Why Washington should mend ties with vibrant Saudi Arabia

The changes taking place in our country are to serve our interests, as Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman said, and not to please the Obamas and others

By Tariq Al Homayed

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Published: Sun 24 Apr 2022, 11:29 PM

The Wall Street Journal recently published a story about Saudi-American relations that can only be described as part of the organised disinformation campaign to vilify Saudi Arabia.

Some might say that it is just a story, and it is not worth commenting on. But this is not true.

We must be aware of the seriousness of what is written because it has a profound impact on legislators, voters, study centers, book authors, and economic elites, not to mention its international influence.

We will not discuss the content of the story, but rather the basis of these misleading campaigns to demonize Saudi Arabia, which I have written about repeatedly.

The campaigns against Saudi Arabia in the United States are not new, they date back to before the September 11 terrorist attacks.

It is not the product of the work of activists and lobbies, but rather the product of Obamaism.

Since 2009, and with Barack Obama’s co to power, the campaign to vilify Saudi Arabia and other moderate Arab countries was launched in an organized manner and with official leaks.

Here are two examples, quoting Obama himself, that show the former president’s ideological hostility to Saudi Arabia, as well as the stark contradiction in American media.

The first example is from April 2015. In an interview with journalist Thomas Friedman, Obama said that Saudi Arabia suffers “very real external threats, but they also have some internal threats.”

He added that “unemployed youth” and “destructive and nihilistic” ideologies threaten the Kingdom from the inside.

The second example is a lengthy interview with The Atlantic in April 2016.

In that interview Obama said that “the Saudis and other Gulf Arabs have funneled money, and large numbers of imams and teachers,” and moved on to accuse the Saudis of supporting “Wahhabism.”

The Atlantic’s reporter then recalls Obama’s first foreign-policy commentary of note in a 2002 speech, before he became president.

In that note, Obama criticized President Bush for his alliance with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which he described as “so-called allies in the Middle East.” He also called on Bush to stop “tolerating corruption.”

The reporter also reminds us of Obama’s hatred of misogyny in Saudi Arabia.

Obama has argued in private that “a country cannot function in the modern world when it is repressing half of its population.”

In meetings with foreign leaders, Obama has said, “You can gauge the success of a society by how it treats its women.”

The former president went on to say that the Saudis need to “share” the Middle East with their Iranian foes.

Well, Obama said it, and Saudi Arabia is changing, and Saudi Arabia has changed completely after that, as it broke with all manifestations of extremism. In fact, the Kingdom launched the largest war on corruption in the history of the region.

Women in Saudi Arabia have obtained rights that women in “democratic” Arab countries and Iran have not.

Under the leadership of King Salman bin Abdulaziz, and the direct planning and implementation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia has opened the doors of all sectors for young people.

Despite these changes, US senators and activists continue their campaigns against Riyadh. Rather, the criticism has only increased against the Saudi leadership and the people. All this can be traced back to dominant Obamaism.

However, we see some Democrats changing the tide against Obamaism but there’s still a long way to go for the right understanding of the Kingdom and its importance in the Middle East.

Fareed Zakaria wrote in The Washington Post a remarkable article about the need to reform the relationship with Saudi Arabia.

“In international relations, strategy is chosen over ideology,” he wrote in what can be considered the first dissent against Obamaism.

We are, therefore, not opposed to honest criticism but rather are against ‘Obamaist’ ideology. Most importantly, the changes taking place in our country are to serve our interests, as Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman said, and not to please the Obamas and others.

Therefore, we must not get angry and boycott America, but confront and explain to Washington.

The writer is a senior Saudi journalist and editor

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