Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal Delivers Address at NCUSARs 20th Policymakers' Conference

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The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations kicked off its 20th annual policymakers' conference on Oct. 27-28 at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC with a keynote address by Chas W. Freeman, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia and current chairman of the board at Projects International, Inc. (See p. 11 and visit our "cut for space" section of our Web site .)

Prince Turki Al-Faisal, former Saudi ambassador to the U.S. and currently chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, delivered the keynote luncheon speech at the National Council on U.S. Arab Relations conference Oct. 28. Speaking just hours after attending Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud's funeral in Saudi Arabia, Prince Turki's unwritten and straightforward speech addressed the current state of the Middle East, with a particular emphasis on the ongoing Israel-Palestine saga.

After noting that there is "not much to be humorous about" in the Middle East, Prince Turki offered his thoughts on several of the region's politically unstable nations. He lambasted the Syrian and Yemeni governments for allowing prolonged bloodshed to occur within their borders, stating that "The government of Syria seems to be bent on continuing its merciless and bloody attack on its own people." With regard to Bahrain, Prince Turki maintained that Saudi Arabia deployed troops to the small island nation in March 2011 solely to ensure the protection of that nation's infrastructure. He rejected the popular theory that Saudi Arabia's actions in Bahrain were intended to quell and suppress demonstrators.

Turning to Iraq, Prince Turki stressed that it is critical to establish the legitimacy of that country's borders, stating that the U. …