Saudi National Day: Steady pace toward Vision 2030

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Celebration of the 87th Saudi National Day came as our nation is witnessing a new phase of development and prosperity, moving steadily toward realizing Vision 2030. It also coincided with the failure of occasional ignorant, hateful and misleading posts on social media aimed at destroying our unity. Religious, political and cultural elites of the community have proved their commitment to our nation’s leadership by standing together as one to help build a bright future for this country and to achieve comprehensive development.

The reason for the failure of such messages of hate is simple yet significant; those who are behind them are non-Saudis. Many of them are members of organized e-groups that are run from outside Saudi Arabia and funded by hostile countries. Most importantly, they do not understand the mechanism of the legitimacy of the Saudi regime, which I call “the hidden truth,” which can be explained as follows:

Firstly, the royal family derives its political legitimacy from a long history that dates back 300 years to the 18th century. In 1745, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Saud established the first Saudi state, which was ended in 1818 by the Ottoman army led by Ibrahim Pasha. Commanded by Prince Turki Bin Abdullah Al-Saud, the royal family established the second Saudi state in 1818, which lasted until 1891. The family rose again for the third time to establish the third Saudi state led by King Abdulaziz in 1932. Hence, anyone who is unfamiliar with the Saud family’s long history, and the support they have earned from the people through the three states, cannot understand its political legitimacy.

Secondly, this state is not only based on its political and religious legitimacy; it can also claim legitimacy through its achievements. Although the third Saudi state has only existed for 100 years, it strives to be a civil state that guarantees the rights and freedoms of all citizens and to be accepted and respected by the international community. In this short time span, it has attained great achievements at all levels, including infrastructure, education, healthcare and industry.

Saudi Arabia topped the list of Arab countries and was ranked 29th at the international level on the Global Competitiveness Index 2016-2017 of the World Economic Forum. The Index provides insight into 12 drivers of productivity and prosperity in 138 economies.

Moreover, due to the strength of its economy, Saudi Arabia is a member of the G20, an international forum for the governments and central bank governors of 20 major economies. This indicates the Kingdom’s effectiveness in shaping world economic policies and being a safe haven for investments from different countries of the world.

At the political level, President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia on his first official foreign trip, and his participation in three summits hosting over 50 Arab and Muslim countries, confirmed the political weight and the escalating role of Saudi Arabia in the international community and its real impact on the course of many important and thorny issues in international relations.

Thirdly, the misinformed critics are clearly ignorant of the local state of affairs regarding the lawfulness of public criticism in Saudi Arabia. They are unaware that the faults of officials are publically and explicitly criticized in the media. Many officials have been sacked and many others subjected to investigation as a result of such public criticism. Thus, freedom of criticism is guaranteed so as not to disrupt social security and stability.

Finally, on 25 April 2016, the state and the community started a comprehensive political, social and economic movement in parallel with Vision 2030 declared by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman. The community will go hand in hand with the state to realize the vision with clear and systematic plans, leaving no room for those who seek to hinder the projects and achievements. So, those with constructive minds must roll up their sleeves and stay with us. As for those with destructive minds, there is no place here for them.

— Dr. Ibrahim Al-Othaimin is a Middle East affairs specialist and security analyst based in Riyadh. He can be contacted at Ibrahim.othaimin@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alothaimin


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