Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Visits Beverly Hills Amidst Ambitious Plans To Modernize Saudi Arabia

Mark Wilson Getty Images

With Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visiting Los Angeles this week, the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on Doheny Drive was unusually packed with news crews and long line of limousines all politely waiting their turn to drop off prestigious Hollywood insiders who have spent the past several days listening to Salman’s ambitious plans to modernize his country.

With Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s first visit to Los Angeles, the prince and his retinue booked the entirety of the Four Seasons for his stay, although it has been reported that Salman himself was actually staying in a different location nearby, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The prince’s stay marks a three-week working visit to the United States which has also included a stop at New York, with Seattle, Houston, San Francisco, and other cities to follow, as Time report.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s tour comes on the heels of the announcement that Saudi Arabia’s ban on public cinemas, which has been in existence for 35 years, will now be lifted, with the country’s General Entertainment Authority discussing different strategies at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills for establishing their very own industry.

When it comes to the future of Saudi Arabia, Salman has revolutionary views that he is happy to share with the world, which includes transforming his kingdom from one that is heavily dependent upon oil exports to one that will be moving forward with the production of solar panels.

Mohammed bin Salman believes that pushing Saudi Arabia to produce solar panels is the right decision for his country’s future, and cites the high volume of good quality silica found in the country at an extremely low cost as just one of the many reasons why he has embraced a solar future.

“So we have silica, a lot of silica, but it’s not like the silica in Algeria and Africa and other countries, even UAE and other countries. The silica in the north side of Saudi Arabia, it’s purity can reach 99.7%. The other silica around the world, it doesn’t even reach 90 percent. So the silica in Saudi Arabia costs nothing to manufacture it and to build it. So this is not just material. It’s also cheap and high quality material.”

Salman also believes that creating solar panels will create an enormous amount of jobs in a new sector for Saudi Arabia, and while this idea may seem risky, he believes it is an excellent strategy for pushing the country forward into a new century.

“So this it will help Saudi Arabia to save $40 billion every year. It will increase Saudi Arabia GDP by $20 billion. It will create 100,000 jobs, and it will help us to export because we will export for the whole world the cheapest solar panel and the highest efficient solar panel. So we are helping the whole world to produce energy, continuous energy cheaper than they ever have. And we are taking the risk to push all of our demand in that area.”

Featured image credit: PoolGetty Images

On the subject of religion, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman believes that Saudi Arabia is actually the victim of extremists and terrorists, noting that those who seek to harm the world by religious terror have chosen his country as the grounds for this, something he is strictly against, and which has grown alarmingly bad since 1979.

“First of all, Saudi doesn’t spread any extremist ideology. Saudi Arabia is the biggest victim of the extremist ideology. If I am Osama bin Laden or any extremist or any terrorist, and I want to spread my ideology and I want to recruit, where will I recruit? Should I go to Morocco to recruit and spread my ideology or should I do it in Malaysia? Definitely not. If I want to spread my ideology I will have to go to Saudi Arabia.”

Salman is quite frank in his opinions about religious extremists, stating that he believes Osama bin Laden began his reign of terror in the 1990s and that Saudi Arabia had insisted then that bin Laden should be arrested, a plea which seemingly fell on deaf ears around the world.

“We were saying that he was a dangerous guy. He was a terrorist. That he had to be arrested immediately. We had terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia.”

Mohammed bin Salman has explained that Saudi Arabia now treats those with extremist ideologies as terrorist organizations, particularly the group known as the Muslim Brotherhood, of which bin Laden was once a member. These terrorists, he says, are ordinary people who slowly grow conservative with time and eventually move to the extreme right with the help of these organizations.

“He gets from normal to a little bit conservative, to a little bit extreme then more extreme ’til he’s ready to turn into a terrorist. And the Muslim Brotherhood network, it’s part of this movement. So if you see Osama bin Laden, he used to be in the Muslim Brotherhood. If you see Baghdadi the leader of ISIS, he used to be from the Muslim Brotherhood. Actually if you see any terrorist, you will find that he used to be from the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Featured image credit: Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

However, it is Salman’s firm belief that the countries that are now in the most danger from terrorists are in Europe. He explains that since the Middle East has developed the resolve to deal more firmly with extremists that these religious fundamentalists are setting their sights on different countries in Europe, with the hope that within the next 30 years the Muslim Brotherhood movement will flourish there.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince feels certain of that fact that this extremist struggle in Europe could end up being much more dangerous than anything that happened so far there over the past few centuries.

As for his views on personal things that he holds dear, like art, he believes it is only natural that human beings should love beautiful objects.

“Actually I love art. I believe any human with good taste must admire art.”

With Mohammed bin Salman’s other ideas that women should drive and that women should also be able to freely work, Saudi Arabia appears to be rapidly modernizing itself, which only makes sense with a young prince now at the helm of the country.