Goals of Bin Sal­man’s visit to UK: A blood­col­ored agree­ment

Tehran Times - - FRONT PAGE - Tehran Times edi­tor-in-chief @ghaderi62 By Mo­ham­mad Ghaderi

The re­cent visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mo­ham­mad bin Sal­man to the UK has at­tracted the at­ten­tion of the var­i­ous cir­cles. Be­sides the diplo­matic and busi­ness re­la­tions, bin Sal­man signed a pre­lim­i­nary deal to buy 48 Typhoon fighter jets from the UK. The jets, made by Bri­tish com­pany BAE Sys­tems, are part of 10 bil­lion-pound deal which has been un­der dis­cus­sion for many years. Fi­nally the pur­chase of Typhoon jets by Saudi Ara­bia was agreed upon as a re­sult of bin Sal­man visit to Bri­tain.

It seems that Western-backed arms man­u­fac­tur­ers are once again strug­gling to seize mar­kets in the re­gion, es­pe­cially in the Arab states of the Per­sian Gulf. The Ye­meni war, which the West has no de­sire for it to end, is an­other mo­ti­va­tor for sell­ing arms to Saudi Ara­bia and the UAE. For this rea­son, Amnesty In­ter­na­tional de­nounced the Saudi-Bri­tish arms con­tract to buy Typhoon jets and said that it’s just adding fuel to the hu­man­i­tar­ian fire in Ye­men. The Bri­tish La­bor Party, and some non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions, also con­demned the deal. Also, Politi­cians from the UK’s main op­po­si­tion party have de­nounced the $140 mil­lion hu­man­i­tar­ian deal with Saudi Ara­bia, say­ing it “made a mock­ery” of Bri­tain’s rep­u­ta­tion as a global leader in de­liv­er­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian aid. But the Bri­tish de­fense min­is­ter de­fended the deal and de­scribed the visit of the crown prince of Saudi Ara­bia to Lon­don as open­ing a new page in the re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries.

in bin Sal­man visit to the Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties, bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries and ways to strengthen this co­op­er­a­tion, es­pe­cially in the de­fense and mil­i­tary sec­tors, the op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able in Saudi Ara­bia by 2030, the de­vel­op­ments in the Mid­dle East and the world, as well as the so-called fight against Ter­ror­ism and ex­trem­ism were dis­cussed.

In a joint state­ment by the two coun­tries, Bri­tish sup­port for Riyadh was em­pha­sized.

It’s men­tioned in this state­ment that Saudi Ara­bia is a strate­gic ally of Bri­tain in the Mid­dle East. The two sides also em­pha­sized the po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment of the Ye­meni cri­sis based on the Per­sian Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil’s plan and its strate­gies, the re­sults of the Ye­men na­tional ne­go­ti­a­tions and Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion 2216, and claimed that such a so­lu­tion would guar­an­tee Ye­men’s se­cu­rity and in­tegrity.

Iron­i­cally this em­pha­sis on the po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tions for the ex­ist­ing crises in Ye­men is tak­ing place while Saudi Ara­bia uses Western weapons to con­tinue to as­sault this coun­try. With no doubt, Saudi Ara­bia’s case in war crimes and hu­man rights abuses in Ye­men is re­ally dark. Fur­ther­more, the state­ment em­pha­sizes Bri­tain’s com­mit­ment to pre­sent­ing its ex­pe­ri­ences to Saudi Ara­bia in im­ple­ment­ing re­forms and the joint com­mit­ment of the two coun­tries to a long-term part­ner­ship to sup­port the 2030s vi­sion of the Saudi Ara­bia.

Com­mer­cially speak­ing, con­tracts worth two-bil­lion dol­lars have been signed on the three-day visit of the Saudi Crown Prince to Eng­land, though de­tails of these con­tracts have not been an­nounced. The two sides also agreed to make up to $ 90 bil­lion in trade and mu­tual in­vest­ment in the com­ing years.

Re­gard­ing the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, the ques­tion is, what are the Saudis and Bri­tish goals of strength­en­ing re­la­tions and sign­ing such great amounts of dif­fer­ent con­tracts?

-Nat­u­rally, Saudi Ara­bia, which is a tra­di­tional ally of Bri­tain, will es­tab­lish dif­fer­ent kinds and lev­els of re­la­tions with the UK af­ter the Brexit. The be­gin­ning of the de­vel­op­ment of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries has been shaped around close se­cu­rity and mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion, and of course, Bri­tain in­tends to ex­tend these part­ner­ships to all com­mer­cial and eco­nomic grounds.

On the other hand, Bri­tain will need a solid ally, money and rich mar­ket af­ter leav­ing the EU. Ob­vi­ously, Saudi Ara­bia is at the top of its pri­or­i­ties. Mean­while, sell­ing bil­lions of pounds of weapons to Saudi Ara­bia is a deal that, ac­cord­ing to Bri­tish of­fi­cials, pro­vides tens of thou­sands of job op­por­tu­ni­ties in­side Bri­tain.

The re­cent poli­cies of the Saudi Ara­bia’s Crown Prince for con­duct­ing re­forms, and cre­at­ing an open cul­tural at­mos­phere in­side Saudi Ara­bia, have also en­cour­aged Lon­don to de­velop re­la­tions with Saudi Ara­bia.

Con­fronting the in­flu­ence of the Is­lamic Re­pub­lic of Iran has also long been on the agenda of the for­eign pol­icy of Riyadh, and this is­sue has the sup­port of the Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties. For this rea­son, Saudi Ara­bia wel­comes Bri­tish ex­perts’ con­tri­bu­tions and ad­vice to counter what it calls Iran’s threats.

On the one hand, bin Sal­man seeks to se­cure global sup­port for do­mes­tic eco­nomic and cul­tural re­forms and, on the other hand, he wants to en­sure in­ter­na­tional in­vestors to stay in the coun­try.

On the other hand, the re­form process in Saudi Ara­bia led by the in­ex­pe­ri­enced Crown Prince of Saudi Ara­bia faces se­ri­ous in­ter­nal bar­ri­ers. The quick pace of re­forms in the tra­di­tional and con­ser­va­tive so­ci­ety of Saudi Ara­bia will rather have neg­a­tive con­se­quences than pos­i­tive ones. This is while eco­nomic and cul­tural re­forms in Saudi Ara­bia, with­out po­lit­i­cal re­form (free­dom and democ­racy) won’t be a fun­da­men­tal so­lu­tion, and thus will cer­tainly face nu­mer­ous ob­sta­cles.

More­over, the is­sue of cop­ing with the Is­lamic Re­pub­lic of Iran is not easy for the Saudis. In re­cent years, Saudi Ara­bia suf­fered se­vere de­feats in var­i­ous re­gional scenes, in­clud­ing Iraq, Syria, Ye­men, Le­banon and ... against the Re­sis­tance Move­ment. Riyadh au­thor­i­ties think they would be able to con­front the Is­lamic Re­pub­lic of Iran re­ly­ing on western po­lit­i­cal sup­port and weapons, es­pe­cially those by the United King­dom and the United States. But they have over­looked the point that Western pow­ers are only seek­ing their own goals and in­ter­ests in the re­gion, and there­fore re­ly­ing on them will lead to noth­ing but frus­tra­tion and de­spair.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Iran

© PressReader. All rights reserved.