By Fahad Al-Deghaither
The matter between Saudi Arabia and America has not reached the extent to which President Joe Biden had taken it after he vowed to ostracize the Kingdom and isolate it from the world. Even though we know that these statements were uttered before his winning the presidency, by an unprecedented and intense postal vote, these words were shocking and unprecedented.
It is also interesting that the timing of this coincided with the military action by the Saudi-led Arab Coalition to confront the reckless Iranian expansion, which reached the southern borders of the Kingdom through the Houthi militia. What is more ironic is that the United States itself was supporting this alliance on the levels of logistics and intelligence, albeit in a limited and sporadic manner.
Without giving any introduction, the Biden administration, as soon as he entered the White House, began to move away from this war, and even stopped selling missiles and materiel, and withdrew some of the Patriot batteries from their sites inside the Kingdom.
These positions faced objections even from inside Washington, though they were not in public. This was evident when the Kingdom managed to obtain Patriot missiles from Greece, another NATO member country, and this was not possible without the approval of the US government. Although the US State Department recommended the sale of arms to the Kingdom at the end of last year, the repercussions of the White House positions referred to above caused deep rifts in the relations between the two countries.
Today, with the Biden administration returning to logic and reality on the ground and realizing the importance of continuing the seven-decade-old Saudi-American alliance, the two countries must establish signed and clear agreements that serve the common interests for times to come. Such extremely significant strategic relationships should not be subordinated to an emotional gesture or electoral slogan.
From here, we began to read about extensive and diverse meetings between high-level delegations from both countries, which are being held in Riyadh and Washington, to build new and solid bridges that govern the cooperation of the two countries in a professional and institutional manner, which precedes the expected visit of the US president to Riyadh after two months. This trend and work under his leadership has become more necessary in this period than ever before.
Let me point out for example, the United States and other Western countries, which are also allied in one way or another with the Kingdom and other Gulf states, should not negotiate with a rogue state and a flagrant terrorist regime such as Iran without the participation of the countries of the region in setting the outcomes of these negotiations with regard to their security and the safety of their properties.
The Kingdom is also an active and very important member of the international coalition against Iranian-backed terrorism in the region, irrespective of whether it is from Sunni or Shiite groups. Therefore, the exchange of information between the Gulf States and the rest of the coalition members is vital and a must to continue and develop, and should not be allowed to come to a halt.
As for the boring talks in the leftist media in the West about democracy and human rights, it has become a farce, and the American administration should not take these theories into consideration. The reality is that the peoples of the Gulf Arab states practice their own political systems, which are represented in the pledge of allegiance to the rulers. This system, which has been ruling Saudi Arabia for three centuries, will not change.
Rather, it has proven its feasibility when compared to some artificial “democracies,” whether in our region or even in the countries of the Western world themselves. Why do they think that we need to repair a vehicle that runs with the best machines and guarantees peace and security for its people and works tirelessly to build human and economic development?
Human rights are also protected, whether for minorities or for the majority, without the noise or talk that has become routine in the West, causing nausea. If these rights do not exist, citizens of many countries of the world would not have been involved in a race to obtain Saudi work visas and sometimes pay money for this. The countries of the region embrace millions of foreign workers belonging to all religions, sects and races without discrimination.
The Gulf States in general and Saudi Arabia in particular are not repressive states that chase after those who disagree with them, as some views in the West are keen to instill in the minds of the public. Yes, there was one unfortunate incident (only one) in Istanbul, the first in the history of the Kingdom, but it was followed by the government’s admission, arrests, trials and legal rulings against those who perpetrated that painful operation.
As we know, there are a number of Saudi citizens in Europe and America who practice treason against their country under the name of “the opposition” without being pursued by any threat, as Iran and other well-known countries do against opponents of their regimes.
Allies and friends should respect these entities and stop interfering in their affairs. Just as we in the Kingdom and the Gulf States do not interfere in the internal affairs of those countries, it is necessary, at the very least, that no one should interfere in our affairs too.
New agreements are a telling example of divergence of viewpoints. Apart from this, infinite reciprocal respect is a must to build strong and sustainable alliances capable of confronting all the challenges in our region and all around the world.