It is imperative that the Saudi Green and Middle East Green initiatives be launched to serve as an Arab program that counters the Israeli and Iranian nuclear programs in the Middle East. Our region cannot tolerate a tighter nuclear arms race; rather, it needs a peace project race.
Arab states and peoples make up the majority of the Middle East, and this majority was sufficient to keep the countries and peoples of the region uninvolved in nuclear activities, enjoying a culture of reconciliation, peace, and stability throughout history without the need for nuclear programs. This was disrupted when Western countries implanted colonial entities serving occupation agendas in our region that were completely alien to our culture and morals. These Western colonial countries even brought in packaged belief systems that are foreign to their own doctrines, which they claim to represent and revere. This is when a nuclear arms race emerged between an entity that usurped the land and a system that usurped the people.
Saudi Arabia’s mission, by launching the Middle East Green initiative announced by His Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is no easy task. The country is building and embodying a culture of peace with its green project, green awareness, and green weapons in a region whose cities have become a den of fear, its relations full of mistrust, and its streets a battleground ruled by militias and mercenaries. This region has dwindled to the point of filling the seas of the world with ships of forlorn refugees and immigrants.
Saudi Arabia holds considerable weight in the Middle East and the world in terms of oil production and manufacturing, as well as being an important Arab and Islamic hub. Now it is taking on an ambitious environmental project, launching the Middle East Green initiative with the planting of 50 billion trees. This is the largest reforestation program in the world, restoring 200 million hectares of deteriorated land, which represents 5 percent of the global goal, and reducing carbon emissions from oil production by 60 percent to keep pace with joint global efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
The recent attack on the Iranian nuclear facility, Natanz, is just another episode in the Israeli-Iranian nuclear arms race in the region and the world, which will bring neither of them the security they dream of, especially when compared to the size of the Arab land and population that both the Israelis and Iranians fear. Therefore, the nuclear arms race in the Middle East is much more dangerous than those in the Far East and the Indian continent for two reasons: first, the Iranians’ intense quest for natural resources in a number of countries in the region, and second, the extent of the historic hatred that both nuclear powers harbor against all things Arab. The massacres committed by Israel and Iran against the Arabs in times of war and in times of peace demonstrate the rancor and racial hatred of these unfriendly neighbors.
Besides its challenge to the two states engaged in a nuclear arms race, the Middle East Green initiative poses yet another challenge to the countries seeking to draw benefit from the rivers that flow in Arab countries. Israel, Iran, Turkey, and Ethiopia have all used everything they can in order to cut off the water supply to Arab countries, which are punctuated by rivers. However, the Middle East Green initiative comes from an Arab country that does not have an abundance of water. So, will the Middle East Green initiative pull the rug out from under the enemies of the environment and the enemies of peace?
This article was originally published in, and translated from, Saudi newspaper Al Okaz.