Riyadh summits... Iran’s elections!

Riyadh summits... Iran’s elections!

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi

By Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi

KING Abdulaziz Al Saud, the founder of the modern Saudi state, once explained to his advisers: Britain is a friendly country, America is a partner, and in the balance of national interests, a partner weighs more than a friend.

True! International relations are based on a win-win formula. There is no lasting friendship or permanent adversary, but permanent interests. Those whose best products are demagogic slogans either have no more valuable goods to trade, or it is a way to justify their failure in building partnerships, or because they covet hegemony without sharing an inch of interest with their counterparts.

The Gulf relationship with the world has always been based on the principle of mutual benefits. Britain and America had discovered and extracted our oil and shared the benefits with us. We used the income to buy products and bring in expertise that helped us achieve unprecedented levels of development in such a short period of time. Security and military cooperation was necessary to preserve common gains. Our security became part of their own. Together we confronted the communist tide and the revolutionary deluge. Together we fight terrorism and the forces of darkness. Together, we prevail.

I told Al-Mayadeen host, Kamal Khalaf, in response to an Iranian guest: We have a historical partnership with the West, especially the United States, the United Kingdom and France. They help us maintain security to protect their own interests, as much as ours. This is a concept the non-pragmatic revolutionary regimes cannot understand. The Rouhani government tried to deal with the US based on the logic of interest. It did win the nuclear agreement, but lost many associated benefits. In international relationships, you cannot be both a militia and a government.

Yes, you may fool all people some time and some people all the time, but you cannot fool all people all the time.

Iran fooled us for sometime, presenting a friendly face and hiding an ugly reality. It made some of us believe that there are really good cops and bad cops in Tehran. And that if we supported the so-called “moderate” branch of government, it would overcome the “extremists.” We eventually were hit by the fact that there is only one ideological regime, obsessed with a mission to rebuild an empire and concur the world.

Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Gulf states have had a different concept and goals. By sharing gains, they negotiated their way with others to develop their countries and improve the lives of their people. Such peaceful project is what the Iranian masses were calling for in the Green Revolution (the outcome of 2009-2010 Iranian protests against the rigging of the presidential elections). Beside the slogan “Where is my vote,” they were also chanting “No Gaza, no Lebanon … my soul is dedicated to Iran.” Their peaceful protests were put down … with a thunderous, ruthless force!

Our dear Iranian brothers and sisters hear today of the huge deals Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation countries are making with the United Sates, in manufacturing, education, training and trade, to provide quality jobs, development and prosperity. They would wonder why on earth they cannot have the same. Why wasn’t their great nation invited to the party? How come all Muslim nations are represented in the summit with the US president, except theirs?

They would hear and believe the answer to these questions: Their government is so isolated, disapproved and confronted because of its systematic policies of aggression, intervention and revolution exportation. Their resources are so wasted in crusades of hate, war and destruction. Their old-new President, Hassan Rouhani, is powerless to change any of that, because he is only a tool in the overwhelming machine of an ideological regime.

The Riyadh summits were a monumental historic celebration that would not have been possible without the insistence of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states on the option of development, international cooperation and Arab and Islamic solidarity. In their unity, solidarity and betting on the development of its countries and the welfare of their people, they have presented a successful model, not only to its ideological neighbors, but to the whole world.

Saudi Arabia is a member of the world’s largest economies (G20). The United Arab Emirates and Qatar compete with Singapore and Hong Kong in international logistics and trade. Bahrain is the capital of Islamic banking. Kuwait and Oman are major destinations for tourism, trade and culture. Three Gulf airlines are among the world top five.

The international community has witnessed in 48 hours the rise of the Arabian Gulf, its good governance and the solidarity of the Arab and Islamic nations. Our message also reads that our gains will be protected by our souls and blood. Our bullying neighbors should improve their reading skills ... This might be the last message!

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi is a Saudi writer based in Jeddah. He can be reached at kbatarfi@gmail.com. Follow him at Twitter:@kbatarfi