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tv   Inside Story 2017 Ep 298  Al Jazeera  October 27, 2017 10:32am-11:00am AST

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justly and you know i grew up. and i served in the nation's defense forces not my reason to labels and people trying to take the hits and take the sex was but you know we all bought the ticket we know the risks and. now i'm going to make sure that i don't crombie i'm going to get back to work a un investigation has found syria's assad government to blame for a lethal chemical attack on a rebel held village in april more than eighty people were killed when the nerve agent sarin was dropped on the town of. burundi has become the first country to withdraw from the international criminal court the i.c.c. the pullout takes effect on friday that's today a year after it notified the u.n. of its intention to leave and the u.s. defense secretary jim mattis he is visiting south korea in preparation for president trump's visit in two weeks time he's met the chairman of the joint chiefs
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of staff general joseph dunford and this comes ahead of a planned visit as i say by donald trump. president trump has declared opioid addiction a public health emergency. more than sixty four thousand americans died last year because of opioid addiction and overdose those are the headlines coming up next it's inside story. head of the september twenty fourth national election survey showed germans satisfied with the state of their economy this is easily estonia's biggest tech success story the company was bought by microsoft in two thousand and eleven we bring you the stories that are shaping the economic world we live in counting the cost at this time on al-jazeera. a young prince in a hurry mohammed bin. has a vision for saudi arabia's future he talks about radical change and returning his country to quote moderate islam but what exactly does he mean and can it be achieved this is inside story.
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hello and welcome to the program and. in the three years since he emerged as a central player in saudi arabia's government mohammed bin sound man has seemed to be a young man in a hurry the thirty two year old formally became crown prince earlier this year but well before that he'd announce broad plans to transform both saudi arabia's culture and its economy at a conference this week came riyadh the prince announced plans for a new economic megacity more on that in just a moment but his headline grabbing comments were about saudi society and the need for it to change radically. we are returning to what we were before
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a country of moderate islam that is open to all religions and to the world. seventy percent of saudi people are younger than thirty years old and honestly we will not waste another thirty years of our lives before dealing with extremist ideas we will not spend the next thirty years of our lives dealing with destructive ideas we will destroy them today. we want to live the normal life a life which includes taler. in our religion and in our traditions and contributes in developing our country and the world. for the crown prince suggested his country's embrace of a particularly strict version of islam was in reaction to iran's nine hundred seventy nine revolution but since his initial appointment as deputy crown prince in twenty fifteen he's often hinted at plans for sweeping social and economic reforms many of these were outlined in vision twenty thirty a two trillion dollar project that seeks to shift saudi arabia's dependence away
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from oil this week here announced the latest element of this a new fifty billion dollar mega city and a free economic zone straddling saudi arabia jordan and egypt so how achievable is this enormous ambition then let's bring in our guests in fort lauderdale florida via skype we have saudi activist yasmeen saeed bin kuwait city we have abdullah al shi'a e.g. he's a professor of political science at kuwait university and in london we have jane killian munt who's deputy head and senior research fellow in the middle east and north africa program at chatham house welcome to you all but yes i mean let me start with you what do you think then of this hugely ambitious program that's been outlined by the crown prince. and are now. the crown prince. in normandy and
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back rooms and. you know about. the massive reforms that has actually already started in his own country and he wishes the ugly the scope and magnitude of the one that has taken place a similar one year has an unprecedented in the country's history and he intends to expand the war well into the next fifteen years with many car brands that will eventually overall might be saudi arabia as you know as abdullah in kuwait pulse of the crown prince's remarks referred to saudi arabia reverting back to what he called a moderate form of islam and he said. that his country's embrace of a fairly a fairly strict interpretation of islam was a consequence a direct consequence of the nine hundred seventy nine iranian revolution what do
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you think of that is is that accurate. well i mean there is a lot of development of fast basing development in saudi arabia that is really something unheard of unprecedented i mean there is an almighty in between a political modernization and if it will fly anomic reforms major major may get make it envelops the death is a major quantum leap if it will succeed with this with these make yes it is but also there has to be some socio economic development that is that this is a huge ambitious plan that if it will fly then not only saudi arabia but the whole middle east is really a cause of major change and development that will benefit probably the whole region but there is a formidable there are formidable challenges before that there is the religious establishment that has been the backbone of the saudi political system that has
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been a marriage of between the the this the also to family and others establishment what will happen to that. strong bond between these two elements that that that is like and i had a plan to fly. the saudi and communicate through all the the ages abdellah challenges i am telling you make. it seems to be dedicated to visit to his plan it seems you make a very good point there let's put that to jane jane i have dollar points out economic transformation is the objective but along with that is going to come social and cultural change. that's right and some of those changes her have in fact been underway for a while king abdullah already took quite cautious and subtle steps to rein in the power of the clerics over the justice system in particular and to some extent the
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education system what is different though is that mohammed than someone is speeding all this up and he's doing it explicitly not just through words but actions by announcing the end to the rising baron he's sending a very strong signal in saudi arabia that the traditional is to religiously conservative camp will no longer be the driving force or indeed the constraint on policy making that it has been for years yes i mean i'm just wondering what's behind this obviously we understand that there are huge questions are happy for some time as to the sustainability of this vast economy that is totally or has been totally dependent upon oil. is the new thinking is this young crown prince a thirty two year old millennial and has he brought new thinking to the saudi government to the royal family or is this just a case of needs must they've got to do something otherwise they're going to hit the
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buffers. i definitely think it's a combination of both but i do think we should give credit where credit is due i think that his leadership had definitely amplifies a great deal of the need that was there to break the shackles of the old ways and to diversify you know saudi arabia no longer wishes to be branded as the country that explores extremism but no longer wishes to be granted as only a country but as you know an oil exporter it wishes to reemphasize its role in the last one world as it propagates for moderate power and openness law and it's taking strive to do that and also to diversify its economy that is why taking incredible measures within the country and outside in fact to diversify.
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economic. outpouring and as well as incoming of foreign investment and to build the magnanimous project and connecting to jordan and egypt you know through the gate way of the red sea and we did a really major progress that i think will have tremendous impact just as a professor is that not only for values citizens but also chords region at large indeed abdullah this is such a an ambitious project an ambitious vision isn't it so tell me how does the current g.c.c. crisis fit into it where saudi arabia has blocked its land border with qatar and is leading three other countries in its isolation its attempt to isolate cata but also about the war in yemen how does that fit in to saudi arabia's attempt to burnish
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its credentials if you like in order to attract this critical investment that it needs to achieve this twenty thirty vision. exactly this is an excellent question and this really. hits the nail on the head you cannot really have this huge make a project with instability may have wars a lot of blockades and in g.c.c. fighting that has really to be i thought this would be a catalyst for the saudi lot leadership and the four countries that isolate and qatar to recalculate that they have calculus. to proceed because investors are shot when it comes to instability so they have abs bogged down and two and a half years of war in that and yemen and today the crown prince himself stated that when a continual the campaign and yemen in order to prevent the whole with ease from becoming another his will law on our southern borders and he may be a little deed
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a crisis with qatar saying it has a really minute and very minute pact on our investment i mean i think this is a really very simplistic approach that has really to be settling down of all these crises in order to allow for saudi arabia to live to its potential as not only because this ambition is part of the saudi arabia i mean but this may go projects that have been announced by the crown prince are very ambitious and therefore if they were succeed they were really transform the whole region not only saudi arabia may guess it is that you have me on the borders of saudi arabia jordan and egypt you have a futuristic city of the official intelligence you have another dubai with it with modern. gadgets. up in opulence on the red sea you have another talking about another mega city with amazon and bought another five hundred billion dollars these projects really need stability security and.
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confidence for investors. so common with of what full of confidence in order to really invest that he hunts only and saudia arabia so saudi arabia has really to sit down and really rethink the call waiting a proposal to call it in mediation in order to reach. a conclusion that will allow saudi arabia to focus more on its future and vicious and the transforming the country politically culturally societal also you have one no will be able to drive before the end the next year by john or july you have operating up of the society you have a lot of people are counting on the compass him self is banking on the seventy percent of the saudi population to embrace this ambitious a plan at all levels because they represent the majority of the saudi society and
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these are the are they crave all these. modern lety that they go right and i am going to tell you make you make another very important that the succeed you have the stability in order for that of these huge plants to really flight you make another very good point indeed so jane. how critical is it that saudi arabia gets on this path to medan it if you like that it gets on this path of transformation given that it's got vast reserves a six hundred billion dollar reserve army could it sit comfortably for a little bit longer or is this actually the point of. an existential point if you like by which saudi arabia has got to redress itself and prepare for the future or think or fail before the fiscal reforms started saudi arabia was burning through those of us arabs are at an astonishing rate you know the sector that you quote is
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less than a year of same g.d.p. so when they look at having fiscal deficits in the region of fifteen. or even twenty percent of g.d.p. in your reserves could easily gone out you know within five years time of course they have other options they can bora winter nationally and so forth but the the point is that the oil few would model of growth is not sustainable even f. oil prices were to breed by one to one hundred dollars a barrel previously during the last oil boom growth was sustained in saudi arabia by having double digit growth and government spending every single gear and that just isn't feasible anymore so the country does need to diversify its already begun to diversify most people don't think it will meet the very ambitious targets that are laid out in vision twenty thirty but even so do you officials don't pretend that those are absolutely real guidelines they tend to say privately even if we get
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to sixty percent seventy percent fifty percent of those targets we're still doing pretty well i think the key test home from harvard and someone will be whether this plan does manage to create jobs there will be some interest in privatizations in buying saudi bonds and things like that will international investors come and invest in sectors that will create jobs for saudi nationals that is automatically the key thing that is domestic popularity will hinge on and yes i mean we've been alluding to use bold haven't we the the young people of saudi arabia amount to more than sixty percent of the total population more and more people in saudi arabia are coming out of universities and colleges with degrees and this is by and large quite a wealthy sector of the population isn't it they've got expectations so these jobs have job creation perhaps is the most important task for m.b.a.'s as he is rather
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affectionately known by many people. absolutely i mean the sense of pride or even population is under the age of thirty and so the country definitely have to exert itself about that that is why you know the crown prince has repeatedly made a commitment to engage in rigorous you know use the belts and programs to preparing for the job force and not just that to expand the country's economic opportunities so that there is greater jobs and he wants to expand aramco he wants expand another terry life experience out of corporations so that they also have a share in the global marketplace so you know there's. a lot of activity happening that i believe will definitely benefit us employment and have them have a voice in now world and up dollar in saudi arabia change is often portrayed
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as as is coming very very slowly indeed is there a danger perhaps that the crown prince is moving too fast is there a danger that tradition and modernity are on a collision course in modern day saudi arabia. there is a fear of that because you know moderation modernity comes with moderation and a conservative society that has for too long stuck to its old conservative traditions and you cannot just bring them in and just let them loose i mean that has to be a gradual approach but i think there is also ambition and there is also craving for change because saudis have been cultural have been traveling the world and have seen even and neighboring countries like and qatar on in dubai or in kuwait the way the culture he had a somewhat godly different than that in saudi arabia nor cinnamon woman don't drive
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so this is they they have been accustomed to living when they travel to europe or the states for their summer vacations and they would love to most of them probably there are no surveys but most of them probably would love to see that their own countries so it's not like saudi arabia is isolated away from the rest of the world but that needs a lot of time because there are die hard conservatives in saudi arabia that throng at all these changes that are taking place and they think that the it's moving saudi arabia too fast for for their on taste because of that has really to have to be cautious about how far saudi arabia could go and if that would impede the rather than expect the ambitious plans of of a prince that seems to be in a hurry to achieve all these may get projects and plans and we wish all the best for saudi arabia because it is already had it be as the engine of
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the whole out of what it has the largest g.d.p. it is the number one oil producer and if it would really be successful in the transforming and diversifying its income away from all that has been the staple for the last eighty years or so then the other countries in the g.c.c. . really you were saudi arabia as a harbinger to try to implement such a such prototype an hour or so because even in kuwait and even and other g.c.c. countries that have been talking about diversifying the economy for the last thirty years but we have not really succeeded in doing so so because of that saudi and it has to be very careful to instill confidence the investors are us and believe that this mega projects that have been right a.k.a we can't we come back to us once again but the absolutely right and so coming to you jane then now mohamed bin solomon this young crown prince who rather controversially took the post or.
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moving aside his uncle to take this position he's being is depicted in some parts of the world as being a bellicose hothead who is rather aggressive and and doesn't take the time to think things through is this the man therefore that is likely to be successful in attracting all this investment this foreign investment that is actually the critical to this project. so do you rapier has been struggling to attract significant inward investment in the last couple of use for two reasons one is that investors still largely judge the strength of the economy or the oil price and government spending which of both be low and secondly investors are still trying to assess political wisc particularly walk risks there are too haven't been sober and inside and outside family which of course is
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something that really no outsiders know so a lot of firms are playing wait and see they're expressing interest they're visiting they're checking out the possibilities but they want to see who else goes in service and how successful they are before they make a move the has been a number of major companies in the us and elsewhere have signed memorandums of understanding to invest but most of them are still thinking through how much money they will actually commit to the kingdom this time and yes i mean is the having been sound man out on his own this is a one man project or does he have significant support from within the ruling family of saudi arabia. no i definitely believe that he has rallied a great deal of leadership within saudi arabia to support him on all levels of society but i do like to point out come as
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a response to what the professor of bill is that i think that while i was meeting christine that is in a rush for a very long time and saudi arabia has always been accused of taking measures towards reform quite slowly and they have always been blamed for that now and you have a young leader who's actually coming out and very aggressive and putting you know money where your mouth is and is actually taking actual actions that's playing lip service i think if it would be a disservice to say well now i was actually rushing it i think that it is very timely all of these reforms are happening and it is for sure for the betterment of everybody involved you know in saudi society wouldn't you have can i just and i'm going to i just interrupt and ask you what do you think is the overall impact of saudi arabia's continuing war in neighboring yemen and indeed its blockading or is
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. it it's leading the efforts to blockade custer i mean what is it what are these. aggressive actions what are they doing to the the drive if you like to bring in this foreign investment and to and to transform the way in which saudi arabia is viewed. honestly i don't think i'm the most qualified person to answer the question but i was there political and each other and that's not my pretties but i would say that obviously you know political tension is not good for anybody it's not a perfect arabia and i really do hope that they will be able to resolve them and through diplomacy and through mediation and be able to move on because i think that you know united and they can go a lot further all right very quickly jane can i put that final point to you adults
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you very quickly if you would respond to that and i don't see how full you think that these exploits of the saudi government all denting this this attempt to rebrand the country. they heard of for two reasons firstly your own yemen there are the repetition or problems because of saudi arabia is associated with the bombing campaign a humanitarian problems in yemen so see here in the u.k. where there's a lot of a governmental support for saudi arabia we see a growing campaign for an arms embargo to an extent it's never been in the past secondly they raise some concerns about saudi strategy because in both cases so the arabia has launched campaigns that make a big impact that seems to be suffering from the lack of an exit strategy so before asking why these things going to end the haven't been so months finish our eyes these crises thank you all very much indeed we're now out of time but that was
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a really interesting conversation thank you so much indeed yasmeen. shah e.g. and jane kininmonth thank you all very much and as ever thank you for watching the program you can see it again any time you are going to the website al-jazeera cock dot com if you want more discussion go to our facebook page facebook dot com for slash inside story and there's always a conversation on twitter our handle is at a.j. inside story but for me martin dennis in the whole team here in doha it's goodbye for now. thank. november on al-jazeera. in a historic visit the pope will travel to me in my am bangladesh bringing more focus to the plight of their agenda. a new six part series about extraordinary lives of the common people from across tunisia. as the u.s.
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