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From Riyadh … A Middle East without ‘Constructive Chaos’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz at the Arab-Islamic-US summit in Riyadh on May 21. (SPA)

In June 2006, former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice launched her great project at the time: “The New Middle East” instead of the “Great Middle East.” She was openly promoting this concept that was aimed at creating a state of instability and chaos to remap the region.

This would later unleash the forces of “constructive chaos”, as they were called. These forces would spread violence and instability in all corners of the Middle East, which is indeed what happened or at least a large part of it did through the “Arab Spring”.

The repercussions of this disastrous project did not emerge in the region alone, but in the world, which realized that it was harmful and lethal chaos, not a “constructive” one at all as much as it brought about terrorism and instability.

Perhaps the magic equation that was used for that alleged “constructive chaos” was pressuring regional countries to introduce change from abroad according to ideas that do not fit the radically different peoples in the region. This was later firmly proven to be ineffective as balances were changed and unprecedented fragmentation hit the region.

The repercussions and remains of this disastrous project are still present. This is why Riyadh’s Arab-Islamic-US summit was a good opportunity to bury it for good. Saudi Arabia, led by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz managed to rearrange regional cards primarily on the basis of country interests and stability and secondarily on bolstering historic alliances. This was demonstrated through reviving the strategic alliance with the United States and convincing it that its interests do not differ much from those of the countries of the Middle East.

Perhaps altering the official American mentality about its interests and limits of its meddling in the affairs of the region will be marked as a victory in its favor. US President Donald Trump had clearly indicated this in Riyadh by stressing that his country does not want to dictate to the people how to lead their lives or what to believe it. He called on the Muslim leaders to take measures themselves to confront the extremists.

The radical change from the previous US administration was clear when Trump declared that “we are not here to lecture. We are not here to dictate to others how to live their lives or act or practice their religion. We are here to propose this partnership on the basis of interests and common values in order to reach a better future for us all.”

This new basis that was declared by Trump in Riyadh was crowned with the formation of the “Middle East Strategic Alliance in the city of Riyadh” to contribute in achieving peace and security in the region and the world. The alliance will be a joint platform to bolster the desired stability in the Middle East that has long been absent from it. The summit, under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, succeeded in setting the framework of the new Middle East project, which is built on interests and restoring stability without the need to impose foreign agendas.

The announcement of the establishment of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology was then made seeing as regional stability cannot be achieved without confronting terrorist ideology that leads to terrorism, which is the top common enemy of the world. This center aims at spreading moderate values and fortifying families and societies. It is based on confronting extremism through the most advanced intellectual, media and digital means. Its promotion campaign was broadcast on all traditional and electronic media.

These are the same platforms that helped spread extremism without any real restrictions. The greatest significance in the establishment of this center is that it is the first time that all world countries have seriously come together to stand united in the fight against the danger of extremism. Consequently, after today, the idea of linking Islam to fundamentalism is no longer viable. This link was at some occasions made out of ignorance and at others out of selfish intent.

Now that regional countries, led by Saudi Arabia, will combat extremism militarily and ideologically, there is no longer a future justification to continue with this great lie.

The map of the region’s stability will in the future be described in terms of “pre-Riyadh summit” and “post-Riyadh summit.” The peoples of the region will remember a king called Salman bin Abdulaziz who buried for good the “constructive chaos” project and replaced it with a real one that is based on “committing to development as a strategic goal to confront extremism and terrorism and provide a dignified life.”