2003 Public Statement

Crown Prince addresses nation on Iraq crisis

HRH Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz
Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard
Address to the Nation on the Crisis in Iraq
In the Name Of God, Most compassionate, Most Merciful
Praise be to God and peace and blessings be upon his Prophet


Dear Fellow Citizens:

I am addressing you today in very grave and serious circumstances - the entire region is facing serious events - to convey to you the efforts exerted by your Government to avert war, and to explain to you the position of your country in the event that war breaks out … although God forbid.

Since war first loomed on the horizon a few months ago, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has continued to exert every effort it could, individually or jointly with our Arab and Muslim brethren, to reach a peaceful settlement. We moved in all directions, in the Security Council, in the capitals of the permanent members, and at Arab and Islamic meetings. Wherever we went, we presented clear, fair and logical ideas based on the need for Iraq’s full compliance with the international resolutions on one hand, and, on the other, on giving diplomatic efforts every opportunity to resolve the conflict peacefully. These efforts were driven by our Arab and Islamic principles and by our awareness of the fact that war is a losing game for the winner as well as for the loser, for a bullet when fired does not distinguish between a combatant soldier and a suckling infant.     

At all times we have kept in mind that the Iraqi people should not pay the price for the perpetual mistakes of their government. Preserving the unity, freedom and independence of Iraq is a non-negotiable principle.  Unfortunately, our efforts and those of our peace-loving brothers and friends have not achieved the desired results. Frankly speaking, if it were not for the obvious weakness of the Arab world, and this is well known to every Arab citizen, we could have come up with a unified stance, beyond declarations and statements.

In the interests of reaching this goal, we introduced a serious initiative for the reform of the deteriorating Arab situation and the invention of a new mechanism for unified Arab cooperation. The accelerating events, however, disrupted discussion of this initiative, which is still on the agenda of the Summit, and discussion of which we anticipate in the near future.

The countdown to war seems to have started. Our efforts, which have so far focused on averting war, should now be taking a new direction: that of sparing our beloved country and its dear people the negative impacts and ramifications of war.

To protect this country and its sacred shrines, and to preserve its safety and security, your Government has taken the following decisions, which, I am sure, God willing, will reflect your principled positions, embody your commitment to Arab and Islamic values, and receive your consensus.

First:  Under no circumstances will the Kingdom participate in the war against the brotherly nation of Iraq; nor will its armed forces by any means trespass by one inch into Iraqi territory.

Second:  We expect the war to end upon implementation of the Security Council Resolution 1441 to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. We categorically reject any infringement of Iraq's territorial integrity, independence, wealth, or internal security, or its subjection to military occupation. Our clear Saudi stance has been communicated to the Government of the United States.

Third:  The extraordinary circumstances that have surrounded this crisis for the past twelve years drive us to avoid engaging in a reckless adventure that endangers the safety of our country and people. However, should events take a different course from that we have stated, or should war go beyond its declared goals, we will take a different position, and for each event there is an appropriate response.

Fourth:  We anticipate that in the days to come there will be seen an earnest and effective move towards reaching a swift settlement of the Palestinian problem based on the Arab peace initiative, and the concept of land for peace. We have informed the entire international community of our position in this, and we have clearly reiterated in all our contacts with the U.S. administration, that the Palestinian issue is at the very heart of the solution for stability in the Middle East.

Dear Fellow citizens:

We have said on many occasions, and now we say again, that for the Saudi people, the Islamic faith and national unity are beyond question. At this time the current difficult circumstances dictate more than ever that we hold fast to our Islamic principles and our national unity, as well to a course of developmental reform and the preservation of our achievements in the face of any internal or external violation.

Dear Citizens:

The security of our country is a collective responsibility. Each honorable citizen is a partner in the unity and stability of this country. Therefore, we all have the collective responsibility to protect our country from the misdeeds of evildoers. This requires the combined efforts of all, each from his position. We must not allow intruders and disturbers to meddle with our Islamic and Arab values that constitute the pillars of our society, and the stability and security of our nation.

We pray to Almighty God to protect our dear homeland, honored by its custody of the Two Holy Mosques; and which sacrifices dearly for its Arab and Muslim brothers. We also pray that Almighty God protect each and every one of our citizens, for He is our best protector and to His power we entrust our safety.