Iran’s imperialism being curbed, says Prince Turki

Updated 21 May 2015
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Iran’s imperialism being curbed, says Prince Turki

RIYADH: Iran will not be allowed to continue its interference in Arab affairs, said Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the former Saudi ambassador to the US and UK.

In his keynote address, which was read out by Prince Faisal bin Saud bin Abdul Mohsin, director of cultural affairs and public relations at King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, at the 40th Anniversary celebrations of Arab News in Riyadh on Monday, Prince Turki said: “As we are dealing with Yemen, Iran’s imperial ambitions will be checked in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.”
Prince Turki exhorted Arab and Muslim nations to become proactive and self reliant. “Our nations and peoples are experiencing a period of chaotic and harmful interventions and changes,” he said. “We, as Arab and Muslim nations, must become more self-reliant to secure our borders, pursue our interests. For God helps those who help themselves.”
On the nuclear framework agreement with Iran, Prince Turki said: “The devil is in the details, which we will await.” He said there are missing ingredients, including a universal security umbrella for regional countries who feel threatened by current and future nuclear-armed neighbors; and a military option to threaten anyone who refuses to cooperate.
He called on US President Barack Obama, who made universal disarmament his goal, to “find the way to make our area free of weapons of mass destruction.”
In the first Saudi reaction to the Pakistani Parliament’s decision to stay neutral in the war against the Houthi terrorists in Yemen, Prince Turki called it “disappointing” and said “some mealy mouthed politicians have forgotten what the Kingdom has done for Pakistan since its birth.”
Prince Turki said Saudi Arabia will continue to support the Pakistani people who have expressed their overwhelming support for the Kingdom.
“Just look at the masses of ordinary Pakistanis marching in the streets of all Pakistani cities, carrying King Salman’s portrait and shouting their unflinching support of Saudi Arabia,” he said, pointing out the clear distinction between the Pakistani politicians and the Pakistani people.
He said Pakistan faces complex problems. “On its northwestern frontier, it has the Durand Line, which has not been demarcated. On its northeastern border, it has Kashmir, which has been a festering wound since 1948. Until these issues are resolved, Pakistan will remain in a ‘yo-yo like’ swing from one to the other. Each border, by pulling on Pakistani resources, weakens the other border,” he said.
Prince Turki said Pakistan’s support for the Afghan Taleban was based on an effort to secure her border with Afghanistan. “So, by fixing the Durand Line, a heavy weight will be lifted off Pakistan’s shoulders, and her increased sense of security will give her more confidence to deal with Kashmir,” he said.
On Iraq, Prince Turki recalled his address at the 35th anniversary celebrations of Arab News in 2010. “Five years ago, and still, the agony of Iraq continues,” he said. “I then said, ‘Sinister are the designs of some of Iraq’s neighbors to take advantage of impending Iraqi internal conflict to advance their acquisition of Iraqi territories’,” he said. “We have already seen Iranian encroachment on Iraqi land at the beginning of the year. Imagine what will happen once internal strife and fighting escalates.”
He said former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki had deliberately hijacked the results of the elections. “That added to the brutal mayhem taking place in Iraq. The consequences of that was more bloodshed and potential civil war and also a regional conflict on a scale not seen since the Ottoman-Safavid wars of the 17th and 18th centuries,” he said.
Prince Turki said Daesh or the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was a direct result of Al-Maliki’s lust for power. “Fahish, which is wrongly named ISIS, although new to the scene, is the unquestionable direct offspring of Al-Maliki’s grab for power and Iran’s continuous promotion of sectarianism wherever it lays its hands.”
He said five years ago he had suggested that America should be the “Big Bear” pushing everyone in the region to achieve the two-state solution, which has been Obama’s stated policy.
“He has articulated his position very eloquently; now we want him to be equally eloquent in implementing what he said,” said Prince Turki. “He has to walk the talk. If he does not succeed, and as President Truman so crassly calculated his electoral alternatives and decided to recognize Israel under Resolution 181 of 1947 of the General Assembly of the United Nations, then I ask President Obama to do the morally decent thing and recognize the Palestinian State that he so ardently wishes to exist, under the same resolution of the General Assembly. He can then pack up and leave us in peace and let the Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese negotiate directly with the Israelis. No more platitudes, good wishes and visions, please.”
He said Afghanistan has a special place in his heart. “What Afghanistan needs now is a shift from nation building to effectively countering terrorists,” he said, recalling his words five years ago. “The point has been made that America and the rest of the world cannot accept that any country be the launching ground of terrorist activity as Afghanistan has been from 1997 until today. The moral high ground which America acquired after Sept. 11 has been eroded because of American negligence, ignorance and arrogance.”
“I had stated then that, as long as American boots remain on Afghan soil, they remain targets of resistance for the Afghan people and ideological mercenaries.”
“The attempts being made now are a step in the right direction. President Ashraf Ghani is starting with a clean slate. The Taleban of today are no longer the exclusively Pashtun warriors who ruled Afghanistan until 2002. They are now any and every Afghan of whatever ilk who raises arms against the foreign invaders. By declaring them the enemy, we declare the people of Afghanistan the enemy. Here also, there should be no more platitudes and good wishes.”


KSA’s Eastern Province residents welcome Sharqiah Season visitors from far and wide

Updated 13 min 16 sec ago
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KSA’s Eastern Province residents welcome Sharqiah Season visitors from far and wide

  • The Sharqiah Seasonfeatures over 80 events in cities acrossf the Kingdom's Eastern Province
  • Events in the upcoming weekends feature sports events as as well as concerts

RIYADH: Residents of the Eastern Province are no strangers to foreign visitors — the nation’s oil heartland has been welcoming them for years. But more have been arriving with the opening of Sharqiah Season, featuring over 80 events across the region’s cities.

Organized as a collaborative effort by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage alongside the General Entertainment Authority, the General Culture Authority and the General Sports Authority, it is the first of 11 scheduled festivals planned across the country in 2019.

Faisal Al-Rayisi, an employee at King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, told Arab News he was surprised by the number of people arriving for the festival. 

“People are not only coming from Saudi Arabia, but from all over the Gulf as well — Kuwait and the UAE in particular,” he said. “I’ve even seen foreigners from Europe and Asia coming through. Time was, we used to go to Dubai for our entertainment, but now people from Dubai are coming to us.”

He also mentioned how happy he was to see the festivities coming to the Eastern Province. “Jeddah has this slogan, ‘Jeddah is different,’ but now that we’re seeing the first Sharqiah Season in our region, and all of these amazing activities and concerts are happening here, I think we can safely say ‘Sharqiah is different’ now.”

The Sharqiah festival aims to deliver an extensive entertainment experience for both Saudis and visitors to the Kingdom.

The festival features events in Eastern Province cities, including Dammam, Dhahran, Alkhobar, Al-Ahsa and Jubail. Future seasons will focus on different areas of Saudi Arabia, with different entertainment options for each city. Upcoming seasons will focus on different areas, and also different parts of the year, such as Ramadan, Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha.

Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority, said in a statement that  the organization’s participation in the festival aligns with its goal of improving the quality of life in the Kingdom, and discovering local talent in various entertainment industries.  

He also highlighted the importance of the entertainment sector and its contribution to the economy and the creation of jobs for locals, all important aspects of Vision 2030.

The opening night of Sharqiah Season on Thursday drew crowds of Saudis to the Alkhobar Corniche, despite strong winds and sprinklings of rain earlier in the day. Groups of friends stopping to take selfies and families with young children in tow wandered through the Entertainment Boulevard, lined with food stalls selling karak and koshari.

Earlier in the day, the mega event began with the opening of an exhibit featuring the work of Leonardo da Vinci at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra). 

The exhibit showcased some of Da Vinci’s original sketches, with several screens showing videos detailing how his designs have continued to inspire scientists and inventors in the modern era.

Sharqiah Season continues until March 30, with upcoming weekends featuring sports events such as the Red Bull Air Race and the Formula 1 H20 boat race, as well as concerts in Dammam featuring Akon, Deadmau5, Pitbull and French Montana.