Prince Bandar Bin Sultan bin 'Abd Al-'Aziz, Saudi Ambassador to the US, was interviewed on Al-Arabiya TV (Dubai), in which he defended the American people and military in the wake of the Abu Ghureib abuses. Ambassador Bandar also claimed he preferred four more years for the acting president. Following are excerpts from the interview:
Ambassador Bandar:The Abu Ghureib incident what some of the American soldiers did to some Iraqi detainees is a crime and a shameful incident. To this condemnation I added our Islamic principle: "Do not punish a person for another's sin." I am completely convinced that logically, the actions of a minority among the American soldiers cannot represent 2.5 million of the American military. They cannot all be of this type. It is also impossible for us to use this shameful crime that was committed against the Iraqi prisoners as proof of the immorality of 300 million Americans.
What was the purpose of my statement? As the saying goes, when you know the reason, there is no need for questions. After the events of 9/11, when it became clear that 15 of the criminals who had committed the operation of 9/11 were Saudi, all the American media and many American politicians said that these 15 criminals represent all the 20 million Saudis. First of all, that was wrong; second it could not have been accepted. It was injustice.
If you expect to be obeyed, order what is possible. When I listened to the commentary in the Saudi and Arab media, I thought that we are making the same mistake the Americans had made towards us. I wanted to say to my brothers in the Saudi media and to the Saudi citizens that we must not see the actions of a small group as an expression of the majority's morality.
Before 9/11, the greatest humanitarian aid given to Afghanistan and to the Afghani refugees did not come from Muslim countries, but from the US. This is a good deed.
Moderator: More than the Saudi aid?
Ambassador Bandar:At the time, more than any other country.
Moderator: Who do you hope will win the upcoming American elections, Bush or Kerry?
Ambassador Bandar: This is the business of the American people and their choice. I always say that in my opinion it is better to work another four years with the same president we have been working with. Why? So we do not begin from square one. However, this is my opinion, and it does not mean that we support one over the other.
Who did the US support in five of the last six wars it was involved in? The Islamic groups, in Kosovo, Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan, when the USSR invaded it. They intervened on our behalf in Kuwait. Whom did the US fight in Kuwait? Did it fight against us? It came to help us liberate an Arab Muslim country that was invaded by another Arab Muslim country. The truth must be said.
Our problem is not with the US as a country, an entity, a people, a friend. Our disagreement with the US is limited to part of the policies we disagree on. Besides this, give me one example of the US harming Saudi Arabia's interests, anywhere in the world.