Saudi Arabia recently celebrated its national day. States choose their national day based on their history and the awareness of its importance in the establishment of its political entity and national state.
The Saudi National Day is not just like any other national day for us Arabs, but is a day of unity and power, as it symbolizes Arab stability and coherence, as well as Arab hope in the present and the future.
Why would the Saudi National Day symbolize all these things? Firstly, it is because it is not a declaration of liberation from occupation, like the case is with all Arab and Islamic countries’ national days. It’s an aware act that was launched from within the heart of the Arabian Peninsula in the 18th century to end the disunity spread out across vast regions. This unification then reached the two Holy Mosques to restore Arab leadership for Arabs and for Islam.
In celebrating their National Day, the Saudis celebrate the first successful experiment of Arab unity in the modern age. There have been no other successful experiments like these, except for the UAERadwan al-Sayed
For this, Saudis did not only fight against the indigenous forces and the Ottomans but also against other states that had sent their armies to the Arabian Peninsula for several centuries on various pretexts. Saudis protected the two Holy Mosques and the trading routes and confronted the Western naval invasion of the Red Sea and the Gulf coasts. The Saudi vision has been and it still is that the Arabian Peninsula is the cradle of Arabs and Islam. Only pure Arabs can protect it and bear its message. “And indeed, it is a remembrance for you and your people, and you [all] are going to be questioned.”
Thus, when late King Abdulaziz Al Saud announced the establishment of the Kingdom in the early 1930s, it was the result of almost a century-long endeavor that culminated in the declaration of the state of Arabs and the state of security, safety and protection.
Arab League and OIC
The most obvious evidence to understand this fact is that Saudi Arabia along with Egypt established the League of Arab States in the 1940s in order to support the independence of Arab regions in the East and West from colonialism and help them to develop. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was established in the 1960s thus completing the solidarity contract towards establishing the largest human group within the UN.
The other clear evidence comes from the present as Saudi Arabia remains the pillar of the Arab might and stability; no matter how much Iranians may be annoyed of Saudi Arabia. At the Sirte summit in Libya in 2010, late Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal warned of ‘the Arab void’ and the dangers of regional and international interferences in Arab internal affairs.
After the Iranians shared power in Iraq with the US following the invasion in 2003, the Iranians started to consecrate their authority on Lebanon, Syria and Yemen in addition to threatening Jordan’s security. They also started causing tensions with Egypt. In the Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia and the UAE rushed to protect Bahrain and tried to protect Lebanon from itself and its small politicians. They stood with Egypt until the unease ended.
An example to emulate
Saudi Arabia’s location and its effective and unifying role made it face the fiercest attacks, such as after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Then there were Iran’s activities through its sectarian militias in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. Saudi Arabia proved to be the most powerful fronts in confronting terrorism which attacked it first and which Iran has become its haven. Saudi Arabia now stands at the forefront of fighters against Iran’s destruction of states and societies from Iraq and Syria and to Lebanon and Yemen.
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In celebrating their National Day, the Saudis celebrate the first successful experiment of Arab unity in the modern age. There have been no other successful experiments like these, except for the UAE. They also celebrate prosperity, stability and development. As for Arabs everywhere, we see in Saudi success and Saudi and Emirati power hope and work to regain peace in religion, save the experience of the national state in the Arab Levant and correct the relation with the world.
When we, Arabs, look around us amid the difficult circumstances due to the destruction caused by the Iranians, the terrorists and other international forces, the only model we find for the possibility of Arab development and for regaining Arab stability is the Saudi leadership that works with Egypt and the UAE to achieve a better life for us.
Congratulations to the Saudis on their National Day. Congratulations to us, Arabs and Muslims, for the Saudi role and model in leadership, development and the creation of stability at present and in the future.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Radwan al Sayed is a Lebanese thinker and writer who attained a bachelor degree from the Faculty of Theology at al-Azhar University and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Tübingen in Germany. He has been a scholar of Islamic studies for decades and is the former editor-in-chief of the quarterly al-Ijtihad magazine. Radwan is also the author of many books and has written for Arab dailies such as al-Ittihad, al-Hayat and Asharq al-Awsat.