JNN 13 Dec 2013 London : Saudi Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz has told a friend to ask Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to prevent circulation of an anti-Saudi movie in his war-torn country.
King of the Sands is directed by the famous Syrian director Najdat Aznour who’s renowned for his historical epics in Arabic which have a wide audience in the Arab world. And his latest project couldn’t be more controversial – the life story of the founder of Saudi Arabia – King Abdul Aziz al Saud.
King of the Sands tells the story of rise of the founder of Saudi kingdom, Ibn Saud, from an obscure tribal leader in Kuwait to the undisputed ruler of the Arabian peninsula.
The film depicts Ibn Saud as an unscrupulous, bloodthirsty womanizer who was a pawn of the British.
Probably the first time the former Saudi King has been depicted this way in an English language feature film in a country – the UK – which is a staunch Saudi ally.
The film’s director has said that his intention was to expose the religious fanaticism that Ibn Saud promoted which – he says – is behind much modern day terrorism.
Reaction to the film after the premiere was mixed. Some felt that it was crude political propaganda and that the acting and production were poor.
But others felt that wasn’t the point. A major taboo had been broken in that the very foundations of the Saudi kingdom had been challenged.
Prince Talal said the movie was not a successful work and “it will be thrown in the rubbish bin of art works”.
He wrote that he has asked a friend to talk to President Assad and persuade him to ban the movie in Syria which has been suffering from a deadly insurgency that Riyadh happens to be one its strongest supporters.
Saudi prince wrote that he hoped “for all the favors Abdul Aziz Al Saud has done for Syria and the Syrian government and nations can’t ever forget,” Bashar Assad orders banning the movie.
In an interview with Lebanese Al Akhbar daily on November 30th, Assad said the whole war in Syria could end if Saudi Arabia stopped arming and supporting militants who poured to the country following 2013 pro-reform protests.
Saudi Arabia, along with Qatar and Turkey have been strongest supporters of the war in Syria with Riyadh and Doha spending billions of dollars to support militants.
Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who is Director General of the Saudi Intelligence Agency has been referred by many as a one of the main figures leading the war against Syria.
Nearly three years of crisis has taken its toll on the lives of around 126,000 people in Syria, according to new statistics compiled by the United Nations. Millions have also been displaced due to the turmoil.