MIDDLE EAST

A masterstroke from the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince

The extraordinary warm reception accorded to US President Donald Trump in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, last week shows a dramatic shift in relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States of America as compared to the previous administration of former US President Barack Obama.

It is a complete 180-degree shift in the Saudi-US relations. The response to the US-Saudi relations was “stronger” and “more significant” than before. The issues of mutual interest are now being discussed in a transparent manner not behind closed doors as was the case before.

The crisis in the Saudi-US relations deepened following the dispute on issues relating to the 9/11 during the Obama administration. The cracks in the ties can mainly be attributed to the Obama’s abandonment of customary US policies and unleashing of extremist forces in the region.

Obama fully supported the regime in Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood and enabled them to govern in their areas of influence, which led to the unprecedented outbreak of violence and extremism.

Since then and before Trump officially won the US presidency, the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman worked tirelessly and communicated with Trump’s team about the plan to build a concrete program to restore relations and strengthen them as they were before.

He worked on an integrated partnership in the true sense of the word, so that the partnership is reflected at all levels of industrial, military, banking, petroleum, security, cultural, health, educational, recreational and services and an incorporated partnership between the two governments and two nations.

Trump not only visited the Kingdom and participated in various summits which were held in Riyadh but also signed an unprecedented number of agreements that will make Saudi Arabia a real partner with strategic dimensions at different levels

Hussein Shobokshi

A serious plan

It was due to the seriousness of the plan presented by the Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman that prompted Donald Trump, after he became the US President, to invite the Deputy Crown Prince as the fifth international official to visit the White House and then the US President announced his agenda to start his foreign trip with Saudi Arabia being the first country of his foreign tour.

Indeed, he not only visited the Kingdom and participated in various summits which were held in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, recently but also signed an unprecedented number of agreements that will make Saudi Arabia a real partner with strategic dimensions at different levels.

The Saudis have a great emotional legacy of appreciation on the relations that have resulted from their partnership with the United States of America, which reflects in successes in various sectors; first and foremost being in oil, education, health, military and security that will benefit the Saudis clearly and explicitly.

The Saudis have nothing to be ashamed of in their quest to form a relationship with the world’s most powerful nation. Everyone is trying to win America because the benefits that come from a strong relationship with them are important and it also reflects on politics, economics, health and education.

The credit for the successful and dramatic transformation of the Saudi-American relationship should be given to Prince Muhammad Bin Salman. He was betting on it during my meeting with him when I was part of the delegation on his visit to the United States with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman during the Obama presidency.

All indications from the critics were the contrary but the young prince was confident about the plan that was put forward and demonstrated the influence of Saudi Arabia and its importance and the need of “marketing” with modern soft powers in which Prince Muhammad Bin Salman succeeded.

The restoration of Saudi-American relations is a “masterstroke” from Prince Muhammad Bin Salman and it is a great political achievement.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on May 29.
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Hussein Shobokshi is a Businessman and prominent columnist. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al Takreer on Al Arabiya, and in 1995, he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his B.A. in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa. His twitter handle is @husseinshoboksh.

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Last Update: Tuesday, 30 May 2017 KSA 12:23 - GMT 09:23
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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