Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thomas Friedman in Saudi Arabia

Typical of this guy, after three days in a country, he develops an opinion of life and politics in that country.  But make no mistake about it: his visit to Saudi Arabia was part of a propaganda blitz launched by the royal family.  Furthermore, for those who expressed surprise that Friedman would be invited to the kingdom when he in the past has voiced mild criticisms of the kingdom, the answer is this: the Saudi regime is extremely intolerant of any criticisms except from Zionists, especially American Zionists who get routinely invited to the kingdom.  Let us start:
"I won’t pretend to have penetrated the mosques of bearded young men, steeped in Salafist/Wahhabi Islam".  OK. In that case, stop talking and pontificating. If you admit that there is a language barrier and that you can't meet anyone who is not presented to you by the royal family, stop pretending that you have some insights into Saudi society.
And then he tells you that there is something stirring in the kingdom. His source?  "But I also ran into something I didn’t know: Something is stirring in this society. This is not your grandfather’s Saudi Arabia. “Actually, it’s not even my father’s Saudi Arabia anymore — it is not even my generation’s Saudi Arabia anymore,” the country’s 52-year-old foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, said to me."  He then gives you another evidence that things are changing in the kingdom: "It invited me to give a lecture on how big technological forces are affecting the workplace. I didn’t know what to expect, but more than 500 people showed up".  SO let me understand this: the fact that some 500 people were forced to attend your silly lecture is an indication that change is coming to Saudi Arabia?  So if you go to Raqqa and give a lecture, and ISIS arranges for 500 people to attend your talk, you conclude from this that change is finally coming to Raqqa and the generation of Baghdadi's sons is different from the generation of Baghdadi?  What logic.   Wait. This is not it: he has another indication that change is coming to Saudi regime: "But the reception to my talk (I was not paid) was warm".  So the fact that students did not hurl shoes at you during the talk (although I am sure they had the desire to do so) proves that change is coming to the kingdom?  And then he says this: "There was blowback on Twitter as to why a columnist who’s been critical of Saudi Arabia’s export of Salafist ideology should be given any platform.".  Don't lie: many of the criticisms by Saudis on social media also dealt with your Zionism and support for US wars. Why not mention that? Why imply that only Salafis were opposed to you?  As for the rest of the article? It is not worth commenting on. He simply vomited the statements by Mohammad bin Salman without much criticisms and commentary or even refutation. He even produced Saudi talking points on Yemen.