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Abdullah-Sisi summit a new Arab horizon

WHEN the late King Abdulaziz bin Saud met former American President Roosevelt on board an American battleship in the ‘bitter’ lake in 1945, he did so from the position of a counterpart who carried the Arab culture he was proud of, away from any protocol.  On that day, King Abdulaziz went to the American battleship because the American president at the time was crippled.  The meeting between the two men lasted for five hours.  At the end of the meeting, the King said, “This meeting will, God-willing, lead to permanent friendship between the two countries.”  Roosevelt responded, “The USA has no permanent friendships; only permanent interests.”

King Abdulaziz had realized well the difference between the two cultures and political behaviors.  From his position as ruler of one of the most important Arab and Islamic countries, he managed to protect the interests of the Kingdom and its people without giving up his Arab culture.  His sons, who took the reins of leadership after him, toed the same path. This sturdy foundation has underpinned Saudi’s existence not only in the Arab and Islamic world but the entire world as well.  If the Kingdom maintains its invariable principles that further strengthen its presence; the American policy, which is based on changeable interests, prevails in the region these days but with a big difference.  The USA has been losing alliances and its political balance; whereas the Saudi or Arab balance is fortified through harmony or agreement between the two biggest Arab countries - Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

This historic image came to mind when Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz met Egyptian President Field Marshal Abdulfattah el-Sisi.  If this meeting is one of the surprises among a series of initiatives and conferences; similar to what the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques used to do over the past years in local, Arab and Islamic levels, then it is also a sincere representation of the Arab customs and traditions that President el-Sisi expressed very well. 

Issues discussed in the bilateral summit could be interpreted as satisfactory as seen on the faces of those who were present.  King Abdullah knows the importance of Egypt, as well as the risks it went through and overcome through the strength of its people who fought against the Muslim Brotherhood Group and its evil; let alone the support of the military under the command of el-Sisi. I reiterate that what transpired in the summit did not only reunite the Egyptians, but also the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries; particularly the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, due to the fact that the Brotherhood scheme had targeted the entire region.  Therefore, the King was keen on expressing his jubilation through the historic meeting.

Since the start, King Abdullah has realized the great danger posed by the Brotherhood scheme.  In his letter to el-Sisi when he was Minister of Defense and after the June 30 victory, he said, “No one knows the end and the dangers of this scheme except Allah the Almighty”. When the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques insisted on visiting Egypt to personally congratulate el-Sisi despite his health condition; it was not just because of el-Sisi’s victory in the presidential election, but also because Egypt managed to save itself from the Brotherhood whose members are now scattered; in addition to the success of the road map.  This interprets the vital role of Egypt in the eyes of the Kingdom, which is also considered a cornerstone of the Arab and Islam world.  No one can deny that this is a clear indication of the end of the crisis.

The meeting of the two great leaders in the royal plane reflects the first class culture of the Arabs and their morals.  Also, in terms of politics, it is an indication of the new Arab era which is completely different from the situation of the region in the past four years. Back to the start, if the meeting on the battleship in 1945 led to political success which continued for six decades, and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s success enhanced its presence in the Arab and Islamic world as it did not change its politics based on temporary interests; then the royal plane meeting between King Abdullah and President el-Sisi and all that transpired in regard to friendship will also be a success.  The meeting will cement political pillars which will have beneficial returns for the Arab and Islamic world, as it will bring joy to the people of both nations in the same manner it brought joy to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Egyptian president.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

By: Ahmed Al-Jarallah

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