Robles: I’d like to ask you some very serious questions regarding, first, the Saudi involvement in the Middle East, in particular with regard to terrorist organizations and formations. Can you tell me anything that you might know about US and Saudi involvement with terrorist formations in Libya and how they might be operating in Syria?
In the western part of the country criminal activity is very low, but in the eastern part – Benghazi, Derna, Tobruk – the criminal activity is quite high and most of these are extremist groups, funded mostly by Qatar, more than by Saudi Arabia.
Source: It is possible that they are backed by the United States because these groups do not operate without their consent. Saudi Arabia does not operate without the consent of the United States, because they consider any move from Middle Eastern countries to be a threat to their national interests. So, they ask first advice and then permission.
Source: Exactly! Especially after the invasion in Iraq most Arab countries have felt they are under threat. In fact I remember in 2004 there was a meeting between Arab countries and we were present there, it was near Tripoli. At that time there was Gaddafi and he received a letter during the meeting and jokingly he said “the fax from America just arrived”. But it was more a confession than a joke, I think.
Source: Libyan defense officials, interior ministries of all Arab countries. In fact, all the Arab countries have a unified protocol in case of protests, in case of “cracks”in their governments. The recent Saudi aid in Bahrain and the recent financial support by Qatar to Kuwait under crisis, this shows that they are unified. And most of the Gulf countries have been pressuring for Hosni Mubarak to be released. And Saudi Arabia gave no support for our liberation from Gaddafi, nor to the Tunisians against Ben Ali.
Robles: What I’ve heard, I'm very concerned about reports that Saudi Prince Bandar, he threatened Russian President Vladimir Putin that he would release Chechen terrorists at the Sochi Olympics. And during part of the conversation which was released, which I’m sure he thought would be secret, he admitted and he said that they control Chechen terrorists, they control the terrorists in Syria, according to his words. Is that true?
Source: Yes, I believe that is true. Some rumors were spoken here in our Defense Ministry that the nerve gasses, that the chemical weapons used against Syrian civilians were brought by Bandar from Israel and given to the rebels. I don’t believe that Assad used chemical weapons against his own people.
Source: It is neither, I think. They just follow the orders. From the oil’s they give only 11 million barrels. They have no natural gas resources. And from the religionthey are mostly conservative closed in their areas.
Prince Bandar is just under something that’s been in force for many years, I think for all his life. He wants the throne for himself and maybe he thinks that allying with the United States that they might help him to become the king of Saudi Arabia. But it is very difficult because there are about 5,000 princes,and only 40 are eligible and he is out of the race for that part.
Source: Exactly! His father, late father, was the heir to the throne, but he passed away a year ago, Prince Sultan. But because his mother is from a legitimate background, not from a royal background, he is not eligible to take the throne, even if he is the eldest son.
Robles: That’s not something most of the rest “us” know about. So basically, what you are telling, I mean, this is pretty shocking. You are telling me that, basically, every country in the Middle East is following the US’s instructions.
Source: That’s what it is essentially especially in the Gulf countries. Before the revolution maybe Russia had a greater influence over North Africa, France over the Maghreb countries from Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and so on. But after the revolution mostly the Americans have gained upper hand from this point of view.
The real battle is between Russia and America. Thetwo superpowers that control most of the region. And the Russian economy has been speeding up in the past 8 years and this is something (for the first time in which) the American administrationhas no say.
Robles: And the US economy has been going down, and it’s in a very dire state right now. Can you tell us a little bit about what you know about the Muslim Brotherhood? What kind of an organization is it?
Source: Looking first at the origin of the Muslim Brotherhood, it was formed in 1940 by the British Government as a form of response to King Farouk who did not like the British occupation of Egypt. They were supported, they were funded, they were trained and they were armed.
President Gamal Abdel Nasser joined them when he was 18 years old, because he was a very strong Muslim conservative and he thought they were nationalists. But after two years he left them, found them very radical and their focus on supporting political candidates. So, nothing related to religion.
They had a strong development under the dictatorship of Gaddafi, Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak. They became a radical armed force. Prior to the revolution they became more popular. In the civil protests they gained the respect of the people as a solution against dictatorship. But after one year people in Egypt and Libya found them more oppressive, than the previous dictators. The recent changes in Egypt show that that armed forces were actually called upon by the people.
Source: They have no religious agenda at all, because in Islam something called a political party, political religion is a violation of the Islamic law in principle. It is the way the Hezbollah and all other political factions related to religion – they just want to gain massive support. But in Islam itself religion and politics should not go hand by hand.
Source: Yes, even long ago, even the Bosnians. The Bosnian war you know,in the Balkan war, the Bosnian actions were supported and funded by Saudi Arabia, because the opposing side, the Serbianside was supported by Russia. And this is something everyone knows.
It is very difficult toopenly say that - I’m going to support Chechen terrorists against Russia – because that would be a violation of international law. And I don’t believe the Chechens are ready for this, nor they believe in it.
Source: This is something which everybody knows. I mean,the Bin Laden family they are still operating normally. Osama bin Laden was never questioned in Saudi Arabia and he was never considered a terrorist at all. And most of the money that is going to terrorists held in Iraq are all from Saudi Arabia and all from Qatar.
Source: I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Tarek Bin Laden about 5 years ago in Dubai.MrTarek Bin Laden, Osama’s brother.He had an office near the palace, and I met him by chance through another Saudi Mr. Mohammed Dohteri, his lawyer. And I saw this man was always going heavily guarded, but like he is distanced from the family. He doesn’t seem like someone who is very religious or something like that, on the contrary. So, I don’t know what kind of family, not a loving family, he’s a member of the family.
Source: It was a meeting between the Libyan Ambassador and other ambassadors when they were there at security forum. He shook our hands “with me and one of my colleagues”. He was talking there only English, his Arabic was quite weak. I started talking with him in English, and nothing like like that. He didn’t seem a very calm person. But he was always going heavily guarded, I don’t know why.