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Saudi Press Roundup

Restoring regional balance

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman’s recent visits to Egypt and Turkey are said to have restored balance in the Arab region and the Muslim world.
King Salman’s five-day visit to Egypt gives a message that Egypt is not similar to any other country. When he visited Al-Azhar University and supported its projects, he reiterated its spiritual role and his keenness to see it getting more involved in the region’s ideological issues. When he met Egyptian Coptic Pope Tawadros II, he sent the message of tolerance, coexistence and joint efforts against extremism and racism.
When he addressed the Egyptian Parliament, he directly talked to the Egyptian people through their representatives. When he ordered the construction of a bridge between the two countries, he stood firmly against the division of the region.
The situation was not different in Ankara, Turkey, when King Salman received a warm welcome from President Erdogan, who rarely meets his guests at the airport. The meeting of the guest at the airport and signing of many deals were the acknowledgement by the Turkish authorities of the position of the guest (King Salman).
In this context, President Erdogan described King Salman as the man who could guarantee the safety of the region before decorating him with the Order of the State, the country’s highest honor.

— By Aiman Al-Hammad


Much ado about nothing

Some Egyptian media personalities say Tiran and Sanafer islands belong to Egypt even if all documents, geographers, UN experts, and Egyptian Parliament prove the two islands belong to Saudi Arabia.
One of them said the only situation to accept that is holding of a referendum whereby the Egyptian people may say they agree the two islands belong to Saudi Arabia. However, he did not tell us if his media campaign succeeded in achieving its goals and the Egyptian people did not agree to hand over the islands and the Saudi people in a similar referendum insisted on regaining control of the islands.
This strange logic, which does not recognize documents, history or geography, and all information originating in Egypt, is an approach that seeks sedition as if the Arab world needs more strife and wars. On the other hand, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi explained the issue clearly, when he said all documents of the technical committees proved that the two islands belonged to the Kingdom.

— By Abdulwahid Al-Hamid


Isolating Iranian regime

The summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey, has criminalized the Iranian regime and deplored its inferences in Muslim countries.
Muslim leaders also condemned the terrorist acts carried out by its militant wing called Hezbollah in Yemen, Syria, Bahrain and Kuwait. Iran and its militia have, thus, become isolated in the wider Muslim world.
The regime in Tehran has a proven record of terrorism and since 1979 revolution; it has been the biggest supporter and exporter of terrorism. More than 300,000 deaths and thousands of the injured persons are the outcome of Iran’s interference in Syria.
Their hands are stained with the blood of innocent Muslims not only in Syria but also in Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Ahwaz, Bahrain and Kuwait or anywhere they find a foothold. As we isolate Tehran from our Arab and wider Muslim worlds, we have to appreciate the Saudi role and the Kingdom’s wise and decisive policy, which has forged unity among Muslims and Arabs.
Muslims and Arabs have deplored Iran’s terrorist acts and exposed its regime to the world at large. After realizing the dangers of Iran’s terror, Arab and Muslim countries have to besiege Iran, cut off its hands in the region and expel its instruments from all Muslim countries because terrorists have no longer a place among us.

— By Sattam Al-Thaqail


Wrong approach

When the Council of Ministers decides to develop a government agency, some people hastily pass comments on that sometimes opposing the idea.
Decisions of the Council of Ministers are normally passed after exhaustive study and discussions taking into account that the Council has a board of experts of different specialties.
Accordingly, the recent decision of the Council of Ministers on the development of the General Presidency of the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vices (Haia) elicited varied responses, some of which are ill-informed and confused.
However, this creates unnecessary confusion and is a source of embarrassment for the decision-makers. We should avoid such an approach and remain focused on the bigger picture to resolve various social issues.

— By Khalid Al-Shabanah


Promoting Islamic tourism

Tourism ministers of Muslim countries have recently selected Madinah as the capital of Islamic tourism for the year 2017.
Therefore, it is an opportunity to activate tourism as an important element that will have a positive impact on development, economy and community.
This type of tourism will definitely highlight its unique components, especially those related to the Prophet’s biography whose landmarks are supposed to be highly visible.
Promoting tourism and exploiting our tourism potential has become a matter of urgency, especially at a time plans are underway to lessen dependence on oil as a major and strategic source of income.
According to the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Iyad Madani, the tourism sector generates jobs globally. The OIC countries hosted nearly 147 million tourists in 2013 and realized revenues worth $20 billion, he said.
If we focus on religious tourism, we will have a leading role over all other countries. We host the two holy mosques and our country is home to various historical sites considered important among Muslims. Our position gives us an edge over others and with a proper strategy we can boost religious tourism to new levels.

— By Abdulghani Al-Qash


Saudization drive

The mobile phone sector — sales and maintenance — is poised to emerge as a model to test the ability and success of the concerned agencies, particularly the Labor Ministry, in the job localization drive.
However, the challenges facing the drive rest on three major reasons: First, most of the jobs (may be over 90 percent) were being held by expatriates.
The second challenge is the issue of cover-up business, which has adverse effects on the Kingdom’s economy and security and its role in pushing unemployment rates upward.
The third one is the strong resistance expected from profiteers of the sector led by expat workers who exploited every loophole in the system with the help of citizens who were satisfied with meager income (from cover-up businesses) due to their laziness or laxity.
It is really a challenge for the authorities to pass the test. Nobody believes that the other party (cover-up business initiators) will easily surrender but may change their plans and tactics.
Nevertheless, previous experiences have shown that patience for some time paid off when labor and residence violators disappeared from the streets for a few weeks but returned when things calmed down. However, such experiences were not successful enough despite all psychological, media and social pressures accompanying the drive.

— By Salem bin Ahmed Sahab