Saudi crown prince says Houthi missile attack was ‘last-ditch effort’

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called the missile launches by Houthis toward the Kingdom as “a last-ditch effort.” (AFP)
Updated 28 March 2018
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Saudi crown prince says Houthi missile attack was ‘last-ditch effort’

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has told the New York Times that the seven missiles launched by Iranian-backed Houthi militia at Saudi Arabian cities from Yemen on Sunday was “a last-ditch effort” that only showed their growing weakness.
The crown prince also added that Saudi Arabia was seeking an end to the war through a political process, as well as trying to divide the Houthis by maintaining military pressure on them.
Mohammed bin Salman said, in the interview published by New York Times on Tuesday, that the Houthis who took over the Yemeni capital Sanaa in 2014 were increasingly isolated politically.
Other topics discussed in the article included his plans for economic and social changes in Saudi Arabia as well as his views on the Kingdom’s conflicts with Iran and Qatar.
Crown Prince Mohammed accused Iran of seeking to acquire nuclear weapons so that it could create chaos in the Middle East without fear of retribution.
“We know the target of Iran,” he said. “If they have a nuclear weapon, it’s a shield for them to let them do whatever they want in the Middle East, to make sure that no one attacks them or they will use their nuclear weapons.”
“Delaying it and watching them getting that bomb, that means you are waiting for the bullet to reach your head,” Crown Prince Mohammed said during his first meeting with editors and reporters from New York Times. “So you have to move from today.”
The US and other world powers reached a 2015 agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions. However, some American officials, including President Trump, have criticized the agreement and threatened to repeal it.
Mohammed bin Salman also spoke about Saudi Arabian efforts to combat extremism in the Middle East, saying that he believed Islam had been “hijacked,” and criticizing the way he said that groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist organizations like Daesh and Al-Qaeda had distorted the religion.
The crown prince is on an extensive tour of the US, and having visited Washington and New York, he will also make trips to Silicon Valley and Houston. His trip is aimed at strengthening ties between Saudi Arabia and the US.
The New York Times interview was published as the Saudi-US CEO Forum began in New York.
The forum was attended by influential economic figures such as Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, and Adena Friedman, CEO and president of NASDAQ.
It brings together the business elite from the US and the Kingdom for a day of formal presentations, panel discussions, and trade and cultural shows.
During the event, Saudi Arabian and American companies signed 36 memorandums of understanding for deals worth $20 billion.
Meanwhile, Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone Group, was hosting an event for the crown prince.
During his last day in New York, Crown Prince Mohammed met with technology companies.


Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

Updated 26 June 2019
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Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

  • 40 works by Edvard Munch go on display for first time in Middle East

DHAHRAN: A dynamic Saudi cultural center is to showcase the works of one of the world’s most famous painters in an exhibition-first for the Middle East.

Forty pieces by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, best known for his iconic “The Scream” painting, will go on public display at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra).

The special exhibition, titled “Landscapes of the Soul,” is the latest in a series of high-profile cultural events to be staged at the showpiece exhibition in Dhahran.

Developed by Saudi Aramco with the aim of stimulating knowledge, creativity and cross-cultural engagement, Ithra’s theater, museum, exhibition hall and art gallery complex forms a key part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan to promote culture and entertainment.

The Munch exhibition, which runs until Sept. 3, portrays the artist’s personal life experiences of misery, love, despair, loneliness and reflections of the soul, through his distinctive works.

“It is such an honor to host and introduce to Saudi Arabia, and indeed, the Middle East, the work of the world-renowned artist Edvard Munch,” Rania Biltagi, Ithra’s head of communications and partnership, told Arab News.

Munch’s (1863-1944) original exhibition has been located in Oslo, Norway since 1963, and the Saudi display is being staged in Ithra’s Great Hall in partnership with the Munch Museum in Norway.

As well as a lithograph version of his most famous painting “The Scream,” other works on show will include “Summer Night. The Voice,” 1894, “Self-Portrait,” 1895, and “The Sick Child,” 1896.

“A moment that stood out from the opening was when speaking to a couple visiting the exhibit, they mentioned that they were Norwegian and working in Saudi,” Biltagi said. “They explained that they had never had the chance to visit the Munch Museum in their homeland and what an unexpected pleasure it was to be able to see Munch’s work in Saudi.”

Biltagi added that the event epitomized the aim of Ithra in providing a platform to bring together cultures as well as people.

The center, featured in Time magazine’s list of the world’s top 100 places to visit, is a pioneer on the Kingdom’s culture and arts scene, organizing a variety of events, performances, programs and experiences to suit all ages and backgrounds. Previous exhibitions have included a focus on Saudi contemporary art, Leonardo da Vinci, and installations symbolizing creativity and innovation.