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Prince Naif: May he rest in peace - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The name of late Saudi Crown Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz, Saudi Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, was synonymous with Saudi [national] security, for this was his greatest obsession. He was able – with his special manner and view – to dedicate a new and important concept regarding the Saudi citizens’ relationship with the Interior Ministry, as well as sanctify security and stability in important and dangerous confrontations with various forms of extremism, terrorism and other threats. The operations of the Saudi Interior Ministry developed under Prince Naif’s auspices, and a number of additions were made to this focal national institute, whilst the operations of organizations such as the border guards, civil defense, road security, passport control, prison service, traffic service and other well-known services were also improved and developed in terms of their dealings with Saudi citizens.

Prince Naif was concerned with many vital issues with regards to managing national affairs. For a long time, he was very concerned with the issue of labor, as well as the media, tourism and hajj. He had a vision for – and left his mark on – all of these vital issues, resulting in significant qualitative change in their policies and legislation. He had a specific vision regarding Saudi Arabian politics, namely that everything is open to dialogue, give-and-take and discussion, with the exception of [national] security, which represents a red-line. Prince Naif believed that there is no room for compromise or sacrifice on this issue, for security is an matter that is beyond dispute!

He was very interested in communicating with his teachers and those who were close to him, and he would begin every trip to Mecca with a visit to the house of his late teacher, Sheikh Abdullah al-Khayat, to pay his respects. He was just as faithful to many other symbols of the country who served him in different locations with honesty, integrity and dedication. Prince Naif had a big heart, was precise in his speech, and was patient and very well-informed. He was a well-experienced leader who headed a sensitive ministry under very difficult circumstances, but he was nevertheless extremely successful in this, as the world can testify.

Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz will leave a huge void in the Saudi state institute, for he was an exceptional man who had a great and noticeable presence. Officials, students, intellectuals, youths and the elderly all dealt with him and found that he was prepared to communicate and answer them with an open heart. He was the first person to pay attention to the challenge of nationalizing jobs, and he sponsored the first serious approach towards Saudization, whilst he was very keen on monitoring this. He viewed the issue of unemployment as a strategic challenge to national development, believing that Saudi society must stand united and confront this, in the same manner that it ably confronted the war on terrorism.

He also strongly supported a special program and award regarding the “Prophet’s Sunnah”, encouraging memorization and sponsorship of the Prophet’s Hadith. He was a man who had a special sense with people, whilst his majlis – at the Interior Ministry – was open to all-comers, and he was also keen to meet and communicate with Saudi citizens during his various visits across the different regions of the Kingdom. Prince Naif also left a clear impression in his foreign relations with important countries like, for example, Tunisia, Algeria, and Bahrain. His leadership of the Arab Interior Ministers Council was also very important in terms of his role in supporting effective security cooperation and coordination between these states that so rarely agreed on anything, but despite this he was able to engender the minimum requirement of agreement to make a number of effective achievements. Prince Naif also stood firmly and strongly against Iranian threats towards Saudi Arabia on a number of different occasions, as well as Iranian threats towards the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain.

Prince Naif had huge experience, and he was one of Saudi Arabia’s greatest politicians and decision-makers. He was known for his wise, patient and heartfelt manner in terms of his decision-making, and he will forever be linked to the concept of national security in the eyes of the people of Saudi Arabia. The people of Saudi Arabia will forever be grateful for his efforts in this field, as well as his firm stance against the Iranian threats towards the Kingdom, which have been the subject of fear amongst the people for quite some time. We pray that God Almighty bestows his mercy and forgiveness upon Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz, that he rests in peace, and the Saudi people find solace and comfort. To God we belong, and to Him shall we return.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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