King Abdulaziz and the Yemen book

Yemen, with Houthi and Saleh this time, is still waging wars of negative publicity against Saudi Arabia

Mashari Althaydi

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Perhaps the most recurrent advice that is currently being given to Saudi Arabia, from those who are well-informed and those who are not, is that the Saudi government should intensify its media activity to defend Saudi internal and external issues.

“We need a new media policy” – it is an expression that has been repeated a lot recently and has become a cliché. We need a new media policy for almost everything: the US JASTA law, the Yemeni war and the anti-Houthi and Ali Abdullah Saleh propaganda. Arabs and the West are looking into this advice.

But, is it valid advice?

I think that part of it is valid while the other part does not make sense because whatever you do, there are some who have already decided to be at odds with you for political, ideological or personal reasons.

Anyway, I recently read an old book that was republished by Saudi historian Dr. Mohammed al-Zulfa after suffering for so long to find it.

The book is entitled “A statement about the relations between Saudi Arabia and Imam Yahya Hamid al-Din, 1925 to 1934.”

In his introduction, al-Zulfa said that “the most important reference is the green Saudi book that was published by the Saudi government immediately after the Saudi-Yemeni war.”

Yemen, with Houthi and Saleh this time, is still waging wars of negative publicity against Saudi Arabia

Mshari Al Thaydi

King Abdulaziz indicated in his speech to senior delegations from the Islamic world in 1353 AH (1934 Gregorian), a few days after the end of the war: “The explanation of the relation between us (the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and him (Imam Yahya) is very long, but Muslims should read the green book that we prepared, so that everyone will know that we talk the talk and walk the walk.” In the introduction of the green book, it was said that, when the Imam accepted the peace terms, the government decided not to publish the green book because it contained all records and supporting documents relating to the Saudi position: “in order to save the dignity of a man belonging to the Arab nation and to avoid a worldwide humiliation.”

However, in response to the negative propaganda against Saudi Arabia which was spread by Imam Yahya and his supporters in Arab media outlets at a time when he was conducting discussions directly with Saudi Arabia, and “for fear that people might be misled by these words that are not true or real, the government decided to speed up the publication of the book,” the king said. These extracts were taken from the book so that we can have a glimpse into how King Abdulaziz worked to resolve the regional crisis and how he defended the Saudi position.

Yemen, with Houthi and Saleh this time, is still waging wars of negative publicity against Saudi Arabia. It still finds people that will listen and believe these lies, whether internationally or regionally.

Perhaps, there is an urgent need to restore the Saudi book’s approach in a new modern format with documented arguments.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Nov. 11, 2016.


Saudi journalist Mshari Al Thaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Al Thaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.