I was hoping to arrive to the Paris of Latin America, Buenos Aires, alone and void of any worries so I can write to you, my dear readers, an article where we share what influence a temperate atmosphere on a writer’s pen, and on the reader’s mood especially that Buenos Aires means “Good Airs” or “Fair Winds.” Or to sit alone on the southwest shore of the faraway continent which we hear so much about but due to how far it is, we cannot visit it during our short vacations. What can be said about a journey like this, a short one with plenty of events, sideline meetings, and a photo snapped by a journalist, whose name you do not even know, but is capable of making a writer spend hours describing details of meetings that do not end until another takes place.
Colleagues of the “career of troubles” stopped me to ask about the handshake between the G-20 star Prince Mohammed bin Salman and President Putin! I am amazed by the media figures’ capability to read body language the way they like. Due to the pressure from the reader or the recipient – who enjoys the largest presence despite his absence – the correspondent tries to read the scene the way he thinks this recipient, who is very close and very far, will like it.
Riyadh is not a partner that can be taken lightly by he who masters the language of numbers. Riyadh does not just sit as a member in the G-20 to discuss obstacles and suggest solutions but it’s also getting ready to host everyone after two years as some capitals no longer monopolize international summits and conferencesTurki Aldakhil
Preparing to attend such summits takes a long time to memorize names, review numbers and update old information about every representative of his country. In these summits, we restore the scene of balances of power and the change of the shape of the table of economy so it becomes the most important engine for a world between two poles, after it turned into one with several poles in which the balances of power changed as now there are new players in every decade.
The regional tour
Before heading to “Fair Winds” - Buenos Aires as they call it in Spanish – the Saudi crown prince visited his second country the UAE, then he visited the Gulf’s beautiful pearl Bahrain. Then the fair winds’ path took its course from the Gulf to the Mother of the World, where the beloved ones meet from all directions. Then the crown prince went to the capital Tunis, where there are several justifications as to why it was called as such. Some say the name is derived from the words friendliness and happiness (in Arabic) which is what whoever visits it feels once they meet its people and see their endless generosity. Others say that it was the city of hills with the cliffs that used to be a symbol of camping, and quick passage and a stop to those headed to other destinations.
However, this time I was biased to the justification of my Amazigh friend who told me that Tunis, in the language of the Amazigh people, means spending the night. And he whose journey is long like mine, my friend, would not be happy even if he spends the night, which quickly passed with the love of the Tunisian gentlemen and their joy of the visit which confirmed the old love between the two brotherly people as summed up by the statement: “I cannot come to North Africa without visiting Tunisia and without stopping at Tunisia’s president Beji Caid Essebsi (who is like) my father.” President Essebsi responded to this warmth with similar affection and repeated that the policy of stages is the school of King Abdulaziz, may he rest in peace, and that the Saudi-Tunisian relation is a renewable relation.
On Wednesday, the kingdom’s delegation attended the G-20 summit. The crown prince turned from a brother who is fond of his Arab brothers into a difficult number on the summit’s table, which discusses the difficulties the global economy is facing. The numbers which the crown prince believes in and which he follows up on hour by hour are what specify if you’re a member or not. Here, it’s the table of mutual interests and the time of sideline meetings, whose influence immediately shows on the stocks’ screens across the capitals of the world.
He who knows himself well knows how to choose his friends and allies and also knows his true weight on the world’s map. Prince Khalid bin Salman thus tweeted: “The Kingdom, represented in his royal highness the crown prince, leads through Vision 2030 the economic and social change in the region, (change) which we hope contributes to pushing the entire region towards wider horizons of prosperity and well-being to people.”
Not to be taken lightly
Riyadh is not a partner that can be taken lightly by he who masters the language of numbers. Riyadh does not just sit as a member in the G-20 to discuss obstacles and suggest solutions but it’s also getting ready to host everyone after two years as some capitals no longer monopolize international summits and conferences. The vision architect will make flags fill every street in Riyadh during every season, and delegations will fill hotels and be seen all over the kingdom’s streets.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not the only one to meet with the crown prince though he’s been the most astounding one – at least for me – in the past two years. The man, who deserves an entire article about reprinting the Indian currency to force a country with plenty of segments and many farmers to pay taxes via an economic move that’s painful in the beginning but fruitful on the long term, was present with the Indians’ dignity and silence.
These are not in contrast with being one of the strongest players coming from Asia along with China, Korea and Indonesia and from Australia and Turkey, which are politically and not completely geographically categorized as within Asia. This is of course in addition to the strong player who shakes his friends’ hands warmly, unlike the coldness, which distinguishes his country’s weather, i.e. Putin’s strong Russia.
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Eighty percent of the world’s production sits in this big hall. One third of the earth’s population belongs to this G-20 and 75 percent of world trade is managed by leaders of this summit, which is described as the summit that moves every year as it was held in Washington, and in the “Good Airs” or “Fair Winds” before, and it will be held in the heart of Najd in two years.
London, which has kept the world busy after its withdrawal from the EU represented by Theresa May, met the crown prince who is coming from afar. Paris, which along with Merkel’s Germany is trying to maintain the new Europe, also had its share of time with the Saudi delegation. A friendly meeting between the crown prince and the American president was among the important news of the summit as well. This in addition to Argentinian aspirations to Saudi investments that may narrow the distance between Riyadh and Latin America.
But the photo that was circulated the most this week, or perhaps for months, was of the two men whose two countries sit to decide the price of the oil barrel so factories can run, ships can operate and the exchange rate is fixed here and there.
I did not find this photo outside the context of numbers at all – the context which brought us from the policy of stages which King Abdulaziz started and which our host in Tunisia reminded us of, and which afterwards, the young crown prince went on to resume the old-new context.
He went to prove the status of his country and renew it at a time when the spiteful were saying he is in isolation; he thus isolated them and their analyses and marginalized them along with their tools via his glorious presence and remarkable economic and political effectiveness.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.