The announcement of the White House that President Donald Trump’s first stop on his first foreign visit will be Saudi Arabia, is a message that reflects the interests and priorities of the US foreign policy that have drastically changed.
The ties between the US and Saudi Arabia have changed since the end of Barack Obama’s presidency; his last visit to Riyadh last year had the worst timing in more than half a century. With the arrival of the Trump administration, we noticed that adjustments were made on all fronts, namely Syria, Iran and Yemen, as well as the bilateral relations.
The recent interview Saudi Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, clarified the positions on these issues that are expected to be part of the Riyadh talks. In Syria, Riyadh has arranged the positions for a political solution that does not give the regime and its allies a freehand there, and this is a solution that satisfies the Russians too.
We heard two important developments in the Astana talks: the first was consensus on differentiating between national factions and terrorist ones, and the second was the readiness to establish safe zones, which is one of Trump’s promises in the US presidential election.
As for the war in Yemen, which the coalition is having problems in explaining and justifying on the media, the prince was convincing when he courageously admitted that rushing to liberate Sanaa and other regions could cause many casualties from both sides. He said: “Time is in our favor and we are not in a hurry, we can liberate it in 2 days and pay a huge price, or free it slowly with fewer damages”.
Brotherhood is a perennial problem and is not limited to a single country in the region. This is a political group that uses religion to reach powerAbdulrahman al-Rashed
Iran is a giant common concern for both the Saudi and American governments, as well as many other governments in the region. Mohammed bin Salman has well-defined the government’s vision and policy towards it. He said that the history of the relations leaves no room for speculation that Iran is targeting Saudi Arabia as a country and regime, even during the phase of settlements.
He added that Saudi Arabia will be involved in defending its existence and will not only remain on constant defense mode. President Trump had sent clear messages against the Tehran regime’s policy since he took office regarding Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Gulf waters.
The arrangement of regional relations meant the relations with Egypt in the first place. In his television interview, the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince tackled the Muslim Brotherhood when he pointed the finger at the pro-Muslim Brotherhood media, stating that it was behind the overemphasis on the Saudi-Egyptian conflict. His words have put an end to the speculation about the ties with Cairo, depicting it as a mere summer cloud.
A perennial problem
Brotherhood is a perennial problem and is not limited to a single country in the region. This is a political group that uses religion to reach power; it is similar to communism in being an international movement, making it at odds with most regimes in the region.
Brotherhood has tried to besiege the Egyptian government by using the media and provoking the Egyptian people against its government and inciting people of the region. Although it has been able to influence dozens of television channels, websites and social media networks, it has not succeeded in reaching its goals.
Today, the Egyptian government is stronger than it was when the government of Mohamed Mursi was overthrown more than three years ago. The Muslim Brotherhood project in Egypt has failed, and their loss exacerbated when President Trump’s policy was revealed to be contrary to his predecessors, who boycotted the government of Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and tried to confine it.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.