrain its Israeli ally.
Of course, no one in their right mind would risk such a scenario – least of all Israeli leaders. Arab anger and strategic interests should not be dismissed either. Working toward an Israeli-Palestinian deal is a worthy international ambition. But can Saudi Arabia now afford to threaten the U.S. administration? If you think the answer is yes, imagine for a moment what will actually happen should the Saudis turn their backs on the U.S. Would Iran settle for a “détente” with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc.? Or would the mullahs seize the opportunity to de-prince the Prince?