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Friday, October 14, 2016


At The Hill, a remarkable op-ed from Salman Al-Ansari, Founder and President of the DC-based Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC). Here is the bulk of the article:

How Israel can contribute to Saudi's vision 2030

The topic of establishing a relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel raises many theories, assumptions, and emotionally charged arguments. Some of these arguments have merit, while others amount to nothing more than poorly formulated conjecture. These strongly held positions are especially interesting because they are put forward despite the current lack of an existing relationship between the two countries.

However, the prevailing political discourse might not only indicate that it is in the interest of both countries to form a collaborative alliance, but in the interest of the greater Middle East and their global allies as well.

In fact, there are some opinions suggesting that having a common enemy in Iran will help accelerate any sort of rapprochement between two of the Middle East’s most powerful nations. While that could be partially true, a more solid foundation for establishing deep-rooted ties between the two countries could manifest in the context of a mutually beneficial economic partnership.

[I]t is common knowledge that Saudi Arabia and Israel have committed to rational and balanced foreign policies over the past 70 years, never seeking any provocative or hostile actions against each other. It’s also important to note that there are hundreds of Jews hailing from many corners of the world who are currently working in Saudi Arabia, contributing to its financial, infrastructure, and energy projects.

As a matter of fact, Saudi Arabia is going through its biggest economic transition in its history, of which Israel is the most capable of contributing to. The architect of this transition, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, is also viewed by political observers as a pragmatic and progressive personality, with all indicators showing that he is prepared and willing to develop real, enduring ties with Israel. With the goals of this transition outlined in a recently announced “National Transformation Plan,” one of its most important strategies focuses on diversifying income sources and mining for more natural resources.

The latter represents a rare, golden opportunity for Israel to participate in and help bolster the Saudi economy. After all, Israel has a reputation as one of the most sophisticated and technologically advanced countries in the field of mining, with a robust, globally recognized diamond industry. Keeping in mind that Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the world without any source of flowing water, Israel is also a world leader in the water engineering industry, which makes it extraordinarily qualified to help Saudi Arabia with its ambitious desalination plans, which are a crucial part of the Deputy Crown Prince’s blueprint for Saudi’s economic reform, “Vision 2030.”

Of course, such an economic partnership cannot be established without addressing security concerns, as the trust factor between the two Middle Eastern countries still needs positive reinforcement. However, most of these concerns are mutual, as both countries are facing constant threats from extremist groups that are directly supported by the totalitarian government of Iran, which is classified internationally as a global sponsor of terrorism, providing a safe haven for most of the world’s most dangerous and well-known terrorist organizations.

Any form of normalization between the two countries is also an Arabic and Muslim normalization towards Israel, which will undoubtedly promote security and weaken extremism in the region. ...

Impeding collaboration in any way would inevitably stifle an historic opportunity for both countries to grow, develop and solidify the mutual goal of not only ensuring the success of this vital relationship, but bringing the Middle East into a new era of unprecedented peace and prosperity.
SAPRAC is Saudi Arabia's version of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. It was launched earlier this year.

While SAPRAC is ostensibly independent and receives no official funding from Saudi Arabia, it would never deviate its messaging from what the Saudi government desires. Most of Al-Ansari's Twitter feed is dedicated to pushing the Saudi agenda, whether it is to fight the JASTA bill or to defend Saudi actions in Yemen.

In other words, there is no way that Saudi Arabia doesn't approve and support this message of cooperation with Israel.

Israel has to tread carefully; Saudi Arabia has had historic ties to international terrorism as well as to funding Palestinian terrorism, although it seems unlikely that the level of support to either is what it used to be.

Saudi Arabia's human rights record is terrible. Although that doesn't seem to be a problem for any other state, Israel would be expected by its so-called "friends" to have a much higher standard than the US or European nations which happily cooperate with the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia only explicitly allowed Jewish workers to enter the country in 2014.



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