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60 Minutes with Mohammed bin Salman

Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi

Published: Updated:

During his interview with “60 Minutes” that airs on the American CBS television network, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: “If Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible,” and that Khamenei is “the new Hitler.” He also said: “Iran is not a rival to Saudi Arabia” as its army is not” among the top five armies in the Muslim world.” He added that the kingdom’s economy is larger than the Iranian economy and that “Iran is far from being equal to Saudi Arabia.” The interview was aired right before he kicked off his tour to the US where he is set to meet with President Donald Trump.

This young prince and inspiring leader has become the world’s talk and the center of attention of leaders he met or dealt with. World leaders know well that the crown prince is a man of his word and a man of action. He makes decisions that harmonize with his statements and translates his visions into tangible projects. CBS once described him as one of the most powerful leaders in the Middle East. What many observers do not know is that he was described as such before he even began implementing his ambitious political and economic plans.

Leader of major reforms

During his visit to Washington, he would be representing Saudi Arabia with all its political, economic, Arab and Islamic weight. He’d also be representing most Gulf, Arab and Muslim countries especially that he leads two efficient military alliances which are the alliance in support of legitimacy in Yemen and the Islamic coalition to combat terrorism. He is also the leader of Saudi Arabia’s military forces as he is the kingdom’s minister of defense. The Saudi kingdom is the US’ strongest ally in the US-led alliance which eliminated ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

He is leading major reforms on all fronts, from combating terrorism and extremism to eliminating corruption, empowering women and creating the future. The kingdom’s officials and ministers are working around the clock to accomplish the devised plans. The sky is the limit as he once said. Everyone thus knows what he’s capable of doing.

This is not exaggerated praise, and my statements do not aim to serve any flattering purposes. These are all clear facts. Some media outlets and think tanks in the West and the US may take a long time to comprehend all this considering the crown prince’s speed and pace in fulfilling these accomplishments on the domestic, regional and international levels.

Saudi Arabia does not desire a new cold war in the region or the world; however, if imposed on it, it’s completely ready to protect its interests, select its allies and create its future.

Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi

There is no room for improvisation as there’s always a plan. The crown prince recently visited Britain and Egypt, the largest political and economic Arab ally to Saudi Arabia. His visit to Egypt reflected that he had a complete plan that serves the kingdom’s interests and enhances its future. He signed plenty of major agreements during these two visits. This will also be the case when he tours the US which he’s visiting after building strong ties with President Trump as he was the first Arab or Muslim leader to meet him after he was elected and convinced him to go to Saudi Arabia on his first foreign tour. His visit to Washington comes at the same time when Trump is in great harmony with the Department of State after Mike Pompeo, the former CIA chief, was appointed Secretary of State after Rex Tillerson was fired.

When devising his vision to transfer the country’s economy from a rentier economy that relies on oil to a productive economy that attracts international investments, he adopted an out-of-the-box idea which is listing Aramco for initial public offering (IPO). World leaders have thus sought to develop ties with him and with the kingdom as for example Trump and others publicly voiced their desire to list IPO stocks in their stock markets.

Reducing Iran’s expansionist influence

The biggest crisis in the Middle East is the Iranian project. The crown prince had said that he adopted a tight plan to reduce Iran’s expansionist influence. He besieged Iran in many of its influence zones across the world, not just in Arab countries which Tehran directly interfered in but also in other countries in Africa and Central Asia.

If an American who’s interested in the region’s affairs does a quick search about the region, he will immediately realize that Iran is not a rival to Saudi Arabia. There is actually a huge difference between Saudi Arabia which is heading towards the future and towards more international cooperation and Iran which is witnessing intense conflicts between its powers, such as the institution of the supreme guide who belongs to the past and who is deluded by expansionist ambitions, the revolutionary guards who are corrupt adventurers and the presidency that claims it believes in reform when all it can do is defend the mistakes of the former and stronger two institutions. Meanwhile, Iran is also witnessing popular protests that continue to escalate and intensify.

The crown prince’s visit to the US also comes at a time when all of his opponents’ projects are failing. They are failing thanks to his vision and plans. The Iranian project, the Turkish fundamentalist project and the small Qatari project are failing. Saudi Arabia is entering history as a winning knight that’s making the future. The kingdom which was accused of terrorism and extremism is leading an international campaign to combat terrorism and spread tolerance, co-existence and peace.

Saudi Arabia does not want nuclear weapons but it will develop them if Iran does. It did not seek the war in Yemen but it was compelled to engage in it and it’s wisely managing towards achieving victory. It’s building new and efficient relations with Iraq and Lebanon, and it’s the biggest supporter of the Palestinian cause and the Syrian people and of the stability of states across the Middle East, Asia and Africa. This is the crown prince’s policy that has the full support of Saudi King Salman.

The crown prince is executing his vision according to the highest international political, economic, military and financial standards. A recent UN Security Council presidential statement on Yemen commended Saudi Arabia’s role. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund support his reform plans while media outlets and humanitarian institutions praise his decisions and vision.

Saudi Arabia does not desire a new cold war in the region or the world; however, if imposed on it, it’s completely ready to protect its interests, select its allies and create its future.

Prince Mohammed is an ambitious leader who has achieved solid victories and who dreams of a bright future. His Washington tour will thus mark the beginning of a new phase in the history of the region and the world.

This article is also available in Arabic.

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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.

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