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tv   Future of Saudi Arabian Leadership  CSPAN  November 17, 2017 9:29am-11:01am EST

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journalli journalis journalists, and mohammed bin salman, according to british newspapers, king salman will step down next week and name his son as his heir. the 32-year-old prince recently arrested more than 40 senior ministers and more than 150 others on charges of alleged corruption. the discussion getting underway soon. live coverage here on c-span2. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> good morning, ladies and gentlemen, i'm an executive director of arab center washington d.c. and i would like to welcome all of you to this special briefing, focusing on the shake-up in riyadh regional and international implications. over the past 12, 13 days, since, i guess, the fourth or the fifth of november, some
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serious and very significant changes and steps have been taken in the kingdom of saudi arabia that attracted the attention of media and political analysts all over the world, as a matter of fact, and as all of you know, there has been hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands of articles and interviews conducted, written, about the significance of these events in terms of immediate mid term, long-term implications, domestic implications, regional implications and national implications for the kingdom and for those, of course, like the united states, countries that have extensive interests and special relationship with the kingdom. although it's been a couple of weeks of hyperactivity at that
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level and analysis and reporting frankly more questions have been raised than answered during this period. i don't need to read you the titles of some of all of these questions because that will keep us here until next friday, but i will raise a couple of these questions just for the purpose and for the sake of the discussion today to kind of tend to frame, 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 roundup that we witnessed on the 4th and the 5th of november? is it really a campaign or a consolidation of power campaign? is mohammed bin salman behaving recklessly according to an
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unnamed diplomate or ruling the kingdom in saudi arabia. what are the domestic implications of this crackdown that we have witnessed over the past 12, 13 days? what is the impact specifically, domestically, on the government's process in general in saudi arabia, on the role of the royal family in power sharing in the kingdom, and particularly, the role of the religious establishments, are they marginalized with the arrests that we have witnessed even prior to the arrest of the princes and the businessmen. there was also a large number of religious establishment and others, that have also been detained. when we look back at this period is power legitimacy in saudi arabia? how is legitimacy going to be
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affected by the steps? is this the beginning, as one of my colleagues at the office said, the beginning of the fourth saudi estate? is the kingdom of saudi arabia performing ultra conservative to moderate? did the purge of saudi billionaires and millionaires help or harm vision 2030? if this, the saudi arabia that saudi youth want? in order what's domestic reaction now and in the future to this campaign? and definitely, we need to kind of touch on what are the regional and international implications of this saudi purge. to help us answer these questions, and we invited two dear friends who are well enveloped about these
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developments and those of you who have been following us, the reaction, whether on twitter or otherwise have seen the substantive and wise comments that help kind of direct the conversation, actually, worldwide and not just in saudi arabia or outside here in the states. let me introduce both of them at this time in the order they would speak and then we'll give them the floor to proceed. the first speaker would be jamal is saudi arabian journalists, columnist, author, editor, he doesn't need an introduction to those of you who are in the media and have been following the middle east or the arabic language media. he served as correspondent for several, both arabic and english language, including the
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saudi gazette and an editor and chief, and was the deputy and chief of arab news and on and on and on. so he's been a key figure in the media at least, not just in saudi arabia. he was actually earlier in his career and our friendship goes back to more than 25 years, actually, he served as correspondent, foreign correspondent in different countries in the region, including algeria, afghanistan, lebanon, kuwait, and the sudan and reported on all of these developments during that period in the region and became thus, an expert particularly with the rise of islamism in the region, he became a well-known expert on this issue. he worked here in washington for a while, was a consultant, media consultant to the embassy of saudi arabia, particularly with the--
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when prince was during that period. and he was a commentator and many languages and networks aside the saudi one, that he directed or worked at and that includes channels like bbc, al-jazeera, nbc, and many others. our next speaker, also good friend, christian cotts orricson. he's at rice university and we're delighted that he chose to make the trip from houston last night to be with us today. christian is working at the bake are institute across the discipline of political science, international
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relations, international political economy. his research for those of you who are not familiar with his research, look him up, examine the changing position of gulf states in the global order, which is certainly very relevant to the developments that we are examining today. he also has focused on the emergence of longer term, nonmilitary challenges, and region of security in the gulf seeings. he worked before that, the senior gulf analyst at strategic studies between 2006 and 2008 and as co-director 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. each speaker will speak for 12
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to 15 minutes and then we will spend the balance of our time encouraging 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 card and the little pencils on your seat are not to improve your seating. they are meant for you to basically write your questions. we only entertain questions in writing. once you have a question or a comment, just raise your card, the staff will pick it up from you and we'll be more than glad to read and direct your questions to the right speaker or to both. police write legibly. if you'd like for me to read exactly what you have written, and make it short so that we can accommodate as many as questions as possible. at the front desk we had a
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copy, i don't know if we have enough copies for everybody today, but we do have a copy of one of our most recent reports. this report was based, actually, on the agenda of our second annual conversation that we just held a few weeks ago. it's about trump and the arab world and it's relevant, it's written by our staff, our analysts and it's available 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, plea please. >> thank you. thank you. thank you all for coming. in my career as a journalist,
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an editor, i called for everything mohammed bin salman is doing right now. i am-- not only me, other saudi writers, commentators, we wanted to be free from radicalism, we all wanted women to be allowed to have the right to drive and we all wanted purge on corruption because corruption was killing us in saudi arabia. corruption is no secret in saudi arabia, we feel it, we see it every day, but we just simply cannot report about it. so here is what we demanded of him to do so why am i being critical? simply because he is doing the right thing for the wrong way. very wrong way. and i will explain why in a number of points, for example, on the verge of corruption.
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i think the saudi arabian people are very much supportive of it. in saudi arabia we're going lieu some sort of euphoria, people don't question, media don't discuss, the decisions, for two reasons, for euphoria and there are some who choose not c criticize the government. they stayed in their homes and they were arrested. the writers are afraid to speak because they don't want to be arrested. in saudi arabia doesn't allow for constructive criticism or debate about lively matters, matters that are for the future. one thing. the other thing, it's also the euphoria. the government is feeding into the people high expectations
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promises and i would say more of the young people don't want to somebody who would disappoint them. but here in washington, we can discuss the bad news and probably it will find its way through the ears of the saudis. and, for example, corruption. yes, we the people of saudi arabia should point it's not despite what could be the true of mohammed bin salman, whether it's a true power play or corruption. we the people of saudi arabia need to own the purge of corruption because it's the only thing for us to drive and to do to move into the future. and it can never succeed without a true fight of corruption. so not spent much time on the saudi free writer, speculating,
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why is he after corruption. i will announce my support and i already did that, i support mohammed bin salman despite corruption and other saudis should support him in them. but at the same time, i would like to see a debate about that. the fight on corruption is going to have-- it could be a power play, but we will come to that later. it is perhaps an immediate effect on the economy. the private sector is panicking right now in saudi arabia. people are worried whether they would be paid the end of the month in large corporations, and we're talking about, they have about 140,000 employees, and that's a huge number and with this other the a ritz
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carlton maybe nobody can sign the checks at the end of the month. maybe the government is going to sort that out, but i'm sure the private sector in saudi arabia is panicking. in the long-term it's good, it will succeed and free saudi arabia from the epidemic of corruption, it could lead to an economy, and a new middle class in saudi arabia, but i think he has to distinguish between the royal world and the corporation world. the royals are the reason for the corruption, made it impossible for even good business to work and flourish in saudi arabia. their cut is 5%.
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their cut is in billions. corruption in saudi arabia, it's not a necklace that you pass to the congress wife or a governor. i'm talking about a project that cost a billion and the value of it will increase to 3 billion just so his royal highness will take a cut and his brother will take a cut. that, of course, it will deplete the saudi national budget. according to mohammed bin salman himself, april, 2016, he said in the years from 2010 to 2014, 100 billion dollars every year were wasted in what he described inefficient spending. that's corruption. so we're talking about $400
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billion in only four years. so, if that's the case for-- we're talking about a trillion dollars, that would be enough for the saudi arabia international budget. in america you call it our money, and a percent went away. lavish houses in los angeles and in paris, under the name of royal highness, and mohammed bin salman he needs to reclaim that money back and stop this habit. but at the same time what about the corporations? those are national corporations, they need to be preserved. like the other-- i wish he would do something like in america, the irs when they suspect a misdealing of corporation, they will go to
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the company, they will check their books, they will argue with them, fight with them, and end up with a settlement where the company will be a few billions for 20%-- but something clear. but not to destroy those companies. destroying those companies, it will have a major impact on saudi arabia. under the important things we might lose because of that. if the saudi investors lose trust again, just a week ago, or years ago, had a huge conference in riyadh where he was introducing saudi arabia to the world as heaven or an opportunity for investors. i'm sure. foreigners who attended that conference are having second thoughts today. and businesses in egypt, in the 60's and in syria, and took the
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egyptians and syrians generations to regain the trust to-- i wish some advisor would give advice. trust is important and he is, by what he's doing, it's killing trust. there are important stories published in the financial times today and there is no comment from saudi arabia from the saudi minister of finance, of trade. with the financial times run on the front page story about the government is negotiating with the business community and princes to take 20% for settlement and there's no comment from the government about it. that's worrying. is it power consolidation? it has to be seen, we don't know yet. is he going to clean the house
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and restart the business in a clean ground or a style where he would collect it and he will be the master of everything and he will use the money to make our life, to make saudi arabia great again? of course, i don't personally like that style, i'd like the chinese style. if we could have a democratic style that would be much better, but don't have much choices. mohammed bin salman has one and he is going to be the leader of saudi arabia. for maybe another 50 years. he's young and considering the age factor and advancement of medicine, maybe he will make it more than 50 years. so we just-- the only thing we could do in saudi arabia is just to hope he
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will succeed. his success will be our success. i made it in my life, but for my kids and my grandkids. can he succeed? can saudi arabia in ten years, how do i see it in ten years? i would-- saudi arabia will be success if mohammed bin salman succeeded in unemployment. it's the most serious thing going to face him. the other serious thing is the condition -- he rose expectations of the people and made young people reach the sky, and in five years time they want to see. the future in the north, also in the north of my hometown medina, so, he had to show them what he had promised, but the most important thing he had to
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fulfill the unemployment and we are talking about 4 million people unemployment in saudi arabia and 250,000 people every year. in an economy that is controlled by-- the british, the europe, and a percentage of foreigners in their work force. it's 75%-- 72 to 75 of foreigners who control our work force in saudi arabia. that's not a very-- that's not a national, that's not a very ordinary economy. our economy needs to be restructured and i wish that mohammed bin salman would work from the bottom up and fix the economy before he built new cities. but if he is going to insist in his style of building from the top down, building new cities,
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a forecast for bankruptcy for saudi arabia-- i hope not. i hope he will go to the basic economy, economy 101 and start people with jobs rather than building new cities. already he had in the front of his eyes right now, two failed cities that need to-- that need to work. king abdul real, i'm sure if you went there on the way, you could see a beautiful city that looked like another dubai in the middle of riyadh. not a single office was rented in 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 in the west coast. it is partially working, not fully working and it needs to work. so, building new cities is not the solution. finding jobs to the saudi
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people, through jobs, is the solution and i think he will spend more time with that. i think i ran out of my time before discussing foreign policy, but that is a big problem by itself and there's-- i hate the style that is back with us in saudi arabia and unfortunately involving the iranians, but every mistake we make, the iranians gain. saudi arabia is pillar of stability in the region and the sunni-- we are the majority of sunni and we are under a threat by the shia today, most the killing is happening in our territory and our land and saudi arabia should be there to counter the iranian-- but saudi arabia is obsessed with the fight against political islam, and why it is the mother and father of political islam. saudi arabia needs to change hits priority, and adopt again,
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its origin, it's traditions, without radical and stand up for iranian expansionism because what that is what is-- [inaudible] . thank you very much. [applaus [applause] >> thank you, jamal. and now for our second speaker, christian. >> thank you very much for the introduction and for the invitation. i will not reiterate what jamal has said, but i will just add my own thoughts on some of the changes we have seen which have been interpreted as has been said as varying degrees of
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power plays or the sweeping away of the new-- of the old saudi state. again, i think it's too early to tell. what i would just say would be that i think the saudi arabia we have known since 1953 that came into being after the death of king abdul aziz is slipping away and we're seeing really the passing of the old guard. and the passing of the old guard in part because of national causes over the past seven years, some of the key figures in the old guards have passed away. crown prince sultan died in 2011, he had been defense minister for 48 years. crown prince naif in 2012 interior minister for 27 years, al faisal died, foreign minister and king abdullah
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passed away in 2015 and duties as crown prince, he also headed the national guard for a period of 48 years. more by accident than by design, the old guard had passed from the scene and a lot of the commentary over the past ten days has also focused on the apparent sweeping away of the checks and balances that have, again, been set to traditionally kind of be a feature of saudi policy making. it's true in the past, one has had four or five competing factions within the royal family competing for influence and ensuring the key decisions that had to have been taken with a degree of concensus, that in some cases meant the policy making was slow, but it did involve all wings of the family and of society.
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and again, there was nothing constitutionally mandated, there's no separation of power in a formal since in the u.s. and in the country. the system of checks and balances, by extent it was one, arose more by accident that you had those persian gulf figures within the royal family remaining in position for decades and creating networks of power that was impossible to ignore. so, again, the kind of removal of the checks and balances has happened. it's 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 lots of the old constraints no longer exist. so, a power grab? not to the extent that has been
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described in the media. to the extent there was a power grab, it occurred between january 2015 and june 2017 and it really ended when mohammed bin salman became crowned prince. we should all take note as people who observe saudi arabia, five years ago we were guessing who might be the next generation of leadership and i think that nobody would have put mohammed bin salman on the horizon at that time. so, we've had a lesson in humility there. but to the extent that 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 the saudi arabia that he intends to rule as jamal said, for another 50 years if things go well. we're seeing the passing of the old guard in an accelerated way. those who have not passed away are now eased out of positions.
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we've seeing mohammed bin salman putting his own people, often from his own generation, in charge in trying to recreate some of those networks that says that he's tried to obliterate from the older generation. another issue we've seen a lot about is popular among the youth. ... >> a decent job because of various issues, some of which might be economic and political issues will probably support the changes. what i would say of course is there's no way really knowing and the sense that are no real
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opinion polls. we don't know to what extent these decisions are popular or not. and clearly the educated elites with studied in western universities and gone back and who have had some more vocal in proclaiming the magnitude of these changes are only one part of the whole bigger picture, although a lot of people in other parts of saudi arabia the may not see a trickle-down effect and i think it's vital we not lose sight, we don't focus too closely on just the kind of the elites. saudi arabia has always been much more than that. i do share the concern that jamal raised about raising expectations, and i think this is a key problem or to challeng challenge, with the vision 20300 and national vision plan. and the performance the saudi arabia in the future will be a
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more fluid and dynamic saudi arabia. he has now to deliver, and i think even very early signs after just a couple of years, that transforming into reality is proving 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 consultancies. 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 is he is 32 and it owns this process. if it gets advice he will secure
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his kingdom. unlike previous kings over the last 20 years or so who have been in their 70s, 80s and even in the '90s, muhammad will be the one who has to face the day of reckoning in 20, 30, 40 years. either went saudi arabia faces economic and structural challenges that can no longer be ignored or when for example, domestic energy consumption which is increasingly so rapidly means that so much energy has to be consumed locally that it can no longer export six or 7 million barrels of oil per day. so mohammed bin salman owns this process in weight none of his predecessors really have. it's not something that can be ticked down the road or a future king. because if he gets it wrong he could put in peril his entire inheritance. and so that's also i think what explains perhaps some of the
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scale of the actions that he has been taking, and perhaps some of the urgency that we have seen. but it's clearly a high risk bet. if it goes wrong they could go very badly, wrong indeed. from what i can tell a lot of the messaging, this is accompanied vision 2030 over the past two years, has been aimed much were at the international community and not necessarily so much at saturday's who are still looking for the sort of basic include me in their daily or life prospects. i think we saw that on full show not just any future investment initiative that took place in riyadh three weeks ago, but even this week when we had to miss global forum where bill gates was one of its key speakers. mohammed bin salman is trying to pitch a new saudi arabia to the international community, and do
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some extent he's been quite successful. so my concern is that the actions of the past two weeks just reinforce the stereotypes, stereotypical views of the people from the outside mages hold of it. and so that makes me wonder what made happen behind the scenes to explain the timing of this action. i mean, isn't it just a miscalculation in the sense that mohammed bin salman and his team may have thought that sitting atop message encryption might've sent investors come from sink the new saudi arabia was a much freer place to do business in here because that that was the case that wasn't the message that was necessary received internationally. although one might add that both the military operations in yemen and the trade and diplomatic embargo of qatar which show miscalculations have been happening, and long-term strategic thinking definitely needs to be improved.
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so i think this top-down leadership and the decision to focus on the international rather than perhaps a 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 saudi is all part of the kingdom that their own lives are going to be transformed for the better. and this i think is going to be the yardstick i which mohammed bin salman will be judged. and again over the next decades this will probably determine whether the new saudi state, the fourth state or whatever we would call it, is more sustainable in the long run than the one that we are seeing, being swept away before our eyes. i will may be just in by saying that this is indeed a moment of transformation in the sense that
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this institutional structures that for decades we thought were kind of solidified because they were so entrenched, and now suddenly in place of it is a moment to try to remake institutions and clearly we create leadership structures -- re-created. we won't know the answer to this of course but it would be fascinating to see if this moment of change also solidifies as is market its predecessor is that in the the 1950s and 60s into another kind of status that may be prohibited 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 the prince became defense minister when he was 32 and he died at the age of 80. this system has opened up perhaps the expectations of a lot of analysts, but it's opened
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up because of the sequence of events that were not necessarily coordinated. but vickie enters i think going forward is is it going to close around mohammed bin salman and be just perhaps impenetrable to long-term change as the past has been as well? so with that i will open up to questions. [applause] >> if you have questions please raise your cart card and staffl 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 businessperson are among detainees in saudi arabia. $100 billion corruption crackdown. they have invested billions in economic and agricultural
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projects in north and east africa. how would the crackdown affect such projects globally? jamal, would you like to -- >> actually, an overdrive -- >> are the microphones on? [inaudible] >> thank you. go ahead. [inaudible] i was talking on the phone to someone and then they begin having a conversation with me about -- he has about 40,000 employees in, and i'm sure most of them are worried to know whether there would be paid at the end of the month or not. he has also huge business in morocco and in sweden. and we can start drawing a plant about others, about potentials
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who would be added to the list of corruption. i just heard a new name today from a friend in the audience, but there's no way to confirm it. rumors are spreading like really crazy in saudi arabia, and in warsaw i get all kinds of news about people added to the list. unfortunately, corruption, as i said, it was a way of life and this is, and mohammed bin salman now has 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-grant corruption? or landgrab is a corruption? because royals are involved in
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both land-grant by the king which make it legal, even though we can argue about it, islamic holy. and landgrab, and so corruption is reachable to everybody and that is scary almost everyone in saudi arabia until i and next. and that i'm sure is going to happen, have an impact on society. the quick fix for that is prosperity. -- >> translator: . so far our attorney general hasn't given a press conference. mohammed bin salman hasn't given interview to anybody. there is need to do that. our attorney general need to do like i think press coverage of a couple of days. he was saying that need more transparency. [inaudible] >> the rule of law.
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>> absolute might as well. as you said, establishing a new royal decree by royal decree a 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 would be very important, or lack of, terms of whether or not investors are reassured or take flight. >> how do you propose mohammed bin salman should address the muslim brotherhood's presence in the country? >> either or, addressed to both. >> all right. i think the muslim brothers are his natural allies.
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saudi arabia is -- but he cannot run away from that. yes, radicalism crept into saudi arabia by attempt to -- as he was question 1930 but they came back after 1979. but the muslim brotherhood provided the answer to king faisal in 1960s. they are contributed to saudi arabia and mohammed bin salman needs to free himself from this unneeded paranoia of the brotherhood and need to form an alliance with them to counter iranian expansions in the region. it's a total and needed confrontation where going through in saudi arabia. it is splitting the society, and it is weakening saudi arabia. this is why -- thank you. >> okay. this question is for you, jamal,
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from mark from chevron. with reference to employing saudi citizens, will saudi families, saudi society in general, saudi culture except their sons and daughters working and blue-collar jobs? >> yes. economy will change of it. we saudi used to do everything come to work with everything. i wrote a book about that. i told the stories about my generation and my fathers generation. my father was himself, god bless his soul, he was a farmer. he used to make -- in containers. it was kind of a hand job that get you dirty. so saudi is to do everything. it was a first form of the 1973 war, with the price of oil,
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price of oil doubling. we had huge boom and we made the mistake of importing foreign labels you can find quotation of saudi officials who say at the time this is only temporary. the foreign labor we need them to build everyone eventually go. we became addicted to it and that killed, that did not only take the chops away, they killed the work ethics in it. it killed the work ethics industry now we assume we get to work because we're addicted to. this this is a big task that mohammed bin salman need to work on. it's a social, political, economic task. he needs to spend more time on it rather than building a new city in the north. thank you. >> this was not the first missile fired from the houthis towards saudi arabian territory, so why was it so widely publicized this time?
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>> absolutely right, it wasn't the first pic of me being the first that was targeting for at least landed in or around riyadh, or was intercepted around riyadh. it may been taken as a much more of a 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 operations begin. and every time i missile comes over the signal from the houthis and from international backers that they retain the capacity to create embarrassment for the saudi leadership. and that is i think something the southeast are not yet, haven't yet figured out a a wao try and resolve. i think the dilemma they have in yemen is decisive and
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overwhelming force to try and force the issue would be too much of a cost in terms of lies potentially lost and treasure lost. and so there's this halfway house where they are not willing, not this is only going to back out at the don't just really have the capacity to actually win. >> also there's an important about this missile. americans are backing that, which is an iranian made that is recently introduced into the warfront. they keep firing old-fashioned scud missiles on us, but this one is iranian which is proof the iranians have succeeded, despite the war in sneaking in this missile into yemen territories, and maybe was put
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together by yemenis or by iranians, or by hezbollah operatives. that is taken to saudi arabia as a game changer. it's an active or by iran and its rightly so. the iranians, if they had the opportunity to send tons of missile to saudi arabia they would do it. so that's what and force my argument in saudi arabia need to stand up to the iranian expansionism but do it through the right way. >> lets let's not forget in tods president trump urging the sunni arab world to come together against iran, the southeast and others turned on qatar which i think was a strange way of trying present a united front. >> okay. talking about yemen, when will the war in yemen stop? [laughing] >> if mohammed bin salman
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republic about what his uncle faisal did in 1965. in 1955 king faisal who was supporting part of yemeni in the civil war, he distanced himself from all sides and he brokered peace to all humans. at the time saudi arabia become like an equal partner to all of yemen i think they need to discover that they can and reach out two yemenis whether you are houthis or -- he recently met with the people in riyadh and that was very -- supposedly they are in saudi arabia terrorism list, and here he is meeting with the leader of them which is good. and it's ironic about lifting -- listing them on the terrorist list. the chief is in saudi arabia and the chief of yemeni is in saudi
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arabia. [inaudible] so that is the best way to end the war, is for saudi arabia to reach out to all yemenis, not favor one side against the other. just like how king faisal did. that's exactly what king faisal did in 1965. >> the next question, explain the dynamics of the royal family. with its cohesion be threatened when king salman passes away? >> well, i think there's only one person who probably knows the answer to that question, that's the king himself. i mean, we have a lot of speculation clearly, and every time there are said to be an imminent abdication, it hasn't come to pass. one can read whatever they want is a more domestic pushback than back been anticipated? i guess we don't know. in terms of family dynamics, my
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concern perhaps is solman has for a long time in the past perform the goal of almost like chief whip of the family. he sort of kept, he was instrumental in maintaining family discipline, and he was not just feared but also respected for that. it looks as if the lease to some extent mohammed bin salman is trying to take on that mantle of those being the family enforcer, but will have the gravitas, the seniority to also make kind of impose the respect on all the different branches that may no to some extent feel like to have less of a stake in the saudi arabia that they see coming together? and so it's an open question, whether once salmon has passed away, the glue that is kept the family together begin to become a little weaker? and again that something we will
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not necessarily know. >> i want to add to that. i agree with kristian, and i will add, i think mohammed bin salman is better off maintaining the status quo. he's enjoying the status of his father -- and actually king salman is the last, or the last leader of the family. so we need to keep it. why would he consolidate his power for one or two or three more years? so i think we should rule out all those stories about abdication. i don't think it will happen. but with will the family stay ? the family is fragmented. all those stories about them mohammed bin salman had to start this -- preemptive plan of coup,
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i don't, i don't agree with that. because i don't anticipate, or i cannot see the royal family uniting against mohammed bin salman, so we could come so fragmented. we should remember -- of most of the concerns are about the latest expensive war and the latest trip they had to the french riviera. they are not into politics. they are into -- and they are fragmented. they have in these, jealousies of each other. -- in these. their tradition had been irritated -- not irritated. they had been slipping away from them. they lost that old position, they have lost it.
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an interesting book was published by a royal called -- [inaudible] an excellent book that explain the dismantling of the tradition of the founding ingredients of the house of saud. that book is not in saudi arabia. not allowed in saudi arabia but it should be. it is his legacy. now there's talk about secularism in saudi arabia. that is the craziest thing because the concept of -- what make a king enjoy power, to rule. why would you, as assistant i would like him to let go of that and so he would be more accountable, but why would somebody who enjoys this divine
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rule, it's just like asking -- to give away that privilege. he wouldn't give it away easily. but if mohammed bin salman want to give it away, he's welcome to do so. >> stanley, saudi arabia and other gulf countries have urged their citizens to leave lebanon. 1973 1973 the soviet diplomats leaving cairo, then that was followed by a war. can we see that request from gulf citizens to leave lebanon through the same prism? >> i think lebanon is a very dangerous arena to start trying to come if they're trying to stir things up. i don't think it would be a clear-cut resolution in any way.
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and i mean, even now the israelis almost acknowledge that they are not willing, to at least yet, start a conflict, what is going to take action against what they see as hezbollah. on the other hand, perhaps it means it's easier for the saudi government or other gulf governments to actually say, look, there's even lesser kind of an anti-hezbollah function in lebanon and that they're tryino may be long-term say the lebanese government basically is hezbollah influenced, even more so than it was by removing one of the more anti-hezbollah antih factions. but again that seems to have backfired at least in the beginning were lebanese have now rallied around and said families, and we can talk about this. so again i don't think it's produced the results that were necessarily expected two weeks ago and i could be why there's a
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degree of sort of backing off by allowing to release go to france the potentially back to beirut. >> jamal, we have several questions pertaining to hariri. [inaudible] we have different question mark what's going on with the hariri situation in lebanon? how will that impact the relationship between saudi arabia and lebanon? >> even to our dear sudanese of lebanon who always look up to saudi arabia for support, for the first time the sunnis have become critical saudi arabia. that is a true -- on a hasty
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decision made. yes, he had a good argument for taming down hezbollah and i'm sure hariri would have sent with him and develop a a plan, a probably that could involve americans, , frank to counter hezbollah. but the way it was conducted, the way it was orchestrated, it fired back on saudi arabia and the need to salvage it very quickly. maybe french defense, helping us out to so much of this situation and hariri would be flying tomorrow with his family and then hopefully he will go back to lebanon and resume his role as a leader. so i think the task now for saudi arabia is to salvage two things. the position in lebanon to restore it again because we begin to lose it, lose our influence there. and the hariri family.
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it took the sunnis in lebanon two decades to find proper leadership to leave. and who we are weakening that leadership. it is important to restore his credibility in lebanon, and i hope this is the future plan for peace, not to weaken hariri anymore by suggesting his brother to be the prime minister. sod hariri needs to be in power again. it is good for saudi arabia and also the position in lebanon as, what is the word? the safeguard for at least the sudanese and the christian community. the iranians have an exclusivit
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exclusivity. >> just a couple of follow-up related to hariri and lebanon. in addition to the -- was hariri implicated in the other part of the campaign, the corruption issue? and related to that, hamad is asking them was saudi -- you did mention that, was also implicated? >> using corruption, hariri are as corrupt as bin laden or anyone else. ..
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the corruptio component, but unsure there are still issues with royalties. the printing of the quran is an example of corruption. i think the cost of a single copy, coming from the printing , it was printed by anyone else next door.
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so far we haven't heard anything of that sort and maybe his prime minister of lebanon will protect him but it should be someone else within the family or the company. >> can the magnitude of the recent changes be considered as a moment of transition a newi society? >> i think it's deftly a moment to transition and we've obviously seen mbs being very vocal about his interpretation of extremist islam being rejected and with the corruption, too much is resting on one man's interrelation and perhaps there needs to be a wider societal debate and dialogue about this. it is again such a top-down
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imposed manner that i don't think there's going to be a wide range influx and groups that clearly will be impacted by some of the changes that are being made. if there's no debate, it could breed resentment or repression even, going forward. i think that's a mistake. social debates need to be had. this isn't really going about it the right way. >> there are several questions regarding issues of succession and government. one question is, can we infer from the fact that they have no deputy crown prince at this time that his sons will be, are we witnessing 2.0.
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>> it is too early for that. one of the most interesting that i heard recently. [inaudible] they are thinking of downsizing the royal family. it is good for him because the number of the royal family is dependent on the treasurer and on him because they always have demands and they will come to him and they needed administration to manage their problems or their needs. now the royal families who have an hrh title are the son of the father.
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[inaudible] them were talking about five or 6000 grandsons, around the number. the department ministry announced they've decided for them who has details of each one of them and who has details of their allowances or stipend. his plan is to issue a decree, to call only the king and his son. if you become the king or his father now, it will be only us. [inaudible] also, maybe strike the whole title from them. previously, his father used to include other week or distant members of the family.
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it wasn't a prince 20 years ago. they're not part of the royal family. they were added to the decree. at this time they had an interest to widen the royal family. they are part of the family but they are part of the family. it seems that this is what he will restructure or redefine who is a royal, which may be will lead him to the moroccan style of family. i think this is good. it is good for the public, the future new class, they enjoy privileges or they have an
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advantage to get the hospital bed and more larger ground than me. it is good for saudi arabia to do that and it is good for him. >> christian, do you think the kingdom of saudi arabia has exaggerated or given too much credit to the. [inaudible] is it really part of the saudi competition or is that thread genuine? >> obviously they had already swept out their traditional strongholds and taken them by september 2013, and by the time he came to power, i think it was the same night he came to power that he was imprisoned temporarily so the
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government fell the same night that he came to power. clearly they had an alliance of convenience with the former president who had his own interest in destabilizing his successor. i think yemen offers a warning of what happens in the transition states when the 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 result of the uprisings, and of course it made for a very unlikely pair of partners given the series of wars that been fight between 2004 and 2010. i think maybe there was an overreaction in terms of imagining this to be another organization, but as with the missile that we saw two weeks ago, that has kind of become a
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self-fulfilling prospect and prophecy as it created the conditions for authority and control that has allowed iranian groups to gain influence. it's kind of a situation that now basically the one they had been sang in 2015. what i would say is there trying to take on the iranians with proxy groups and that's not necessarily, the iranians have a forty-year practice of working with groups and this is, they are experts and how they do that. i think it's been shown that they can maintain levels of direct and indirect influence. that's going to be a problem in every regional conflict going forward michael would like to know little bit more
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about the background, education wise and how did that shape the worldvie worldview. where does he get his advice? >> i was surprised to learn yesterday from a friend of mine who teaches in an american university that he advised him. that was good news for me that he does reach out to proper advisors but what would make me angry he would say, he doesn't listen to my advice. he had the advisor come to development, he spent millions of dollars on those consultants. he had no problems with
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advisors. he could've benefited, he's in expertise of form policy, but he doesn't. he does need proper advice. if you looks back at that the decisions he made he will realize that they did not evolve into his likeness. if it's not failure, but we also failed in syria, we are failing in yemen and in lebanon but one can argue about that. he needs to revise either his advisor or his strategy. there is also a need maybe, maybe there will be a question about this. it's what i call the trump effect.
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trump had been a negative influence. he gave him the wrong premise for, or a false premise that he can change out of syria and out of iraq. again, you should have an advisor who would tell him, even trumpets this sincere in his promise but he cannot deliver because the united states is gigantic. it forces trump to get involved. they have to get the concession, the consensus and understanding from congress to do such a thing. he should know that whatever jared kushner, they cannot deliver. but, we need to spend some time on the trump effect and
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how is that destabilizing the middle east. we have to speak in one voice. we don't want to send the wrong message to the leaders listening to trump and others assuming there's a difference between them. basically, the country is a very positive role because they are the only ones you have leverage on saudi arabia today. >> i do think the biggest mistake vision he made was to assume that if trump won, the u.s. government would swing with him. perhaps it does go back to the fact that maybe there was an over expectation or the
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personalization decision-making in the u.s. government, at least in the first year of office offered an opportunity, and i think more advisor decision-making might have cautioned otherwise, but i think that is the key miscalculation that was made. >> the next question is from andrew, department of energy. i do see the face of economic reform unfolding? specifically, in terms of the reduction in subsidy for domestic gas and electricity prices and so on? >> you think so far some of the measures have been watered down or even put off, and i think one benefit if you're serious about going through with the painful measures that
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will inevitably have to be part of 2030 is if he can now show his actions over the past two weeks that he is serious about this and there will be any discontent. i think over the past two years, the public backlash, the government has, to some extent changed course. i think the trade-offs involved in transitioning the saudi economy to a more sustainable long-term economic structure, not just with reduction in subsidies, but also clearly labor market reform and creating those jobs that young saudi's will move into is going to involve taking on those vested economic interests to have a vested interest in maintaining the advantages they have. if those vested interests are now thinking they're taking on key elements that are going to
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resist some of the changes, then he could have a chance to succeed but that will be the main thing, creating those jobs that can really show a trickle-down effect and can make the vision a reality for the young saudi's. >> all of the high expectation is to have a more balanced budget and we need to see more of that. now with all of those discussions about corruption with the aim according to the financial times is to gain some of the corrupt and added to the national treasury that shows a sign of the status of the national treasury that it needs to take money from the corrupt. there is reluctance he when it
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comes to subsidies or allowances to government employees. they were corrupt from government employees and i think there were two drivers to that, politics and other drivers fixed on the market. saudi arabia is going through a recession because of that. the recession maybe now enforced with the corruption. the things i like, and the government is still doing, the drive against illegal businesse businesses, illegal
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foreign businesses in saudi arabia who are working under the cover up by a saudi arabian is a major epidemic affecting our national economy. a huge number of businesses operate in saudi arabia by foreigners who own it and manage it, operated, but it is in the name of saudi's. i begin to see pictures shut down. even though it's a sign of recession, it is good because those businesses are not contributing to the national budget, to the national economy, and they need to let go so they will go back. [inaudible] this is continuing. we hope it will continue. there is a great deal of reluctance he on the plans.
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>> all right. warned david asks a question regarding the saudi respective. is the so-called in iranian expansion that was referred to earlier, is that really a genuine threat and why isn't mohammed promoting more diplomatic rather than interventionist or military confrontation on the policy in this regard. >> i think it's magnified by the fact that there is conflict involving state and nonstate actors that clearly iran has been involved in, and to be honest, has a lot more ability to use for their own ends, and these aren't
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conventional conflicts, but their conflict using the resources, tools that iran has developed for decades. as i said earlier, both in syria and in yemen, taking on iran in terms of trying to outsmart it with iran proxies is a difficult task when you're faux has been doing this expertly for years. i think that the challenges they face. also the creations of state failure over the past six or seven years of turmoil on every regional front has really resulted in expansion to reject itself into regional affairs. i'm going back almost 15 years, if you talk about the occupation of iraq after 2003 and so this is sort of a fast-moving project which is
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clearly created those pathways that have been felt by iran and their groups. i think the defeat of isis in northern iraq and syria, while obviously very welcome is potentially another deeply concerning element if you're looking at it from an anti- iranian point of view. i think a lot of the spaces that could be filled could link up with iranian groups across the region in a contiguous way, and i think that would be another key concerned watch. >> john anderson would like to know, what percentage of the budget goes to stipends, allowances, royal family member members? do you have any idea? >> nobody knows. it is not public knowledge. it would be not be listed in any future budget, maybe the future, but i don't know. the only figure i know and i
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heard it from a prince who was the grandson of the king. they can do a calculation that he receives 130,000. month. his father will receive double that. his children will receive less of that. the girls will take half. you do your calculation if you know the number of royalties. this is firsthand from the prints. he asked him to comment on the major reason for the campaign at this time. is it to have a deeper, as this like the great convenient regime.
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>> i don't know his true motive but if we are suggesting he's doing that for him to bask his way to power, he doesn't need too. he is already on the throne. he doesn't need too. he doesn't need to become a king because he's already a de facto king of saudi arabia, but does not enforce his position, yes. it did enforce his position. now as much as he had communicated to 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 an associate. now the royals intimidated us. is that useful for him to enjoy total authority? i don't know. he can't answer that. i don't think he needs to intimidate us or the royals
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because there's 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. it is absolute monarchy. that is enough power that if it wasn't, if he was today the king of saudi arabia, his friend would enjoy them power. his son would have enjoyed the same power. he is smart. he always outperforms everybody. he has his own personal militants in him. he wasn't really as smart as mohammed. we should give him credit for being smart and now he has to
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perform for leader in economic and foreign policy. his most important source of power. [inaudible] it is plenty of power. it's an absolute monarchy sort of power. >> i think if you start to tinker with the traditional sources of power, authority and legitimacy, you are opening up a can of forms that you might wan not want to open up. especially at the same time you're engaged in such a wide-ranging attempt to reformulate the economic and perhaps socioreligious aspects of society. there is a danger perhaps of being spread too thin, even without all the foreign policy issues going on. if you try to do too much too fast, to what extent is it a
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band with to try to take on every front at the same time. they'll be another concern i would have going forward. >> i think mark probably answered jeff's question. he is with the state department in terms of how will these steps taken over the past several weeks impact the relationship between the saudi monarchy and the fundamental religious establishment. >> they are on the payroll of the government. when he wants to destroy radicalism, he should've set i'm going to unplug radicalism. it wouldn't have flourished in saudi arabia if it wasn't for government support. all he needs to do is just unplug it. those radicals who were
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empowered and putting their radicalism, they did not win an election and they shared power with us. they were empowered by them for a series of time. now the prince or the kingdom realized they are just unplugging their support and placing blame. [inaudible] they have the infrastructure in the government. the senior counsel isn't have the radical views about the shiites and women's rights. it would be useful to do a paper about the critical thinking of the leadership and
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address their views about minorities and relation to muslims and diversities, how do they see other muslim sects and then judge who are truly radical. he was talking on a tv program a few days ago and made notice that they. [inaudible] the clergy who are arrested, 90% of them are for reform. whether it's about democracy or women driving, a monarchy arrested last september even called to remove men guardianship right on females
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in saudi arabia. this is one of the most sensitive issues in saudi arabia, to remove men guardianship on woman. he has been accused of being radical and he wrote an essay about it. none of the clergy's would dare write a similar essay and they are the ones being respected by the authority today. they are in jail. we are going to conclude. the last question i will entertain, one minute each. how do you see the near or long term future as a result
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of all the. >> we will leave the last few minutes of this. you can see the online and search cspan.org. gambling in momentarily for what we expect to be a brief pro forma session. no legislative business expected.

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