MIDDLE EAST

Mohammed bin Salman, builder of the future

Saudis pledged allegiance to new crown prince Mohammed bin Salman just like they once pledged allegiance to his grandfather and founder King Abdulaziz. He was chosen after he was selected by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and through the kingdom’s basic governance system. Thirty one out of 34 members of the allegiance council chose him as crown prince, and this represents an unprecedented and sweeping majority.

It was obvious how smooth the transition of power was. In a spontaneous video full of love and affection and before the royal decision was announced, Mohammed bin Nayef, the former crown prince, pledged allegiance to Mohammed bin Salman. The video is historical by all standards, and it is the best response to the decades-long media campaigns which claimed there are conflicts and different wings inside the Saudi royal family.

After all these years, these allegations turned out to be wrong as they don’t have a shred of truth to them.

Basic pillars

Political stability is one of the basic pillars of governance in Saudi Arabia. The modern Saudi state has emphasized this since it was founded, and it continues to emphasize this at every occasion. Saudi Arabia is the first supporter of Arab countries’ stability, unlike rogue countries in the region that support chaos.

Selecting the Saudi crown prince confirms this political path and opens new horizons towards a bright future.

The Saudi crown prince is a venerable statesman who graduated from the school of his father King Salman bin Abdulaziz as he held several posts while working with him for several years. He was assigned minister of defense, deputy crown prince, second deputy prime minster and chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs. These posts showed his capabilities and leadership skills, thus allowing people to know about his great projects.

The young prince, who belongs to the category of Saudi youths that represents more than 70 percent of the population, succeeded in handling all the tasks assigned to him. His efforts and capabilities were significant while managing complicated foreign and domestic affairs and while renewing the state and restructuring the government. He is known for his holistic approach and insights as he fully comprehends all the details and then devises a plan to achieve the aims.

Political stability is one of the basic pillars of governance in Saudi Arabia. The modern Saudi state has emphasized this since it was founded, and it continues to emphasize this at every occasion

Abdullah bin Bijad al-Otaibi

Enhancing foreign relations

His foreign trips were marked with alliances and deals that form a solid base for a new Saudi state which no one but him thought about and no one but him could have planned. He established coordination councils with different countries to enhance Saudi Arabia’s relations with them and he established two major military alliances: the Arab alliance to support legitimacy in Yemen - formed by a coalition of more than 10 countries - and the Islamic Military Alliance to fight terrorism comprising more than 50 countries.

This is in addition to strengthening Saudi Arabia’s role in the international alliance against ISIS, thus making the kingdom the second strongest and efficient country after the US. Last month marked a historical event as US President Donald Trump had chosen Saudi Arabia as the first country to visit on his first official foreign tour.

This came about after he met with Mohammed bin Salman in Washington and it came as a result of the prince’s efforts to build strong ties with other countries. This enabled the Saudi kingdom to invite more than 50 Muslim countries in a very short time to attend the three Riyadh summits.

Saudi Arabia’s biggest rival in the region is the Iranian regime, the guardianship of the jurists and the sectarian Khomeini regime which has dreams to expand and restore the Persian Empire. The young prince managed to limit this rival’s influence and get it out of the African continent and other areas.

He said that Iran must look after its citizens and their affairs instead of venturing and sabotaging others. “We will not wait until the battle reaches Saudi Arabia but we will work on transferring it to Iran,” he said frankly.

The Saudi crown prince is decisive in his foreign and domestic decisions. He is also wise and very realistic and reasonable. He succeeded in dealing with Iran and before that he succeeded in managing the crisis with Sweden. He strongly protected Saudi Arabia’s sovereignty until Sweden had to back down. He did the same with Germany until it had to back down. He is also this decisive and wise while making domestic decisions, as when any official does not fulfill his duties he does not hesitate to decisively address the matter.

Belief in the Kingdom’s strengths

For decades, Saudi Arabia looked at itself as a country with an economy that is dependent on oil. The crown prince then came to look at Saudi Arabia through a different perspective and via a more comprehensive vision and belief in the strengths of the kingdom. He employed these strengths to serve the state and its citizens. Thus he developed Saudi Vision 2030 of which he is the godfather. The vision has been the topic of discussion around the world and society ever since it was announced.

Admitting mistakes is the first step in the path to rectify a situation. The prince frankly spoke about the Saudi economy’s “addiction to oil”. He spoke about major substantial amendments to transform the economy from a rentier economy to a productive economy. This guarantees that future generations will not be dependent on a single resource.
Vision 2030
If one wants to know about the crown prince’s political leadership and awareness that’s based on extensive knowledge and accurate analysis. All one has to do is read Saudi Vision 2030. The latter clearly shows the prince’s comprehensive strategic approach regarding the present and the future.

It shows that he is aware of the country’s strengths and details the best ways to invest in them. The vision includes dozens of programs like the National Transformation Program and the Financial Balance Program 2020. Checking the vision’s details thus reveals what kind of statesman Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is.

Vision 2030 is based on three major axes which are: Arab and Islamic depth, leading investment force and an axis that links the three continents. The Saudi society witnessed major changes that influenced its domestic decisions towards more openness.

The society’s values, heritage, religion and culture were invested in to enhance the country’s cultural value. The vision will diversify the income resources as there are massive investments in mining and military industries. It also focuses on local content to develop new generations of Saudis who possess the capability and competency to develop and acquire skills.

Finally, the Saudi people and Saudi Arabia’s allies were thrilled when the crown prince was appointed while its rivals were upset. The future will carry good news to the new Saudi Arabia. May every year find you in good health!

This article is also available in Arabic.
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Abdullah bin Bijad al-Otaibi is a Saudi writer and researcher. He is a member of the board of advisors at Al-Mesbar Studies and Research Center. He tweets under @abdullahbjad.

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Last Update: Thursday, 29 June 2017 KSA 08:12 - GMT 05:12
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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