Oh, the smile, the concern, the slight, unthreatening figure, the almost unruly mop, the rakish eyeglasses, the billions of dollars -- Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal!
He's everywhere lately -- publicly on view at Fox News (natch, since he owns the second largest stake in Murdoch's News Corp), Forbes, Charlie Rose ... and privately with Citigroup's Vikram Pandit, Citi’s Richard Parsons News Corp's Murdoch, Bill Gates' investment people, execs from Four Seasons Hotels ... a whirl, a whirl, toujours a whirl, he loves America, he loves News Corp, no, Obama should not tax the banks now, debt is bad, America is down but not out, raise taxes across the board, U-shaped recovery, V-shaped recovery, blah blah.
Gotta hand it to Charlie Rose, the man who pushed "the prince" past the financial patter (as opposed to poor Neil Cavuto, who showed all the signs of interviewing the boss) to reveal the Inner Awlaleed -- the man Rudy told what for after 9/11 on returning the Saudi's lousy check for 10 million bux (in essence, NUTS). Before reprising the relevant non-financial portions of Rose's interview, though, here's a key question Rose asked Alwaleed about News Corp, something conservative fans of Fox News in particular should note.
You're a huge investor in News Corp. Are you confident about its future?
I'm the second-biggest shareholder there. I was with Mr. Murdoch yesterday and have a very close relationship with Mr. James Murdoch. James is now managing Europe and Asia. I would be the first one to nominate him to be the successor of Mr. Rupert Murdoch, God forbid something happens. I have full trust in him. He is really a Rupert Murdoch in the making, and he's almost there. And I told that to Mr. Murdoch.
OK. Remember, Alwaleed is the man who made the word "Muslim" disappear from Fox's reporting on "Muslim" rioting in Paris a few years back. Now, who's heir-apparent James?
Turns out, he's a far Left, global warmist pal of the Gores, the Clintons, with virulently anti-Israel views, as recorded in the published diaries of Alistair Campbell, Tony Blair's former communications director. From 2007 in the old New York Sun, via Debbie Schlussel:
The just-published diaries of a communications director for Prime Minister Blair, Alastair Campbell, indicate that James Murdoch launched into a foul-mouthed tirade that suggested that the behavior of Palestinian Arabs was justified by their poor treatment by Israelis. The outburst occurred at a private dinner with his father, his brother, Lachlan, Mr. Blair, and others at no. 10 Downing St. in January 2002.
The elder “Murdoch was at one point putting the traditional very right-wing view on Israel and the Middle East peace process and James said that he was ‘talking f- nonsense.’ [Rupert] Murdoch said he didn’t see what the Palestinians’ problem was and James said that it was that they were kicked out of their f- homes and had nowhere to f- live,” Mr. Campbell recorded, adding that the News Corp. chairman was “very pro-Israel, very pro-Reagan.” ...
Things f- change. Now, to Charlie Rose's search for the Inner Alwaleed, which will help explain the prince's enthusiasm for the mini-mogul.
So what do you worry about?
Clearly, the biggest worry right now for every human being in the world is terrorism.
When you look at Iraq and Afghanistan, do you worry about the possibilities of things going wrong?
Iraq is a time bomb. Afghanistan is a time bomb. Pakistan is also a time bomb. But Afghanistan is where the real threat is. This country could implode.
I.e., the prince wants US military might and money tied down in Afghanistan. More evidence it's a bad idea to be wasting both there.
You know the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, well. Does Syria intend to play a positive role in the peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis?
My friend Bashar al-Assad --
One heck of a great guy --
wants the Palestinians to live in peace with Israel.
I can assure you that Bashar is going to play a very big role in getting the peace process moving.
That's a good one. Just received a new article called "Syria's Financial Support for Jihad."
What stands between an accord between Syria and Israel? A small piece of land—the Golan Heights. It's very technical and could be resolved if there is a will from the Israelis. Bashar just wants his land back, period. ...
So he can shoot down at the Jews.
The Golan is Syrian.
Whoops. The prince's slip or manjammies, or whatever his Arab garb is called, is showing. A small piece of land, very technical, could be resolved with Israeli will, Syrian land. ... Charlie Rose continues:
What is your assessment of the possibility of something happening between Israel and the Palestinians?
I believe the Middle East is the core problem.
The terrorist acts and all these things are really side effects.
Forget 1400 years of Islamic expansionism through jihad interupted only by Islamic defeat (among defeats, Battle of Tours, Battle of Tripoli, Siege of Vienna, colonialism, communism, war to found Israel 1948 ... )
[The situation] needs to be resolved as soon as possible. I think that if Israel wants to have peace, they can have peace within a month or two...to be honest with you.
But just last week there was some shelling from Gaza into Israel.
Thanks, Charlie -- a little tactful, but helpful nonetheless.
Israel is a dominant force in Middle East. We all know that it has the biggest military. It has nuclear bombs. So Israel is untouchable. Now, if Israel can get its house in order and have...
What do you mean by get its house in order?
The Netanyahu government does not want to have peace with the Palestinians.
I don't think Princey was smiling when he said that.
So your answer to the conflict in the Middle East between the Israelis and the Palestinians is that the United States must pressure the Israelis to do more? That's your answer?
That's right, because all the power is in the hands of Israel. They have the land in their possession. They have Jerusalem in their possession. Everything is in their hands.
Alas, Charlie moves on.
What should be done about Iran?
I think the United States has to take a very firm position against Iran...really just box them in and give them an ultimatum. Right now what's happening in Iran reminds us of the pre-revolution era of the Shah.
Except, of course, the pre-revolution era of the Shah was a secularizing, pro-Israel, pro-Western era. (Details, details)
Will Ahmadinejad survive?
The way he's handling his opponents is really very savage. We don't know how this thing is going to end. But at this stage, you must engage with Ahmadinejad until we see what happens.
Do you think the world's perception of Islam is misunderstood?
Oh, yes, for sure. After 9/11, the world changed, and Islam came under attack.
Pause. Let that one sink in a little.
OK. So that's the takeaway from 9/11: the world changed and Islam came under attack. In fact, nothing has more quickly accelerated Islam's advance across the West than 9/11 but that's another story.
You had all these terrorist acts on U.S. soil committed by Muslims and Arabs and Saudis. So I don't really blame the West for being worried about Islam.
But you cannot generalize and say all Arabs or Muslims are terrorists.
No one says that. What some people notice, however, is that according to Islam, terrorism against infidels is cannonically correct.
All the discussion has been around the Somali guy who tried to bomb the [Northwest] airplane, but his father...
...Turned him in.
This guy represents Islam. He went to the U.S. Embassy and said, "My son is a terrorist in the making. Please take care of him." This guy represents me and all my 1.3 billion Muslims.
"My" 1.3 billion Muslims? Interesting. Meanwhile, that's a mighty big constituency.
Not the guy with the bomb. Islam means peace. That's the irony of it.
Thanks for clearing that up.