Flashback: Steve Bannon Praised Reform Crackdown in Saudi Arabia

White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon is seen after US President Donald Trump received the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal from Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL …

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon praised the reform efforts of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, during a discussion on foreign policy at the Hudson Institute in October.

“If you look at Saudi Arabia, they’ve had a pretty big fundamental change since the summit,” Bannon said, referencing Trump’s summit in Saudi Arabia in May, which included the opening of a new counterterrorism center there.

“The deputy crown prince is now the crown prince,” Bannon continued. “I think it was two weeks ago or three weeks ago, there were 1,000 clerics rounded up or put under house arrest or whatever. I realize that the opposition party in the New York Times refer to most of them as ‘liberal scholars.’”

On November 4, Saudi corruption crackdown continued with the arrests of 11 princes, including Trump critic al-Waleed bin Talal, a prominent investor in U.S. companies including Twitter and Citigroup.

Bannon also praised the efforts of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in cracking down on Qatar’s support of Islamic extremism.

“Qatar finally had to be called to account for the continual funding for the Muslim Brotherhood, continual funding for Hamas,” he said.

In a separate interview in October with the Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, Bannon again referenced Qatar’s backing of extremist Islamic terrorism, saying, “Qatar is as dangerous as North Korea. People should pay attention to this important situation.”

Bannon also told the newspaper, “In my opinion, Turkey is the greatest danger threatening the United States. It’s definitely not as dangerous as its neighbor Iran, it’s far more dangerous.”

“We’re not entirely aware of the events happening in Turkey under the shadowy regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,” Bannon added. “I dedicate most of my time and attention to this issue.”

Watch the video below of Bannon’s remarks at the Hudson Institute:


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