Saudi prince responds to Obama “free rider” comment – Press TV

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A senior Saudi prince has criticized US President Barack Obama for calling the Arab kingdom a “free rider” on American policies.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Atlantic published on Thursday, Obama had condemned the oil-rich monarchy for being “free riders” on American policy while promoting religious intolerance in the Middle East and refusing to get along with regional powers such as Iran.

In response to the remarks, Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief and ex-ambassador to Washington and London, hit out at Obama with an open letter.

“No, Mr. Obama. We are not ‘free riders’,” wrote Faisal, citing the Riyadh regime’s support for militants fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Faisal also claimed that Riyadh is fighting terrorists in Yemen and has provided intelligence that has “prevented deadly terrorist attacks on America.”

However, he did not offer any explanation as to why his country has been expanding its relentless military aggression against the Yemeni people, which has claimed the lives of over 8,400 people since its onset about a year ago.

Ties between the US and Saudi Arabia have been bumpy since the 2011 popular uprisings that swept several Arab countries such as Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain and Egypt.

Back then, Riyadh faulted Washington for the ouster of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak who was a staunch ally of both countries.

The Saudis have also expressed disappointment with the Obama administration over the Iran nuclear deal that went into effect in January and saw all nuclear-related sanctions on Iran lifted.

Faisal does not currently hold any official position in the Saudi leadership, but his views are usually described by insiders as often reflecting those of the kingdom’s senior officials.

Saudi prince responds to Obama “free rider” comment – Press TV}