By Javad Heirannia

Mohammad bin Salman resembles Trump: Adib-Moghaddam

October 17, 2018 - 10:56

TEHRAN - Professor Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, Chair of the Centre for Iranian Studies at the London Middle East Institute believes that I never saw Mohammad bin Salman as a prudent leader. His approach to politics is ad hoc, coarse and lacks diplomatic skill.

Professor in Global Thought and Comparative Philosophies and Chair of the Centre for Iranian Studies at the London Middle East Institute, also adds that “In this regard, he resembles President Trump, with the major difference that the United States is a democracy where there is pluralistic oversight of the state by an active and vocal civil society.”
Here is the full text of the interview:

Q: Due to the relations between the West and the United States in particular with Saudi Arabia, the subject of Jamal khashoggi has been widely discussed. Usually, in the case of human rights violations, Western countries accommodate Saudi Arabia because of Saudi arms purchases and oil supplies. But in this case it is different. What are the reasons?

A: The reason is, if the evidence by the Turkish authorities is further confirmed, that this is blatant murder of a man who was simply expressing his opinion about his country. Unfortunately, the countries of West Asia and North Africa, Muslim in their orientation and culture, do not shy away from such atrocities. Europe, even the United States, may have double standards on many thinks, but when it comes to such obvious violations of human dignity, there will always be outrage. From the perspective of states it is one thing, to kill civilians in a combat situation - equally deplorable in my opinion of course - but something very different to send hit squads around to murder dissidents. Again, all the states of that region have a chequered and rather sorry history in this regard and none of them can claim a moral highground until they institute forms of national reconciliation or truth commissions.

Q: Some believe that as Saudi Arabia did not lower the price of oil at request of Trump, the United States is putting pressure on Saudi Arabia through khashoggi subject. What is your opinion?

A: I don't think this is the case. As indicated, even the Trump administration can't be seen to cover up the death of a dissident. Moreover, there is also a global civil society that picks things like this up and disseminates news of human rights violations on a global scale, even when governments fail to follow their duty.

Q: Some Western countries, including the United States, have threatened Saudi Arabia with sanctions. In contrast, Saudi Arabia has spoken of an appropriate response in the event of a sanction. How far do you think the opposition with Saudi Arabia will go?

A: Saudi Arabia is cornered even without sanctions and that has a lot to do with the wrong tactical moves that have been done. The war in Yemen is a total disaster, politically Saudi allies in Lebanon, Iraq and Syria are marginalised and the countries recent multibillion PR campaign to promote Mohammad Bin Salman as a new great moderniser has backfired. There is a lesson to be learned for governments in the region and beyond: You can't really bend the truth. There IS a reality out there that can't be manipulated in total for political reasons. The pen will always be mightier than the sword, certainly in the longue duree of global history.

Q: What effects will have the subject of Jamal khashoggi, on the future power of Mohammad bin Salman?

A: I never saw MBS as a prudent leader. His approach to politics is ad hoc, coarse and lacks diplomatic skill. In this regard, he resembles President Trump, with the major difference that the United States is a democracy where there is pluralistic oversight of the state by an active and vocal civil society. In Saudi Arabia and most other countries of that region, there is no such thing. Hence, people continue to die in such tragic circumstances. It is noteworthy, as the line of your questions shows, that it is the so called "west" that is seeking justice for this man and not the people of the region where he lived almost his whole life.

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