OPINION: Saudi Arabia never sold Jerusalem, while Iran, Turkey and Qatar did


by Khaled al-Batarfi

Turkish flags are flying high over their embassy and consulate in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Qatar is publicly receiving Israeli ministers and official groups.

Mr. Erdogan, the Turkish President, speaks to the world everyday. A good part of his non-stop speeches are directed against Saudi Arabia. The Moroccan Brotherhood government and media are online around the clock in support. So are the Iranian and Qatari mouthpieces.

I doubt any logical argument would change their narrative. I gave up trying a long time ago. Instead, I would speak to their misguided audience.

Here are their major points and my responses:

Saudi Arabia is selling out to Israel. They are no longer advocating the Palestinian cause. Saudi officials are meeting secretly with Israeli counterparts to agree on the Deal of the Century proposed by the USA.

All of the above are fabricated accusations by the same machine. None has been proven. At the same time, all the proven facts are ignored. Turkey has a strong relationship with Israel, including diplomatic, military, economic and cultural. Turkish flags are flying high over their embassy and consulate in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Qatar is publicly receiving Israeli ministers and official groups. Oman has just given a rare royal reception to the Israeli prime minister. Iran has been caught numerous times trading and dealing with Israel. Morocco and Tunisia do not try to hide it. Still, the Islamists and Arab nationalist critics keep turning a blind eye to the obvious and focus on rumors. I tell them, we owe them nothing. If we were to choose otherwise we would do so – in the open. However, our Muslim and Arab conscience dictates that we do not bargain when it comes to Jerusalem and Palestine.

Why not invest and aid Arab countries instead of making mega defense deals with the USA? Isn’t your wealth our wealth, too? Where does it go?

Saudi Arabia is, by far, the greatest investor and donor in the Arab and Muslim world. The latest public and private investments in Egypt alone are close to 100 billion dollars. We have invested in and supported Yemen, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco and Somalia, in addition to our investments in the Gulf states. In the Emirates and Bahrain, for example, we are the biggest international investors.

In addition, Saudi Arabia is a founder and the largest shareholder of the Islamic Development Bank funding projects in 57 Muslim nations.

Whenever an Arab or Muslim country, including Iran, is devastated by war or hit by natural disasters, Saudi Arabia is always there to help. In Yemen alone, we recently provided 13 billion dollars in humanitarian help and development.

At home, Saudi Vision 2030 not only increases public investments, but also brings in hundreds of billions from foreign investors to modernize infrastructure, build brand-new cities and establish new-age industries.

But no! Our wealth is ours. You had yours before we did, and wasted it. Corruption and mismanagement gave 1 percent of the population 99 percent of the wealth, leaving the rest behind. Most Arab countries, today, use the same infrastructure built during British and French colonialism. Revolutionaries were revolting for their own benefit not for their people.

We invested our treasure at home for the benefit of our people. We might help you now and then, but it is our wealth not yours!

You keep pointing to Iran as the clear and present enemy of Arabs. The Islamic Republic is not a danger to Saudi Arabia, and political solutions are possible. The West is exploiting the conflict to milk your treasury.

If we were to support Iranian militias and provide them with missiles to attack Iranian cities, train and equip them to terrorize the nation and bomb their holiest shrines in Qum and Shiraz, would Tehran deal with such aggression diplomatically?

Iran is doing much more than that. It is encircling us with threats and dangers, via their agents in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. It supports terrorist groups, Sunni and Shia, from Al-Qaeda and Daesh to Hezbollah and Houthis. It incites people against each other and against their governments. And it conducts terrorist attacks even in the holiest Muslim city, Makkah. Are we supposed to face all the above with pure diplomacy? We tried that for 40 years and it never worked.

We cannot depend on others to protect our nation. The US was about to withdraw from the region in the Obama era – a good lesson to remember. A well-equipped army is our dependable shield. Then come allies and friends.

In short, we know what we do. Rest assured dear Arabs that we will not be distracted from helping you. In fact, we are protecting the Arab and Muslim nation from the Nazis of Tehran. Stand by us and wish us luck!

As for Saudi bashers, they have no reason to stop their propaganda machine. In fact, as long as Saudi Arabia is on the rise, they will escalate their shooting in the hope that, somehow, a bullet might hit the Saudi rocket!

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi is a Saudi writer based in Jeddah. He can be reached at kbatarfi@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter: @kbatarfi

Article first published on Saudi Gazette.

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