Corruption of Saudi leaders well-known around world: Analyst
Press TV has conducted an interview with Mark Weber, director of Institute for Historical Review in California, to discuss the tragedy in Mina that killed hundreds of Hajj pilgrims on the outskirts of the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: How would you analyze the situation? Why do you think Saudi Arabia failed to manage and provide safety and security for a crowd of two million Muslim pilgrims in an event that is literally held every day and so the circumstances are well-known beforehand?
Weber: I am not an expert of course on the internal operations of Saudi Arabia. The perspective here, of course, and my perspective is much more on the US relationship with Saudi Arabia that has been underscored recently, highlighted by the recent visit of the Saudi King Salman to Washington, his meeting with President Obama, the Saudi involvement with the war in Yemen, the conflict in Yemen, and so forth. That is really a larger issue for America and the confusion and lack of focus, I think, for US policy, foreign policy generally and particularly in the Middle East, is really highlighted especially by the US relationship with Saudi Arabia, which shows and underscores this lack of focus and the confusion of US relationships in general around the world.
Press TV: But generally speaking, how do you think such a great annual event and any event that includes many nationalities should be managed? Shouldn’t there be a council of Muslim countries instead of Saudi Arabia alone?
Weber: Saudi Arabia as you know claims the exclusive right as the guardian or custodian of Mecca and the responsibility for the Hajj. That is something that needs to be sorted out, of course, among Muslims because Mecca is not only the heritage of Saudi Arabia but of the entire Muslim world, but that is going to have to be sorted out as a larger question of Saudi relations with the rest of the world and especially the Muslim world.
Press TV: And finally, some say the religious cities are being influenced by American architecture and culture. Just how much can this be related to Saudi Arabia’s ties with Washington?
Weber: As you know on the one hand, Saudi Arabia poses as a very pious and religious kingdom, but the corruption of Saudi leaders, the profligate and the self-indulgent behavior of so many leading Saudis is well-known around the world, and that has led of course to a great deal of cynicism about just what Saudi Arabia is trying to do, and what are its leaders really all about, not only in Saudi Arabia but in the Emirates, in the [Persian] Gulf states in general and so forth.