Amjad Ahmed Gabriel – Saudi Arabia and the Corona pandemic .. What comes after the G20 summit?


It is not reprehensible that Riyadh seeks to engage in the global efforts to deal with the Corona virus, nor does the Saudi monarch, in his telephone contact with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, impose on him, and express his country’s solidarity with Rome in these critical circumstances. There is absolutely nothing wrong with inviting Saudi Arabia to an extraordinary G20 summit to discuss such a big issue, especially with specialists’ expectations that it carries serious repercussions on the global economy.
But regardless of the “Saudi discourse” regarding this summit or its outputs, there are those who ask: Can the fact that it was held merely constitute a turning point in the path of Saudi politics? Is it sufficient for Riyadh to activate its international relations, by hosting this summit, to cover up the failure of its policies at the internal, Gulf, Arab and regional levels, which became clearer after the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul on October 2, 2018?
Perhaps, Muhammad bin Salman, in holding the summit so quickly, sought to achieve two main goals: one of them

Covering the exacerbation of the crises of the Saudi political system during his reign, as manifested in several aspects, most notably the arrest of Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, the younger brother of King Salman, and the arrest of Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, the former crown prince, in a proactive step to limit their influence, and prevent them and other princes, From just “thinking”, he is blocking his way to the throne of the kingdom. By extension, it can be said that Bin Salman faces intertwined internal and external crises, including: the exacerbation of public policy problems, the stopping of Hajj and Umrah revenues after the closure of the Great Mosque in front of visitors, as well as the decrease in oil prices and its implications for the dwindling possibility of implementing the “Vision 2030”, especially entertainment programs and tourism promotion And attempts to reduce the unemployment of university graduates, especially in light of the foreign policy crises, beginning with the continuation of the war on Yemen, despite the catastrophic consequences on the humanitarian level after five lean years, and through the blockade of Qatar and its repercussions on the dismantling of the Gulf Cooperation Council system, for the sake of Mosul The strengthening relationship between the Saudi / Emirati couple.
In addition to the regional conflicts in which Saudi Arabia is involved with Iran and Turkey, and not the end of the oil price war with Moscow that followed the collapse of Russia’s agreement with OPEC to cut production on the sixth of last month (March), in exchange for Saudi rapprochement with Israel, In a way that reveals the failure to understand the nature of the transformations that are occurring in the regional system in the Middle East, where the influence of the American / Israeli axis is eroded, which makes Riyadh’s bet on this axis a construction of towering palaces on moving sand. The other objective of the G20 summit is “hypothetically”, by using it to highlight the role of Saudi Arabia at the global level, especially the role of Mohammed bin Salman, as a reliable and responsible party, who can make an effective contribution to solving the world’s problems, including the Corona crisis.
It is not surprising in this context that the “Saudi discourse” and the supporters of the crown prince stipulate that the Kingdom seeks a “human globalization” to address the effects of the Corona crisis, instead of the “wild capitalist globalization” that revealed itself after the confusion of the administration of America and many European countries in the crisis Dangerous, and its investments in the areas of military industrialization and human destruction, neglecting vital civilian sectors, such as health, education, scientific research … etc. What is even more surprising is that this speech ignores the repercussions of the Saudi regional policy on the neighborhood, starting from Yemen, passing through the Gulf states, and reaching Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and Sudan.
It is not a secret to the foresight, the size of the crises that Riyadh tried to export to all these countries, through the policy of “inconvenience” pursued by Bin Salman and his close advisers, which contradicts the familiar Saudi foreign policy during the reigns of the two monarchs Faisal and Fahd, but rather the policy of King Salman himself in the years 2015 and 2016, before Muhammad bin Salman takes over the throne, and pursues a different policy, both internally and externally.
Although, since mid-2017, the crown prince provided immediate security and media dimensions,

On the economic, social and strategic dimensions in public policy making, the tactical predominance of the strategy, with priority being given to the production of images and rapid / immediate mental impressions among citizens that the country is transforming and witnessing a major “economic / tourism / cultural renaissance”, and using the method of hosting international events and conferences and sports tournaments to improve The Saudi image externally, it can be said that the country’s crises have worsened, especially since the “Vision 2030” does not take into account the state’s priorities and the needs of Saudi society, nor does it reflect the balance in its economic, social and cultural dimensions, as well as its deliberate disregard of the political dimensions and Political reform and the release of freedoms, as it is a vision designed with a “neoliberal” spirit and ideas, reflecting Riyadh’s growing desire to integrate more into the global capitalist economic system, within the framework of the process of reshaping the regional order in the Middle East, even through rapprochement with Israel, and making unjustified hostilities with all From Ankara and Tehran.
Just convening the G20 summit will not likely solve Saudi Arabia’s problems. There are limits to the success of policies to improve the external image in light of the exacerbation of domestic crises. Rather than seeking American and international support to cover up internal problems by holding this “virtual” summit, Riyadh may be able to regain something of its position and influence in the Arab and Islamic worlds by changing the foundations of its internal policies and redefining its “national security”, To include health, social, economic and scientific aspects, while inaugurating a correct concept of citizenship, based on a true partnership between society and the state, then immediately embarking on a path of reconciliation with Doha, restoring the confidence of the Gulf states, finding a political solution to the Yemen war, and giving up support for the policies of counter-revolution with all its results Disastrous on the street And b Arabic, and the adoption of the logic of dialogue, balance and respect for common interests, with the two neighbors, regional, Turkey and Iran, without runs Riyadh back to the question of Palestine, and without bets on the “bullying” of Israel against Iran and its allies in the region of armed militias.
Riyadh needs to reflect on the implications of the Ansar Allah leader’s initiative, Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi, for release

Saudi soldiers, in exchange for the release of Palestinian detainees from Hamas in Saudi prisons, it is an initiative that reveals the decline in the status of Saudi Arabia. It is inevitable that Riyadh will review its overall policies if it wants to overcome its internal and external crises, bearing in mind that asserting Saudi Arabia’s position and influence starts from the local level, then the Gulf, then the Arab, then the regional, then the international, without prejudice to the circles of the foreign policy movement.
In short, this year will be decisive for Saudi Arabia, especially in managing files: controlling or exacerbating conflicts within the Al Saud family, ending or calming the war in Yemen, hosting the G20 summit in November, or postponing it, US President Donald Trump’s victory in a new term or His loss in light of his administration’s confusion in the face of the Corona pandemic crisis.


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