Princes of Darkness / 1
Over the course of three days I intend to educate and entertain the reader by destroying the reputation of Laurent Murawiec as a researcher and alleged expert on Saudi Arabia. I will use the same method I employed against Gerald Posner in the summer, simply detailing the mistakes in information, large, small and stupid to argue that any analysis based on such ignorance can only be misinformed and misleading. Posner wrote "Why America Slept" in 2003 and I thought then that there could not be a worse example of ignorance. But he outdid himself this year by coming out with the book "Secrets of the Kingdom." I wrote three columns about his second book in June and I am going to write three columns, starting today about Murawiec's "Princes of Darkness" hoping to consign him to the dustbin of academia and serious scholarship.It takes effort to be more ignorant of Saudi Arabia than Posner, but Murawiec beats him hands down with mistakes, half truths and out of context statements. The book is an outgrowth of a briefing by Murawiec on June 10, 2002, to the Pentagon's Defence Policy Board under the title "Taking Saudi Out of Arabia" which is self-explanatory.First things first. There is a refrain every time I write about Saudi Arabia. I do not defend the government or people. I do not say that Saudi Arabia is democratic. I do not claim that women have full rights or that the rule of law is paramount. There are many drawbacks and I support basic freedoms for all Saudi citizens, the right of assembly and expression, and every other right. When I write about Saudi Arabia my intention is solely to uncover the bias, prejudice and enmity of the other side. It is usually a position against all Arabs and Muslims and not just the Saudis, Syrians, Palestinians or any particular Arab people. I hold such enemies in the U.S. administration and in the right wing think tanks and the media around it responsible for the death of over a hundred thousand Iraqis and two thousand Americans so far.Laurent Murawiec expanded his lecture into a book "Princes of Darkness: The Saudi Assault on the West." The title is as phoney as the author. Prince of Darkness is the other name of Richard Pearle, then head of the Defence Policy Board, and Murawiec's benefactor. The assault is by the neocons against Saudi Arabia and all Arabs and Muslims to control our oil and leave Israel as the dominant power in the Middle East.It is only to be expected after such a title that the author ends his book by quoting none other than Fuad Ajami, the neocon Uncle Tom. In between a reader would find a comedy of errors of Shakespearean proportions.He starts his Introduction by quoting from his Defence Policy Board briefing, i.e. quoting himself. He claims that "the Saudi are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadres to foot soldiers, from ideologist to cheerleader." I will not defend Saudi Arabia but will say that Murawiec is using a time (dis)honoured method the neocons by blaming the "other" to divert attention from the crimes of a criminal Nazi-like Israeli government that practices terror every day and kills schoolchildren.Mistakes begin with the first paragraph as the author refers to taking Saudi out of Arabia. Arabia is not Saudi Arabia but what is known as the Arabian Peninsula. We also call it the Arabs island, because the sand in the north represents another sea. Arabia as referred to in the book includes six countries other than Saudi Arabia and mean spirited as he is Murawiec is not asking to take "Saudi" out of countries they are not in.I must hurry a little bit as I am still discussing the title and first paragraph of the Introduction. Murawiec says that a few days after the briefing The Washington Post printed a story about it and a "thunderbolt struck." He is bemused for becoming a target of public condemnation: A foreign resident; a French-Jewish-Polish strategist; an unrepentant extremist; an ignorant pontificator; an obscure figure; Dr. Strangelove.Of course, all the above and more is true. He is an immigrant from Poland to France then the U.S. where he was adopted by like minded extremists. As to the ignorance in every page, and we are still in the Introduction, on page XV he refers to Prince Saud Al Feisal as the "former" Saudi Foreign Minister, and on page XVII he refers to Prince Khaled Ben Sultan as the owner of Asharq Al Awsat.This is the man who presents himself as a knowledgeable expert on Saudi Arabia. I will state my case very simply: arguments that are based on the wrong information can only be wrong and recommendations made are not just useless but harmful, if they are taken seriously. Murawiec, Perle and others like them want to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. Based on what they know they can only be wrong and must be exposed as apologists for the Israeli Nazi-like government.
I went to the Index at the end of the book to see if Murawiec restores Prince Saud as Foreign Minister. I found a reference to Al-Saud, family, starting on pages 11-14. I did not find the foreign minister but instead found on page 13 this strange phrase written in Arabic characters Al shaykuh abkhas. What does it mean? He translates it as "the royal family knows (better)." I suppose he means Al Shuyukh Akhbar, or the sheikhs know better, which applies to sheikhs, not princes. Prince Saud is finally restored as foreign minister on page 104, but true to form Murawiec then describes Prince Saud as a brother of Prince Nayef instead of a nephew.The Index guided me to a page where Prince Khaled Ben Sultan is restored as owner of Al-Hayat daily, but then on Page 123 Prince Khaled is reported as having contributed to an organisation having Aramco roots, Americans for Understanding in the Middle East, in 1969. Prince Khaled then had just left his teens behind, a lieutenant on a training mission in El Paso, Texas, and his finances were worse than mine today.The index led me to page 232 where Murawiec says that Prince (now King) Abdullah has no half-brothers, then continues to say on the same page that he is unlike his half-brothers.At times the mistakes are funny but the book is no laughing matter. The author is taken seriously and not as the intellectual charlatan that he is with the result that the Arabs and Muslims everywhere pay the price along with real Americans, not Likudniks, imported from Israel and Poland via France.