Saudi Press Roundup
Some sorrows in life cannot be expressed in words. Demise of Custodian of the Two Holy King Abdullah is one such situation. The wise leader has left behind him a history of substantial achievements that mere articles and books cannot describe.
Women, men and children weep for him because such a world leader steeped in humanitarian sentiments is hard to come by. He was indeed the “King of Humanitarianism.” King Abdullah looked at the citizens not as his subjects, but as his own brothers and sons.
Facts and figures speak themselves of his achievements in all walks of life in a rather short time stretching over nine years. They include establishment of 28 world-class universities, six medical cities, 11 specialist hospitals, 32 general hospitals, a number of road and railway networks across the Kingdom and 11 sports cities in addition to radical reforms and improvements such as the establishment of the King Abdul Aziz and His Men Foundation for the Talented, which has been identifying gifted children at boys’ and girls’ schools across the Kingdom and working for their further development. Outstanding students and distinguished scientists have been honored.
It deserves special mention that he strove for the “empowerment” of Saudi women and to develop their capabilities in a positive and productive manner to such an extent that they are witnessing now a most flourishing age of women, as they have been granted the right to participate in the municipal elections this year.
King Abdullah believed that intelligence is the real wealth we possess. So, during his reign he encouraged development of scientific skills and outstanding achievements so that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia could become a beacon of knowledge and the hub of intellectual activities. One of the most notable achievements of the king is initiation of the foreign scholarship program. About 111,000 students have been sent to study in most of the universities across the world in order to materialize his strategic vision of building a generation capable of inventions and successfully countering the challenges of the modern times.
Since his accession to the throne in 2005 till his demise, the country benefited from all his policies. May Allah forgive him and envelop him in His boundless mercy.
However, our consolation after the demise of the great king is that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque King Salman is the new standard-bearer in the Kingdom’s march toward a brilliant future.
— By Dalal bint Nasser Al-Harthy
A visionary leader
The whole nation was saddened to hear the news of the death of their father and beloved king, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah (May his soul rest in peace). The icon of our homeland did not die, as his achievements and eternal statements will live forever and will be preserved in the annals of history.
Our king, the compassionate father always addressed us as his brothers and sons. His valuable contributions and projects to Saudi and Muslim nations will never be forgotten. Most importantly, the attention he devoted to the two holy mosques like the expansion projects and other services only aimed at serving pilgrims and making sure they are protected as they perform their holy rituals.
King Abdullah (May he rest in peace) devoted his efforts to fight poverty, corruption and terrorism. He was keen on developing his citizens so they all have the opportunity to seek higher education, through his external scholarship program. He was a wise man who always supported the culture of dialogue among his people, and his establishment of King Abdullah Aziz Center for National Dialogue is a testimony to that approach. Nobody can forget how the king valued the participants’ views by sitting with them to hear their opinions and proposals. He carried his vision outside the country by establishing King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue in Vienna. He also ordered establishment of economic cities and promoted university education by opening tens of universities across the Kingdom.
Yet, probably the most important project King Abdullah worked on was improving the Kingdom’s image abroad after 9/11 attacks. The Saudi state and citizens suffered a huge pressure after the attacks, especially as our young people traveled abroad. The king, however, challenged those views and was able to change the wrong impression some people held about Saudi people.
Now, our ship is sailing safely with the wise statesman and an experienced leader Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman at the helm. As a man loving change and reforms, we look forward to the dawn of new era under his able leadership.
Finally, we pray King Abdullah’s soul rest in peace and hope God helps our new King Salman, Crown Prince Muqrin and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, in their mission to lead this country to the highest levels.
— By Mohammed Al-Shuwaier
A true statesman
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia bids farewell to King Abdullah, a king who loved his people who returned the same love to him. The Kingdom also witnessed a smooth and quick transition when Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman ascended to the throne displaying to the world the stability and sturdiness of the ruling house and the Kingdom’s legal system.
Let us speak now about the late king. I was honored to accompany him in all his royal journeys after his ascension to the throne while I was the chief editor of Asharq Al-Awsat, along with other Saudi chief editors. I will never forget when a minister of an Arab country asked me why King Abdullah treats the chief editors as though they are an official delegation. It is not the story of treating journalists or chief editors but the story of a king who led his country during a period of the most difficult political and economical times.
His love touched every Saudi household particularly with his foreign scholarship projects. That is why the hearts of the Saudi youths, both men and women, are filled with loyalty to the king.
King Abdullah took not only Saudi Arabia to safe waters but also was king for all Arabs with his stance of candidness and transparency in all issues making him a world leader. The king also waded through the terror wave in the Kingdom especially after the menace manifested in the United States on Sept.11, 2001. The king took a resolute stand against the wave.
He also led the Kingdom in its liberalization, reforms, and development, besides granting Saudi women their rights. The late king also unfolded a vision for peace in the region, a vision that has been the centerpiece of all efforts to broker peace for the Palestinians.
When the world was passing through a deep economic crisis the late king gained the Kingdom’s entry to the G-20 and he led the economic progress in the country.
Above all, the late king also put forward the project of Baiah Commission, which carried a vision to regulate the Saudi political house.
The king also was also aware of the Iranian threat and the schemes to disintegrate the Arab countries even before the so-called Arab Spring.
It was King Abdullah who forced Syrian President Bashar Assad to pull out of Lebanon after Rafik Al-Hariri’s assassination and saved Syria from a likely military strike. And again the king was the real rescuer of the Syrians against the crimes of Assad.
The king also perceived the threat of extremism. That is why he took a determined stance against the so-called Arab Spring with the sole motive of protecting the Arab countries. He also took a resolute stand against the evil designs of the enemies of Bahrain.
His stand in Egypt was that of a realistic king and leader and left no stone unturned to rescue Egypt despite the opposition of the West.
That is why all Arabs and Muslims loved the late king. While the king led the country to broader horizons, he also defended the unity of the Gulf countries and protected Arab States; the most important among them was Egypt and the Syria.
— By Tariq Alhumayed
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