Friedman’s special interview with Prince Mohammed

Mohammed Al Shaikh

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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s interview with famous American journalist Thomas Friedman was a special and exceptional interview that clearly and honestly showed that this young prince has a promising multidimensional reform project.

This project may seem difficult to achieve but it is not impossible for our prince whose dictionary does not know the word “impossible.” Prince Mohammed, as is evident in the interview, has the courage and determination and is realistic.

More importantly, the interview showed the clear visions and aims which he seeks to achieve. The prince was clearly interested in all these aims and readers thus noticed that he knows what he wants and that he has a clear map as to how to achieve the goals he set his mind to.

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Great reform leaders usually appear on the scene when they are young and are distinguished from their peers. They are controlled by their ambitions to achieve the goals of their massive reform project. This is what you conclude after reading the biographies of these reformists who led their nations to shine bright. I have no doubt that Prince Mohammed is one of them.

His efforts come at a time when we were in desperate need for a diverse reforming project on all levels, particularly some deviations that obstructed our developmental journey in the past decades, such as religious and cultural deviations that cheaply exploited religion and the concept of halal and haram (the permissible and the prohibited) to achieve personal, financial and political aims.

I am certain that the recent reforms in Saudi Arabia will influence the entire Arab region and not just its neighboring countries

Mohammed Al Shaikh

Illegal fortunes

Some have also exploited their influence and close ties to decision-makers to make fortunes illegally. This absurd distribution of wealth led to widening the gap between social components and warned that serious social problems will emerge if the matter is not addressed. Solutions and confrontations are often painful for some; however, they are like burning the wound, which is the last step of treatment.

What distinguishes Prince Mohammed is that he directly and bravely confronts threats. He knows what he wants and is determined to walk down his path, like other great leaders who changed the course of history and whose nations continued to succeed after them.

Some of these leaders are Emperor Meiji of Japan and Peter the Great of Russia. It’s worth noting that these two leaders managed affairs and led their nations when they were young men, at an age close to Prince Mohammed’s. They were two great historic figures who achieved glory for their countries.

Threats facing the kingdom

This is in terms of the domestic situation. The Crown Prince also spoke about foreign policy issues and the threats facing the kingdom, the most important of which is the Iranian threat and Khamenei’s ambitions.

By comparing them to Hitler’s threats in Europe, he summed up how dangerous Khamenei’s threats are. Hitler’s mad behavior and expansionist ambitions cost Europe millions of casualties and catastrophic financial losses.

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It is a very precise description of the agenda of this Iranian regime. It objectively considers the threats facing the region if Khamenei is left to wreak havoc on the region and its people and religious legacies. I am certain that the recent reforms in Saudi Arabia will influence the entire Arab region and not just its neighboring countries.

Finally, I want to note that in most of his articles and reports, Friedman was critical to the extent of offense sometimes. However, during his interview with the prince, he seemed impressed as he spoke about him and about his projects in an admiring tone. This drew many people’s attention.

This article is also available in Arabic.
Mohammed Al Shaikh is a Saudi writer with al-Jazirah newspaper. He tweets @alshaikhmhmd.

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