Editorial: Welcome back, Oman!

Updated 29 December 2016
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Editorial: Welcome back, Oman!

Oman’s decision to join the Saudi-led coalition of 40 Muslim countries to counter terrorism could not have come at a better time. It is a harbinger of good news, one that signals the coming together of the forces of good against the forces of evil. As we are about to enter 2017, this augurs well.
It is a most welcome development because the unity this move will bring about among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and other like-minded Muslim states will make it that much more difficult for enemies to exploit perceived chinks in the regional armor.
Oman belongs to this region. It is among the founders of the GCC. It has a rich history and is a haven of stability. It shares its history and destiny with other Gulf countries. It is back where it rightly belongs.
This will provide a major boost to the military alliance, and will isolate those who have been trying to exploit disunity in regional ranks. In one fell swoop, Saudi Arabia and Oman have scored a massive diplomatic and historic victory.
Credit for this must go to the sagacious leaderships in both Riyadh and Muscat. They rightly realize that the challenges this region and the Muslim world face can only be countered by closing ranks and presenting a united front. Now regional unity is complete.
Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is widely credited for forging the Islamic Military Alliance, has repeatedly underlined at many GCC meetings the need for unity in the face of fast-changing geopolitics. He has highlighted the benefits that can accrue from standing united.
Oman has always been a key part of the GCC. For various reasons, it decided to keep away from the alliance when it was first announced in December last year, but it is now firmly back. What has happened in the past is the past. This heralds a new chapter in regional and Muslim unity.
By presenting a united front and seizing the initiative at a crucial time in the history of the Muslim and Arab worlds, the GCC states have clearly demonstrated that they are the real leaders of both worlds.


Editorial: A vote of confidence in the new Saudi generation

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
Updated 22 June 2017
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Editorial: A vote of confidence in the new Saudi generation

The landmark appointment of Prince Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince represents a vote of confidence in the Kingdom’s younger generation, which makes up a large majority of the population. The new crown prince was supported by a landslide vote of 31 out of 34 members of the Royal Family’s Allegiance Council.
The decision came in the wake of King Salman making a number of changes over the past two years. He has appointed many young and highly qualified government officials as ministers, ambassadors, provincial governors and deputy governors.
The new direction has also caught on in the private sector, where we have seen a trend in young and qualified executives being hired. It is noteworthy that many of these executives are women, who have the same responsibilities as their male counterparts.
There are, as always, some international observers who will seek to deliberately misinterpret what has taken place at the top of the Kingdom’s power structure. The fact is, however, that former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif endorsed the decision in a letter to the king. He was also seen on video by viewers worldwide congratulating the new crown prince in person.
That Prince Mohammed bin Salman has made his impression on the world is evident from the number of congratulatory messages that have been sent in, including one by US President Donald Trump, who congratulated him and said he was looking forward to consolidating the Saudi-American partnership.
British Prime Minister Theresa May, in her congratulatory message, said she is looking forward to working with Prince Mohammed “to deepen our close bilateral ties in the years ahead, building on the constructive meetings we had in Saudi Arabia earlier this year.”
The Gulf states of Bahrain, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman and interestingly, even Qatar, have likewise endorsed the decision.
We can expect more rapid and drastic reforms if we take all of Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s accomplishments when he was deputy crown prince as an indicator of what is yet to come.