ONCE again, Saudi Arabia made a major leap in international relations and its distinctive status through the major role played by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the G20 Summit held recently in Osaka, Japan.
Prince Mohammed had remarkable meetings with several world leaders. His statements were of great international interest as he reiterated his persistence to develop the Kingdom according to a modern vision which is based on moderate humanitarian and religious principles – the characteristics of its policies for a long time.
In this summit, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was at the top. He explained the Saudi and Arab reality. He put matters on the right track when he affirmed that the steps being taken in the modernization process are geared towards the realization of ‘Vision 2030’. This is in addition to considering openness to the world without abandoning the principles which characterized the continuous development process in the past 80 years.
The Crown Prince’s statement at the summit delighted not only the Saudis, but all Gulf nationals as well. It is an indication that this mega economic engine is on course and nothing blocks its path.
Hence, world leaders extolled what has been achieved in the past few years in a manner which gives the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia more confidence in its policies; especially through American President Donald Trump who affirmed the appropriateness of the Kingdom’s plan in fighting terrorism, and in the economy through reaffirmation of solidity of the Kingdom’s economic status, in addition to statements made in this regard by nations participating in the summit.
Some countries, organizations and political groups are waging a fierce media campaign against the Kingdom in a bid to smear its reputation and to preoccupy it with minor issues to slow down its progress towards opening up to the world and developing its economy to increase the level of luxury for its people.
The smear campaign is also aimed at hindering the Kingdom from becoming a more effective entity in the world economy. Nonetheless, those against the Kingdom are forgetting the fact that it is a member of the group of 20 great world economies. This economic club dictates the bearing of the world’s economy and influence on world politics, so the Kingdom has no time to engage in futile media war because the engine does not stop at imaginary stations.
Some are striving to destroy the Kingdom internally by destabilizing its security, while another team continues to preoccupy it with foreign conflicts such as the ongoing one in Yemen.
Political groups, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, the hired gangs backed by Iran and those who imagined they have the ability to transfer chaos which dominated some Arab countries to the Kingdom, have failed; particularly after the Kingdom recorded more successes which raised its role. Undoubtedly, such successes helped Gulf countries expedite their movement towards modernization and development.
All these achievements came as a result of well-studied and wise procedures endorsed by the leadership. Despite all that, certain observations were picked by those who are fond of the Kingdom.
It is not a secret to say some will benefit if the Kingdom remains closed and backward, without catching up with modern trends. They rejected revision of laws, updating programs and lifting injustice on citizens who fell victim to the greedy that strive to accumulate wealth even if it is at the expense of the impoverished and their livelihood.
Recently, we were elated because of the fund allocated through the generous donation of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz to reduce the burden of families who are in debt and cannot repay the unfair amount they incurred due to the acts of those who do not fear Almighty Allah.
The Crown Prince, soon you will head back to Riyadh. We hope you will open the files of inmates who are unable to pay debts which have become unbearable because of the interests these debts have attracted, or because the lender did not take into consideration the situation of the borrower.
For instance, how can a lender lend someone earning 10,000 Saudi riyals per month one or two million Saudi Riyals, knowing very well that the borrower is not able to pay such debt? Perhaps, the lender resorts to pushing for imprisonment of the borrower in order to possess something the borrower owns, or just for the sake of greed which subsequently destroys the family and displaces its members..
Indeed, the new fund will lift many injustices on those families and their members, but regulations on loans must be changed; in addition to allocating a portion of Zakat (alms) money collected from companies and individuals to help people. This money, even though it is collected without proper regulations, was allotted for the impoverished, poor and those in debt as per the Shariah Law.
Once the system is in place, the State and its leadership will no longer be responsible for settling debts of those who defaulted. In fact, there will be a clear and fair mechanism, as the case in most countries which prohibit imprisonment of a defaulter, because these countries realize that such people will never be able to repay their debt if they are thrown into prison.
The Kingdom has more than 10,000 defaulters and some unscrupulous companies are taking advantage of their cases to defame the Kingdom in something which can be solved easily by enacting laws and formulating systems to prevent the repetition of this bitter experience.
Some say that this is Saudi’s internal affair but in reality, this is a Khaliji affair considering the Kingdom, as we mentioned earlier, is the economic engine of the Gulf. As long as its economy is in good shape, the entire Gulf will be in good shape too.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times