Saudi Crown Prince speaks on anti-corruption drive, Islam, women’s rights and ‘new Hitler’
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has called the Supreme Leader of Iran “the new Hitler of the Middle East”.
In an interview with the New York Times published on Thursday, Mohammed bin Salman, who is also Saudi defense minister, suggested the Islamic Republic’s alleged expansion under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei needed to be confronted.
“But we learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work. We don’t want the new Hitler in Iran to repeat what happened in Europe in the Middle East,” the paper quoted him as saying. Here is Mohammed bin Salman’s take on different issues:
It’s “ludicrous,” he said, to suggest that this anticorruption campaign was a power grab. He pointed out that many prominent members of the Ritz crowd had already publicly pledged allegiance to him and his reforms, and that “a majority of the royal family” is already behind him, the New York Times article said.
“Our country has suffered a lot from corruption from the 1980s until today. The calculation of our experts is that roughly 10 percent of all government spending was siphoned off by corruption each year, from the top levels to the bottom. Over the years the government launched more than one ‘war on corruption’ and they all failed. Why? Because they all started from the bottom up,” he is quoted to have said.
“We show them all the files that we have and as soon as they see those about 95 percent agree to a settlement,” which means signing over cash or shares of their business to the Saudi state treasury. According to him, the public prosecutor says it could eventually “be around $100 billion in settlements”.
Mohammed bin Salman insisted that the Saudi-backed war in Yemen was tilting in the direction of the legitimate government there, which, he said is now in control of 85 percent of the country.
According to him, given the fact that pro-Iranian Houthi rebels, who hold the rest, launched a missile at Riyadh airport, anything less than 100 percent is still problematic.
According to the article, Mohammed bin Salman said: “Do not write that we are ‘reinterpreting’ Islam — we are ‘restoring’ Islam to its origins — and our biggest tools are the Prophet’s practices and [daily life in] Saudi Arabia before 1979.”
At the time of the Prophet Muhammad, he argued, there were musical theaters, there was mixing between men and women, there was respect for Christians and Jews in Arabia. “The first commercial judge in Medina was a woman!” So if the Prophet embraced all of this, Mohammed bin Salman asked, “Do you mean the Prophet was not a Muslim?”
He praised President Trump as “the right person at the right time” and added that with his support the Saudis and their Arab allies were slowly building a coalition to stand up to Iran.