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According to Zvi Bar’el, Saudi Arabia dictates resolutions issued by the UN Security Council despite it not being a member.

He also says the Saudis dictate White House decision-making as well, stating that “it (Saudi Arabia) does have a sympathetic ear in the corridors of the U.S. administration and in all the other veto-wielding countries”. He also asserts that the Saudis control the Arab world’s media, directing it in the direction of its choice. He concludes by asserting that Saudi Arabia will exert all its efforts to protect Iran from an imminent military strike.

I forgot to mention that Bar’el is an Israeli writer for the Ha’aretz newspaper.

In this regards, I do not wish to discuss Bar’el’s assumptions or conclusions, however; what I do find interesting about these Israeli-based editorials is the way they highlight how similar we are as people, as if we were looking at a mirror image of each other.

No single Arab newspaper today is ever void of articles and editorials that claim Israel dictates the decision-making process in Washington, or that the Zionist lobby controls the White House and that the Jews control and run the western media.

Arabs speak of Jewish domination of the western and international media, as if it were a science fiction movie about warring planets in the year 20,000 A.D. Bar’el speaks about the influence of Saudi Arabia in the same intimidating spirit and conspiratorial interpretation.

In Bar’el’s view, the Saudis influences everything; including the ability to control the decision-making of all 5 permanent members in the UN Security Council, who have the ability to veto any resolution, despite what world public opinion dictates.

He believes that Saudis manipulate the Arab world through their media. Here, one can draw the same conclusion in Arab publications that issue statements that exaggerate Israeli and Jewish roles in the world to the extent it lessens the value of others and exposes them as weak nations of no considerable opinion, capabilities or logic.

Moreover, in Bar’el own words, American President George Bush can only “bite his lip”, when he is displeased with the kingdom. This assertion highlights Bar’el’s belief that the US President is obliged to turn a blind eye towards everything that Saudi Arabia says or does unlike other countries of the world.

The truth of the matter is that most States, regardless of how minor they are, have the right to determine for themselves what role they want to play. Any State has the right to waive or challenge, accept or boycott; these are its decisions and it has to bear all the consequences. The international crisis over Iran is the best example of international political relations. All countries of the UN Security Council and most Arab states are explicitly against Iranian nuclear proliferation, yet they differ in how to challenge this superficially peaceful project. In this instance, the Saudi stance is against Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb or attacking it.

If Bar’el is of the belief that the world is made up of two poles, a Saudi one and another that’s yet to be defined, then I must say that we need to take step back and redefine ourselves again. Saudi Arabia is a bit richer than Singapore, but all its public and private media do not add up to one tenth of a single company like Walt Disney.

If it’s true that Saudi Arabia has such political and media clout, as Bar’el says, then this must be attributed to its initiatives and status that are not supported by military fleets.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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