In response to reading only the headline, “Saudis refuse soccer match with Palestinians in Judea-Samaria” (November 4, 2015).
If true, I don’t think it’s nonsense. The Kingdom has to assert itself against the revised Moscow-Damascus-Tehran alignment. Everyone knows that the PLO was a KGB project from the git-go and that similar politics (as with a Moscow meeting with the PFLP at this time last year) have been sustained by Putin. The Kingdom — and Kingdom Holdings — Prince al-Waleed Bin Talal have become stakeholders in the west.
The Soviet dissolved in session almost 24 years ago.
For people who think with calendars, this next year could be a doozy.
Cute, But Slow Down That Trolley!
What was reading before reading that headline:
Saudi multibillionaire Al-Waleed bin Talal has said that he would stand with Israel against the Palestinians if a new uprising was ignited, Kuwaiti media reported on Tuesday.
According to the AWD news website, bin Talal told the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas: “I will side with the Jewish nation and its democratic aspirations in case of outbreak of a Palestinian Intifada.”
There has been a correction — or disinformation.
The alternative and later-breaking headline shouts, “Fabricated quotes attributed to Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal on Israel-Palestine go viral” (October 29, 2015), and here is what it says:
An article from an obscure website falsely claiming that Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal had said that he would side with the Israelis against the Palestinians, went viral on social media before the prince released a statement on Thursday roundly denying the story.
And Now the Rest of the Message from “Behind the News” (Israel)
The Saudi Arabian Football Federation has announced its refusal to play a World Cup preliminary match against the Palestinian national soccer team in a stadium near Ramallah, Samaria.
In its official announcement Tuesday to FIFA, Saudi Arabia expressed concern for the safety of its players in the sensitive area of Judea-Samaria, but reports say the real reason behind the refusal is fear that playing in the area would be a recognition of the “Israeli occupation.”
Of course, BackChannels prefers the allegation of Prince al-Waleed Bin Talal’s gentle swing west to the strident reportage and commentary produced by east and west partisan press.
To test public attitude and sentiment on any given but not yet presented policy, one may “float a trial balloon” — put it Out There: “swings west” vs “refuses play on Israeli occupied territory!” — and ascertain the public response to each possibility.
Happens every day.
What is the distance between the private convictions of the powerful and the public perception of the same?
The Prince Online
One of the largest shareholders in Citigroup, the second-largest voting shareholder in News Corporation after the Murdoch family, and with major stakes in dozens of other Western companies, he travels the globe often wearing bespoke suits instead of the traditional Saudi thawb. Based in a country where women can’t drive or vote, he champions women’s rights and discourages his female employees, who make up 65 percent of his workforce, from wearing the veil in his offices.
Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Co. agreed to sell its almost 30 percent stake in Saudi Research and Marketing Group at nearly double the market value.
“Not in London, not in New York, not in Dubai, right here in Saudi Arabia,” he said eagerly. “Kingdom Hotels, that will go public in Dubai and London. But Kingdom Holdings, that must go public here, that’s for sure. Because half of my investments are in Saudi Arabia.”
Farther down the column of the same piece:
Many of Prince Alwaleed’s most visible investments have been in the West, especially in hotel properties–most recently Fairmont Hotels & Resorts , which he purchased with Colony Capital for some $3.5 billion. Kingdom Hotel Investments, which Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley will take public, raising at least $300 million, holds stakes in 26 hotels including such landmarks as London’s Savoy, the George V in Paris and a number of Four Seasons properties.
The world online, probably much like the one represented virtually, appears to have arrived freighted with classes and masses. The wealthy, the few breathtakingly so, appear to battle for share of control of the world’s productive businesses and resources, and two of the qualities of high honor, dignity and integrity, attend their achievements. The much, much, and far less wealthy may both bask in that glory as well as swim in its patronage and its “sweet words”, at times, perhaps, pandering.
Where is the Prince going?
The reader’s guess may be as good as BackChannels’ — although a writer blessed with look-up time and cursed with imagination may have a small edge in the collection of tea leaves for floating above the dark waters of an abyss of possibilities.
Back rooms and boardrooms, closed curtains and curtains lifted on theaters, few in the world, much less meandering around the web, may ever ascertain a true state of affairs in the region of the practical interests and strategies of the world’s chief controlling agents of privately-held capital or privately-controlled state capital. Whether watching Kingdom or Kremlin — how different those two! — the (public access) watching needs must take place from somewhere far on the sidelines — down the columns and between the lines of common publications — and however magnificent the parade, one may see only one’s own small and shades-of-gray portion of the passing show.
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