2004 Transcript

Adel Al-Jubeir on CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports

Crown Prince Abdullah's Foreign Policy Advisor Adel Al-Jubeir was interviewed on May 13, 2004 on CNN's 'Wolf Blitzer Reports'. Topics covered were the horrific murder in Iraq of U.S. civilian Nicholas Berg and its condemnation by Saudi Arabia; and what exactly Crown Prince Abdullah meant when he used the word "Zionist" in connection with the recent terrorist acts in the Kingdom.

BLITZER: The murder of Nicholas Berg has been condemned by several Middle Eastern governments, including the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Joining us now is Adel Al-Jubeir, the foreign policy adviser to the Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. Saudi Arabia has condemned this murder as well. Is that right, Adel?

ADEL AL-JUBEIR, ADVISER TO SAUDI CROWN PRINCE ABDULLAH: Exactly. We condemn the murder of all innocent people, regardless of where it occurs.

BLITZER: This -- why is it controversial, at least in some Arab countries, to condemn such a brutal act?

AL-JUBEIR: I don't know. You would have to ask those governments. From our perspective, any time an innocent life is taken, especially in a gruesome way, and if it's a murder, as we have seen here, it is condemnable. It violates all the principles of humanity and violates all the principles of any faith.

BLITZER: So there can absolutely, positively be no justification for what happened to Nick Berg as far as Islam or Arab culture or any other reason is concerned?

AL-JUBEIR: Absolutely.

BLITZER: Your Crown Prince Abdullah, he made a very controversial statement, as you well know, a couple weeks ago. I want our viewers to listen precisely to what he said.

CROWN PRINCE ABDULLAH, SAUDI ARABIA (through translator): I don't say -- it's not 100 percent, but 95 percent that the Zionist hands are behind what happened.

BLITZER: He was accusing Zionists of that most recent terror attack in Riyadh. On the basis of what?

AL-JUBEIR: I believe, Wolf, if you look at the context of it, the point that he was trying to make is that there are people in the United States who have been very harsh when it comes to Saudi Arabia, have called for regime change in Saudi Arabia, have called for the dismemberment of Saudi Arabia, and whose -- the objectives that they have called for are the same objectives as those shared by the terrorists.

Osama bin Laden wants to destroy the Saudi state. Osama bin Laden wants to destroy the Saudi government. And so you should understand these comments in that context, that those who are most critical of Saudi Arabia in a very hostile way in the United States, as well as in Israel, share the same objective as Osama bin Laden and those who committed these acts.


BLITZER: You're saying that people in Israel want to see Saudi Arabia destroyed?

AL-JUBEIR: No, I'm saying there are some people. We have books that have been published about Saudi Arabia, have been called the "Hatred's Kingdom." There have been calls by some for regime change in Saudi Arabia, for putting Saudi Arabia on the axis of evil. It's really that kind of attitude that is shared by Osama bin Laden.

BLITZER: Is the crown prince, who's the effective leader of Saudi Arabia, equating al Qaeda with Zionists?

AL-JUBEIR: That's not what he was trying to say here. What he was trying to say is that the objectives of those people who have been most harsh toward Saudi Arabia are the same as the objectives of Osama bin Laden. It doesn't mean that they committed this crime.

BLITZER: Because we listened closely to that tape and we had several Arab linguists listen precisely. And what he clearly said was that he believes 95 percent -- not 100 percent, but 95 percent -- that the people who undertook this most recent terror attack in Saudi Arabia was not al Qaeda, but were Zionists.

AL-JUBEIR: That they were behind them when somebody calls for regime change in Saudi Arabia, as we have a number of people here in the United States when people call for dismemberment of Saudi Arabia. You'll recall the infamous briefing before the Defense Policy Board where the analyst made the case that we should take Saudi out of Arabia. That is not much different from the mind-set of Osama bin Laden, which wants to also replace the Saudi government and install instead a Taliban-like regime.  When you say behind them, it means supporting them intellectually. That doesn't mean financially. It doesn't mean that they put them up to it. It just means that they share the same objective.

BLITZER: Because U.S. officials clearly say that the most recent terror attack in Riyadh and all the other ones were the work of al Qaeda.

AL-JUBEIR: We agree.

BLITZER: You agree?

AL-JUBEIR: So have we. Our Interior Ministry issued a statement to that effect. The person who was the ringleader of the attack is a known person, a dissident. He was on -- on our list of -- sorry -- terrorists. He was on the list of most wanted individuals in Saudi Arabia. His picture was plastered all over the country.

BLITZER: Do you want to issue any sort of apology for the comments of your boss, the Crown Prince Abdullah?

AL-JUBEIR: Why apology? I was explaining it to you. There's no apology necessary.

BLITZER: Because of the impression that he left that for that most recent terror attack he was blaming Zionists.

AL-JUBEIR: Because, Wolf, what happens with Saudi Arabia, unfortunately, after 9/11 is anything that Saudi Arabia does or says is perceived with a lot of criticism. It's sort of, we are guilty until proven innocent. It should be the other way around. And so nobody cuts us any slack. And every little thing is exaggerated. Every little thing is inflated. I can look at statements by American officials. I can look at statements by officials of other countries that are outrageous and that have not solicited apologies from them or from anyone else.

But when it comes to us, we're always the ones who have to apologize. I don't see a reason to do this here.

BLITZER: Adel Al-Jubeir, thanks for joining us.

AL-JUBEIR: Thank you. Always good to be here.