tv Future of Saudi Arabian Leadership CSPAN November 18, 2017 3:29am-5:04am EST
middle east analysts discuss what this means for the saudi government at an event in washington, d.c.. this is an hour and a half. mr. jahshan: -- evening, i: good would like to welcome all of you to this special briefing focusing on the shakeup in the riyadh regional and international implications.
over the past 13 days since the november,ifth of some serious and very significant changes and steps have been taken in the kingdom of saudi arabia that attracted andattention of media political analysts all over the world, as a matter of fact. know, there have been hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of articles and interviews conducted, written about the significance of these immediate,erms of midterm, long-term implications, domestic implications, regional implications, international implications, for the kingdom and for those like the united states -- countries that have interests and special relationship with the kingdom.
although it has been a couple of weeks of hyperactivity at that , frankly, more questions have been raised then answered during this period. redo the titles of all of these questions, because that will keep us here until next friday, but i will raise a couple of these questions for the purpose and sake of the discussion today. if you will, the conversation today. some of the questions raised starting early november when these steps were adopted or taken included the following. what is the real meaning of the saudi round up we witnessed on the fourth and the fifth of november? a anticorruption campaign or a consolidation of power campaign?
salman behaving recklessly, or is he leading a genuine revolution from above in the kingdom of saudi arabia? what are the domestic implications of this crackdown that we have witnessed over the past 12 and 13 days? what is the specific impact on the governance process in saudi arabia, the role of the royal family, and the role of the religious establishment? are they marginalized with the arrests we have witnessed even prior to the arrests of the princes and businessmen, there was also a large number of thatious establishments have also been detained. when we look back at this period, is power trumping
legitimacy in saudi arabia? how is legitimacy going to be affected by these steps? is this the beginning of the fourth saudi state? is the kingdom of saudi arabia transforming its caliphatervative thought, to modern caliphate is an -- calip is hism? thatis the saudi arabia the youth won? what is domestic reaction now and in the future to this campaign? and definitely, we need to touch on what are the regional and international implications of this saudi purge? to help us answer these questions, we invited two dear
informedho are well about these developments. those of you who have been following up the reaction, whether on twitter or otherwise, have seen their very significant, substantial of and vese comments -- substantia and wise comments. them atntroduce both of this time in the order they will speak, and we will give them the floor to proceed. be jamal speaker would khashoggi. he is a saudi arabia and journalist, editor, author. he doesn't need an introduction if you have been following the middle east or arabic language media. forerved as correspondent
english and arabic publications, including the saudi gazette, and others. deputy editor of arab news, and on and on. a key figure in the media and middle east. not just in saudi arabia. his career -- in and our friendship goes back more than 25 years -- he served as core -- foreign correspondent in different countries in the region, including algeria, sudan,, kuwait and the and reported on all these developments during that period in the region and became a expert, particularly in islam is an in the region. islamism.
, particularly when the prince was the ambassador during that period. he has always been also a allentator on the media in of these languages and many networks aside from the saudi workedt he directed and at, that includes channels like bbc, nbc, dubai tv and many others. our next speaker, also a good isend, kristian ulrichsen the middle east fellow at the baker institute for public policy at rice university and we are also delighted that he chose to make the trip from houston last night to be with us today. kristian is working at the baker institute across disciplines of
political science, international relations, international political economy. -- if you are not familiar, look him up -- establishes the changing positions of gulf states and the global order, which is certainly relevant to the developments we are examining today. he also has focused on the emergence of longer-term nonmilitary challenges and regional security in the gulf region. that as abefore senior gulf analyst at the gulf center for strategic studies between 2006 and 2008, and codirector of the kuwait program on development, governance and globalization in the gulf states at the london school of economics between 2008 and 2013. he holds a doctorate in history from the university of cambridge
. 12h speaker will speak for to 15 minutes and then we will spend the balance of our time engaging in the art of conversation, giving you a chance to engage directly with the speakers through your questions. i would just like to remind you that the cards and little pencils on your seat are not to improve your sitting, they are meant for you to basically write your questions. we only entertain questions in writing. once you have a question or comment, raise your card. the staff will pick it up for you and we will be more than glad to read and direct your questions to the right speaker or to both. .lease write legibly if you would like for me to read exactly what you have written, make it short so we can
accommodate as many questions as possible. coffeefront desk, we had -- copies. i don't know if we have enough, but we had our most recent report. ofs was based on the agenda our second annual conference we just held a few weeks ago. it is about trump and the arab world and is relevant. it is written by our staff, and were analyst and it is written for you at the front desk on your way back. if we are out of copies, feel free to give us a call at the center and we will be more than glad to send you a copy. at this time, i would like to invite jamal to the podium, please. mr. khashoggi: thank you.
thank you all. ,n my career as a journalist and editor, i called for everything mohammed salamon is doing right now. not only me, every writer, commentator, we want to be free from radicalism, women to be allowed to have the right to drive and a perch on corruption. , we see it every day. we simply cannot report about it. so he is doing what we demanded of him to do, so why am i being critical? simply because he is doing the right thing the wrong way. very wrong way. and -- for example, on
corruption. i think the saudi people are very much supportive of the purge of conception. there is a euphoria that people don't think, don't question, 's suchon't discuss decisions. this euphoria and also government control. there are people who are called pledges and to sign not report on the government. arrested, other writers do not speak. the environment in saudi arabia does not allow for criticism or constructive debate or discourse for thelively matter future. the other thing, it is also the euphoria.
the government is feeding into the people high expectations and i would say most young people don't want to listen to someone who would disappoint them with bad news. here in washington, we can discuss the bad news and probably, it will find its way the years of the saudi's. rge.example, corruption pu we should own it. what is the true motive of solomon -- salman? purged to own the incorruption. it is our way to move into the future. this would never succeed without a fight on corruption.
i will not spend a lot of time speculating why is he after corruption? support his fight on corruption and i think every other saudi should support him in that. at the same time, i would like to see a debate about that. goingght on corruption is to have a major effect on saudi arabia. it is going to have an immediate affect on the economy. the private is panicking right sector isdi arabia -- panicking right now in saudi arabia. people are wondering if they are going to be paid at the end of the month in a lot of corporations.
we are talking about companies with 140,000 employees. that is a huge number. maybe there is no one to find the checks at the end of the months. . maybe the government is going to sort that out, but i am sure the private sector in saudi arabia is panicking. in the long-term, it is good. corruptionve against succeeds, it will free saudi arabia from the epidemic of corruption. it could lead to a proper economy, could lead to elevating of a new middle class in saudi i think he has to distinguish between the royal world and the corporation world. the royals are the ones who made it impossible for even good business to work and flourish in
saudi arabia. is net 5%. it is in billions. is --tion in saudi arabia that you pass to the congress' wife. it is projects the cost a billion and the volume will increase to 3 billion, just so his royal highness will take a cut and his brother will take out of the cut. that, of course, will bleed the saudi national budget. according to mohammed salman himself, in an interview with bloomberg in april 2016. 2010id in the years from year14, $100 billion every
-- we are talking about 400 billion dollars in four years. we are talking about a trillion dollars in two decades. that your, you call taxpayer money. it is our money. went into houses in los angeles and hotels in paris and under the name of royal highness. it is good he is after that. that money claim back and stop this habit. at the same time, what about corporations? those are national corporations. they need to be preserved. there are many. i wish he would do something like what you do here in america
at the irs when they expect in the stealing of corporations. they will go to the company, check their books, argue with them, fight with them and end up with a settlement where the company will pay a few billions or 20%, 60%, something clear. but not to destroy those companies. destroying those companies will have a setback on saudi arabia. if the investors lose trust again, just a week ago -- or 10 years ago, he was -- a huge -- in riyadh where he was introducing saudi arabia to the foras an opportunity investors. i'm sure foreigners are having
second thoughts today. trust is important. in theses in egypt 1960's and syria, it took generations to regain the trust to invest back in their country. by what important and he is doing, it is killing trust. there is no comment from saudi arabia from the saudi minister trade in the financial times. when the financial times ran in its story that the government is negotiating with business 10% of theirtake wealth for a settlement, and there is no comment from the saudi government about it, that is worrying. consolidation?
it is yet to be seen. we don't know yet. go chinese style where he will clean the house and restart the business in a clean ground? will he sit on it and be the and use theerything arabia great saudi again. personally like that style. i would like the chinese style. if we could have a democratic style, that would be better. has the bin salman choice and he is going to be the leader of saudi arabia. for may be another 50 years. he is young and considering the age factor and advancement of medicine, maybe he will make it more than 50 years.
so the only we can do as saudi arabians is hope he will succeed. his successes will be our success -- not necessarily mean it, but for my kids and rent kids. can he succeed? can saudi arabia in 10 years -- how do i see it in 10 years? saudi arabia will be how mohammad bin salman succeeded in during the epidemic of employment. the other serious thing is high expectation. he made the young people reach the sky and in five years time, he wants to see this futuristic city in the north, also in the north of my hometown, medina.
he has to show them what he had promised. the most important thing he has to for phil is unemployment. we are talking about 4 million people unemployment in saudi arabia, and 250,000 people every year in an economy that is controlled by foreign labor. europetish exited because of 8.9% foreigners in their workforce. 75% foreigners who control our workforce in saudi arabia. that is not an ordinary economy. every economy needs to be restructured and i wish mohammad bin salman will work from the bottom and fix the economy before he builds new cities, but if he insists on his style of building from the top down,
i willg new cities, forecast bankruptcy for saudi arabia. i hope not. i hope he will change course and go to the basic economy, economy 101 and start with jobs rather than building new cities. already he has in the front of his eyes right now two failed cities that need to work. , onnancial city in riyadh the way to your hotel, you will see that beautiful city in the middle of riyadh. not a single office was rented at that city and basically, the city of riyadh doesn't need it. now he has to find a solution for it. the other city is king abdullah city on the west coast. it is partially working, not fully working, and it needs to
work. building new cities is not the solution. finding jobs for the saudi . through jobs, this is the solution and i hope people spend more time with the. -- with that. i am out of time before discussing foreign policy, but that is a big problem by itself unfortunately, empowering the iranians. for every mistake we make, a rainy and's game. win.anians we the sunni are the majority. .e are under threat by the shia most of the killing is happening in our territories and our land. saudi arabia should be there to counter the iranian expansionism, but saudi arabia is up sestak its fight against radical islam while it is the
mother and father of radical islam. saudi arabia should adapt again its origin, traditions, go back to it without radicalism and iranian for -- to expansionism. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you. now for our second speaker, ristian ulrichsen. >> thank you very much for the introduction and for the invitation. i will not reiterate what jamal khashoggi has said but will add my own thoughts on some of the changes we have seen, which have been interpreted as has een said as varying degrees of
power plays or of this sweeping away of the new -- of the old saudi state. again, i think it is too early to tell. what i would just say would be saudi ould think the way we have known since 1963 that came into being has -- is slipping away. and we are seeing really the passing of the old guard. in part it's because of natural causes over the past seven years. some of the key figures in the ld guard have passed away. in 2011, the defense minister for 48 years died. in 2012 the interior minister for 37 years died. in 2015, the foreign minister
for 40 years died. and of course the king also passed away in 2015 in addition position as crown prince he was also head of the national guard again for a period of 48 years. so more by accident than by design the old guard had passed from the scene and a lot of the commentary over the past 10 the as also focused on apparent sweeping away of hecks and balances, again, considered traditionally to be a feature of saudi policy making. it is true that in the past one has had four or five competing factions within the royal family competing for influence and ensuring key decisions had to be taken with a key of consensus. in some cases this has meant policy making was slow but it
did involve all wings of the family and of society. and again, there was nothing constitutionally mandated. there is no separation of powers in a formal sense that we would have in the u.s. or other countries. this system of checks and balances to the extent that it was one arose again more by accident in the sense that you would have those powerful figures within the royal family remaining in position for decades and creating these net works of power that was impossible to ignore. again, the kind of removal of the checks and balances has happened. it happened before king salman came to power. and of course it has been the king and mohammed bin salman's inheritance that they've been able to i suppose not necessarily take advantage but move into this new dynamic where a lot of the old
constraints no longer exist. so a power grab? not to the extent that has been described in the media. to the extent that there was a power grab it occurred between january, 2015, and june twembts and it really ended when -- june 2017 and it really ended when mohammed bin salman became crown prince. we should all take note as people who observe saudi arabia that five years ago we were all engaged in guessing who might be the next generation of leadership and i think nobody would have even put mohammed bin salman on the horizon at that time. so we have a lesson in humility there. but to the extent a power grab has occurred, it's finished and we can obviously see that mohammed bin salman is now engaged in remaking to a degree he intends to rule as jamal said another 50 years if things go well. we're seeing the departing of the old guard in an accelerated
way. those not passed away are now being eased out of positions. we are seeing mohammed bin salman putting his own people often from his own generation in charge and trying to recreate some of those networks to obliterate from old generation. another issue we've seen a lot about is that it is popular from old generation. another issue we've seen a lot about is that it is popular among the youth. i would agree the corruption is a popular issue in the sense that many young people in saudi arabia might feel cut out of being given a fair chance or feel they don't have a prospect of getting a decent job because of various issues some of which might be vested economic and
political issues, will probably support the changes. what i would say of course is there is no way really of knowing in a sense, no real opinion polls. we don't know to what extent these decisions are popular or not. and, clearly, the educated elites who have studied in western universities and gone back and to have some more vocal for claiming the magnitude of these changes are only one part of the bigger picture. there are a lot of people in other parts of saudi arabia who may not see a trickle down effect and it is absolutely vital we don't lose sight or focus just too closely on just the elite and are going to other major cities. saudi arabia has always been much more than that. i do share the concern that jamal raised about raising expectations and i think this a
is a key problem or challengeyn he has now to deliver. and i think even very early signs after just a couple of ears of the changes into reality is moving much more difficult mohammed bin salman is now facing with his vision 2030 and his national transformation plan. and the promise that saudi arabia of the future will be a more fluid and dynamic country he has now to deliver. and i think even very early signs after just a couple of years of the changes into reality is moving much more difficult in practice and it will inherently involve taking on a degree of not just vested interest but structural obstacles in the saudi economy that i think will require more than just a plan that was cooked up in western consultants. and so far at least i think the initial expectations have had to have been tempered, perhaps because some of the
expectations were so far fetched in the beginning. the challenge for mohammed bin salman is that he is 32 and he owns this process. if he gets advice he will secure his kingdom. unlike previous kings for the last 20 years or so, who have been in their 70's, 80's, and even 90's, mohammed bin salman will be the one who has to face the day of reckoning in 20, 30, or 40 years either when saudi arabia faces challenges that can no longer be ignored or when, for example, domestic energy consumption, which is increasing so rapidly, means that so much energy has to be consumed locally that it can no longer export 6 or 7 million barrels of oil per day. so mohammed bin salman owns this process in a way none of his predecessors really have. it's not something that can be kicked down the road for a future king. because if he gets it wrong, he could put in peril his entire inheritance. so that is also i think what
explains perhaps some of the scale of the actions he has been taking, some of the urgency we have seen. it is clearly high risk and if it goes wrong it could be very badly wrong indeed. from what i can tell, a lot of the messaging that has accompanied vision 2030 over the past two years has been aimed much more at the international investment community and not necessarily so much at saudis, who are still looking for the sort of basic improvement in their daily or kind of life prospects. i think we saw that on full show not just the future investment initiative that took place three weeks ago but even this week when we had bill gates as one of the key speakers, and mohammed bin salman is trying to pitch a new saudi arabia to the
international community and to some extent has been quite successful. my concern is that the actions over the past two weeks just reinforce the stereotype view of the kingdom that people from the outside may hold of it. so that makes me wonder what may have happened behind the scenes to explain the timing of this action. i mean, is it just a miscalculation in the sense that mohammed bin salman and his team may have thought that sending a tough message on corruption would entice international investors by promising the new saudi arabia is a much freer place to do business in? because if that was the case it wasn't the mess thadge's necessarily been received internationally. although one might add that both the military operations in yemen and the trade and diplomatic embargo of qatar would show miscalculations have been happening and that long-term strategic thinking definitely
needs to be improved. so i think the top down leadership is there and the decision to focus on the international rather than perhaps the domestic audience is something that needs to change. i think that sooner rather than later the crown prince and his team will have to begin to show meaningful results that can convince saudis of all parts of kingdom that their own lives are going to be transformed for the better. and this i think is going to be the yardstick by which mohammed bin salman will be judged. and again, over the next decades, this will determine whether the new saudi state or whatever we would call it is more sustainable in long run than the one that we are seeing swept, being swept away before our eyes. i'd maybe just end by saying this is indeed a moment of
transformation in the sense that the institutional structures that for decades we thought were kind of solidified because they were so entrenched are now suddenly in play so there is a moment to try and remake institutions and clearly recreate leadership structures. and i think it will be fascinating. we won't know the answer of course but it will be fascinating to see if this moment of change also solidifies as its predecessor has done in the 1950's and 1960's into another kind of status that maybe prohibits change down the line. there was a lot of talk about mohammed bin salman becoming defense minister at the age of 29 but of course we shouldn't forget that the prince became defense minister when he was 32 and died as defense minister at the age of 80. so this system has opened up perhaps contrary to the expectations of a lot of analysts.
it's opened up because of a sequence of events that were not necessarily coordinated. the key interests i think going forward, is it going to close around mohammed bin salman and be just as impenetrable to long-term change as perhaps the past has been as well? so with that i'll open up to questions. >> thank you. [applause] >> all right. if you still have any questions just go ahead and raise your card and staff will pick it up from you and bring it over here. let me start reading your questions. the first question is from voice of america. prominent business persons are among detainees in in saudi arabia. $100 billion corruption crack
down. they have invested billions of dollars in economic and agricultural projects in north and east africa. how would the crackdown affect such projects globally? jamal? >> it will. it does. actually --. >> are the microphones on? ok. thank you. go ahead. >> i was talking on the phone to someone and then they began having a conversation with me about the company that has about 40,000 employees. i'm sure most of them want to know if they will be paid at the end of the month or not. he also has a huge business in morocco and sweden.
and we can start drawing a plan about others, about potential, who would be added to list of corruption. i just heard a new name today from a friend in the audience. there is no way to confirm it. rumors are spreading like really crazy in saudi arabia. and all kinds of news about people added to the list. unfortunately corruption is as i said a way of life. and this is -- mohammed bin salman has now in his hand a magic stick. this hardly could be a royal who is involved in some form of corruption. corruption also needs to be identified. what is corruption in saudi arabia? is a land grab a
corruption? because royals are involved in both land grant by the king which makes it legal even though we can argue about it and land grab. and so the stink of corruption is reachable to everybody and that is scaring everyone in saudi arabia and -- scaring almost everyone in saudi arabia and the feeling that i am next. and that is going to drop back on society. the quick fix is transparency. so far our attorney general hasn't given an interview to anybody. they need to do that. they need to do like a press conference every couple days. it's a huge thing that needs more trust.
[question indiscernible] >> absolutely vital as well. as you said, if there is a new commission headed by the crown prince who can almost define what corruption means to him isn't necessarily going to reassure international investors. i think the process will be very important or lack of in terms of whether or not investors are reassured or take right. >> from georgetown university, how do you propose how mohammed bin salman should address the muslim brotherhood's presence in the country? either one. addressed to both. >> go ahead.
>> saudi arabia is a revivalist islam country and he can't run away from that. yes, radicalism crept into saudi arabia. by -- it was crushed in 1950 but they came back after 1979. but the muslim brotherhood provided the answer in the 1960's. mohammed bin salman needs to free himself from this unneeded paranoia of the brotherhood and needs to form an alliance with them to come in region. -- to counter arabian expansion in the region. it is a totally unneeded confrontation we are going through in saudi arabia. it is affecting society and weakening saudi arabia. this is why -- that's answered.
thank you. ingwith reference to employ saudi citizens, will saudi families and culture in general accept their sons and daughters working in blue collar jobs? >> yes. the economy will change habits. we are used to doing everything. i wrote a book about that. i told the stories about my generation and my father's generation. my father was himself, god bless his soul, a farmer. he used to do a hand job that gets you dirty. so he could do everything. with the first born after 1973
war and with price of oil doubling, we had the huge boom. and we made the mistake of importing foreign laborers. you can find quotations of officials who say at this time, this is only -- we need them to build infrastructure and they will eventually go. they never went. we became addicted to it. that not only took jobs away but killed the work ethic in us. it killed the work ethic in us. now we assume we cannot do work because we are addicted to it. this is a bit tough that mohammed bin salman needs to work on. it is a social, political, economic task. he needs to spend more time on rather than building a new city in north. thank you. >> this was not the first missile fire from the group on to the saudi arabian territory so why
was it so widely publicized this time? >> it wasn't the first. it may have been the first targeting or at least landed in riyadh so it may have been taken as a much more direct strike at the heart of the saudi system. i think the fact that the war in yemen is continuing is quite frankly not what was planned in 2015 when this began and every time a missile comes over it is a signal from international backers that they retain the capacity to create embarrassment for the saudi leadership.
that is i think something the saudis haven't yet figured out how to try and resolve. the dilemma they have is decisive and overwhelming force to try and force the issue would be too much of a cost in terms of lives potentially lost and treasure lost. so there is this sort of half way house where they are not willing to -- not going to back out, but they don't just really have the capacity to actually win. >> the americans are backing that. it is iranian made, a missile that is recently introduced into war front that enemy has not had before. the enemy keeps fighting with old fashioned fire on us. but this one is iranian which is the proof that the iranians have succeeded despite the war in sneaking this missile into
yemen territories and maybe put together by yemenese or iranians or hezbollah operatives and that is taken to saudi arabia as a game changer. it is an act of war by the iranians and hezbollah and saudi arabia and rightfully so. if they had the opportunity to send tons of missiles to saudi arabia they would do it. so that is an enforcement argument and all you need to stand up to the iranian ex-pungment but -- arabian expansionism, but you need to do it in the right way. >> within two days of president trump urging the world to come together against iran they turned on qatar which i think is a strange way of trying to present a united front. >> ok. while talking about yemen, when will the war in yemen stop?
>> let's read a little bit about what his uncle did in 1965. in 1965 the king, supporting the civil war, he distanced himself from all sides and he played a part to all yemenese. since that time saudi arabia became like an equal partner to all of yemen. i think it needs to be discovered again and to reach out to yemenese whether soldiers or -- he recently met with the people in riyadh and that was very interesting. supposedly they are in saudi arabia and here he is meeting with the leader, which is good. it is ironic about listing them in the federalist list because -- the terrorist list, because
in saudi arabia the senior, the chief is there in saudi arabia and the chief of the emknee group is in saudi arabia. i don't know about others. so that is best way to end the war is for saudi arabia to reach out to all emens. -- to all yemenis. not one side against the other. that is exactly what happened in 1965. >> the next question is from les junka. explain dynamic of the royal family. will its cohesion be threatened when king salman passes away? >> i think there is only one person who probably knows the answer to that question. that's the king himself. we have the speculation clearly and every time there is said to be an imminent abdication it hasn't come to pass. one can read whatever one wants into that. a more dramatic push back than anticipated. i guess we don't know in terms
of family dynamic. my consent perhaps is that salman has for a long time in the past performed the role of almost like the chief whip of the family. he sort of kept -- he was the instrument in maintaining family discipline. he was not only feared but also respected for that. it looks as if at least to some extent mohammed bin salman is trying to take on that mantle of those being sort of the family enforcer. but will he have the gravitas and seniority to also impose the respect on all the different branches that may now to some extent feel like they have less of a stake in saudi arabia they see coming together. and so it's an open question whether once a man has passed away
does the glue begin to come a little weaker? that is something we won't necessarily know. >> i want to add to that. i agree with kristian. i will add i think mohammed was a victim of maintaining the status quo. maintaining -- the gluing the family together and actually king salman is the last or the last leader of the family. he needs to keep him. why did he consolidate this power for one or two or three more years? i think we can root out all the stories about abdication. i don't think it will happen. but will the family stay united? the family -- all those stories about mohammed bin salman had to start this merge of
corruption, a preemptive plan, i don't agree with that because i do anticipate -- i cannot see the royal family reuniting. so weak. so fragmented. we should remember they are from a generation of lavishness, of most of their concerns are about the latest expensive watch and the latest trip they had to the french rivera. they're not into politics but exploitation. they are fragmented. they have envies, jealousies of each other. there is no leader. tradition had been irritated or not irritated but that they had been slipping away from them.
they lost that position. they have lost it. an interesting book was published by a royal, an excellent book that makes it plain that the dismantling of the tradition, of the founding ingredients of the house of saud. that book is not in saudi arabia. it should be. i wish people would read it. it gives his legacy legitimacy. now there is the craziest thing i've seen -- concept of, will you -- you are what makes a king enjoy a divine power to rule. why would you -- things that i would look him to go, so he would be more accountable.
but why would somebody who enjoys this divine rule give it away? is it just like asking him to give away that privilege. he wouldn't give it away easily. but if mohammed wants to give it away, he is welcome to do so. >> saudi arabia and other ghost countries have urged citizens to leave lebanon. i am reminded of 1973 the soviet diplomats leaving cairo and followed by a war. can we see that request from gulf citizens to leave lebanon sm?ough the same pri >> i think lebanon is a very dangerous thing at the start trying to, if they're trying to stir things up. i don't think there would be any
clearer cut resolution in any way, and even now the israelis have almost acknowledged they are not willing at least yet to start a conflict to take action against what they see as hezbollah. on the other hand perhaps moving them from the scene means it is easier for the saudi government or other gulf government to say listen, kind of an antihezz anti-hezbollah function in lebanon and trying to maybe long term say the lebanese government basically is hezbollah influenced even more so than it was by removing one of the more antihezbollah factions. it seems to have back fired at the beginning where the lebanese have rallied around. please come home. then we can talk about this. i don't think it produced the results that were necessarily
expected two weeks ago and that could be why there is a degree off backing off by allowing ad to at least go to france then potentially back to beirut. >> we have several questions. we have different questions. what is going on what the situation and lebanon? how will that impact the relationship between saudi arabia and lebanon? >> it has already affected the relationship. even to the sunnis of lebanon, always look up to saudi arabia for support. the first time sunnis of lebanon
hasty decisiona made by invaders. for he had a good argument taming down hezbollah. towould have sat with him develop a plan, a proper plan that could have involved the americans and french to encounter has below. the way it was conducted and orchestrated, it fired back on saudi arabia. he needed to salvage it very quickly. the french would be helping us out. he would be flying to paris tomorrow with his family. and he could resume his role as a leader. i think the task now for saudi things.s to salvage two that position and lebanon, to restore it again.
to lose our influence there, and the family. it took the sunnis in lebanon to .ind the leadership here we are weakening that leadership. important to restore , and ility in lebanon hope this is the future plan. by suggesting his brother to be .he prime minister he needs to be empowered again. it is good for saudi arabia. and also for the position and , to safeguard the sunni and christian community.
there is no true investigative journalism. is it totally bankrupt? you will not find reporting about that. the corruption campaign. but i'm sure it's still there. i'm sure there are -- there's with thises involvement with royalties. they were involved with royalties. king, the holy koran, koran, that of the deserved an investigation. cost of a single copy of it, coming from the presenting if it is maybe 10 times was printed by anyone else next
door. an issue to investigate in corruption. reachable by it is the corruption stick. but so far, we haven't heard anything of that sort. heart, as a prime minister of leb nap, will pro-- lebanon will protect him. >> christian from american university. the recentnitude of changes be considered as a moment of transition in terms of phase in saudi society? >> it's definitely a moment to transition. we've obviously seen mbs being about his interpretation of the prime minister being rejected. i think, with the corruption, it's -- too much is resting on man's interpretation. and perhaps there's needs to be
wider societal debate and dialogue about this. it's, again, such a top-down imposed manner that i don't think there's going to be a wide-ranging input from groups that clearly will be impacted by some of the changes that are being made. and so if there's no debate, it could just breed resentment or repression even, going forward. i think that's a mistake. of social debates need to be have. as jamal said, he isn't going about it the right way. >> okay. jamal, there are several the kind ofgarding issues of succession and governance. one basic question is, can we that from the fact mohammed bin salman has no deputy or crown prince at this sons will be the future? witnessing even saa saudi
2.0? >> it is too early for that. but because of the situation, rumors there are. one of the most interesting an h.r. inard from mbs is thinking of downsizing the royal family. news for us. and it is good for him, because actually the number of the royal family is abundant. have demandsalways and they will come to him and they need an administration by to manage their problems or their needs. royal family have hrh title are
grand -- of the founder. and then we are talking about to six thousand grandsons, around that number. i don't have the figure. but there is a department, finance, that bears the stipend for them, who has details of each one of them and of their allowances, or the stipend. decreeplan is to issue a and hisonly the king sons as an hrh. or hise becomes a king theer now, it will be -- rest are royal families. previously, his father used to include other weak or
family members of the into the family. for example, the new minister guard, hetional ago.t a prince 20 years and they were not part of the royal family. they were added to the royal by a decree made by prince salman when he was the governor. had anthat time, he interest to widen the circle of the royal family. part of thealso not family, but now they are part of the family. so it seems like, this is the that he will restructure a royal,ne who is which maybe will lead him to the prince ofr to jordan or morocco, that style of family. i think this is good. it is good for the public, for the future, new emerging
classes. royals enjoy privileges. and they have an advantage. has a better chance to get a better hospital bed than me, chance to getr way more, larger land grant than me. we have, the that merrier. it's good for saudi arabia to do that. is good for him. >> kristian, do you think that saudi arabia has exaggerated or given too much the houthis? is that threat genuine? >> well, obviously the houthis theirready swept out of traditional strongholds. had taken sanab by
2014. hehink it was the same night came into power, that the president was imprisoned temporarily, so the government same night that he came to power. the houthis had an alliance of convenience with the hiser president, who had own interest in destabilizing his successor. think yemen is a warning of what happens in a transition former leader is still playing an active political role. this hasn't happened in any of the other states that went through a regime change, as a 2011 uprisings. of course, it made for a very unlikely pair of partners, given the series of wars that had been yemeni government with the houthis between 2004 and '10. maybe there was an overreaction in terms of imagining this to be another sort of front organization. but as with the missile that we
saw two weeks ago, that kind of has become a self-fulfilling it's created the conditions for the breakdown of authority and control that has and iranian-backed influence.ain kind of the situation is now basically as if the one that saying in 2015, that this is another front. what i would say, trying to take proxy iranians with groups is not necessarily -- i mean, the iranians have a working withice of groups like hezbollah. and this is a dangerous -- i they're expert in how they do that. i think in yemen and also in syria, it's been shown that they maintain levels of direct and indirect influence that has far outmatched the sunni arab's states to do the same. a problem into be every regional conflict, i think, going forward.
>> jamal, michael huffman would like to know a little bit more about the background, did that-wise, and how shape mohammed bin salman's world view? where does he get his advice? >> i was surprised to learn yesterday, from a friend of an americanaches in university, that he advised mohammed bin salman. so that was good news for me, he does reach out to proper advisors. but the same friend said to me, he doesn'tme angry, listen to my advice. [laughter] >> and he has the best advice, when it comes to development and changing the face of saudi arabia. dollars onllions of
those consultants. so he has no problem with advisors. benefit from others, an excellent -- who have excellent expertise on foreign policy. doesn't. he does need proper advice. if he looks back at the made, he will realize that they did not evolve into his likeness. if it's not failure, it is stagnation. but we also failed in syria. failing now in-- yemen, in lebanon. that.e can argue about he needs to revise either his strategy.r his there is need for that. need --e is also a maybe there would be a question
about this. i call the trump effect. trump, i think, had been a influence on mohammed bin salman. he gave him the wrong premises, a false premises, that he can change the middle east, that he can support him to and iranians out of syria out of iraq. but, again, mohammed bin salman should have an advisor who would trump, ashat even sincere in his promise, he deliver, because it's gigantic. for trump to get involved against the iranians in syria, consensuso get the from the pentagon, from the congress, to do such a thing. so he should know that whatever kushner and trump promise, they cannot deliver.
to spend time, about effect, and how that is destabilizing the middle east. also, they have to speak in one not dual voices, so that we'll send the wrong message to binader like mohammed salman, listening to trump and listening to others, and assuming that there's a between them. play aically they can very positive role in impacting arabia, because they are the only ones who have kind of a leverage on saudi today. >> i do think the biggest wasalculation that he made to assume that if trump won, the u.s. government would swing with him. it does qo back to the -- does go back to the fact
that maybe there was an a sense thaton or the personalization of decision government,e u.s. at least in his first year in office, offered an opportunity. maybe more calmer might or decision making have cautioned otherwise. but i think that is the key made.culation that was >> all right. the next question is from andrew graves, department of energy. addressed to both of you. of do you see the pace economic reforms unfolding? specifically, in terms of the reduction in subsidies for the gas and electricity prices and so on. >> well, i think so far, some of the initial measures have been down or even put off. benefit, if he's serious about going through with
measuresthe painful that inevitably will have to be vision 2030, is if he can show with his actions over that he'swo weeks serious about this, paus becausi years,ver the past two over the first sign of a public has, to, the government some extent, changed course. think the trade-offs involved in transitioning the a moreconomy to sustainable long-term economic just with not reduction in subsidies, but also labor market reform and creating those jobs that young notis will move into, foreign workers, is going to involve taking on those vested economic interests, to have a vested interest in maintaining the advantages they have. and so if those vested interests
well, he'snking, taking on key elements that are going to resist some of the then he could have a chance to succeed. but i mean, that's going to be the main thing, creating those that can really show a trickle-down effect and that can actually make it a reality for the young saudis. highestf the expectations he promised us is to have a more transparent budget. need to see more of that, because now with all those discussions about the persian corruption, with the aim, the financial of the --to gain some to ed a it to the national treasury, that shows a negative of the the status national treasury, that it needs to take money from the corrupt national treasury, so that is a true situation in
our reserve and the national treasury. there is reluctance that is itluenced by politics when ores to stopping subsidies allowances to government employs. government employees. they were corrupt from government employees. twoi think there were drivers to that, politics, and driver is the local market. thrauarabia is going recession because -- through a recession because of that. now willsion maybe be... i like and the that,ment is still doing drive against illegal
businesses, illegal foreign businesses in saudi arabia who a cover-up byder is a majorans epidemic that is affecting our national economy. a huge number of businesses are operated in saudi arabia by foreigners, who own it, who butge it, who operate it, it is in the name of the saudis. so i begin to see pictures of the -- it was shut down. even though it's a sign of but it is good, because those businesses are not the nationalto budget, to the national economy. go of it,eed to let so the saudis will go back to the culture of work. this is continuing. and i hope it will continue. but there's a great deal of
reluctance on the plans altogether. >> all right. warren david asks a question perspective, saudi vis-a-vis iran. is the so-called that jamalansionism referred to earlier, is it really a genuine threat? and why isn't -- ha ha! >> why isn't mohammed bin salman promoting more diplomatic rather interventionist or military confrontation policy in this regard? >> well, i think it is magnified that all around saudi arabia, there were conflicts involving state and non-state actors that clearly iran has been involved in. honest, has a lot more ability to use for their own
ends. and, you know, these aren't conventional conflicts but using thenflicts resources, the tools that iran has developed for decades. and as i said earlier, i mean, both in syria, now in yemen, on iran in terms of it with yoursmart own proxies is a difficult task, when your foe has been doing this expertly for years. and so i think that's the challenge that they face. i think also the creations of the pastlure over seven years -- going on seven years now of turmoil on almost regional front, it has an expansioned in of the opportunities available to iran to project itself into regional affairs. going back almost 15 years, if of talk about the occupation iraq, after 2003.
is kind of a fast-moving situation which has those pathways that have been filled by iran and by their groups. think the defeat of isis in whilern iraq and syria, obviously very welcome, is potentially another deeply element, if you're looking at it from an anti-iranian point of view, a lot of thenk spaces that could be filled link up and lift up those iranian groups across region in a contiguous way. i think that would be another watch.cern to >> john anderson would like to know, what percentage of the saudi budget outlay goes to allowances, to princes, royal family members? do you have any idea? >> no. nobody knows. is -- it would not be listed in any future budget.
maybe in the future, but no. i don't know. the only figure i know, and i prince, who is a grandson of the king, so then a calculation, that 113,000 reals a month. receiveather will double that. his children will se receive les of that. girls will receive half. you do the calculation, if you know your numbers. question] >> this is firsthand, from a prince. this one, in his 30's. you can use it as a basis. >> all right. comment ons jamal to the major reason for at thisan's campaign time. is it to have a deeper monarchy? like to create a more convenient regime? truejust know what his
mow -- i don't know his true motives. but if we are suggesting that that, to bolster his way to power, he doesn't need to. already on the throne. to.oesn't need he's already a de facto king of saudi arabia. but did that enforce his position? did enforce his position. now, as much as he has intimidated, us, the people of saudi arabia, that most of us are afraid to speak out freely in the media, because we know a cousin or a friend or associate arrested, now, the royals are as intimidated as us. enjoyt useful for him to total authority? i don't know. he can answer that. but i don't think he needs to
intimidate us, nor the royals, rule, because he's -- really, no challenge, no power that could challenge him or stop him from becoming a king of saudi arabia. he is using the most powerful power. the absolute monarchy. enough power that it wasn't king salman. king ofne else was the saudi arabia, his son would enjoy the same power. abdullah did not skip out and he became the crown prince or king of saudi arabia, his son would have enjoyed the same power. so the power, yes, mohammed bin salman is smart. mean, he outperformed everybody. personal things in him. but he wasn't really as smart as
mohammed bin salman. him credit forve being smart. now he has to perform as a and inin the economic foreign policy. source ofst important power is this concept of reliance on numbers. there's plenty of power. an absolute monarchy, social power. maybe you can explain it better. this is my concept. >> well, no. i think if you start to tinker with the traditional sources of power, authority and legitimacy, a kind ofning up worms that you might not want -- a can of worms that you might want to open up, especially at the same time that you're engaged in such a wide-ranging reformulate the theomic and perhaps even socioreligious aspects of society. there's a danger perhaps of even spread too thin, without all the foreign policy try togoing on, and you
do too much too fast. to what extent is there a try to take on every front at the same time? that would be another concern i would have perhaps, going forward. >> yes. i think this remark probably wiley's question, in terms of how all these steps severaler the past weeks will impact the relationship between the saudi and the -- monarchy fundamentalist religious establishment? >> the fundamental religious are on thent, they payroll of the government. when mohammed bin salman says he wants to destroy radicalism, he should have said, to unplug radicalism. radicalism would not have in saudi arabia if it wasn't for government support. unplugneeds to do, just it. who wereicals
empowered, in putting their our textbook, by the government. they did not win an election. and they share power with us. no. they were empowered by them for a certain period of time. the prince of the kingdom realizes after the audit. they are unplugging support. are in thes infrastructure surrounding the government. is consistentnsel with radical views. radical views about the shiates, women's rights. it would be useful to do a paper about the political or social
thinking. and their views about minorities, relation to the muslims, about diversity. how do they see other muslim sects. just who is truly radical. there was a person talking on a tv program a few days ago. the prince that could stop the reform. it is not true. 90% of them ask for reform. whether about democracy, women driving. a monarchy was arrested last september.
remove theled to guardianship right on females in saudi arabia. this is one of the most sensitive issues. to remove male guardianship on women. there was a person arrested and being accused of the radical, wrote an essay about it. none of the clergy's in a senior counsel would dare write a similar essay. they are the ones being respected why the authority today. are in jailormers in saudi arabia today. >> all right. >> we are going to conclude. the time is up. the last question is from john duke anthony. one minute each. how do you see the near or long-term future of the jcc as a
result? unless the catholic right is resolved, the curators are also anxious and worried. the jcc will be on the fritz. if the summit would not be held this december with all of the six members we might lose it. >> i think it is a great shame if the summit does not take place in kuwait. that has been a leading regional mediator. it would be an opportunity to get everyone in the room. i think we have seen in the past, in the region, institutions do not necessarily get dissolved. they become irrelevant and marginalized. i suspect it will remain on paper with or without. we have seen every stage of this crisis. every major decision has been
taken, then bypassing the jcc. i think th >> thank you very much. this concludes our of that today. please join me in thanking our speakers for their presentations. [applause] thank you for being here. we look forward to seeing you at future events. he spends washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. a this morning, the center for budget and policy priorities discusses taxes. the will talk about bureau's future.
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