Iran’s ambition is to destroy the Saudi state, says Prince Turki Al-Faisal

Prince Turki Al-Faisal, former Saudi ambassador and chief of the General Intelligence Directorate. (AFP)
Updated 21 March 2018
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Iran’s ambition is to destroy the Saudi state, says Prince Turki Al-Faisal

WASHINGTON: Iran is a “threat” and aims to destroy the Saudi state, the Kingdom’s former intelligence chief has warned.

Prince Turki Al-Faisal, former Saudi ambassador and chief of the General Intelligence Directorate, said that Iran had boasted about its interference in regional states.

“I don't think they threaten our existence. But definitely, their ambition is to destroy the Saudi state. And this is not new. This is from the time of (the former Supreme Leader of Iran) Khomeini,” Prince Turki told NPR.

Prince Turki pointed to Iran’s alleged interference in regional countries including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

“Iran has not hesitated to interfere in all of these countries, and they boast about it. It's not something that they hide or that they shy from mentioning ... Their leadership has boasted about controlling four Arab capitals,” he said.

Prince Turki also said that the Iran-backed Houthi militias had tried to take over Yemen by military force.

“The Kingdom responded to the appeal of the legitimate government in Yemen to provide military support to help them push back on this Houthi-cum-Iranian interference in trying to take over in Yemen,” he said.

“Yemen is bordering Saudi Arabia. Imagine if Mexico or Canada had started interfering in the affairs of the United States. What would the reaction of America be? It would be to defend itself. Yes, it is complicated. And yes, we are paying a price for that. But I think it is a justifiable defense of our interests.”


Saudi ministry: More than 3 million Umrah visas issued so far

The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience. (SPA)
Updated 20 January 2019
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Saudi ministry: More than 3 million Umrah visas issued so far

  • Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government

JEDDAH: The number of Umrah visas issued this year has reached 3,024,272, of which 2,561,541 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom, according to data provided by the Hajj and Umrah Ministry.
There are 399,479 pilgrims still in the Kingdom, with 277,372 in Makkah and 122,107 in Madinah.
Most pilgrims — 2,288,789 — came to the Kingdom by air, while 257,266 entered by land and 15,486 arrived by sea.
The largest number of pilgrims are from Pakistan (681,392) followed by Indonesia (447,450), India (306,470), Yemen (146,067), Malaysia (142,290), Algeria (92,752), Turkey (86,925), Egypt (85,438), Bangladesh (53,131) and the UAE (62,927).
The weekly data also included the number of Saudi staff within Umrah companies and institutions. They are 9,983 Saudis including 8,259 males and 1,724 females.
Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government.
The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience.