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memri
May 18, 2017 No.
6932

Saudi Writers To Trump In Advance Of Riyadh Visit: We Expect Agreements On Establishment Of A Palestinian State And On Fighting The Iranian Threat – Not Just A Courtesy Call

On the eve of U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia, two Saudi writers – the editor of the Saudi Al-Jazirah daily, and a columnist for the Saudi Al-Watan daily – published articles addressed to the American president. The articles congratulated Trump on making Saudi Arabia his first stop on his first trip abroad as president, and assured him that he would find it a loyal ally. At the same time, both writers made it clear that the leaders of the Arab states and the Arab peoples expect his visit to yield agreements on the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel in the 1967 borders and based on the Arab Peace Initiative and the international resolutions and, as well as agreements on the fight against the Iranian threat in the region, which they explain has increased in the wake of the Iran nuclear deal under the Obama administration. It is vital, they said, that this visit not be a mere courtesy call for protocol purposes.

The following are highlights from the two articles:


U.S. President Donald Trump and Saudi King Salman bin 'Abd Al-'Aziz (image: alwaght.com)

Al-Watan Columnist: Don't Be "Just Another Version Of Obama"

Academic and columnist 'Ali Sa'd Al-Moussa, wrote in the Al-Watan daily: "...Mr. President, allow me to take you back eight years, to the time the infamous [President] Barack Obama arrived here. He left Riyadh in order to give his famous speech at Cairo University. I can tell you, Mr. President, almost vehemently, that the streets in the Arab and Muslim countries came to a dead halt in order to listen to him. His was a philosophical speech, in an academic style very much like that of a university lecturer in a political [science] class.

"But over time, it became clear to us that this speech was not appropriate for the leader of a world power like the U.S. It strewed all [possible] promises to us, but over [the next] eight years, not even a minimal effort was made to implement a single line of what he had said in his speech. He said things that he was unable to deliver.

"Mr. President, together Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were an alliance of the defeated and the weak. The Middle East was never in its history burned as it was by this alliance in the U.S. presidential seat – not to mention the policy of destruction in such a vital part of the world [as ours] – [a policy] that Hillary, we believe, was party to shaping.

"I will be clear if I say that the world knows very well that in the last two years [of his term], Barack Obama was doing the bidding of Vladimir Putin, and was a secondary [player] next to him. This was the greatest humiliation in the history of the U.S. Barack Obama merely watched from the sidelines in this sickening show [in the region], when he allowed Tehran to effectively – not hypothetically – occupy Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen, and to choose, from the seminary on Qom, who would rule [in their capitals]. During these eight years, Riyadh stood alone before this Iranian expansion...

"In sum, Mr. President, we do not want an American leader like you to come to us with a new speech, as Obama did before you. We are pessimistic and allergic to promises and speeches. Mr. President, we recognize our first and only enemy in this region [i.e. Iran], and we have come to know it even better over the past eight years, as it did to us what it could not in [the previous] 40 years.

"Mr. President, you will discover that Riyadh is a loyal and independent ally and is the only one who knows all the keys to wisely and moderately solving [the crises in the region]. All [we] ask [of you] is that you not be just another version of Obama."[1]

 

Al-Jazirah Editor: Without A Solution To The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, We Will Never Get Out Of The Tunnel Of Terror

Likewise, Khaled Al-Malik, editor-in-chief of the Saudi government daily Al-Jazirah, wrote: "Honorable President Trump... Soon you will visit the Saudi Arab kingdom, as part of your first visit outside [the U.S.] after your election. This is a precedent that is in line with your bold and surprising positions... This is a wise and clever deed that will have both direct and indirect ramifications, and it attests to the special nature of a leader and to the historic leadership that capably reads reality, senses the important issues, and seeks a solution for them.

"Mr. President, you are coming to Riyadh, to the leadership of the Islamic and Arab world, the beating heart of Arabness and Islam, in a highly important event. You will meet with King Salman bin 'Abd Al-'Aziz... with his brother leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Arab leaders, and with his brother leaders of the Islamic states, in an unprecedented political spectacle. All these leaders, including kings, emirs, and presidents... yearn for your visit to lead to agreements between you and them and to results that will end the terror that is so powerfully striking the region and the world, and to true cooperation, with the aim of finding a solution to unresolved issues."

 

The Key To Peace And Stability Is A Palestinian State Alongside Israel According To The Arab Peace Initiative And The International Resolutions

"Mr. President, we do not want your visit to be a courtesy call, or for protocol only. Likewise, we will not settle for [the signing of] agreements if they remain only on paper and go unimplemented – or if they are implemented weakly such that they do not accomplish the aim of your meeting with all these leaders. These leaders have responded to the invitation [to meet with you] and are interested in doing so, and come willing to accept what everyone agrees to, in order to serve peace and stability in our region and in the world, after years of suffering caused by instability and the spread of terrorism that the world was unable to control [and instead] allowed its [perpetrators] and its supporters and sponsors to remain free and failed to bring them to account.

"Mr. President, allow me to say that the key to obtaining peace and stability, to eliminating terrorism, and to achieving security for all the peoples of the world will be arrived at by solving the crisis in the Middle East and by ending the grave Palestinian-Israeli crisis. [This latter must be done] in accordance with the legitimate international resolutions and by establishing a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel as agreed, and by resolving everything hindering this, according to the Arab Peace Initiative to which all the Arabs have agreed...

"As long as the Palestinian Israeli conflict is not resolved, no solution aimed at extricating ourselves from the tunnel of terrorism will succeed. Terrorists on both sides have used this issue [to justify] assassinations, to foment chaos and internal wars, and to create tension in our region, that later spread outside the region.

"[To date], no serious thought has been given to how to resolve the problem, and no action at all has been taken to prevent the Arabs and Muslims from vying with each other in brandishing extremist slogans in the name of the Palestinian problem. On the Israeli side as well, it is claimed that the two-state solution endangers it – even existentially. This, as you know, is while the Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims are not demanding more today than the territories that Israel occupied in 1967 in order to establish their state with Jerusalem as its capital alongside an Israeli state in the pre-1967 borders – [a formula] rejected by the extremists on both sides."

 

The Summit Must Discuss The Iranian Threat In The Region – And Iran's Support For Terror

"Mr. President, I do not want to be longwinded in this letter. But I cannot be silent about the Iranian nuclear reactor and the agreement arrived at with the Iranian regime under which [Iran's nuclear program] is delayed in exchange for the unfreezing of Iranian bank accounts in banks across the world and for economic and political cooperation with [the Iranian regime]. [This agreement] arouses apprehension among the countries of the region, particularly in the GCC countries, because it has given rise to a situation in which Iran's takeover [of the region] is continued by means of lenient international cooperation and disregard of the fact that Iran is interfering in the affairs of the Arab countries and threatening peace and stability in the region.

"Therefore, we hope that one of the most important topics of discussion during your Saudi Arabia visit and your meeting with King Salman and the other Arab and Muslim leaders will be Iran's threat to the region's security, its encouraging of terrorism, and its support for extremism that have destablized our region and exposed it to terror attacks..."[2]

 

 

[1] Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), May 8, 2017.

[2] Al-Jazirah (Saudi Arabia), May 14, 2017.