The Democrats’ uptight reaction tells us that the current U.S. administration and members of its Democratic Party have no understanding of the changes happening in our Middle East region and no desire to learn the nature of these changes because they view the world through the lens of their internal divisions and deal with our region as if time had stopped in 2001.
The Democrats are debating how to respond to the OPEC decision, particularly Saudi Arabia. Their talking points revolve around suspending arms sales, and they keep on repeating vague expressions about human rights.
Fortunately, this is all happening while Iranians are staging remarkable demonstrations and also in the wake of America’s disgraceful withdrawal from Afghanistan. I say fortunately because the Iranians can no longer tolerate their regime’s oppression, whereas the Democrats are trying to rehabilitate that criminal Iranian regime, which has destroyed not only Iran but also Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, especially after the U.S. invasion handed Baghdad to Tehran.
Democrats have been talking about stopping arms sales as if it were Saudi Arabia, and not Iran, seeking expansion in the region. The region has changed, and it is still changing at a pace faster than Washington’s ability to comprehend. Saudi Arabia is obsessed with development, partnership and investment, not with military influence.
The Saudis do not spend their time discussing politics or watching the news to find out the latest developments in Ukraine or elsewhere. Rather, they are discussing the economy and monitoring stock prices. They’re wondering about where to go out tonight, not about who will win the midterm elections.
Saudi fathers are not debating their daughters’ right to education but rather how to find them jobs. They are not debating women’s right to drive but rather how they will manage to buy their daughters a car. The Saudis are not preoccupied with jihad or fighting but with creating more job opportunities to boost their incomes.
Young Saudi men today are not talking about isolating women but about the fierce competition they face with Saudi women in the job market. Today in Saudi Arabia, only the elites are interested in discussing politics, and even then it only takes so much of their time, as the bulk of their discussion is about the changes taking place and how to benefit from those changes and keep up with their pace.
In Saudi Arabia, the elites’ focus is how to enable this change and support its leader, lest we regress and the actors of yesterday, some of whom Washington still defends under flimsy pretexts, regain their platform and voice. Saudi Arabia does not oppress. The Saudis know very well what those voices of the past are about. They know their positions regarding the 9/11 attacks, their calls for jihad in Iraq and their support for what was falsely dubbed the Arab Spring. The Saudis today are engaging with those helping to send their children to study abroad, not those who used to send their children to certain doom.
The world is changing and so is Saudi Arabia, but decision-makers in Washington are unaware of the speed at which those changes are happening. There are now two types of competitions taking place in our Middle East region: Some are competing to escape from Iran’s sinking ship, whereas the moderate states of the region are competing over development, prosperity and attracting capital and tourists. They are not competing over who will get to deploy fighters to Syria, which is what Iran does.
Therefore, we and the Democrats are worlds apart, which is why we tell them: You are welcome to come and visit Saudi Arabia so that you can see for yourselves that the Saudis are keen to buy computers, not weapons, and this is despite the fact that we are fated to live next door to an evil Iranian regime which has been destroying the region for four decades. And yet the Democrats still want to rehabilitate that regime at a time when even the Iranians are rising up against it.
Visit us and come to know the difference. No harm will come if you come criticize us right here in Riyadh and hear our response.