…What is the reaction inside Saudi Arabia after 9/11?
... Let me put it this way: I might hate someone's guts, but I will not condone his murder. If by chance he was hit by a bus and passed away, I wouldn't cry for him, you see? And this is the kind of feeling that took place in a segment of the society [regarding the attacks of Sept. 11].
Another segment was extremely worried person[ally] because of their own interests in America and Europe. The government was, of course, dramatically worried because of the participation of the Saudis in that attack.
[Saudi] society is just like any other society. You have different people, from the very extreme to the very liberal. But after a while you find that everything sort of faded away, and everyone in society came together in a common anger against the United States. Whether it's right, whether it's wrong, the U.S. reaction made it easy for everyone to have a common view that the U.S. is just looking for an excuse. The U.S. is a country of a racist regime, and they are not fair with us.
I [knew] somebody who spent half the year living in the States, who has a summer home there and another home somewhere in a ski resort. He loved going there every two or three weeks. I was shocked when I heard him -- and he's one of my clients -- saying, "I'm not going there anymore." It's that dramatic.
So there are people that rejoice in this. I mean, rejoice [is] perhaps too strong, but [they] are not unhappy about what has happened. Why is there this anger [toward] America?
…America is king everywhere. [America] is giving us a hard time everywhere. So if this happened to America, we will not stand up and say [that] we are the defenders of America and this should not happen. We know it should not happen, but they're not going to cry over it. It's this kind of feeling that took place amongst a certain segment of society at the beginning.
[At] this stage, many segments of society are actually quite entrenched in being opposed to America as an idea. They are dismayed; they are disillusioned by America. We thought that you really meant what you said in your constitution, all these issues of freedom and rights and carrying the banner of human rights, and the Wilsonian doctrine -- it all went out the window because of 3,000 people?
It's a significant number, but there are hundreds of thousands who are dying all over …. Look how many died in Palestine, in Iraq, for all these years when Saddam Hussein was ruling Iraq -- [who], by the way, was supported by America -- and you didn't shed a tear. You only shed tears when it starts affecting your own policies, your own interests. In the Arab world, that's not right. You don't look at your interests alone. If you claim something, you have to be fair. It has to be an equal ruling for you and for me.
What are the consequences politically, socially, inside the kingdom of [the attacks of] 9/11? ...
I think there was a sense from the West and from America telling us, and telling everybody else in the area: "You've got to reform. This [happened] because [of] a lack of reformation. This is because [of] the austere philosophy that you have." And yes, the governments in the area started this so-called preparation for reformation, OK?
And then the States invaded Iraq, and people were extremely worried that after Iraq was finished and done with, the United States would turn its head and start targeting countries like Saudi Arabia, like Syria, like Egypt, Iran. But I think God blessed these governments with something called the Iraqi resistance, and it's the only thing that engulfed America and made it step away for a while from its previous intentions. It was then and only then that the government said: "All right, we can also roll back as long as the pressure is away from us right now. We can roll back and take things [back] to their old ways."
In other words, "We can roll back our efforts at reform"?