Should King Abdullah be Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize?

King Abdullah has demonstrated in so many ways that he is a true leader and a trailblazer as a Saudi King.  He has had so many accomplishments thus far during his reign.  To name just  a few, he has helped put the Kingdom on the map for its humanitarian efforts in the separation of Siamese twins; the ideal host during the Arab Summit of 2007; the development of the King Abdullah Economic City; the groundbreaking of KAUST; the first King to ever visit a Pope in the Vatican; and last but certainly not least, his latest initiative with the World Conference on Dialogue.  I look forward to seeing what other initiatives he continues to take during his reign.  However in my personal view, I believe he is a worthy and well deserving candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.  Your views and thoughts?

98 Responses

  1. As Salaamu Alaikum Carol:

    Yes, he has done many good things.

    But what about the status of human rights and women’s rights in KSA? As long as these problems exist, it would be an irony to award him the NPP.

  2. I agree with Safiyyah and personally think it diminishes the value of such a prize. It’s like the equivalent of George Bush getting it.

  3. How about his status as Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque and the very unIslamic practices that abound within the vicinities of Mecca and Medina…as well as all of Saudi. Allowing the muttaween to practically run roughshod over its citizen…foreign and national…does nothing to promote the image of Islam around the world. We as Muslims should be able to look towards Saudi as a beacon of light when it comes to the observances and tolerance that is the foundation of Islam….rather then shake our heads time and again and claim….”that aint Islam” to any that should inquire. All those things you listed seems like steps to make those outside the kingdom happy…what about those inside it?

  4. Carol,

    As you know I respect King Abdullah and saw him do many things in the previous 3 years than were done in 3 decades before him. However, I have a few issues regarding receiving the Nobel Peace prize. I think people that receive such prize should have sacrificed and/or put forth a significant effort to improve the human condition. The word sacrifice is very important as former recipient like Mandela sacrificed years of their life in jail for a cause. Others like Jimi Carter have spent years of effort in developing charities to help the poor of the world. King Abdullah with all his qualities just does not have enough to fit in that league.

    Further, King Abdullah presides over a country that does not have a constitution, has great mis-justice, still arrests dissidents, does not provide freedom of religion, the list goes on. The King is an absolute ruler in the true sense of the word. Some may argue that there are many powers in the country that he has to please, but that is only if he wants to. The King is first the head of state and second he is offered strong protection by an armed force (National Guard) that has absolute loyalty to him. He has cultivated that loyalty for decades. He can afford to be BOLD and put together a constitution and a plan to eliminate all the above. Yet he chooses not to do that. Leaders who deserve such honors need to show boldness, otherwise they are simply good, not Great.

    I am still hopeful that the King will be real courageous and do these great things. He is in his 80’s and theoretically has a short time to make his mark on history. He needs to get the Urgency of Now (borrowing from Obama’s book) and become a great leader for the people of Saudi.

  5. Deserves a Nobel peace prize about as much as he deserves to be called a leader of Islam in any way at all.

    The guy is just another two faced zealot.

    I agree with everything everyone else has said so far too.

  6. Wow… I’m surprised by the comments!

    While Mandela is viewed as a positive example, on the other hand look at Arafat, Peres and Rabin sharing the Peace Prize in 1994 but if you also look hard at their record with human rights, Palestine, etc., the same questions could be asked.

    So I guess I am in the minority in believing that for the initiatives he has taken to receive such an honor.

  7. Carol,

    I agree there are bad choices in the history of Nobel. I think 2 stand out as very clear examples of people that committed terrorist activities then received the prize. Those are Arafat and Begin. I think such background should automatically disqualify a person from receiving such honors. However, we should not lower the standards to honor a King that has all the powers to bring justice to his own people, but does not take the necessary steps to do it.

    I think the selections of peace prize are puzzling sometimes. Especially when you consider that Gandhi the person associated the most with peaceful resistance never received the prize, while former terrorist were honored.

  8. Carol,

    I wholeheartedly agree with you. The King should be judged on what he has accomplished and not on what he still needs to do in this country. He is walking a tightrope and I feel that he has managed the country very well….all things considered.

    Women’s issues are a cultural one here, and he cannot change things overnight. Not only that, there are many women that like things the way they are. (No, I’m not one of those, but many Saudi women don’t want to work, drive or take charge of their lives. : ) )

    I’m happy with the way he is running the country in general and look forward to other changes as they are put into practice.

  9. I’m w/ Saudi in US on this one…absolutely not a worthy candidate.

  10. “he cannot change things overnight.”

    Considering he and those that came before him have had 1400 years worth of “nights” to implement changes…something tells me its not at the top of anyones list.

    I might also add that women “like things the way they are” cause they’ve been raised for the most part to “like it”….what else can they do when not liking it can have serious consequences.

  11. I hope even more will come forward with their views and thoughts on this issue. I’m repeating myself but what he has done as a King I think has been pretty radical, liberal and fast for a King reigning over Saudi Arabia. Yes; I agree that there are indeed other issues that need addressed but perhaps the track he is on can lead to further necessary actions. As most know, change is something that will not and probably cannot (due to the extremists, Wahhabists and others) change overnight in the Kingdom. But again, for what initiatives he has taken, I for one, would love to see further global recognition such as with the Nobel Peace Prize. Think of how such an honor will also reflect on the Kingdom and its people…and again, maybe soften them to further (and necessary) changes…

  12. “he cannot change things overnight.”

    At the center of my argument is not that he can change everything over night, but that he can set a different direction for the country. This can be done through a constitution and a change agenda presented by a plan. Yes he has to take some risks and jam some of these initiatives down some real loud people’s throats, but a king that is provided all his powers can do that. He just needs to act and set his agenda for change. Yes he is the best Saudi ruler so far, but we are comparing against a very low metric here. Again the fact that he does not take bold steps just leaves him at good not great.

  13. Reading the posts in here (not including yours, Carol) makes me think how pathetic and narrow minded some people are. They think that Abdullah, as the King of Saudi Arabia, can do anything he likes; he should just call it and within seconds it changes and becomes the way he wishes!!!! They don’t understand that there’s something called democracy, and they don’t understand that any decision made should be made within the acceptance limits of the majority of the society. Let’s take women rights as an example. If the majority of the society is conservative (i.e opposing any changes in the status of women), why would he issue a ruling against their wish? Does he have to apply the western (and maybe global) view of women’s right, or does he have to apply what the majority of HIS OWN people want? Should he listen to what the western powers are telling him regarding women, or should he listen to the majority of his own people and hear what THEY want???
    Let’s go more specific to make things more clear and talk about women driving cars. He announced it loud and clear more than once that it is the society’s decision, not the government’s decision to allow women to drive. And so, since the majority of the society like it that way (no women driving cars) then he’s actually being a democratic ruler in every sense of it. Is that a bad thing??? I don’t think so.
    Please don’t misunderstand me, I am NOT in favor of banning women from driving cars, but I do understand the reasoning behind the ban, and so should you guys.
    I guess the problem with some people, especially some of the people who posted in here, is that they don’t realize how conservative the Saudi society is. They refuse to admit that the majority of the Saudi society is opposed to any changes in women’s status. So Bottom line, most of the things you see are based on the desires of the Saudi society, and should any decision be made against the wishes of the majority of the Saudi society, then there would be chaos in the country, which no body wants. I would end with the comment that I agree with you Carol. King Abdullah is doing a lot, and he’s turning to be a global figure who will eventually make history. My own observation. You may take it.. and you may leave it!!

  14. Sorry Nader,

    Since you started your comment by calling others opinions as pathetic I will show you how pathetic your idea of democracy is. You have described democracy as something implemented by an absolute ruler, that is fallacy number 1. You talked about the king does not have to confirm to western rules, democracy is a Western concept to begin with, that is fallacy #2 since you described the king as democratic. Democracy even when implemented by voting does not allow the majority rules to infringe on an individual right, that is fallacy #3. I can go on and on, your post is full of illogical arguments and I would have left it at that with the exception that you started by insulting everyone else.

    Look, the argument is not whether King Abdullah is a good man or not, because he obviously is. I am actually one of those that appreciate him. The argument that I repeated many times is that he can be bolder in changes.

    I am not focused on detailed issues in this argument like woman driving, but what is his definition of justice, how to provide freedom of thoughts, how to protect individuals from over reaching zealots, etc. I am talking about a frame work for ruling the country (you can term that as a constitution) that can be the supreme rule of the country and provide dignity and future prosperity for the citizens. Every nation deserves one.

    No one is expecting change over night that was repeated by many commentators here. I guess you did not understand what we wrote.

    And finally, I do not support democracy in Saudi Arabia, we are simply not ready for it. I much prefer to have a leader like King Abdulah rise up to a greater leadership role. I do think he has the capability to be such great leader, I just hope he decides to make that mark.

  15. Very provacative question Carol. I am basing my reply on 30 years of knowledge of the mid-east politics, leaders and religious views.

    Let me begin by saying, the Nobel Peace prize is a most prestigious award . One can be proud to even be nominated for this award.

    I’ve questioned the award myself since I felt Ghandi and Pope Paul ll should have won, and didn’t.

    The award is not necessarily given for a life long achievement, but rather promoting peace even if for a one time achievement (Rabin and Arafat for example) neither of whom stood for exemplary behaviour in their lifetime.

    I have watched King Abdullah in his 3 short years promote inter-faith dialogue from day one. The Spain event was not the first, rather the largest. I would base my opinion on his actions only.

    Living on this end for 25 years, I have heard many negative comments about Jews and Christians–it is high time for some tolerance. There is not one leader in the M.E. who could have done this but the King. I only wish the conference could have been in Saudi, however, this man has opened dialogue in an almost impossible atmosphere and shown great humility.

    The dialogue must continue of course, and opening doors in Saudi as well. To speak of the wonderful tolerance of Andalusia (with it’s great tolerance) is a moot point if one cannot show this great tolerance in 2008.

    His meeting in the Vatican with Pope Benedict was so inspiring to see, I truly felt some hope. I would like to see ”both” of them win this award.

    So, yes, I do believe the King should be nominated.

  16. I am not an expert in Saudi politics or ruling monarchs by any means. While I think many readers would like to see King Abdullah put in a place a roadmap of more reforms and changes that are in closer alignment to democracy, I’m not sure if it is really possible or feasible at this time. He’s making progress and with some risks even by the changes he has implemented. But to start on reforms in regards to human rights and womens rights is a very sensitve issue. I think it is possible and feasible for him to do so but very very slowly. I mean, for the Kingdom, movements in these direction while wanted and applauded by many (in and out) will still have a rippling effect inside the Kingdom that have to be implemented so very carefully so as not to crack the firm foundation that is being put into place.

    Let’s take KAUST for example…if it gets off the ground as proposed it will demonstrate reforms new directions through greater and better opportunities in education for all. After all, it is proposed as a western oriented university open to male and female students in disciplines not yet available at other universities. It’s taking time on moving forward in order to slowly soften the strong resistance from inside against it.

    Viking Daughter – I like the points you made on merits of the Noble Peace Prize and wish I could have made those points so eloquently.

  17. Sorry, but this is too laughable! I completely, 100% agree with “Anon” that it would diminish the value of the prize and certainly, would be like handing one to George Bush. No difference really………..

    And I do agree with you, Carol, that in the past, it was awarded to some that were definitely not worthy of such a significant prize! So, considering the past oddity in nominations of the prize and those who received it, why not nominate the king? In my opinion, there is much discrepancy to begin with in rewarding the prize to those who certainly never deserved it, so why should it stop at the king?

  18. Thanks for sharing your views, Manal!

  19. Dear Carol,

    I share your thoughts and many expats i met here do share the line of thinking.
    Dear Saudi in US, I agree with you that a Saudi needs a constitution framework.Am i right that rules/laws of Saudi Arabia is based on Sharia ( though may not be conforming 100%)?.
    I am an Indian,India follows many of the legislative,executive and judiciary system based on the British system.I have always found the constitution of India a great piece of work by our leaders in early 20th century.Believe me ,
    if goes through it once, one would amaze how far sighted and deep valued were those who framed it, especially Dr Ambedkar,chairman of the committe who did this job.
    Saudi Arabia needs such talented and eminent personalities..and it would take time to frame such people from the society itseld.Insha Allah, the KAUST and other macro projects are good means to reahc those goals.

    Nobel prize would be a good appreciation for King Abdullah for the steps he took so far,whatever things still to be done from his side.

    And finally, the rulers are too from the society.SO they can only be as good as the society(with few exceptions).

  20. Thank you for your comments and welcome to my blog, Abumarjan.

  21. In case anyone was wondering who all has won the Nobel Peace Prize since its inception:

    * 2007 – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Al Gore
    * 2006 – Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank
    * 2005 – International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei
    * 2004 – Wangari Maathai
    * 2003 – Shirin Ebadi
    * 2002 – Jimmy Carter
    * 2001 – United Nations, Kofi Annan
    * 2000 – Kim Dae-jung
    * 1999 – Médecins Sans Frontières
    * 1998 – John Hume, David Trimble
    * 1997 – International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Jody Williams
    * 1996 – Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, José Ramos-Horta
    * 1995 – Joseph Rotblat, Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
    * 1994 – Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin
    * 1993 – Nelson Mandela, F.W. de Klerk
    * 1992 – Rigoberta Menchú Tum
    * 1991 – Aung San Suu Kyi
    * 1990 – Mikhail Gorbachev
    * 1989 – The 14th Dalai Lama
    * 1988 – United Nations Peacekeeping Forces
    * 1987 – Oscar Arias Sánchez
    * 1986 – Elie Wiesel
    * 1985 – International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
    * 1984 – Desmond Tutu
    * 1983 – Lech Walesa
    * 1982 – Alva Myrdal, Alfonso García Robles
    * 1981 – Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
    * 1980 – Adolfo Pérez Esquivel
    * 1979 – Mother Teresa
    * 1978 – Anwar al-Sadat, Menachem Begin
    * 1977 – Amnesty International
    * 1976 – Betty Williams, Mairead Corrigan
    * 1975 – Andrei Sakharov
    * 1974 – Seán MacBride, Eisaku Sato
    * 1973 – Henry Kissinger, Le Duc Tho
    * 1972 – The prize money for 1972 was allocated to the Main Fund
    * 1971 – Willy Brandt
    * 1970 – Norman Borlaug
    * 1969 – International Labour Organization
    * 1968 – René Cassin
    * 1967 – The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
    * 1966 – The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
    * 1965 – United Nations Children’s Fund
    * 1964 – Martin Luther King Jr.
    * 1963 – International Committee of the Red Cross, League of Red Cross Societies
    * 1962 – Linus Pauling
    * 1961 – Dag Hammarskjöld
    * 1960 – Albert Lutuli
    * 1959 – Philip Noel-Baker
    * 1958 – Georges Pire
    * 1957 – Lester Bowles Pearson
    * 1956 – The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
    * 1955 – The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
    * 1954 – Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
    * 1953 – George C. Marshall
    * 1952 – Albert Schweitzer
    * 1951 – Léon Jouhaux
    * 1950 – Ralph Bunche
    * 1949 – Lord Boyd Orr
    * 1948 – The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
    * 1947 – Friends Service Council, American Friends Service Committee
    * 1946 – Emily Greene Balch, John R. Mott
    * 1945 – Cordell Hull
    * 1944 – International Committee of the Red Cross
    * 1943 – The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
    * 1942 – The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
    * 1941 – The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
    * 1940 – The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
    * 1939 – The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
    * 1938 – Nansen International Office for Refugees
    * 1937 – Robert Cecil
    * 1936 – Carlos Saavedra Lamas
    * 1935 – Carl von Ossietzky
    * 1934 – Arthur Henderson
    * 1933 – Sir Norman Angell
    * 1932 – The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
    * 1931 – Jane Addams, Nicholas Murray Butler
    * 1930 – Nathan Söderblom
    * 1929 – Frank B. Kellogg
    * 1928 – The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
    * 1927 – Ferdinand Buisson, Ludwig Quidde
    * 1926 – Aristide Briand, Gustav Stresemann
    * 1925 – Sir Austen Chamberlain, Charles G. Dawes
    * 1924 – The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
    * 1923 – The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
    * 1922 – Fridtjof Nansen
    * 1921 – Hjalmar Branting, Christian Lange
    * 1920 – Léon Bourgeois
    * 1919 – Woodrow Wilson
    * 1918 – The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
    * 1917 – International Committee of the Red Cross
    * 1916 – The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
    * 1915 – The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
    * 1914 – The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
    * 1913 – Henri La Fontaine
    * 1912 – Elihu Root
    * 1911 – Tobias Asser, Alfred Fried
    * 1910 – Permanent International Peace Bureau
    * 1909 – Auguste Beernaert, Paul Henri d’Estournelles de Constant
    * 1908 – Klas Pontus Arnoldson, Fredrik Bajer
    * 1907 – Ernesto Teodoro Moneta, Louis Renault
    * 1906 – Theodore Roosevelt
    * 1905 – Bertha von Suttner
    * 1904 – Institute of International Law
    * 1903 – Randal Cremer
    * 1902 – Élie Ducommun, Albert Gobat
    * 1901 – Henry Dunant, Frédéric Passy

  22. I had to laugh at this one. I will buck the majority of commenters here however.

    I will SUPPORT, yes you heard it right, SUPPORT King Abd’Allah of Saudi Arabia to receive the Nobel Prize as long as he shares it with Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Kim Jong Il of North Korea.

  23. A good leader can convince it’s public that certain things are good for them. Would we think that canibalism should be accepted just because the majority think it’s good? Slavery? Child labor? Religious police?

    Would the country blow up if the good King declared that from this day forward all women over the age of 18 are full human beings that are free to be under their own guardianship and are free to take drivers training and drive cars if they so desire? That is what a leader should do. He/she can make a decision and then let the citizens individually CHOOSE if they wish to use their newfound freedoms while imposing penalty on anyone who takes it upon themselves to take away or impede any individual’s royally decreed rights.

  24. Lynn, I’m curious…do you live or have you lived in Saudi Arabia? While what you say makes perfect sense to a western mindset and a “normal” environment, I do not believe Saudi Arabia or King Abdullah with a sweep of the hand can make such profound decrees without having serious ramifications that would hurt the nation.

  25. There might be conflict if the King made some sweeping declarations, at the same time I think he can move a lot faster than he has.

    My previous joke aside, the man and his government are still arresting people for nothing more than speaking their minds, religious minorities are still being oppressed and segments of his own government and royal family still actively support terrorists.

    Participation in talks on religious freedom are nice, but they have already made it clear that the talks will not include any sort of religious tolerance in Saudi Arabia.

    Funny, it would have been like Apartheid South Africa getting involved in talks about racism, but saying from the begining that there would be no movement on the subject in their own country.

    It boggles the mind why someone would even consider this guy for the Nobel Prize.

  26. No, I have not, nor would I ever desire to visit Saudi Arabia as it has been represented to me. Would the general public riot if there was a decree that said “Being that we are a member state of the United Nations, it is reasonalble that we begin to follow the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as required for us to be members of the United Nations?

    I don’t think that countries should even be a part of the United Nations if they don’t all hold the same beliefs on basic human rights.

    I have every confidence that the intelligent people of Saudi Arabia could, in time (one generation maybe), come to realize that tolerance is not all bad. A true leader would be able to lead his people while they learn to adjust to having freedom. I can’t grasp how it could be the ruin of a country if there was a law saying that if a woman wants to drive and has the ability to do so then there should be nothing to stop her. If they really don’t want to drive then it won’t be an issue.

  27. I was patiently awaiting Abu Sinan’s surprising reply. *smiles* and of course it goes without saying none of us support terrrorism or a lack of human rights.

    I’ve watched Kuwait over 30 years slowly, slowly evolve into a semi free country, complete with a Parliament that annoys me more than the any royal decrees. It’s a fine line we walk over on this side of the world imposing radical changes—freedom included.

    Our Parliament has set up a committee now to decide if women ”should travel” at all. That’s the people’s choice, and the people talking. I was outraged.

    I still think the King has done much in his short rule, and credit should be given knowing one cannot much in 3 years without creating anarchy.

    Why thank you Carol for the Nobel eloquence, that’s my norwegian sense of pride coming out. I love that award!

    Nice mix of opinions!

  28. “Being that we are a member state of the United Nations, it is reasonalble that we begin to follow the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as required for us to be members of the United Nations?

    saudi arabia is not the only country that openly flouts that particular declaration of rights…other countries(not naming names here) barely give it the respect it deserves and considers itself above and beyond such trivilaties….sigh. And also chooses who deserves those Human Rights…and who doesnt…who should be “forced” to observe them…and who can openly disregard them…such power is corrupting….sigh!

  29. This is a topic that can likely be discussed for quite some time over so many different aspects — democracy, human rights, women issues, leadership and ability or lack thereof to lead, following UN declarations, previous Nobel prize winners and whether they were truly deserving.

    I see that the nominees for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize will be in mid-October. I will be very curious to see who all does indeed get nominated. Yes, for my own reasons I’d like to see King Abdullah get nominated. Who else do you think should be at least nominated and why?

  30. The King might be doing a better job as a benevolent dictator than a democracy/parliament combining the collective decisions of a group of people still practicing fundamentalist Islam and a very very conservative culture, perhaps similar to what you might see in Kuwait with Viking Daughters comments but to have him raised up as a Nobel Peace prize recipient is not deserving considering what he allows to occur in his own country as mentioned by Abu Sinan, without condemning it.

    Maybe in a generation or two like Lynn has said, the country will have the capacity to make modern, intelligent and normal decisions on its own.

  31. If we rely on the next generation or the one after that to have the capacity to make modern and intelligent decisions, then action will need to be taken now for then we are talking about the overall majority of irresponsible youth here whom I do not trust to make any sound decisions.

  32. Thats true and all the more reason why the single focus of leadership should be more of a leader in human rights.

  33. Carol,

    I think they should give it to Gandhi postmortem and fix the mistake they made of not giving it to him during his life time. A postmortem Nobel has 1 president. It is a shame that the symbol of peaceful resistance was never honored.

    By the way my favorite peace price winner on the list is Norman Borlaug an American Agronomist/Scientist. Many people have never heard of the man. His basic achievement is improving world food production. Without his efforts and support of extensive programs for improving food production in Asia and Africa, this planet would only support a population of roughly 5 Billion people. So as far as savings lives, he is one of the primary reasons over 1 Billion people can live and eat everyday. Quite an achievement for someone that is only know by less than 1% of the people on this planet (including in the US)

  34. Saudi in US – I agree with you wholeheartedly that Gandhi should receive a peace prize if even postmortem. It makes me wonder if Benazir Bhutto is going to be among those considered as well? (not sure if I would agree if she were to be nominated though)

    You’re right; I had never heard of Norman Borlaug. His achievement is certainly significant.

  35. Ryan: If you read my post on ”travel restrictions in Kuwait for women” you’d understand my point on the Parliament annoying me. The Royals would never suggest such a thing, and also they want forced veiling.

    coolred: good points on ”others” who also ignore the UN Declaration.

    Saudi in US: I agree on Ghandi. Benazir, I have qualms about.

    Here’s my logic. If King Abdullah and Pope Benedict were both nominated, and/or won, it would set the tone for everyone to focus on the interfaith dialogue and peace. It would send out a strong message to those who seem hell bent on causing dissension in the world today.

    I can’t wait to see the nominees.

  36. Viking Daughter,

    “If King Abdullah and Pope Benedict were both nominated, and/or won, it would set the tone for everyone to focus on the interfaith dialogue and peace.”

    Ok I think that would be logical. Say the pope and king Abdulah follow-up their historic meeting with a few actions that can be measured in the next couple of years. Then this will be a great shared prize. At this point they had a meeting and exchanged gifts. I would love for them to take that to the next step and produce results.

  37. As we continue to talk about King Abdullah and his accomplishments/achievements I think that the following article is worth including for dialogue:



    The Rule of King Abdullah: A New Paradigm: A Conversation with Jean-Francois Seznec

    Editor’s Note:

    Three years ago King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz ascended the throne of Saudi Arabia upon the death of his half-brother King Fahd. Abdullah had served as de facto regent since 1996 following a stroke suffered by Fahd. In that time Abdullah led the Kingdom through many of its most daunting challenges including: the economic downturn of the late 1990s; the strain on relations with the United States following 9/11; the search for peace between Arabs and Israelis; the proliferation of regional security threats; the domestic threat posed by Al Qaeda’s deadly terrorist campaign across the Kingdom; and plans for political, social and economic reform.
    Today we begin a series of interviews and articles about King Abdullah highlighting his impact on Saudi-US relations and developments in the Kingdom and the region, with our conversation with Jean-Francois Seznec. Dr. Seznec is a Visiting Associate Professor at Georgetown University and Managing Partner of the Lafayette Group LLC, a US based private investment company. He talked with SUSRIS on July 23, 2008 by phone from his home in Maryland.

    SUSRIS: Thank you Professor Seznec for taking time to share your perspective on Abdullah’s first three years as King. Let’s start with your overall impression of his performance?
    Dr. Jean-Francois Seznec: King Abdullah’s greatest achievement is pushing the Kingdom kicking and screaming into the 21st century. He is trying to bring normous economic growth to the Kingdom and he knows economic gains can only be achieved if he marginalizes the most conservative Muslim elements that are now in control of society. In the last three years, his main actions have been against these conservative elements.
    These things could not be done when Abdullah was the Crown Prince. As Crown Prince he did not have the legitimacy to push the Sahwa [see Lacroix IOI link], to push the religious police and so on and move them out of the way. Now he’s doing it.
    You may have seen the recent reports that talked about King Abdullah appointing a committee to revise Saudi law. It addresses how Sharia should be implemented so there will be precedents the judges will have to follow. Today in Saudi Arabian courts, because of the understanding of Sharia, precedents cannot be used. So any judge can reach one conclusion anywhere at anytime – and the same case would be tried totally differently in another court.
    It’s also very interesting that they have decided this committee should represent not only the Hanbali school of thought, but also the three other Sunni schools of law. That will change the way law is administrated in the country. That is a direct attack on the religious establishment — perhaps his greatest achievement.

    SUSRIS: What other accomplishments do you attribute to King Abdullah?

    Seznec: One major achievement in the past three years was that he was able to push through the Bay’ah Council law on succession – the Allegiance Institution. It gives about 34 princes responsibility to decide who the next Crown Prince will be. To be more precise, they can accept the King’s nomination of a Crown Prince or they can name someone else.
    [Ed note: From the “Allegiance Institution” decree: “In the event that the King rejects the committee’s nominee, the Allegiance Institution will hold a vote to choose between the King’s candidate and its own in accordance with Sections A and B of this Article. The nominee who secures the majority of votes will be named Crown Prince.”]

    The committee also has the right to depose a king if the king is seen as being incompetent for health reasons. So these are very important changes for the leadership, and it’s going to have a long-term effect even in the short term.
    However, I want to make the point his most significant action since he became King has been against the religious establishment. That could not have been done before he became King.

    SUSRIS: How would you describe King Abdullah’s view of the world considering his ground breaking visits, as King, to countries like China, India and Russia? He has spent a great deal of time expanding diplomatic and economic ties with non-traditional Saudi partners and it seems that Riyadh is now a stop on the itinerary of every foreign leader visiting the Middle East.
    Seznec: Definitely. Saudi Arabia has totally replaced Egypt as the leader of the Arab world. I’m not sure that it was a conscious decision that they were going to go for that position. It was just that Egypt did not have the power or the leadership to do so. Saudi Arabia has the financial means to do it and they have the will to do it. So they are becoming the center of activity in the region, and everybody visits them.
    The fact that Abdullah’s first trip abroad as King was to China is very significant. It was on that trip that he visited India as well. This was a sign very early on he wants to make Saudi Arabia a leader not only in the Arab world but also as one of the world leaders. I think he feels that Saudi Arabia has the means in terms of energy but also the means in terms of industry. They are growing their industry extremely rapidly as you know and will become the largest producer of chemicals in the world by 2015. The industrial expansion is of enormous importance to his vision. It has a strategic value because of his vision is to become one of the world’s leaders.

    SUSRIS: In May King Abdullah attended an event marking the anniversary of the Aramco partnership and he was received “like he was Elvis,” according to one person present. What are your impressions of the King’s personality, charisma and leadership?
    Seznec: What your contact said is a very good assessment of the King. Everyone I’ve talked to — it’s a relatively small number of people in the Kingdom — is extremely impressed by the King. They support him. They sometimes criticize him for being too slow, if they are liberal, or too fast, if they are conservative. But they all think he has this absolutely fabulous charisma, which carries everyone to his side. That’s a very important point.
    It reminds me very much of the charisma that King Faisal had in the ’70s. I lived in the Kingdom at that time. Everyone you talked to in the Kingdom liked Faisal. They might not have agreed with him on everything but they liked him. I think it is very much the same today with King Abdullah, and I think he is making the most of that to push his agenda.
    It is also very interesting because in the ’70s and the ’80s, Abdullah was considered to be very conservative, sort of an inward looking person. Then all of a sudden it is 1996 and he is really put in charge of the economy and the politics of the Kingdom. Then he comes to be viewed by everybody as being this great liberal person. It’s interesting to see how the views of people change. The fact remains he obviously has enormous support in the whole Kingdom with the conservatives as well as among the liberals. That is a factor that he is using to maximum advantage at this point.

    SUSRIS: The future of political, economic and social developments in the Kingdom has been described — by Rachel Bronson, author of “Thicker than Oil,” in a SUSRIS interview — as being tied to King Abdullah’s “biological clock.” What is your assessment of Abdullah’s legacy of reform and modernization? Where will it take the Kingdom in the future?
    Seznec: I agree with the biological clock metaphor and many people are extremely worried about what’s going to happen when the King dies. I think the whole purpose of the Bay’ah Council, the provisions for succession, was meant to address part of this concern. The purpose is to make sure the most professional person will be selected King by the family.
    There are second-generation princes among the members of the Bay’ah Council — perhaps more liberal princes. It’s a mix of all of the factions within the royal family. But it gives a chance for the better negotiators and more professional people to win the day. I think the King is trying to promote his legacy through this Council so that it won’t jump to Crown Prince Sultan to do whatever he wants. It’s much more of a competition and hopefully the best will win out of this competition.

    The legal changes that have been started including the reform of the judicial system and the changes I mentioned about legal precedents — the possible judgments under Sharia law using Hanbali and Hanafi schools and others of Sunni Islam — will actually change society tremendously.
    These developments will ensure at least some of King Abdullah’s legacy will continue. His legacy of pushing industrialization in the Kingdom will continue to expand. There may not be another leader with his charisma to push things as he did, but in my view these changes will continue, perhaps not as fast as under King Abdullah.

    SUSRIS: Saudi Arabia and the ruling family are often portrayed negatively in the American media as in Parade magazine’s annual list of world’s worst dictators. The list included King Abdullah for the past few years. How do you view reports like that?
    Seznec: I think this is a categorization by people who have an agenda and who are ignorant. That’s really all I can say.
    He is obviously not a freely elected president or prime minister, but you cannot really say that Saudi Arabia is a one-person dictatorship. It is a dictatorship of a family in many ways but it works by building some form of consensus. The King is aware that he cannot be an absolute ruler because he owes his position to consensus within the family and consensus within the nation as a whole. So there is a whole lot less coercion in Saudi Arabia than in many other places.
    Saudi Arabia is not a dictatorship. It doesn’t come close at all to what Saddam Hussein used to be in Iraq or what is going on in many other places today in the world.
    Reporting like that really says more about the lack of knowledge of the people who make these lists than it really says about Saudi Arabia itself.

    SUSRIS: How do you assess King Abdullah’s record in managing the relationship between the Kingdom and the United States?

    Seznec: In all fairness, I’m not sure he will be remembered fondly as a good promoter of relations with the United States. I think Abdullah has gone out of his way to push the interest of Saudi Arabia away from the United States. He has pushed Saudi Arabia quite a bit away from the American orbit. The relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States is no longer based on warm, fuzzy feelings.
    Saudi Arabia knows it needs the United States. They like to deal with the United States, especially the American companies better than with anyone else. But they now see Saudi Arabia first. They want Saudi Arabia to be a leader in the world and if it goes against US interests, so be it. Abdullah has tried to break the mold of the traditional US-Saudi Arabia alliance. It’s still there to some extent, but Saudi Arabia is now going its own way.

    SUSRIS: Do you have any final reflections on King Abdullah’s record?
    Seznec: He is a remarkable man. I am absolutely sure of that. He will be sorely missed when he is gone, but of course he is still in pretty good health — thank God. What’s scary is what could happen next, but I think he is trying to take care of that ahead of time. He’s quite a statesman, and I think that’s what’s most interesting about his rule.

    Jean-François Seznec
    Dr. Seznec is a Visiting Associate Professor at Georgetown University. His research centers on the influence of the Arab-Persian Gulf political and social variables on the financial and oil markets in the region. He is focusing on the industrialization of the Gulf and in particular the growth of the petrochemical industry. He holds a MIA from Columbia University [1973], a MA and his Ph.D. from Yale University [1994]. He has published and lectured extensively and is interviewed regularly on national TV, radio and newspapers, as well as by the foreign media.
    Dr. Seznec has 25 years experience in international banking and finance of which ten years were spent in the Middle East, including six years in Bahrain as a banker. Dr. Seznec is a founding member and Managing Partner of the Lafayette Group LLC, a US based private investment company. He uses his knowledge of business in the Middle East and the United States to further his analysis of the Arab-Persian Gulf.

  38. In the sciences decades often pass before a scientist’s important contribution and the Nobel award. That is because it sometimes takes decades to recognize what was important and what was not, so even contributions that are recognized as important almost immediately join the backlog.

    For the Peace Prize, however, the judges are apt to award based on current events, as a way of “encouraging” a Peace process, or possibly touting their own horns as contributing to it. Results have sometimes been good but too often disastrous.

    I pointed out at my blog that the Mecca Preparatory Conference on Dialogue established guidelines that seem more like a plan for Islamic Conquest and the legitimization of terrorism against non-Muslims rather than a call for “peace”. True, the follow-up Madrid Conference did not turn out that way, but has its banner of tolerance and modesty been taken up or even discussed by Muslims outside of publications directed at non-Muslims to any large degree?

    So for now, we don’t know if King Abdullah’s “peace” initiatives are substance, hyperbole, or even the opposite of what they are labeled. I’d be inclined to wait; it might take two decades to be reasonably sure.

    Since it is unlikely that the King will live that long, and the posthumous nominations of Nobel prizes are strictly forbidden, that would mean the King will probably never be a Nobel recipient.

  39. Saudi in US:

    ”Then this will be a great shared prize. At this point they had a meeting and exchanged gifts. I would love for them to take that to the next step and produce results.”

    Well, gift giving aside, it was a chance to take some much needed baby steps. Pope B is not Pope Paul. He has made it quite clear inter faith dilalogue between Muslims and Christians are a priority–however he has stressed ”reciprocation” as well.

    If you recall, Pope Paul kissed the Quran upsetting many Christians, and in the same fashion as King Abdullah meeting with a Jewish leader in Madrid sending some stubborn heads spinning.

    Carol: Interesting article, and charisma he has. I’ve read other similar statments.

    Solomon 2: Good points. Dr Zakir Naik is offering to dialogue with Pope B. I feel he’s not the right choice though. He is far too interested in ”debating” and attacking the Bible–then proving certain prophecies are about Islam.

    You can’t play both sides and be taken seriously.

    We need someone who is more neutral. It’s difficult to find neutral people to dialogue and make everyone happy.

  40. Ya’ll will have to be sure and remind me to follow up on this piece when the nominations have been made….(in the event King Abdullah is NOT among those nominated).

  41. Sad that nobody discusses whether or not King Juan Carlos of Spain, King Abdullah’s co-host at the Madrid Conference, should be nominated for the Nobel Prize. Thirty years ago his personal intervention stopped a “royalist” coup in its tracks and thus ensured the success of Spain’s democracy. The last time Spain reverted to dictatorship it became the rehearsal for WWII. Thus, this Spanish King has probably done more for the cause of peace than any other man alive. How quikly we forget.

  42. I will acknowledge Solomon2 that was an oversight on my part.

    Other views?

  43. Oh…please, give me a break…. What did he do that deserves a Nobel Prize?

  44. An oversight on your part, Carol? If so, you are in good company. I watched the video (no sound) of the receiving line for the two kings at the Madrid Conference. I’m not sure how many guests gave King Abdullah their time and attention yet only offered King Juan Carlos a brief handgrip, but it was more than one.

    General MacArthur recounted how he was welcomed back to the Phillipines on the (fifteen?)-year anniversary of the 1945 liberation: brass brands, parades, the local political celebrities, and so on. But what he remembered most was the little girl who greeted him with the words, “Welcome to the Phillipines, General. Have you been here before?”

    King Juan Carlos probably felt the same way. It still amazes me that this king, the last of the Bourbons, whose ancestor was Louis XIV (who destroyed the Palatinate twice seeking to expand France to its “natural” boundaries and was the most absolute monarch Europe has ever known), who already had assumed the role of absolute monarch a few years earlier, nonetheless chose to discard the traditional ambitions of his House in favor of what he saw as a higher ideal and thus voluntarily retired to reign rather than rule.

    It is a measure, perhaps, of how much the West has learned over the past four hundred years, something that more than balances our oversights. Still, it would be nice if someone give King Juan Carlos a medal.

    And the picture of the two Kings standing next to each other raises more thoughts. These ceremonies at Madrid were orchestrated by King Abdullah’s initiative. It is said that Madrid was chosen because it once served as a cross-roads for the three Abrahamic religions. Yet many people, even kings, look to others as their model and ideal. Who is it that King Abdullah looks up to?

  45. Before going a little bit too far, I would say that Madrid was chosen due to the close bond and strategic alliance between the two countries. There were too many prohibitions for attempting to hold the dialogue in Saudi Arabia so a “neutral” destination had to be selected and Madrid in my view was an ideal choice.

    But does King Abdullah see King Juan Carlos as a role model? I don’t know… Just my own view but I think King Abdullah likely sees some of the others before him from the Saudi monarchy as a role model notwithstanding high respect and admiration for King Juan Carlos.

  46. “King Abdullah wants people of all faiths to address their common problems and work together for the welfare of humanity,” he said.”

    The international interfaith conference in Madrid called by King Abdullah would contribute to peaceful coexistence of nations and strengthening world peace.”


  47. Yes, he does.

  48. To clarify, yes King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia should receive the Nobel Prize for Peace. Yes, he does deserve to receive the Nobel.

  49. In light of the recent issue with the Shiia in Madinah and the refusal of the King to meet with Shiia delegation to air out their issues. I am not sure what this interfaith dialogue means. Saudi has a minority religious group and the government does not expend any significant effort to normalize the relationship. Before discussing Nobel or even the idea that Saudi can impact interfaith dialogue in the international arena, internal issues have to be addressed.

    I am not taking sides on the Madinah issue as the news is hard to verify on either side. The thought is why doesn’t the Saudi government make a concerted effort to resolve the internal Shiia issue and produce unity. A small gesture like including a Shiia in the latest cabinet change would have gone a long way.

  50. Part of the overall resolution to a good number of issues besieging the Middle East is to continue to effectively cultivate interfaith dialogue.

    King Abdullah’s decision was not only noteworthy, but historic. That he shifted a “trend” and openly and outwardly expressed his interest in interfaith dialogue and then put it to action … this is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, in the birthplace of Islam, who put forth.

    People can say what they want, but still, regardless of the religious scholars, notable and recognized in their own right, King Abdullah’s action(s) and subsequent actions as he moves the Kingdom toward change, trumps every one of them hands-down.

    Certainly, in some way, even the least inclined toward appreciating him can see where this is Nobel Prize worthy.

    Time will tell, but I don’t think my position on this matter will change.

    Fights always happen, but it’s not just that you have the fight and walk away from the table, it’s that you get over it, recognizing that it is tantamount to positive and progressive regional – and indeed global – peace. It’s worthy of mention and is too remarkable that Islam does not have as many of these fights as others seem to have.

    Last year in Jerusalem, there was yet another altercation resulting in a fisticuffs at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher … the Greek Orthodox came to blows with the Armenians.

    The one that got punched (the Greek) was named “Serafim”.

    I had a good laugh about the whole situation, I wondered if the delivering the blow – the Armenian – was name Jacob.

    And then there’s this:

    Oddly enough, this is one area where Islam is generally pretty mellow … much to the consternation of its detractors.

  51. Susan,

    I have said it many times. I think King Abdullah is teh best Saudi king so far.
    Sorry to say, but you always paint rosy pictures not based on reality. Here are the facts

    – The king presides over a country that has abused and continue to abuse minority religious groups for 100 years
    – Also, a country that does not allow people of other faith to practice their religions openly.
    – The country still has weirdos running around chasing witches and condemns them for execution. How does that look from a tolerance prospective. Run that against the history books many people in the world read about witch burning and see where that puts Saudi Arabia from a a credibility perspective.
    – Yes he had a conference that money paid for. No results are seen and will never be seen.

    Sadly Saudi Arabia and its king are not credible brokers of such action. You can make this argument as many times as you want but it won’t stick, You cannot broker change if you do not bring credibility to the table.

    King Abdullah has to make significant changes internally for that consideration to happen. So far he did not chose to. He made minor changes in a cabinet that has not been tested yet. Way too early to even think he is making a change and Nobel is like the distance of Mars from here.

    Come back and argue this in 2 years and show me any results from the conference then I may agree with you, but I have no hope that this international interfaith conference will produce any results. It was a big show. Arabic leaders are great at putting shows like this all the time and they never achieve anything of significance.

  52. Saudi in USA,

    You are 100% spot on.

  53. Solomon2–I share your admiration for King Juan Carlos, and while accurate and sophisticated your phrase “retired to reign rather than rule”, might be more easily understood as transforming the Spanish government from a military fascism to a Constutional Monarchy rather than the Absolute Fascist Monarchy Franco and the Military were hoping for.

    It is noteworthy that he continues to be involved in Spanish politics, reigning but not ruling, especially in international relations (and a particularly apt rejoinder to Hugo Chavez).

    More noteworthy is the fact that he remains King of the Kingdom of Jerusalem–though only a historic and ceremonial title. The Kingdom of Jerusalem refers to an area corresponding to today’s Israel, Occupied Territories, parts of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Sinai. Established after the 1st Crusade it was lost of course mostly to Saladin and then later in increments.

    Sometimes I fantasize that King Juan Carlos should be put in charge of restoring peace in his Kingdom of Jerusalem (aided by the UN). Perhaps he and King Abdullah will have an intergovernmental dialogue that would truly warrant a shared Nobel Peace Prize.

    Otherwise I tend to agree with Saudi in US, and others, that while King Abdullah is an admirable, and appropriately cautious reformer and mediator, it is probably premature for him to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
    Perhaps in 2010.

    “The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2008 to Martti Ahtisaari [a Finn] for his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts. These efforts have contributed to a more peaceful world and to “fraternity between nations” in Alfred Nobel’s spirit.[,,,]
    Today Ahtisaari is an outstanding international mediator. Through his untiring efforts and good results, he has shown what role mediation of various kinds can play in the resolution of international conflicts.”
    from the press release

  54. Three detractors have responded forthwith as expected.

  55. Susie,

    I hope some day, you will get a clue, someone hands you one, you buy one from the local store or may be you get one through a divine revelation. I really gave it a good try and failed:)

    May be then you won’t have detractors, because you will make sense for once….

  56. Saudi in US, thank you for your kind consideration. Allow me the opportunity to extend the same to you.

    Proceed with making your noise and distraction, detraction and obfuscations, but if you don’t mind, while you’re busy with that, I’ll go straight up through the middle.

    The anomaly you know.

  57. “Proceed with making your noise and distraction, detraction and obfuscations, but if you don’t mind, while you’re busy with that, I’ll go straight up through the middle.”

    Lovely, Your 100’s of messages here, are not noise?

    You take a position about every issue known to man/woman and usually with no knowledge. May be if you get selective and comment about topics you really understand, you may change our perception.

  58. Saudi in US, I’m flattered that you want my attention, but I’m busy right now. My posts are fine, you simply need different ears.

  59. I agree with Saudi in Us at 4.35

  60. Gee–I just thought I was responding to the post, and finding a legitimate occasion to share my (acknowledgedly fantasy) peace plan for “The Kingdom of Jerusalem”.

    Assuming the detracting is from the idea of giving King Abdullah this past year’s Nobel Peace Prize while holding out the opportunity for a future one, I find myself in excellent company. Or if there was other detracting I supposedly belong to–except for detracting from Islam–I’ve still been thrust (relatively voluntarily) into excellent company.

    While a fan of synesthesia in poetry and psychoanalysis, I remain rather a literalist about visual reading for understanding of non-fictional prose, as opposed to “hearing with the third ear” (an admittedly obscure reference to a form of reading between the lines for understanding).

    Or to imitate Aafke’s brevity–I agree.

  61. “Saudi in US, I’m flattered that you want my attention”

    That clarified it all. No wonder I always had the feeling I am reading the comments of someone with the maturity of a high school kid.

  62. We could also nuke the whole ”Kingdom of Jerusalem” and the problem is solved.

  63. okay…that does it…we will establish a new virtual country where Saudi in US will be Commander in Chief; Aafke the VP and I nominate myself for Sec State. How’z that sound? (grin)

  64. Given the boundaries and the geography of the area, a well done nuking (eg. like controlled blasting of depopulated areas for mining, etc) would take out the Sinai peninsula up through the valley of the Jordan River, and give both Jordan and Saudi Arabia a Mediterranean Coast (improving tourism) and along with Egypt new and improved shipping lanes (much wider than the Suez Canal).

    Needless to say I still favour a diplomatic solution.:)

    Part of the diplomacy of the Peace Prize is that laureates have usually been nominated a number of times before winning. As the nominees are not publicly announced (except unofficially by their nominators), it is hard to determine whether King Abdullah was among the 197 2008 nominees, or the 205 2009 nominees.

    Obama is rumoured to be on the 2009 list–hmmm premature to my mind, even for a nomination.:)

  65. It’s too easy to rattle the cage around here. :MRGreen:

  66. I wish we would know who was nominated but didn’t make it….

  67. Looks like I just nominated myself for Secretary of Defense in charge of responsible diplomatic and strategic geographical nuking :mrgreen:

  68. American Bedu–as you probably know, some nominators reveal their nominations but even with that the “list” is incomplete, since there is no official list of nominees. A brief google only found King Abdullah on your nomination list:)

    Susan–give us a little credit; those of us who choose to respond do so knowingly, and could choose silence just as easily.

  69. Ok Carol, We can call it the Republic of BeduLand

    Aafke is qualified as VP, but that means she is only one of my heart beats away from being chief. I think I may have to hire Susan as my official food taster:)

  70. Please Saudi in US, you don’t seriously think I would resort to something so crude as poison???:mrgreen:

  71. Really just too predictable. What makes you think I wouldn’t set you up? I mean I’m trying to give yoy credit, but you’re still coming off lame.

  72. Aafke, I guess I have to watch for a kick on the head by an Arabian horse then. Very cruel death.

    Susan, just so you do not take it personally. Aafke does really have a horse.

  73. Susan–allow me to elaborate: give us a little credit for recognizing when you are trying to set us up, stir the pot, be anomolous, etc.; those of us who choose to respond do so knowingly, and could choose silence just as easily.

    Just to summarize:

    The Republic of BeduLand
    Commander in Chief–Saudi in US
    Adjudant to the VP–Tarq
    Secretary of State– American Bedu
    Secretary of Defense– Chiara
    Secretary of the Interior (they usually do the food tasting, internal security etc)–Susan:mrgreen:

  74. and I am the rebel who will retake beduland again ……………I know i am getting silly but Abdullah and Nobel prize is like “are you kidding me” .

    Nobel prize is having price and abdullah is glad to buy it, however he only dreaming at the moment but who know maybe Osama bin laden will be candidate to Nobel prize for his effort to peace.

  75. Okay then, revision

    The Republic of BeduLand
    Commander in Chief–Saudi in US
    Adjudant to the VP–Tarq
    Secretary of State– American Bedu
    Secretary of Defense– Chiara
    Secretary of the Interior (they usually do the food tasting, internal security etc)–Susan
    Honourable Leader of the Opposition
    (BeduLand enjoys a mix of American, Canadian, and British terms)–SaudiBedu
    (Canada has had its Rebel in Chief Lucien Bouchard in this same role):mrgreen:

    Without wishing to seem disrespectful other terrorists/freedom fighters (depends on perspective) have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize–eg. Menahem Begin, Anwar Sadat, Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, and Nelson Mandela.

  76. The only thing which really amazes me is that I havent been nominated yet…. 😦

  77. In the terrorist/freedom fighter turned peacemaker category?

  78. What do you mean? I appointed you as VP! What position do you want to be nominated for? (mind working rapidly on the options…)

  79. Witchqueen of the Universe….

  80. nah….you would not want that kind of stereotype…sounds too much like a black hand….(bad grin)

  81. Oh I thought you were going for a Nobel Peace Prize hence my question.

    Now that I understand it’s “Witchqueen of the Universe”, I must ask “Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?” (Channelling my inner Glinda the Good Witch of the North😀 ) But then again “Only bad witches are ugly” so you must be a Good Witch.

    Bring your horse, your dog, and your cats and take up your rightful position:

    The Republic of BeduLand
    Commander in Chief–Saudi in US
    VP/Witchqueen of the Universe/Permanent Nobel Peace Prize Holder–Aafke
    Adjudant to the VP–Tarq:mrgreen:

  82. Part of the overall resolution to a good number of issues besieging the Middle East is to continue to effectively cultivate interfaith dialogue.

    Sorry to delete the rest of this comment , since it is a repeat of the one you had earlier. Please, do not repeat comments. I have seen this same comment 3 times.

  83. It was worth repeating …

  84. Obviously though, you’re in complete support of other things.

  85. This from the Saudi Gazette:

    King Abdullah is favorite for Saudis
    By Diana Al-Jassem
    JEDDAH – Many Saudis have started to cast votes on a website to nominate King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
    Website has asked people from the Middle East and Africa (MEA) to nominate the person whom they think most deserves the Nobel Peace Prize, with King Abdullah currently receiving more than 100,000 votes, which is more than any other candidate.

    Five nominees have been chosen from different MEA countries: King Abdullah, Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Misned, Chairman of Qatar’s Board of Education, Science and Community Development and the wife of the Emir of Qatar; Dr. Albert Dagher, Professor of Economics at Lebanese University; Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, and Majeda Al-Roumi, well-known Lebanese singer who has recorded many popular songs on the theme of peace.

    Many Saudis and non-Saudis have sent e-mails to their friends asking them to vote for King Abdullah, and a number of Internet forums have posted links and have invited people to vote for him. […]

  86. I just voted for him … complain about that.

  87. It seems clear that the King deserves to be nominated for the Nobel for his efforts but clearly does not deserve to win. Positive reinforcement for his good without approval for whats clearly bad.

  88. Hum, if the king would actually start a dialogue with the Shia minority in his own country I would be more impressed, than just throwing a party for the three abrahamic religions, while ignoring all other religions, including his own shia subjects…

  89. I agree Aafke, time for King Abdullah to take leadership and bring the Shiia into the fold. Iran will be all too happy to make a play for the group, if we do not fix this. King Abdullah can bring national unity by reaching out and treat them like full citizens of the country.

  90. As compared to other places in the world where there are the mixes (think Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq), it seems to me that there is less of a distinction on whether one is Sunni or Shii’a in Saudi Arabia. Many may not agree with me on this one but I feel that it is oftentimes Westerners who tend to make it more of a big deal…

  91. Carol,

    I grew up with a mix heritage parents (Shiia and Sunni) and yes people make a big deal about the difference. Of course I was raised Sunni to follow my father heritage and what was taught at schools, but I was raised in Hijaz and the majority is Sunnah.

    In Qatif, the Majority is Shiia and they still get taught Sunni Islamic text which has many parts where the believes of the students are attacked. Actually some of the Saudi religious teaching leaves the students with the believe that Shiia are outside of Islam.

    Yes you do not see much difference in Saudi between Shiia and Sunni at the surface, because the Sunnah dominate every aspect of life and actually prohibit much of the display Shiia practices in public.

    Just as prove of this point, do you know of any day school or university that teach Shiia theology? The answer is no. For a Shiia to study their sects teaching, they have to go Iran to do that. This is dangerous in my opinion as it may propagate divisions and external influence.

    The solution is for a King that claims interfaith dialogue to take an internal initiative and allow this minority group to have freedom to practice their religion and become full citizens of the country.

  92. Saudi in US–Thanks for your comments that make it much clearer in social and politcal terms why the Shiia minority need recognition and greater freedom of religion in Saudi. Although I was aware of some of it, and generally support true recognition and practical acceptance of minorities, your authoritative overview helps with understanding and situating the problem and the solution.

    Andrea– I agree that nomination is a prologue to winning both in the practical sense that most winners have been nominated many times, and in the socio-psychological sense that the nominations draw attention and encouragement to positive actions.

    I do note that the topic/title of the post is “nomination”, and the commendation that concludes the post is for King Abdullah as a “candidate”:)

  93. Saudi in US, I always find your comments very interesting. I am glad you take the trouble to share.

    We can muse all we like on this blog, but a real saudi can tell us what it is really like. So I am very interested always to read a Saudis opinion and experience.

    I think it’s very wrong the way shia’s are not allowed to follow their own teaching.
    ”There’s no compulsion in religion”
    except when you’re in Saudi: then there’s plenty compulsion in religion!

    I heard that Shia are referred to as: Rafidah , rejectors… That means they should be killed doesn’t it? if the wrong fundamentalist nutter says that?
    And there were three people killed in the Medinah incident? And it started because some people took some sand from around Fatimah’s grave and the muttawa started goiing after them?
    Three people dead?

    I really think that king Abdullahs first major goal should be to give Shia people the freedom to teach, learn and experience their Islam.
    And then he can progress to the other Abrahamic faiths.

  94. I also appreciate the greater understanding from Saudi in US. But I’m not sure if King Abdullah’s first major goal should be focused on sunni-shiia relations when you think of everything a leader of a country has to balance and manage!

    But I do think that demonstrating substantive forward movement from the Madrid Initiative (interfaith dialogue) as well as showing more balance in greater recognition of shiia scholars, etc., would more than qualify him as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.

  95. @Carol, I am not sure it is the highest priority to solve Shiia issues, but it is up there. My refernce was relating to the fact if Saudi Arabia and the King want to be credible internationally in interfaith issues, we have to fix our internal problems first.

    @Aafke, yes there is a huge divide between Suni and Shiia. Terms like Rafidah are very powerful with radicals. Much of the bombings of civilians in Iraq by both sides were based on such teachings. Iran is also very discriminatory in treating Sunni minority within its borders.

    I think Saudi will need leadership in creating a National identity that extends beyond sects and tribal heritage. The government has not taken the steps to make that happen in over 80 years of rule. King Abdullah can actually change that if he steps up to the plate. He is very popular and has the capability to do it.

  96. If I recall it seems that Saudi National Day 2006 was the first one which really seemed to have a sense of National Unity and Identity with citizens celebrating the fact they were Saudi. I remember so many out on the streets with flags flying and being told by so many they had never seen that before.

  97. This must be a joke! Who cares if this man receives the NPP. It will not make him a different person from what he really is. As far as I am concerned he can get an Oscar also but it will not change his veracity. Don’t fool yourselves.

  98. @Hamdy,

    Welcome and thank you for your comment. I agree that no matter what prize King Abdullah may receive would not impact on him as an individual at all.

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