Special report by
Leaders MENA team
In a clear statement, H R H Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Minister of Defense, said: “The war against terrorism and all those who support and finances it will go on, with full determination.” This clarity and firmness are what characterize the Crown Prince since he entered politics at an early age.
His Highness personality has attracted the attention of many political analysts and observers in the Middle East, of which Saudi Arabia is a pivotal country, with its political, economic and cultural weight, as well as its religious status as custodian of the two holy mosques.
If we look closer to the factors which influenced his personality we find that the deep knowledge and intellect of Prince Mohammed bin Salman are not surprising. He graduated in the University of King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz . King salman has been following politics and state administration at an early age. He was close to his father, King Abdulaziz, who has set the rules of a country that quickly emerged in the forefront of international politics and became a major player in the midst of the turbulent events that changed the face of the world, a world that witnessed two world wars in a short period of time, movements of independence and liberation and also has been a stage of bitter conflict between the capitalist and communist camps. King Salman, kept close to all the country’ kings and was part of decision-making and also led the development movement of the capital of the country, “Riyadh” became associated with him. Now Riyadh became is one of the most important and civilized capitals of the world.
These facts much contributed to shape the personality of Prince Mohammed bin Salman and to provide him with much experience that made of him a statesman able to take initiatives and take the most difficult decisions based on a strategic vision that dives in the depths. The steps may come out different, sometimes puzzling, to those who look at the surface only.
Oil has represented the basis of Saudi Arabia’s economy, the source of economic strength , and the platform for development. No one imagined that anyone may come up with a different view. Prince Mohammed bin Salman surprised the world with a vision of 2030 that the Kingdom, by 2020, could live without dependence on oil, saying that:”We have a case of oil addiction in Saudi Arabia which has slowed down development in other sectors very much”. He gave hint to the fact that his grandfather King Abdul Aziz and his men founded and ruled the Kingdom without oil.
Prince Mohamed Bin Salman explained the vision of 2030 and was appreciated by all those who followed him. He explained that Saudi Arabia has three strong points that no one can compete with. These are: the Arab and Islamic dimension, investment possibilities and geographic location.
The importance given to transparency by HH the Crown Prince is obvious. This would ensure keeping plans and policies on their assigned tracks. This has been clear in offering part of Aramco Oil Company shares for subscription, providing data on the company’s work and revenues, in establishing a military industry, a government industrial holding company, to foreign investors, building on the principle of transparency. He is trying to make the citizen a key partner, providing him with all the information on sources of income and the movement of the economy.
H H Prince Mohammed Bin Salman attaches much importance to human resources for driving the economy by training and qualifying them to enter the labor market, and by linking the outputs of education to the needs of the market.
The fight against terrorism
The United States of America represents the main center of influence in international politics. The Kingdom has maintained a distinguished relationship with the US. Prince Mohammed has emphasized the historical relations between the two countries and the importance of investing these for the common interest, in addition to ensuring international security and stability.
Prince Salman visited Washington, where he was received by US President Donald Trump and met with US officials, including US Defense Secretary James Matisse. It was agreed on a broad coalition against terrorism, as well as further cooperation in various fields.
The visit was the basis for three summits in Riyadh in May, namely the Saudi Arabian Summit, the Gulf-American Summit and the Arab-Islamic Summit.
The Summits reaffirmed the commitment of the participating countries to fight terrorism in all its forms and declared its support for the legitimate government and the coalition to address the terrorist groups in Yemen.
The Yemeni Process
Saudi Arabia did not delay the support of the legitimate government in Yemen after extension of the Houthi threat, and it becoming a threat to the entire region and a pretext for Iranian intervention, threatening sectarian strife that would destabilize the countries of this important region.
The military operations led by the Kingdom in Yemen started with the participation of 10 countries. The Coalition achieved many victories, the most important of which was the restoration of Yemeni cities, the securing of the Saudi border and the curtailment of the Iranian presence in Yemen.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman played a major role in mobilizing the coalition countries. In spite of this role, the Saudi crown prince continued to emphasize that he is not the architect of the Yemeni process. “We are a state of institutions. The decision to move ahead with the Yemen process is a decision on the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Defense and Intelligence, the Council of Ministers and the Political and Security Affairs Council, All the recommendations to His Majesty (the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques), and the decision to proceed with that is the decision of His Majesty, and my job as Minister of Defense is to carry out the orders of His Majesty and I will hand over any risks I see and prepare for any risk.”
The Crown Prince took care of the humanitarian situation in Yemen, initiated the full financial support needed to contain cholera in Yemen and provided $ 66.7 million to WHO, UNICEF and their partners to respond urgently to the appeal by the two organizations to fund cholera control activities.
Crown Prince as a humanitarian
The humanitarian aspect of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s character is obvious in the adoption of the Misk Charitable Society, a charitable organization that fosters and promotes learning and develops youth leadership skills for a better future for Saudi Arabia.
He expressed his vision for the Foundation and its mission, saying: «We will seek through the « Misk charity »to take initiatives and encourage creativity, so as to ensure its sustainability and growth to contribute to building the human mind».
This institution, with its humanitarian goals, highlights how much the Crown Prince is influenced by His Highness King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, who sponsors a large number of humanitarian institutions.
Misk focuses on the development of media skills and launches cultural projects aimed at mobilizing young people to represent the core of development.
Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was able to create a new and different approach in the Saudi national arena by supporting youth initiatives and creating a model that motivates young people to follow and represent as a national identity.