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Jim Hoagland on the late King Faisal: - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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I first interviewed him in July, 1973, in Taif.

My second interview in 1974 was in Riyadh, and included my witnessing him at a Majlis of the people, where I saw him listen respectfully to Bedouins with small personal complaints, trying to help them.

Tension was growing in the Middle East and King Faisal told me clearly that if another Arab-Israeli war erupted, he would not be able to continue to cooperate closely with the United States. The Washington Post published my front page story the next day, warning that Saudi Arabia was considering using oil as a weapon.

In October, as the war began, I learned from Arab diplomats in Beirut that Saudi Arabia and other Arab oil producers were going to embargo oil shipments to the United States, and I filed that story, emphasizing that King Faisal was one world leader who almost always meant what he said. My desk spiked the story.

When I learned that the next day I demanded to know why. “Henry Kissinger said it was not true” was the answer I received. I replied that Faisal meant what he said, and eventually we got the story in the paper. In both our meetings Faisal impressed me as a straight forward, judicious leader. I also had the pleasure of interviewing King Khalid, King Fahd and met with the then Crown Prince Abdullah four or five times for absorbing conversations in the 1970s and 1980s.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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