Iran’s sanctions and Saudi Arabia’s future

Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi

Published: Updated:

The destiny of states depends on their leadership, decisions and vision. Those who choose the past remain trapped in it, and those who choose the future reach it.

There are two major projects taking place in the Middle East. The first one belongs to the past and is governed by the past and it only invokes evil sectarianism, brutality and terrorism. This is Iran’s project. The other project belongs to the future and is driven by the future. This is the project of the new Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Arabia of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

At the time of the publication of this article, the toughest US sanctions would have been enforced against Iran. These sanctions are part of the new US strategy announced by President Trump who annulled the worst deal in history — as Trump himself put it — between the Obama administration and the Iranian regime.

There are two major projects taking place in the Middle East. The first one belongs to the past and is governed by the past and it only invokes evil sectarianism, brutality and terrorism. This is Iran’s project. The other project belongs to the future and is driven by the future. This is the project of the new Saudi Arabia

Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi

The first phase of the sanctions began in early August. The one enforced now marks the second phase. These sanctions will gradually and effectively stifle the Iranian regime along with all its affiliates, both within that country and abroad. These sanctions serve the interest of the US and the world and confront the most powerful regimes spreading extremism, terrorism, disruption and destruction.

This development coincides with an amazing model which the new Saudi Arabia is building under the leadership of the Saudi Crown Prince to diversify the economy, renew the country’s identity and develop it towards the future to overcome its challenges. His ambitions’ limits are the sky and his vision and its associated plans are announced and their achievements are quantified in numbers and are aired in the daily news. There is a great deal of flexibility and continuous renewal that ensure the fulfillment of promises and the achievements.

It is important to consider these two contradictory models to look into the behavior of some European countries and most of the liberal Western media which opposes Trump and into the hysteria, as expressed by the Saudi Foreign Minister, they adopted to deal with the Khashoggi case. Saudi Arabia has seriously dealt with this case and it has imprisoned the ones involved in it and referred them to the Attorney General, according to the highest judicial standards.

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The Kingdom also announced that it will punish them according to the law and will announce the results to the world. How can it be compared to a well-established policy and methodology to kill millions, like those that are openly adopted by Iran which has killed hundreds of thousands in Iraq, Syria and Yemen?

Saudi stand for stability

The Iranian ideology adopts all types of “deadly identities” – as Amin Maalouf and others phrased it – of sectarianism, fundamentalism, brutality and terrorism that have a political, economic, cultural and social system and that have been associated with decisions, policies and strategies over the duration of 40 years.

This ideology killed millions of Iranians and Arabs where the Iranian regime’s wings played a role. This ideology has established the belief that homeland is an idea not a territory. It is expansionist and does not acknowledge borders, countries, international laws or states’ sovereignty. Its prominent figures even boast of occupying four Arab capitals.

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On the other hand, the Saudi model is the main supporter of stability in the region. It is the most powerful protector of international laws, of the respect for state policies and of rejection of foreign interferences in other countries’ internal affairs. The new Saudi Arabia has used its moral and financial resources to support international laws and protect its interests and the interests of Arab countries and peoples, as well as of the world.

The new Saudi Arabia also stood up against the world and the former US administration – the Obama administration – against its shameful nuclear agreement with Iran. This agreement exacerbated the crisis instead of resolving it. Saudi Arabia also stood up against the “fundamentalist Spring” in Arab countries which took the countries that suffered from it centuries back.

The deluded Left

It is very difficult for ideological leftists, nationalists and fundamentalists to back down on their stances or reconsider them or even accept criticism. Thus they are destined to remain hard-line and contradictory. It would be enough to track the way they deal with the crises in this short period, where they exaggerate what they do not want and minimize what they want, or else who would compare the murder of the Assad regime, which is loyal to Iran, of hundreds of thousands with poison gas and other weapons with a mysterious incident which dimensions have not been revealed yet!

Homeland for all of these people is just an “ideology” not a modern state that has borders, sovereignty and independent decision. Ideology can lead to absence of reason, logic and reality. Leftist figures often praised Khomeini “the bearded revolutionist” who looks like Guevara and Castro but with a turban. They were unable to get over such notions, despite the crimes and destruction that took place over four decades, from the moment the French intellectual Michel Foucault supported Khomeini until today, with all the nonsense of the Arab left.

One of the salient aspects of the new model being established by the Saudi Crown Prince is a model that provides a new interpretation of the homeland, is that it is not only in conformity with the ideals of a modern nation state, which how Saudi Arabia has been since its formation in the 1930s, but that it is the state of the future. This unique interpretation clarifies the direction, vision and the will. The homeland is its children, youths and future generations; the children who work hard in the present, the youths who are full of aspirations and ambitions and future generations that should be prepared for bearing the flag and continuing the task when their turn comes.

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But does this mean to reject or undermine the past? Never! Anyone who studies the Saudi Crown Prince’s vision would find that the past forms a solid foundation for it. It is based on great achievements and is full of cultural and social diversity. It has a vision of tolerance and coexistence and aims to spread peace in the region and the whole world and to overcome mistakes, even if they last for decades, via brave decisions and a sharp insight.

Homeland for posterity

The Saudi Crown Prince represents the future in the eyes of his people. 70% of the people constitute youth who stand behind him because they are aware that the ambitious founders and developers of the state are the ones who build, dream and work. The homeland is undoubtedly a legacy but it’s more than that as it is a future characterized by building and developing.

The comparison is usually useful for revealing and giving the mind an area of reflection and meditation. It shows clear results while comparing with the two models presented above. It also exposes the biased ideologies and promotes rational, balanced and realistic attitudes.

One hundred years ago, in January 1919, Max Weber wrote: “The fatherland is not the land of the fathers, but the land of the children.”

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.

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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