Lessons from the Middle East
An enfant terrible for some but a reformer for many, Mohammad Bin Salman is all set to roll.
Born and brought up in the Royal Saudi Family of King Salman, Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS) was the eldest of all the Siblings. A Lawyer by profession, MBS was anointed as the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia on 21st June 2017. At present he is also serving as First Deputy Prime Minister, President of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs and Minister of Defense—the world’s youngest office holder. At a rather tender age of 32, MBS has taken over Saudi Arabia to bring some tectonic changes.
Often described as “A Young Man in a Hurry”, Mohammad Bin Salman raked up a storm in the initial days at office. Some of his epochal moves are listed concisely below:
- Senior Saudi Princes, Ministers and Businessmen were held captive in the Opulent Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh. The unprecedented move created a furor in the entire world, where the aim was to investigate the captives for their alleged involvements in rampant corrupt practices and biased business deals. The attorney general confirmed that 90 detainees had been released after their charges were dropped, while others traded cash, real estate and other assets to attain freedom. The authorities are still holding 95 people. Some are expected to be put on trial soon.
- In September 2017 he conducted a Gender Mixed Celebration on National Saudi Day. The pragmatic move was celebrated by the majority and was considered to forswear the misogynistic rules.
- In a Royal Decree read live on State Television, women were granted the freedom to drive. Saudi Arabia is the last Country in the World where Women weren’t allowed to drive. The change will come in effect from June 2018.
- MBS has launched a massive tourism development project that will turn 50 islands and other sites on the Red Sea into luxury resorts.
- With the aim of reducing the reliance on Oil, Mohammad Bin Salman announced a $2 trillion project with a punch line “Vision 2030”. It includes the development of a Mega City called “NEOM”. The name has its derivation in two parts. “Ne” is the Latin word for “New” and “M” is the first letter of the Arabic word “Future”. Neom is known to be orchestrated with a budget of $50 billion covering an area of 26,500 sq.km. The entire city will be powered by Renewable Energy.
Mohammed Bin Salman with the above mentioned epochal reforms has turned some heads. But on the other hand, some catastrophic decisions taken by him are being heavily condemned by the International Agencies. His role in aerial attacks on Yemen during the last two years and a proxy war with Iran for regional dominance has thrown substantial amount of bad light on him. MBS was found to be instrumental in orchestrating the diplomatic rift with the Gulf state, which was joined by Saudi allies Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE.
However Senior Columnists feel optimistic about the Crown Prince.. Forswearing the Countries traditions and taking such steps has definitely put his personal reputation on stake. Blaming the 1979 Iranian revolution for “extreme Islamism” his Ideology seems to be more inclined towards “Moderate Islam” there by dwindling down anarchic rules. Even after the bold moves he is still not quoted as a Subversive Authority as he remains loyal to the Country’s powerful Islamic Clerics.
Esoterically, calling him “Power Hungry” will not be too appropriate. What we can really learn from him, calls for a debate. Juxtaposing the reformatory steps with the situation in Yemen cannot be the legitimate option to draw a conclusion regarding the intent of the Prince. Yet some of the major learning’s will inevitably include:
- More than 70% of the population of Saudi is under 30. His vision to reduce dependence on oil and pave way for future job creating industries is remarkable.
- His “Anti-Corruption act” was convincingly one of the most unprecedented moves in the Gulf.
- The ideological shift to Moderate Islamism is another strong example of shunning staunch religious beliefs.
- The independency given to women for driving and the Gender Mixed Celebration on National Saudi Day is emblematical of his clear vision to work for Women empowerment and corollary to the reduction in such draconian rules.
The Indian Perspective:
WHEN HE CAN, WHY CANT WE? Under the current political situation in India, where the majority is with the Bharatiya Janta Party, the tables can surely turn. Right from controlling the rattlebrained fringe elements to empowering women, the onus lies with the ruling party and its allies. And why not, if the Opposition constructively opposes or wholeheartedly supports the government in its sacrosanct endeavors, the day is not far where India will be considered as the benchmark of growth and prosperity. No school textbook and no book of history worth its salt will be able overlook the magnanimous rise of India, if at all the Intent of the people in power and the bloke remains Pollyannaish and pragmatic.
- Al Jazeera
- BBC News Night
- Fox News
- The Sydney Morning Herald
Disclaimer: This article contains information gathered from various sources as mentioned above. This article has been penned for informative purpose, with no intention of provocation. The author does not accept liability for any errors, omissions or damage resulting from the use of this article or facts therein.