Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Moves of Despair from Mohammed Bin Salman, with a view to legitimize his power
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, might also be called the "reformed kingdom", through its desperate efforts to show a much more civilized social profile, after so many years of trespassing human rights, and coming out as a "living hell" for personal rights.
Mohammed Bin Salman's legitimacy, as the prince of Saudi Arabia, has suffered much, after specific facts, such as a catastrophic military invasion in Yemen, a fruitless attempt to put pressure to the state of Qatar, and the disclosure of the assassination of the Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who after supporting the regime of the leadership in Saudi Arabia, he decided to go against it and fight it.
On December 1st, Saudi Arabia assumed the presidency of the G-20, as the unique arab member-state of this team.
That means in any case, that Mohammed Bin Salman is willing to make anything to change the "severe against human rights" image of his country. Of course it is important to notice, that this presidency, takes place in a condition of total uncertainty considering geopolitical alliances and the international scenery.
In view of the forthcoming annual summit of the member states of G-20, on November of 2020, in Riyad, the prince of Saudi Arabia, does his best to "fool" his social image, not being afraid ofcourse of the rest of the G-20 member states, which know exactly who he is and what he does and have not a problem at all, despite the social image they want to promote also, as civilized western states that respect human rights and fight for their sake. Mohammed Bin Salman, tries mostly to "pretend" a change in practices, because that is what it is considered "acceptable" for the image all the participating countries in the G-20, find more suitable, so as to better "build" their arguments on human rights values, and better "legitimize" their speeches on universal cooperation and social cohesion, as inarguable pillars of social welfare...( I laugh and cry at the same time that i write those lines...but of course no need for you to see that :))
Those attempts of the leader of Saudi Arabia, to modify his social profile, can be distinguished through his attempt to find a peaceful way to settle the dispute with Yemen, and to reconciliate with Qatar, moves that seemed to be out of the question until recently.
Except for all the above mentioned, 2020 is also a very important year for Mohammed Bin Salman, as it is the year that he will become a king, as the first in succession prince of Saudi Arabia.
The "wave of changes" started for the leader of Saudi Arabia, first by strengthening his position even more. Thus, he replaced all the senior members who were ministers, with younger people, attached to him and loyal to his policies.
Decision making was based on 2 committees: one responsible for political matters and one in charge of financial affairs. In order to create a more viable economy he used a plan known as "Vision 2030", with which he tried to motivate a more active economy in his country, not only based on oil-dollars, and thus build a more energetic private sector, and this way reducing unemployment.
He also recently appeared to be a defender of youth in a country where the majority of the citizens, are under 30. This social "perestroika" gave women the right to drive cars, to travel and work, without the presence of a male "guard" near them while they "make use" of those basic rights. This recent social reform can be easily seen to all the big city centers of the kingdom, and what is useful to notice, is that this reform, faced no resistance by the fondamentalist clerics of the country, known for their hardcore political lines, especially on religious affairs.
But really, anyone who can think clearly, can realize that those are pretexts, in a country that still arrests people who oppose to the main regime, or activists who fight for human rights. Loujain al Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef, Eman al-Nafjan and Hatoon al-Fassi, were women who became arrested as activists for womens' rights. Saudi-Arabian prosecutors, later accused those women that they put national security in danger, by making a conspiracy with a country considered to be a foe...and that was Qatar. When Canada asked for the freedom of those women, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, deteriotated and limitated its relations with Canada.
There is a proverb, saying that "even when the wolf changes clothes, he remains a wolf".
Everybody knows that. It is only a matter of time, for Saudi Arabia, a country that has been given so much "trust" and attention by western countries, to proceed with its agenda, to reveal its true face, when the game is "played" only between MiddleEastern countries.
written by Themis Panagiotopoulou, PhD in Political Science