Who is harmed by Saudi-Egyptian rapprochement?

Sawsan Al Shaer
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I can’t find a logical explanation as to why some are upset of Saudi Arabia’s activity towards any Arab country. The systematic media campaign against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Egypt – which announcing the NEOM plans between Egypt and the kingdom did not help at all – exposed the despicable face of those who hold grudges against Saudi Arabia and revealed that the dream of Arab unity is extremist parties’ nightmare.

Why be upset of and doubt the rapprochement, cooperation and integration policy which the Saudi kingdom seeks with any Arab country? Why all the worries and fears of linking security, economic and political interests between Saudi Arabia and Egypt and between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon and between Saudi Arabia and Iraq? Who are those skeptics? Are they Arabs? Are they sons of those who once called for Arab unity? Or is this generation long gone? Hasn’t this unity always been our dream?

So why did they attack Saad Hariri because he visited Saudi Arabia? Why did they attack President Sisi because he properly welcomed the Saudi crown prince? Why be upset of the Iraqis’ cheerful attitude that celebrated the Saudi football team which played a match in Iraq?

Current Arab generations no longer dream of Arab unity, coordination or integration. This dream has been replaced with a partisan dream.

Sawsan Al Shaer

Why doubt all the joint projects announced between the kingdom and Egypt during the prince’s recent visit, particularly those related to NEOM? The announcement of every joint plan was accompanied with lies, fabrications and hysteria!

The area of the land in Sinai where part of the mega city NEOM – as dubbed by foreign news agencies and dailies – will be established in cooperation with Saudi Arabia and Jordan is 33 times more than New York’s. Establishing part of NEOM on Egyptian territories will benefit the Egyptian people as it will revive plenty of economic sectors and create job opportunities. For example, CNBC and France 24 said pumping $10 billion to invest in this Egyptian land will be of great benefit to Egypt. Foreign news agencies and media outlets positively covered the announcement of the plan and commended the Saudi crown prince’s serious efforts to accomplish the project and said this was all within the budget and timeframe. Japan, Britain and France all rushed to attain a part of these gains. Meanwhile, some said President Sisi gave this land as a “gift” to Prince Mohammed bin Salman!

Where the problem lies

Why doubt the Saudi command’s serious efforts to achieve Saudi-Egyptian, Saudi-Jordanian or Saudi-Lebanese integration? What do they fear? Where is the harm in that? Or rather who is harmed by that? This is where the problem lies. There are Arabs who are terrified and worried of these huge joint economic projects between Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. Campaigns voicing suspicions and intimidating people are launched every time Saudi Arabia makes efforts towards an Arab country.

Weren’t we as Arab people, from the far east to the far south, north and west disagree over everything, over our origin, race, accent and populism but always agreed on blaming our Arab regimes for not achieving our joint dream of Arab unity and of translating their poetic speeches into a practical project that achieves security and economic integration between our countries? Didn’t we blame them for the failure of all attempts to achieve unity and brought up the EU, Asian and African unions as an example of unity? So what harms us of this Saudi rapprochement with other Arab countries? What’s with all these media campaigns doubting the aims of Saad Hariri’s visit to Saudi Arabia? What’s with all these campaigns that aim to distort the Saudi crown prince’s visit to Egypt?

How has the extremist partisan ideology succeed in completely wiping out the Arab nationalist memories from the generations of the past three decades? How did they succeed in replacing them with identify and sectarian – not even religious – affiliations?

Current Arab generations no longer dream of Arab unity, coordination or integration. This dream has been replaced with the “partisan dream.” These generations now bless any rapprochement between an Arab country and their party’s leaders. They doubt and worry of any rapprochement that aims to serve their national interests or Arab national interests as these parties did not only erase the national memory but they also wiped out the Arab nationalist memory.

This article is also available in Arabic.

Sawsan Al Shaer is a Bahraini writer and journalist. She tweets @sawsanalshaer.

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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