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Wall Street journalists stick to story about Prince Bandar "swipe" at Qatar

February 12, 2014 at 3:34 pm

An article published in the Wall Street journal last week continues to reverberate in the Gulf States. In its 25 August edition Journalists Adam Entous, Nour Malas and Margaret Coker revealed that Prince Bandar had taken “a swipe” at Qatar when he said that the country was “nothing but 300 people … and a TV channel,” reportedly also saying “that doesn’t make a country.”

Soon after the quote by Prince Bandar was reported, Qatar’s foreign minister, Khalid Al Atiyah, responded via twitter saying that, “one Qatari citizen is worth an entire people and the Qatari people are equal to an entire nation.” He added, “This is what we teach our children, with all due respect to the others.”

Apart from reports of unease among Saudi officials, the prince’s remarks had also provoked outrage and acute embarrassment on a public level. Many Saudis viewed it as highly insulting. Social media activists took to cyberspace to offer apologies for what they perceived as a condescending remark toward a ‘brotherly state’.

Two days after the publication of the Wall Street Journal article, unnamed Saudi officials, in an attempt to diffuse tensions, denied the remarks attributed to the prince.

In the event, MEMO contacted the Wall Street Journal journalists behind the story. They confirmed that although Prince Bandar was himself was unavailable for a comment, their sources were credible and extremely knowledgeable. As such, they maintained that that they were sticking by their story.

MEMO’S analysts believe that in light of this reaffirmation by the Wall Street Journal, it would be difficult to refute the offending remark.