0631 GMT February 23, 2018
Iranian expert Sadeq Maleki said Hriri’s resignation under the pressure of Riyadh is not only humiliation of the Lebanese people but also the humiliation of Al-Mustaqbal bloc.
Developments such as launch of missile to Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh by Yemenis government and announcement of resignation of Saad Hariri as Lebanese Prime Minister attracted the attention of political and media circles towards Saudi Arabia by plotting charges against Iran accompanied by massive arrests under the leadership of Mohammad bin Salman.
To learn more about this, Mehr News agency has conducted an interview with Sadeq Maleki, senior political analyst and expert.
Excerpt of the interview is as follows:
How do you evaluate the wave of changes and developments in Saudi Arabia?
Although changes and developments in Saudi Arabia at the first glance can lead to the power struggle among Saudis, in a more accurate assessment, it can be said that these changes are an indispensable and inevitable necessity that should sooner or later put Saudi Arabia in a position in conformity with the development criteria. Continuation of Saudi Arabia’s life with a traditional system depending on the tribal arrangements which is the brainchild of Salafism is no longer viable.
The world, region and even social context of Saudis have changed but Saudi Arabia is still captured by an old system that is not responsive to the current condition of this country and world.
The developments in Saudi Arabia have been made with the aim of structural changes and its process will continue with ups and downs.
Are these changes in Saudi Arabia attributed to its internal circumstances?
In response to your question, I should say that all socio-political changes in all communities such as Saudi Arabia have both internal and external origins.
Saudi Arabia, like other countries, is not immune to external influences.
With the revolution and fast-paced development of communications in the contemporary world of today, the dimension of time and place lost its traditional meaning and Riyadh cannot avoid the effects of these changes. The new generation of Saudi Arabia such as Muhammad bin Salman has been nurtured and raised with western teaching who is familiar with the necessities of modernity. The teachings and traditions, originated from traditional and tribal society of Saudi Arabia, which are based on Salafism can no longer secure interests of Saudis. On the other hand, US government attaches great importance to Saudi Arabia as a staunch ally, so that Saudi stability is a fundamental principle for the United States. It seems that an agreement has been concluded between Riyadh and Washington for transition of Saudi Arabia from traditional society towards a developed and modern society.
This issue has nothing to do with US President Donald Trump and even Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. This change had to take place between Saudi Arabia and US anyway.
But arrests in Saudi Arabia indicate internal opposition to this trend. What is your opinion in this regard?
The changes happened in Saudi Arabia are difficult and costly in some cases. By reformation of its traditional policy, Saudi Arabia is reforming its old structures and emergence of new structures in accordance with the modern-day condition. The previous factors associated with the United States, that cannot and/or do not have the capacity of accompanying these changes, are eliminated and replaced by the new faces.
How some global circles especially western supporters and advocates of human rights have adopted silence against the wave of arrests in Saudi Arabia?
Do not believe the Western considerations of human rights significantly. Political considerations are often concealed on the issues related to the human rights. It should be kept in mind that Saudi Arabia is a Western alliance, so observers and claimants of human rights can ignore their performance. On the other hand, developments in Saudi Arabia are internal changes that are encouraged by the West and the United States in particular. Broadly speaking, there is a full harmony between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and the United States. The experience of this kind of changes has already occurred in Turkey with the indigenous and systemic considerations and its developments are still continuing in this country with ups and downs. Turkey has also redefined its political, economic and social structure with Erdogan and AKP government and even, wave of arrests related to it still continues. In Saudi Arabia, beliefs in Salafism and religious-based view cannot serve the changes. The removal of them and silence of the West towards the arrests is the result of this equation.
This means that you believe Washington and Riyadh have gone away and adopted a wide gap from extremist groups, stemming from Salafist thinking and/or will bury them at the grave. Would you mind explaining more on this?
In response to your question, I should say that Saudi Arabia and United States have a strategic vision to the extremist groups such as Daesh and Al-Qaeda and will not relinquish this important tool. Therefore, the duo will take advantage of Daesh and Al-Qaeda according to the current situation. Presently, Salafism and its broader context in Saudi Arabia have prevented development and modernization of Saudi Arabia and in some cases, it brought about catastrophes such as Sept. 11 terrorist attack. I am of the opinion that Salafism should be weakened and controlled completely. In general, Salafism should be managed for specific purposes as well.
It should be noted that Salafism and extremist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Daesh were once offering services to the United States of America in line with securing its interest but these groups have no longer their previous performance. Of course, these groups have been marginalized and in some cases, they have been misused.
Mohammad bin Salman himself is accused of abuse and corruption. How has he been a leader of fighting against corruption?
It is not supposed anyone come from outside and manage the trend of changes in Saudi Arabia. For example, Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdogan also moved from the Municipality of Istanbul to the position of presidency. When he assumed as Turkish President, he dealt with the systemic cleansing and change of structures in this country. Yes, the issue of corruption is seriously raised with regard to Mohammad bin Salman but one in the system should be initiator of changes in Saudi Arabian government. It seems that both internal and external agreement is on Mohammad bin Salman.
How do you evaluate the charges stated by Saudi Arabia and the United States on launch of Yemeni missile by Iran?
These charges have a goal beyond the geopolitics of Saudi war with Yemen. Implementation of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is the result of heroic leadership of Iran and powerful Rouhani Administration. However, implementation of JCPOA thwarted plots and conspiracies of Saudi Arabia and US President Trump. For a long time, exertion of pressure to Iran has been intensified over its missile power. Saudi Arabia and United States claim that the missile hit Saudi Arabia is Iranian-made missile. As a matter of fact, the duo have accused Iran of availing Yemeni government with its powerful missile under the pretext of re-imposing new waves of sanctions against Iran. According to the statistics, casualties in Saudi Arabia have risen caused by Yemeni missile strikes to this Arabic country while Saudi officials state that Yemeni missile strikes had not any casualties in Saudi Arabia.
Adopting silence in the face of siege led to the spread of hunger and comprehensive cholera in Yemen which is the result of US support of Saudi Arabia in this unequal war.
What is your analysis over resignation of Saad Hariri, former Lebanese prime minister in Riyadh?
In the field of art and architecture, some historic monuments have been named as Seven Wonders. By announcing the resignation of Hariri in Riyadh, a file should be opened in politics and state management, so that Hariri’s resignation should be termed as the first historic wonder.
The history of such a humiliating resignation has not yet been recorded. This is not the humiliation of Lebanese people, rather, it is the humiliation of Al-Mustaqbal political trend in Lebanon.
By reading the text provided by Saudi Arabian government, Hariri practically conveys the message of Saudis to Tehran which is going to take revenge of their failure in Yemeni war from Lebanon but this project will fail too. The experience of civil wars in Lebanon will not be repeated. Among the Muslim countries, there has been the highest index of interfaith relations in Lebanon. Lebanese people are the most political people in the region and are aware of plots in the region. Lebanese Resistance Movement ‘Hezbollah’ is the crystallization of resistance and national element in Lebanon. Not only all Lebanese people but also people of region have special tendency to Hezbollah. The record of Iran and Saudi Arabia with regard to the terrorist groups such as Daesh is crystal clear to everyone and is a guide to action.
Is there any possibility of military confrontation between Riyadh and Tehran?
In the political arena, everything is possible but experience shows that Riyadh and Tehran do not appear to be in direct military action. It should be kept in mind that Iran and Saudi Arabia are following up economic development and improving relevant indicators, so that this objective can be achieved in peace. It seems that the scene of politics should be warded off from war and the login of peace should replace instead of war.
Will reforms in Saudi Arabia have regional implications?
In response to your question, I should say that any development in Saudi Arabia or any other country in the region will affect the surrounding environment considerably. Due to the position of Saudi Arabia in regional equations, any development in this country will affect other countries in the region as well. Moving away from Salafi, giving priority to Arabism and moving towards secularism will affect Shias of the region as well.
Development in Baghdad-Riyadh and trips of Muqtada Sadr and Haidar Al-Abadi are part of crystallization of reforms in Saudi Arabia.