Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dickey Interviews Saud al-Faisal

It's one thing to ask talking-head questions on the Today Show, like Matt Lauer's so-called interviews over the morning coffee with world leaders about what they wear to the big meetings. It's another thing to have an expert confront head-to-head with a real lead actor in critical events, and get the drip of an insight into the core of what's happening.

The truth behind what Saud al-Faisal told Newsweek's Christopher Dickey lies more between the lines--in the dodges and half-answers--than in what was really spoken. Dickey is the pre-eminent journalist authority on the Middle East, terrorism, and the people behind the issues rocking the world from that area. Al-Faisal is the Saudi foriegn minister, who speaks for the ruling clan of the oil-rich nation, led by King Abdullah.

When you check out Dickey's interview, remember to thing what you would have expected for an answer, and then see what the Saudi rep actually says.

For instance:

Dickey: Israelis expressed disappointment about other aspects of the Mecca agreement. There was hope, for instance, that Saudi Arabia would use its leverage to win the freedom of an Israeli soldier held in Gaza since last summer.

al-Faisal: We didn’t talk about that.

Dickey: You didn’t talk about that at all?

al-Faisal: At all. It is not our concern. It was something that the Egyptians were talking to [the Palestinians] about and we didn’t want to trip over each others’ feet talking about the same thing. That was something that was never part of the negotiations.

Oh and get over worrying about the price of oil, and gassing up your SUV in the next little while--

Dickey: It’s been said that Saudi Arabia may force oil prices down to punish Iran.

al-Faisal: They’re not going to be brought down.

Dickey: No?

al-Faisal: No. People need oil.

I, for one, am reassured. Inconsistency makes me nervous.

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