Chas of Arabia
10:54 AM, Feb 25, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan famously told the Washington Post that "If the reputation then builds that the Saudis take care of friends when they leave office, you'd be surprised how much better friends you have who are just coming into office." The Saudis have few better friends than Chas Freeman, who has been unofficially appointed to head Obama's National Intelligence Council after serving as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and later as the president of the Saudi-backed Middle East Policy Council. From Freeman's perch there, he's had nothing but praise for the Saudi regime.
In 2002, Freeman explained that "in the case of Saudi Arabia, reform has always come from the top down. It has been the ruling family that has sought to liberalize society and to open it up." Freeman goes much further in an interview with the Saudi-US Relations Information Service (wonder who funds that):
Not surprisingly, Freeman's admiration for the Saudi royals comes in inverse proportion to his disdain for the democratically-elected government of Israel. In today's Journal, Gabe Schoenfeld fairly calls Freeman a "China apologist and Israel basher" (Freeman's bizarre sympathy for the Communist crackdown on democracy activists in Tiananmen Square 1989 was examined here yesterday). Schoenfeld quotes a speech Freeman gave in 2007:
Much of the left clearly shares Freeman's hostility to Israel -- and sensing that Israel supporters fears Freeman's appointment (after all, Freeman was the first to publish Walt and Mearsheimer's screed) they have leaped to his defense. Still, this support is not on the merits of Freeman's views, but rather almost exclusively for the sake of antagonizing the nefarious Israel Lobby. Will Talking Points Memo or the Nation offer a substantive defense of Freeman's self-professed support for running over democracy activists with tanks?
I'm not holding my breath.