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Prince Turki warns of neo-con agenda.

Summary: WASHINGTON: Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the former intelligence officer for the Kingdom, who also served as ambassador the US, told an audience at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington that he is concerned that the Republican victories this week will encourage "neoconservatives" and "warmongers" to push back against the Obama administration's peace initiative in the Middle East.


Prince Turki told the audience thatC*. "neocon advisers, American conservatives and Zionist extremists" promoted polices "that continually throw a wrench into the progress of peace."

Quoting an article by Robert Satloff, director of the pro-Israeli think tank Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Prince Turki characterized his polices as an opposition to the idea that an Israeli settlement freeze was vital; a call for the United States not to force Israel's hand to make concessions in the negotiations; and the conviction that a tough US position on Iran, including the possibility of military action, was an essential prerequisite for peace in the region.

President Obama's victory in 2008 encouraged many "to believe that the neocon movement had died, the victim of its own, failed delusional policies," Prince Turki said, adding that neoconservative ideas were "crawling from their grave of failure" and their proponents would be encouraged by the election results Tuesday.

"The recent election," Prince Turki said, "will give more fodder for these warmongers to pursue their favorite exercise -- warmongering."

Elaborating on his remarks, Prince Turki noted that many Democrats, as well as Republicans, were also strong supporters of Israel.

"Particularly in the Congress, the bipartisan support for Israel has been enormous; it's not just Republicans. My concern is really with the people who speak up for a more aggressive type of policy as espoused by neoconservatives. They will interpret these elections as, if you like, a return to what they would consider to be their view on foreign policy in general andC* particularly on the Middle East."

He cautioned that he had reservations regarding the recently election new congressmen coming to the Hill. "I'm sure there are within the new crop of elected congressmen and womenC* those who would espouse such ideas as well."

Once they take their place in January, Prince Turki said: "C*when these people get back to the Congress, they produce resolutions. Regardless of what happens in the world, they stand by Israel, and regardless of what Israel does, Israel is always right. That's where the matter is, not in the election process."

In this speech, Prince Turki suggested that he believed Saudi-US relations would not be negatively affected, even if the new Congress decided to take a tougher stance in the Middle East.

"The Kingdom's position as far as maintaining security and business (relations), student exchanges, etc., with the United States is with the distinct purpose of sharing mutual benefits" he said.

"The Kingdom will continue to maintain its strategic friendship with the United States and hope that from that position of strategic alliance to bring about with the United States a resolution" to the long-running Middle East conflict.

Prince Turki also advised working with other nations in resolving Middle East issues, too, especially regarding the plight of the Palestinians, and said if the peace talks, brokered by the US, remain stalled one option would be to go "directly to the United Nations to get recognition of a Palestinian state."

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Nov 5, 2010
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