Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Prince Salman: Loyalty and politics | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page

Recent days in Saudi Arabia have been eventful; there was the passing of Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, may God have mercy on him, then the appointment of Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz as Crown Prince, and finally, Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz was entrusted with the Ministry of Defense. All of the above happened under the administration of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, who had displayed the utmost example of brotherhood and loyalty towards his late brother Prince Sultan. The King has also acted as a symbol of wisdom, arranging the internal affairs of the House of Saud quietly and transparently amidst a stormy region. The King decided to assign the Ministry of Defense to Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, a move which received the appreciation and satisfaction of the Saudis.

Prince Salman is not only the Prince of Loyalty, as the Saudis call him in light of his loyalty to his brothers, specifically his sizeable loyalty towards his late brother Prince Sultan, may God have mercy on him, throughout the duration of his treatment abroad. Prince Salman is also a man of management, policy and wisdom. He has a clear vision of issues, even the complex ones, both internally and externally, stemming from his genuine ethics. He is not one of those who can be classed under the old adage that politicians are deceptive, but rather he believes that a politician must take into account the interests of his people and his country, and above all fear God.

Prince Salman knows Saudi Arabia in all its details. [He has accumulated this knowledge] through his proximity to the kings of Saudi Arabia, through his term as the governor of Riyadh, through his famous passion for history, and his openness to everyone. We often heard him highlighting the importance of “Zakat”, demonstrating Prince Salman’s passion for humanitarian acts. His closeness to the people is another story. For example, his council in Jeddah, not Riyadh, was surprised at the extent of his knowledge of the details of the city and its residents, and the same goes for Mecca, Medina and elsewhere. Prince Salman also has close ties to the Gulf, its leaders and families, and if we were to talk about Egypt, you would think he was a specialist in Egyptian affairs, and likewise for Iraq and Lebanon. As for his relations with the West, they are the shining light for all those who serve Saudi Arabia. He has toured the world exhibiting the Kingdom over the years. Anyone who accompanied Prince Salman on one of his overseas trips became fully aware of his image abroad.

Among the examples of Prince Salman’s famous stances is the debate between him and the former U.S. President George W. Bush during his visit to Saudi Arabia, on the day they discussed the history of the two countries. The Prince said to George Bush that what unites America as a state is democracy, and what unites Saudi Arabia as a state is its creed, and Bush’s response was that the Prince had summarized the history of the two countries dramatically. Despite Prince Salman’s pride in his country and its religious and political prestige, there is no place for arrogance in his vision. On a visit to Norway, during his discussion with the Minister of Foreign Affairs about the role of Saudi Arabia, the Prince said: “Allow me to say without arrogance, Saudi Arabia does not seek a role, rather it [Saudi Arabia] is sought by roles”, adding that Saudi Arabia does not seek refuge behind bright, shiny slogans, but rather hard work. The Prince was told that sometimes bright, shiny things can be good, to which he responded “lightning does not shine brightly unless the sky is filled with clouds”. His host laughed, saying “I can only agree with you, your Royal Highness”.

Accordingly, here is a glimpse into the thought process of Prince Salman, who has gained the confidence of his King, and the appreciation of the Saudi people.