Although the first foreign tour of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has not ended yet, it has already become the subject of discussion among people of the region and the countries he visited so far. The tour’s three stops are Egypt, the Arab ally, Britain, the old European ally, and the US that remains the most important international ally. These countries were carefully selected for the trip, as they are supporters of the future vision and great aspirations of the Saudi Crown Prince.
Crown Prince’s call against extremism
The most important message of the Saudi Crown Prince pertains to the new Saudi Arabia, which aspires for a great future and has leapt towards making major reforms in all fields without exception. Saudi Arabia is a strong and pivotal state of the Middle East, which has started to express its power and interests. Saudi Arabia has played an influential political role, forged strong politically and militarily alliances such as the military coalition to support legitimacy in Yemen and the Islamic counter terrorism coalition.
The new Saudi Arabia has almost entirely overhauled its economic philosophy. It has presented an ambitious reform plan that sweeps across all sectors. It is enshrined in Vision 2030 and in the major projects that constitute the National Transformation Program 2020. The visionary founder of this plan is the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.
As an extension of Saudi Arabia’s fight against terrorism, the Saudi Crown Prince has stated on several occasions that the new Saudi Arabia will cast aside the age of extremism that afflicted Arab countries for over four decades. This entails rejecting all extremist groups, speeches and trends which prevailed after 1979, as was specified by Prince Mohammed.
At the opening of the futuristic NEOM project, Prince Mohammed said: “We are returning to what we were before, a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world. We will not spend the next 30 years of our lives dealing with extremist ideas. We will destroy extremists today and immediately.”
The new Saudi Arabia, which the prince presents to the world, is the one that adopts moderate Islam and carries the messages of love, peace and tolerance to the world. As usual, the prince always backs his words with action. In Egypt, he visited St Mark's Cathedral in Cairo's Abbasia district and met Pope Twadros II. In London, he met the head of the Anglican Church Justin Welby. During both meetings, he confirmed the kingdom’s support for dialogue among followers of religions.
Saudi stature as Islam’s birthplace
This is a noble and humanitarian message. Its importance also lies in the fact that it emanates from Saudi Arabia, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, towards which a billion and a half Muslims around the world turn to pray. Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam, and it’s the leader of both the Arab and Islamic worlds. Adopting moderate Islam means delegitimizing extremist movements in the region, whether they relate to the sectarian and terrorist project adopted by Iran or to the fundamentalist project adopted by Turkey, Qatar and both groups of political Islam, Sunni and Shiite. It is normal that the world’s political, religious and intellectual leaders would be pleased that Saudi Arabia has become a beacon of moderation.
Since they realize what the new Saudi Arabia represents, British politicians in the government and parliament welcomed the visit and the agreements made. Political officials focused on the depth of the historic relations binding the two countries, which was reiterated by different media channels. Everyone called for supporting these relations and developing common interests in the future.
The new Saudi Arabia, presented by the Saudi Crown Prince, is open to the world and encourages investors to participate in its innovative investment projects which have become the cynosure for global investors, companies and institutions and which transform Saudi Arabia’s economy into a productive one that is not dependent on oil revenues. For this reason, many political officials have publicly expressed their desire to participate in all future Saudi projects and a strong desire to participate in allocating a certain percentage of shares in the Saudi Aramco company this year and in the next one.
World acknowledges Saudi reforms
Many countries around the world deal with Saudi Arabia only for its oil, but this is fast changing now. The Saudi Crown Prince’s vision, approach and policies are responsible for this transformation. He has fulfilled all his local and foreign promises, and everyone around the world believes that his present statements would become the reality of the future.
This change is not only noticeable to officials, politicians and investors but is also evident to the media and western intellectuals who have now turned highly optimistic about the prospects of Saudi Arabia. There is only a small section of people who still adhere to old stereotypes and are unable to study or acknowledge the real development presented by the new Saudi Arabia.
All regional and international adversaries of the kingdom have failed to undermine the new Saudi Arabia during the course of the visit. The main impact of the visit is palpable in the favorable view of many of the parties that had earlier not been friends of the kingdom.
It is not easy for any political leader to evoke an impression of confidence and powerful leadership in a short period of time, but this visit clearly shows the confidence of the world in the vision and drive of the Saudi Crown Prince for his country, region and the world.
Proof of leadership
How has the new Saudi Arabia become the center of attention for the world’s decision makers? How did allying with Saudi Arabia become advantageous for all the major world powers? How come everyone now aspires to be an ally of Saudi Arabia? How have efforts of countries, media and human rights institutions that were in the habit of raking up negative controversies against Saudi Arabia, started to praise it? All this change is the result of powerful decision-making, honest position and clear vision.
In the end, the Saudi Crown Prince has clearly shown that he is sincere towards all his allies and a powerful enemy for all the enemies of his country.
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.
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