Saudi act hu­mil­i­ates Le­banese peo­ple, Al-Mus­taqbal: ex­pert

Tehran Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Pay­man Yaz­dani

TEHRAN — Ira­nian ex­pert Sadeq Maleki says Hriri’s res­ig­na­tion un­der the pres­sure of Riyadh is not only hu­mil­i­a­tion of the Le­banese peo­ple but also the hu­mil­i­a­tion of Al- Mus­taqbal bloc.

De­vel­op­ments such as launch of mis­sile to Saudi Ara­bian cap­i­tal Riyadh by Ye­me­nis govern­ment and an­nounce­ment of res­ig­na­tion of Saad Hariri as Le­banese Prime Min­is­ter at­tracted the at­ten­tion of po­lit­i­cal and me­dia cir­cles to­wards Saudi Ara­bia by plot­ting charges against Iran ac­com­pa­nied by mas­sive ar­rests un­der the lead­er­ship of Mo­ham­mad bin Sal­man.

To learn more about this, our cor­re­spon­dent has con­ducted an in­ter­view with Sadeq Maleki se­nior Po­lit­i­cal An­a­lyst and Ex­pert. Here­un­der is ex­cerpt of in­ter­view:

How do you eval­u­ate the wave of changes and de­vel­op­ments in Saudi Ara­bia?

A: Al­though changes and de­vel­op­ments in Saudi Ara­bia at the first glance can lead to the power strug­gle among Saudis, in a more ac­cu­rate as­sess­ment, it can be said that these changes are an in­dis­pens­able and in­evitable ne­ces­sity that should sooner or later put Saudi Ara­bia in a po­si­tion in con­form­ity with the de­vel­op­ment cri­te­ria. Con­tin­u­a­tion of Saudi Ara­bia’s life with a tra­di­tional sys­tem de­pend­ing on the tribal ar- range­ments which is the brain­child of Salafism is no longer vi­able.

The world, re­gion and even so­cial con­text of Saudis have changed but Saudi Ara­bia is still cap­tured by an old sys­tem that is not re­spon­sive to the cur­rent con­di­tion of this coun­try and world.

The de­vel­op­ments in Saudi Ara­bia have been made with the aim of struc­tural changes and its process will con­tinue with ups and downs.

Are these changes in Saudi Ara­bia at­trib­uted to its in­ter­nal cir­cum­stances?

A: In re­sponse to your ques­tion, I should say that all so­cio-po­lit­i­cal changes in all com­mu­ni­ties such as Saudi Ara­bia have both in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal ori­gins.

Saudi Ara­bia, like other coun­tries, is not im­mune to ex­ter­nal in­flu­ences.

With the rev­o­lu­tion and fast-paced de­vel­op­ment of com­mu­ni­ca­tions in the con­tem­po­rary world of to­day, the di­men­sion of time and place lost its tra­di­tional mean­ing and Riyadh can­not avoid the ef­fects of these changes. The new gen­er­a­tion of Saudi Ara­bia such as Muham­mad bin Sal­man has been nur­tured and raised with west­ern teach­ing who is fa­mil­iar with the ne­ces­si­ties of moder­nity. The teach­ings and tra­di­tions, orig­i­nated from tra­di­tional and tribal so­ci­ety of Saudi Ara­bia, which are based on Salafism can no longer se­cure in­ter­ests of Saudis.

On the other hand, U.S. govern­ment at­taches great im­por­tance to Saudi Ara­bia as a staunch ally, so that Saudi sta­bil­ity is a fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ple for the United States. It seems that an agree­ment has been con­cluded be­tween Riyadh and Wash­ing­ton for tran­si­tion of Saudi Ara­bia from tra­di­tional so­ci­ety to­wards a de­vel­oped and mod­ern so­ci­ety.

This is­sue has noth­ing to do with U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and even Saudi Crown Prince Mo­ham­mad bin Sal­man. This change had to take place be­tween Saudi Ara­bia and U.S. any­way.

But ar­rests in Saudi Ara­bia in­di­cate in­ter­nal op­po­si­tion to this trend. What is your opin­ion in this re­gard?

A: These changes hap­pened in Saudi Ara­bia are dif­fi­cult and costly in some cases. By re­for­ma­tion of its tra­di­tional pol­icy, Saudi Ara­bia is re­form­ing its old struc­tures and emer­gence of new struc­tures in ac­cor­dance with the mod­ern-day con­di­tion. The pre­vi­ous fac­tors as­so­ci­ated with the United States, that can­not and/or do not have the ca­pac­ity of ac­com­pa­ny­ing these changes, are elim­i­nated and re­placed by the new faces.

How some global cir­cles es­pe­cially west­ern sup­port­ers and ad­vo­cates of hu­man rights have adopted si­lence against the wave of ar­rests in Saudi Ara­bia?

A: Do not be­lieve the West­ern con­sid­er­a­tions of hu­man rights sig­nif­i­cantly. Po­lit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions are of­ten con­cealed on the is­sues re­lated to the hu­man rights. It should be kept in mind that Saudi Ara­bia is a West­ern al­liance, so ob­servers and claimants of hu­man rights can ig­nore their per­for­mance.

On the other hand, de­vel­op­ments in Saudi Ara­bia are in­ter­nal changes that are en­cour­aged by the West and the United States in par­tic­u­lar. Broadly speak­ing, there is a full har­mony be­tween Saudi Crown Prince Mo­ham­mad bin Sal­man and United States.

The ex­pe­ri­ence of this kind of changes has al­ready oc­curred in Turkey with the in­dige­nous and sys­temic con­sid­er­a­tions and its de­vel­op­ments are still con­tin­u­ing in this coun­try with ups and downs. Turkey has also re­de­fined its po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and so­cial struc­ture with Er­do­gan and AKP govern­ment and even, wave of ar­rests re­lated to it still con­tin­ues. In Saudi Ara­bia, be­liefs in Salafism and re­li­gious-based view can­not serve the changes. The re­moval of them and si­lence of the West to­wards the ar­rests is the re­sult of this equa­tion.

This means that you be­lieve Wash­ing­ton and Riyadh have gone away and adopted a wide gap from ex­trem­ist groups, stem­ming from Salafist think­ing and/or will bury them at the grave. Would you mind ex­plain­ing more on this?

A: In re­sponse to your ques­tion, I should say that Saudi Ara­bia and United States, etc. have a strate­gic vi­sion to

It should be noted that Salafism and ex­trem­ist groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIL were once of­fer­ing ser­vices to the United States of Amer­ica in line with se­cur­ing its in­ter­est but these groups have no longer their pre­vi­ous per­for­mance. Of course, these groups have been marginal­ized and in some cases, they have been mis­used.

the ex­trem­ist groups such as ISIL and Al-Qaeda and will not re­lin­quish this im­por­tant tool. There­fore, the duo will take ad­van­tage of ISIL and Al-Qaeda ac­cord­ing to the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion. Presently, Salafism and its broader con­text in Saudi Ara­bia have pre­vented de­vel­op­ment and mod­ern­iza­tion of Saudi Ara­bia and in some cases, it brought about catas­tro­phes such as Sept. 11 ter­ror­ist at­tack. I am of the opin­ion that Salafism should be weak­ened and con­trolled com­pletely. In gen­eral, Salafism should be man­aged for spe­cific pur­poses as well.

It should be noted that Salafism and ex­trem­ist groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIL were once of­fer­ing ser­vices to the United States of Amer­ica in line with se­cur­ing its in­ter­est but these groups have no longer their pre­vi­ous per­for­mance. Of course, these groups have been marginal­ized and in some cases, they have been mis­used.

Mo­ham­mad bin Sal­man him­self is ac­cused of abuse and cor­rup­tion. How has he been a leader of fight­ing against cor­rup­tion?

A: It is not sup­posed any­one come from out­side and man­age the trend of changes in Saudi Ara­bia. For ex­am­ple, Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cept Tayyip Er­do­gan also move from the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Is­tan­bul to the po­si­tion of pres­i­dency. When he as­sumed as Turk­ish Pres­i­dent, he dealt with the sys­temic cleans­ing and change of struc­tures in this coun­try. Yes. The is­sue of cor­rup­tion is se­ri­ously raised with re­gard to Mo­ham­mad bin Sal­man but one in the sys­tem should be ini­tia­tor of changes in Saudi Ara­bian govern­ment. It seems that both in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal agree­ment is on Mo­ham­mad bin Sal­man.

How do you eval­u­ate the charges stated by Saudi Ara­bia and the United States with re­gard to the launch of Ye­meni mis­sile by Iran?

A: These charges have a goal be­yond the geopol­i­tics of Saudi war with Ye­men. Im­ple­men­ta­tion of Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Ac­tion (JCPOA) is the re­sult of heroic lead­er­ship of Iran and pow­er­ful Rouhani Ad­min­is­tra­tion. How­ever, im­ple­men­ta­tion of JCPOA thwarted plots and con­spir­a­cies of Saudi Ara­bia and U.S. Pres­i­dent Trump. For a long time, ex­er­tion of pres­sure to Iran has been in­ten­si­fied over its mis­sile power. Saudi Ara­bia and United States claim that the mis­sile hit Saudi Ara­bia is Ira­nian-made mis­sile.

As a mat­ter of fact, the duo have ac­cused Iran of avail­ing Ye­meni govern­ment with its pow­er­ful mis­sile un­der the pre­text of re-im­pos­ing new waves of sanc­tions against Iran. Ac­cord­ing to the statis­tics, ca­su­al­ties in Saudi Ara­bia have risen caused by Ye­meni mis­sile strikes to this Ara­bic coun­try while Saudi of­fi­cials state that Ye­meni mis­sile strikes had not any ca­su­al­ties in Saudi Ara­bia.

Adopt­ing si­lence in the face of siege led to the spread of hunger and com­pre­hen­sive cholera in Ye­men which is the re­sult of U.S. sup­port of Saudi Ara­bia in this un­equal war.

What is your anal­y­sis over res­ig­na­tion of Saad Hariri For­mer Le­banese Prime Min­is­ter in Riyadh?

A: In the field of art and ar­chi­tec­ture, some his­toric mon­u­ments have been named as Seven Won­ders. By an­nounc­ing the res­ig­na­tion of Hariri in Riyadh, a file should be opened in pol­i­tics and state man­age­ment, so that Hariri’s res­ig­na­tion should be termed as the first his­toric won­der.

The his­tory of such a hu­mil­i­at­ing res­ig­na­tion has not yet been recorded. This is not the hu­mil­i­a­tion of Le­banese peo­ple, rather, it is the hu­mil­i­a­tion of Al-Mus­taqbal po­lit­i­cal trend in Le­banon.

By read­ing the text pro­vided by Saudi Ara­bian govern­ment, Hariri prac­ti­cally con­veys the mes­sage of Saudis to Tehran which is go­ing to take re­venge of their fail­ure in Ye­meni war from Le­banon but this project will fail too. The ex­pe­ri­ence of civil wars in Le­banon will not be re­peated. Among the Is­lamic coun­tries, there has been the high­est in­dex of in­ter­faith re­la­tions in Le­banon.

Le­banese peo­ple are the most po­lit­i­cal peo­ple in the re­gion and are aware of plots in the re­gion. Le­banese Re­sis­tance Move­ment “Hezbol­lah” is the crys­tal­liza­tion of re­sis­tance and na­tional el­e­ment in Le­banon.

Not only all Le­banese peo­ple but also peo­ple of re­gion have spe­cial ten­dency to Hezbol­lah. The record of Iran and Saudi Ara­bia with re­gard to the ter­ror­ist groups such as ISIL is crys­tal clear to ev­ery­one and is a guide to ac­tion.

Is there pos­si­bil­ity of mil­i­tary con­fronta­tion be­tween Riyadh and Tehran?

A: In the po­lit­i­cal arena, ev­ery­thing is pos­si­ble but ex­pe­ri­ence shows that Riyadh and Tehran do not ap­pear to be in di­rect mil­i­tary ac­tion. It should be kept in mind that Iran and Saudi Ara­bia are fol­low­ing up eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and im­prov­ing rel­e­vant in­di­ca­tors, so that this ob­jec­tive can be achieved in peace. It seems that the scene of pol­i­tics should be warded off from war and the lo­gin of peace should re­place in­stead of war.

Will re­forms in Saudi Ara­bia have re­gional im­pli­ca­tions?

A: In re­sponse to your ques­tion, I should say that any de­vel­op­ment in Saudi Ara­bia or any other coun­try in the re­gion will af­fect the sur­round­ing en­vi­ron­ment con­sid­er­ably. Due to the po­si­tion of Saudi Ara­bia in re­gional equa­tions, any de­vel­op­ment in this coun­try will af­fect other coun­tries in the re­gion as well.

Mov­ing away from Salafi, giv­ing pri­or­ity to Ara­bism and mov­ing to­wards sec­u­lar­ism will af­fect Shi­ites of the re­gion as well.

De­vel­op­ment in Bagh­dad-Riyadh and trips of Muq­tada Sadr and Haidar Al-Abadi are part of crys­tal­liza­tion of re­forms in Saudi Ara­bia.

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