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Moscow…Close to History - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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We arrived in Moscow, my imagination filled with pictures of the city formed by history and publicity! My confusion increased when I saw the city, which I was visiting for the first time. In Moscow, you are close to everything, even history; it is as if you have not left the Arab world behind, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Tehran and Washington D.C, terrorism and other pressing issues. The most recent issue is the economy, with all its contradictory dimensions. Most prominently, you notice that Russia is more beautiful, more modern and cleaner than many of the capitals that threw themselves in its lap and adopted its slogans, historically, in our Arab world!

I did not visit Moscow as a tourist, but as part of a Saudi delegation that accompanied Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, as Saudi Arabia continues to build links in all four directions! During the visit, I was delighted with the Saudi speeches and the clear vision evident in Prince Salman’s every meeting throughout the trip.

During the Prince’s meeting with Arab ambassadors, he related to them some of the issues discussed during a lengthy meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as other meetings, until the conversation reached the topic of the Arab world. The Saudi visitor surprised the ambassadors by saying, “If you do not tell the truth, people won’t believe you.”

Prince Salman spoke about terrorism, and how his country has suffered from it; he mentioned the importance of fighting this evil and the excuses used to justify it and defend extremism. On the Palestinian issue, the Prince said, “In its name, all the calamities occur,” adding, “The Palestinian crisis has not been resolved with reason, we always give chances to our opponent!”

I took great pleasure in these statements, because we see mistakes being committed, without being aware that politics is the art of the possible. Every time we take one step forward, we take ten steps backward. Individuals my age belong to a generation that formed its awareness through the bitter reality of the Arab world. We are the generation of results!

I am convinced that honesty, and managing interests, is more important than elastic expressions. Politics is too dangerous to be left for those carrying slogans! The cabinet ought to act like a cabinet! There is a difference between the opposition and the government. A fine example, in this regard, is how the Palestinian government is being administered by the Palestinians themselves. Why are we wasting chance after chance? How many damages occurred in order to agree on the prisoners’ document? What is the benefit of kidnapping an Israeli soldier, if the result is invasion, death and destruction?

In the case of the Arab and Islamic worlds, religion is more important than to be left for political Islamist groups, who incite people and aim to seize power! Why am I speaking honestly? Because discussions reached the most important matter, when the Prince said, “It is in the interest of Muslims to reach a mutual understanding with their governments, in order for them not to become a card exploited by some people.” It is no secret how these Muslim regions have become fertile ground for extremism and emotional mobilization, in order to keep the engines of hatred working at top speed.

This clarity of vision continued when Prince Salman said, “We do not operate intellectually or culturally in a country without the knowledge of the government in question, because we do not accept that anyone interferes in our country and uses it as a stage.” This is the crux of the affliction that has targeted us and through which our young people have been deceived.

The visit to Moscow is part of Saudi Arabia’s policy to open up to the world and understand it better, and help it to understand Saudi Arabia better. Most importantly, these actions will strengthen honesty and openness. I, and many of my compatriots, have, in the past, complained of Saudi silence! There is no room for courtesy and for leaving the stage free for the owners of slogans, which do not grow richer or fatter from hunger!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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