Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Saudi Prince Shares Views on Bin Laden

SPEAKER Saudi Prince Shares Views on Bin Laden By Arianne Aryanpur Hoya Staff Writer

Charles Nailen/The Hoya Former Saudi Intelligence chief Turki Al-Faisal bin Abd Al-Aziz Al Saud (SFS ’68) chronicles the history of his kingdom in ICC Auditorium on Sunday.

Former Saudi Arabian Chief of Intelligence Prince Turki Al-Faisal bin Abd Al-Aziz Al Saud (SFS ’68) discussed the history of his nation and its relations with the United States Sunday.

In the ensuing question and answer session in ICC Auditorium Al Saud shared his views on Osama bin Laden and the Sept. 11 attacks.

“I am going to break a social taboo that is practiced in [Saudi Arabia] in that I’m going to be talking about myself,” Al Saud told the capacity crowd of mostly guests and professors. According to Al Saud, Saudi Arabians and Muslims do not feel comfortable speaking about themselves.

Following his speech Al Saud was asked about his thoughts on Osama bin Laden’s transformation into an international terrorist.

“Who can explain Timothy McVeigh? Who can explain Adolf Hitler?” he responded. “To those of us who believe in God . the devil also takes a role,” he said. “That is something that not many people are willing to accept. I am.”

Al Saud chronicled Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the United States beginning with his birth in 1945. In 1945, then-president Franklin Delano Roosevelt was meeting with then-king Abdul-Aziz. At the time, the United States was the sole superpower that was not a colonial power, Al Saud said. A topic of discussion in the mid-20th century included the granting of Palestinian land to refugees. At the 1945 meeting FDR promised Abdul-Aziz that before taking any action regarding the case with Palestine, he would consult Arab officials.

“[This promise] was the cornerstone on which the relation between the kingdom and the U.S. progressed from that time onwards,” Al Saud said.

After attending Lawrenceville Preparatory School in New Jersey, Al Saud enrolled in Georgetown as a member of the class of 1968 with former President Clinton (SFS ’68).

Al Saud continued to chronicle the state of affairs in Saudi Arabia through his college years, discussing the growth in Arab socialism and the 1970s oil boom.

He also discussed his kingdom’s insistence on opposing communism following World War II.

“The kingdom always looked upon the principles and ideas of communism as being anathema to human thought and human well being,” he said.

After leading the Saudi Secret Service for 24 years, Al Saud retired in August 2001.

Al Saud also reflected on his visit last Thursday to Ground Zero of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York City during his speech.

“I think New York is going to recover and I think the American people are going to recover from this tragedy,” he assured.

Al Saud offered his personal sympathy for both survivors of the victims and for the nation.

“Regardless of whether the perpetrators were Saudis or not, the majority of the people in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia have the same feelings I do,” he said.

Following his 45-minute speech, Al Saud took questions from the audience on topics ranging from the oil market to his opinions on the capturing of Sadaam Hussein. Before visiting Georgetown, Al Saud also discussed his views on Hussein on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

“Action has to come from inside Iraq,” Al Saud said. The only way Hussein can be brought down is through the insistence of the Iraqi people, according to Al Saud.

The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and the School of Foreign Service organized Sunday’s event. Saif Ghobash Professor of Arab Studies at the CCAS Michael Hudson introduced Al Saud on Sunday. CCAS Director Barbara Stowasser discussed the purpose of the CCAS, which was founded in 1975. According to Stowasser its goal is to focus on educating and fostering international understanding and respect about the Arab world.

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