“I think that the new Europe will be the Middle East. I think this goal will be achieved 100 percent.”
The Saudi Crown Prince gave this enlightening statement at the Future Investment Initiative, held in Riyadh last week, and explained one of his future ideas and progressive visions of the Middle East.
This was addressed to the entire world and to an audience that consisted of an elite of investors and politicians from across the world. Some may voice surprise at this massive dream and the difficult challenges, and they have every right to do so.
Allow me to remind you that the Saudis themselves voiced surprise at the Crown Prince’s dreams few years ago, and some of them thought these dreams were impossible.
However, we began to see them with our own eyes and we saw how they were developing day after day. The Saudi Crown Prince follows words with action. The challenges of our time is rare he always succeeds at addressing them.
The prince confidently spoke about the “great and mighty Saudi people” whom he sees as strength. He believes Saudis trade dreams with dreams and trust with trust.
Their collective hope is on him to leap into the path of progress as they have seen with their own eyes. They are aware how he is loyal in structuring the vision and how he works hard to turn the impossible into tangible reality.
Perhaps it is a blessing in disguise that after this unjust attack on Saudi Arabia, the country may need to enhance its soft power and expand it internationally via all means possibleAbdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi
The Saudis have not previously known a leader who so diligently seeks real diversification of the economy in order to create new opportunities and make use of resources. He talks numbers the way experts and the knowledgeable people would do and asks people not to believe him but to believe the numbers as they do not lie.
For the Saudis, and for those who are following up on the new Saudi experience, everything that is new and great and unprecedented was achieved at the hands of the ambitious young prince.
His vision, i.e. Vision 2030, extends for 15 years and they did not have programs that support them such as the National Transformation Program 2020, Quality of Life Program, Financial Balance Program, Citizens Account Program and many others.
Saudis have been introduced to the state of decisiveness and determination and to the new and glorious Saudi Arabia by him – it’s a new Saudi Arabia that leads from the front and that clearly expresses its strength, prestige and capability as it plays a major and pivotal role in the region and the world.
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This enhances pride in the country, ensures dedication for the future and builds accomplishments. Saudi Arabia is today a prime player in confronting the Iranian regime, which spreads chaos, supports sectarianism and strengthens terrorism in the region and the world.
It is the strongest player in confronting terrorism on all levels, whether on the intellectual, political, security and military fronts. Terrorism is one of the most dangerous international threats to the entire of humanity.
Saudi Arabia is also the most important player against extremism and has been targeting extremist groups, primarily those with links to Muslim Brotherhood, both at home and abroad.
This is only few of the many reasons as to why the Saudi people love this young leader and cling to his great dreams and vision. He is one of the few leaders who is capable of changing the rudder of history, amend its course and fix its mistakes.
Hence, nothing is truer than what Prince Turki al-Faisal told the Washington Post when he said that the Saudis are supportive of the Saudi Crown Prince, noting: “If you took a poll among Saudis today, you would find that he is more popular than he was two weeks ago.”
Sweeping popularity and honest admiration of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are among the most important headlines in Saudi Arabia and personally targeting him is tantamount to targeting his great vision and project of Saudi Arabia and the region and of the 20 million people about whom he once said: “I am nothing without them.” These 20 million see themselves – in action and in words – as nothing without him.
This cohesion and this fusion in the project and vision between the leader and the people are the strongest guarantees to confront all the challenges regardless of all the rivals and enemies’ incitement and of any hatred, maliciousness, lies, forgery and fake news.
The Khashoggi case is on its way to judicial conclusion and justice will prevail following criminal investigation led by the Saudi prosecution. The Saudi state has throughout its long history never been known for pursuing “opposition” figures. On the contrary, it honored some when needed toward the end of their lives and pardoned anyone who requested to return home. This is what can be seen throughout history, and the examples are many.
There is a point we must pay attention. Due to unjust media attack against Saudi Arabia and its leadership, they have begun to ask the world and its politicians about the silence over Iran’s policies in spreading chaos, destruction and terrorism and about the Assad regime that killed the Syrian people using all types of weapons from tanks to fighter jets, missiles and internationally-prohibited chemical weapons.
Despite the sincerity of the argument, it’s not possible in any case and by any standards to compare Saudi Arabia with these bloody dictatorial regimes.
Saudi Arabia is a huge and influential “soft power” by virtue of its spiritual status in the Islamic world, its policies for stability of nations, its effective diplomacy, diverse culture, deep-rooted Islamic and Arab traditions and robust economy.
However, perhaps it is a blessing in disguise that after this unjust attack on Saudi Arabia, it may need to enhance its soft power, expand it internationally via all means possible and the best means possible is to appeal to the neutral around the world and who do not know much about the new Saudi Arabia. As for the enemies and rivals, that’s another story.
The deals worth billions, sealed during the three days of the Future Investment Initiative, indicate that the tendentious media attacks cannot cancel rationality or defeat political realism or eliminate major interests among countries.
This article is also available in Arabic.
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.