How Saudi changed US policy traditions

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

HERE is Saudi Arabia, a country with strategic roles! Through it, paths towards the future unite. Through its pragmatism and use of facts, it calmly sets up policies, not through slogans or emotions, which are the bases for policies in majority of Arab nations.

That is why May 24 will be a memorable day for the Saudis in the history of international relations. It represents an important indication of change in the strategy of the United States of America in relation to its well-established tradition that dates back to decades. It is the first foreign tour of its new president to the country, as US President Donald Trump has chosen his first overseas destination to be the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the chief of the Arab and Islamic world.

Undoubtedly, Trump’s decision expiates the sins committed by the office of his predecessor Barak Obama which attempted to flip issues upside down when it strived to rescue the Mullah regime by throwing the nuclear agreement rope to Tehran, completely ignoring its deep interests with its historic allies topped by Saudi Arabia.

During his visit, President Trump will meet many Arab and Muslim leaders in Riyadh. This affirms the status of Saudi Arabia and its influence.

Undoubtedly, this historic achievement wouldn’t have happened if it not for the pivotal role played by the administration of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

Therefore, observers are regarding the summit of King Salman and President Trump as a reconfirmation of the distinguished relations, which was established onboard the USS Quincy in the Suez Canal 1945 by the first Saudi king Abdulaziz Ibn Saud and the then US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In that summit, the American President prioritized interests over anything else when he said, “The United States has permanent interests but does not have permanent friends or enemies”. That is the same rule adopted by the European leaders especially British Prime Minister Winston Churchill when dealing with the Arab world. This is what the United Kingdom has mastered in its relationships with other countries.

Through the GCC-US and Arab/Islamic-US summits to take place in Riyadh, the summits that led to the inception of the United Nations will come to the minds of observers, despite different countries, interests and circumstances in the period between 1945 and 2017. Therefore, it is better to consider the Riyadh summits as summits for regional and international changes.

Experience, especially with the Obama administration, has proven that interests are the basis for political movement. The world, which has become accustomed to hearing slogans from Arabs for the past decades, is today hearing a new Arabic language – the language of interests, which has been adopted by the Saudi leadership.

There is no doubt the new US administration has recognized this fact, and is aware that the era of “one American measurement is equal to two” has passed with the departure of Obama from the White House. Therefore, President Trump’s break from the tradition has its importance and significance.

There is no doubt that the interests of Islamic and Arab nations, especially of Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries will determine the agenda of the forthcoming Riyadh Summit. This is more instructive considering the fact that President Trump, through his tour, is trying to depict a picture different from what was embedded in minds during the electioneering campaigns and the early days of his assumption of office. This transformation is very essential.

Based on this, the entire world is waiting to see what stances the US President will unveil in Saudi Arabia and then in Israel. He will visit the West Bank, as confirmed by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. This indicates that America recognizes the rights of Palestinians. This also represents the beginning of a consolidating solution to the establishment of the nation. It will be one among the major issues that leaders of Islamic and Arab nations will deliberate with President Trump in Riyadh.

The Iranian regime, which has been inciting religious disputes among the children of the same nation “as a prelude to the emergence of Al-Mahdi Al-Muntadhar” (as claimed by its leaders, followers and agents), should comprehend the contents of those messages upon which visit of the US president revolves. Time cannot be reversed in anticlockwise way back to the Medieval Era when Hereticism controlled the fate of Europeans and to which the disillusioned peacock regime is today trying to draw the world back to. Will the Tehran leaders realize, before it is too late, that they have lost the gambling and that the rate of loss will increase before the new international front to be formed in Riyadh?

Yes, the unique role being played by Saudi Arabia will be enforced through this visit. It will bring about a new dawn that does not have any place for dry slogans and emotions. Interests will be the main determinant for its movement, and Saudi Arabia will be taken into consideration for its pivotal role in determining the direction of the Gulf, Arab and Islamic nations’ policies.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times