Mon Mar 7, 2016 11:29AM
French President Francois Hollande (R) greets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef upon his arrival for their talks at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris on March 4, 2016.  (AFP Photo)
French President Francois Hollande (R) greets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef upon his arrival for their talks at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris on March 4, 2016. (AFP Photo)

Press TV has conducted an interview with Tim Anderson, a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney, about the French government’s move in granting France’s highest award to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Nayef.

The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: This high honor that Saudi Prince Nayef has received, has come for “his efforts” in the fight against terrorism and extremism, this is as we know the Saudis are widely believed to be the main supporters of Takfiri terrorists, the Daesh, in Syria and Iraq. How do you explain this inconsistency?

Anderson: Yes, it’s extraordinary cynicism. The French government was quite critical of the Saudi regime just some short time back when they executed large number of people including Sheikh Nimr. Not only as it widely believed that the Saudis are supporting the Takfiri terrorists in region. There’s a huge amount of evidence and evidence that comes from the allies of the Saudis. Going back to Iraq for example the information that was gathered by the US military on the members of al-Qaeda in Iraq ten years ago; half of them were Saudis. We know that the Saudis were the main instrument in creating the Daesh in Iraq or trying to prevent Iraq getting close to Iran.

We know that all of the armed groups in Syria directly or indirectly, in the case of the Saudis directly, are being armed with US weapons, being provided to those groups by the Saudis. We know the ideology of Daesh comes directly from the Wahhabism of the Saudis. It’s no secret goal. And all of the evidence is listed on the media and research reporting of the allies of the Saudis, but we get from the enemies of the Saudis. So, it’s an extraordinary act of cynicism by the French government.

Press TV: Let’s not forget the dismal human rights record of Saudi Arabia, of course, the ongoing war on Yemen and the executions that were carried out earlier this year. Are these actions and efforts worth honoring?

Anderson: As I mentioned even the French government spoke out strongly against the executions of 47 people including that of Sheikh Nimr not too long ago. Human rights record of the Saudis is really close to the human rights records of Daesh. They have spawned effectively. And one can only speculate that it must have some link to do with the real interest of the French state and the British state.

You know that just recently the European Parliament passed a resolution trying to stop the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia precisely because of the bombing of Yemen particularly because of the bombing of Yemen, but it’s Britain and France who have been the main beneficiaries of the arms sales to Saudi Arabia other than the US. It’s quite a contradiction in European terms, because there is this counter-movement in Europe to recognize and try and limit the support to the Saudi regime probably because they are directly involved.