AT a time when the world is witnessing vast economic and political changes, the Asian tour of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Abdulaziz represents vivification of the relations between Saudi Arabia and the seven Asian countries that he will be visiting.
This tour is focused on work schedules and agreements of projects between Saudi Arabia and the Asian Tigers. It also aims at boosting Saudi’s historic alliances with some of these countries and carries with it multidimensional political messages, especially concerning Iran, which tried to enter into those areas but found several doors closed and locked on its face.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not just the Gulf economic engine but it is the head of the Islamic world, and the most able among the regional countries in drawing up policies of the Arab world, due to its historic weight and legacy of initiatives which continue to bear fruits in the Arab nations. In light of Saudi’s heavy account, the tour of King Salman has attracted the world’s attention.
It has set the foundation stone for several projects and agreements which will boost joint cooperation with major Asian and international economies as well as increase the rate of commercial exchange which had resulted in huge enhanced leaps in the past two decades, especially with China, Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia — the main partners of the GCC countries — such that the rate had reached about $500 billion last year.
Indeed, the tour may seem like a mere Saudi tour, but it implicitly represents a GCC and Arab tour. This is because the agreements signed with those countries, especially those with economic weight, will have positive returns for the GCC countries as a whole due to the membership ties among them. Any economic fortification and prospects for Saudi Arabia will have positive impacts on the economics of other Arab countries.
Based on this fact, Sheikh Salman will end his tour in Jordan, where the Arab leaders’ summit is due to be held at the end of this month and in which Saudi Arabia is participating, carrying the abundant outcome of his tour in terms of the economy, which the region is in dire need of. Saudi Arabia will also carry with it political messages, especially regarding the future of the Arab-American relations, which had suffered a major setback during the presidential terms of former American president Barack Obama, and in view of the negative consequences expected from the set of decisions taken by the current American President Donald Trump concerning our region.
Regarding Iran, there is no doubt that it is now convinced it cannot shake the historic weight of Saudi Arabia, especially after the world witnessed the grand reception the Saudi Arabian King has been receiving in the countries that he visited. Iran is also certain that it, with its media squeals and interference in the internal affairs of other countries as well as economic cooperation enticements with the Asian Tigers, will never be able to affect the Saudi royal diplomacy and wisdom, which can ward off any spell of Iran’s charlatanry and even turn it against itself.
The month-long royal tour of Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Japan, China and Maldives and then Jordan has raised expectations that the situation after Feb 26, 2017 will be completely different from the situation before that date. In addition to all this, there are series of quality historic transformations which resulted from King Salman’s strategic initiatives in just two years after he came to power.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times