Commodore,Royal Saudi Navy
Observers may recall the mini-Iranian Spring that took place in Tehran in the early 1950s. Mohammad Mosaddegh, who went on to become the prime minister of his country, led the mini-revolution. Many analysts claim that his government was overthrown because it allegedly refused to allow any British involvement in the Iranian oil industry. Riots erupted in the country and Mohammad Reza Shah Pehlavi, the king of Iran, was sent to exile but later returned to the country following a coup. The rest is history. Interestingly, the riots that broke out in Iran particularly in the oil producing facilities did not ask for a government change. Iranians wanted some basic changes to the oil agreements that simply resembled the Saudi-American oil deal. Was the world energy capital, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia behind the short-lived uprising in Iran? The answer is: Of course, not. Such a claim would be outlandish and beyond logic. How could a small city at that time managed to foment unrest in another country? Such conspiracy theories emerge in the wake of such global upsets. Some of those theories are completely void of any reason and facts. In his article titled “Did Dubai do it? (Nov. 18, 2014), NYT columnist Thomas Friedman tried to answer some questions pertaining to the so-called Arab Spring. According to Friedman, the success of Dubai was an eye-opener to the countries that were swept by the so- called Arab Spring. Since the beginning of the Arab Spring, many people around the world wrote and talked about how, why and who ignited the Arab Spring? As it turned out, it was Dubai that started it all. At least, that’s what Friedman implied. The moment the Arab Spring broke out, many people said it was a quest for democracy and that the Gulf countries are next in line because all the six Arab Gulf states are labeled as absolute monarchies. Friedman’s article said otherwise, the Arab Spring was not a quest for democracy; it was a quest for better living. Ironically, similar views were expressed in an article titled, “The GCC states: Between democracy and prosperity,” published in Arab News about two years ago. The Arab countries hit by the so-called Arab Spring are in shambles. It will take a miracle for them to return to their pre-Arab Spring positions. Just look at Libya, Yemen, Iraq and Syria. People are now beginning to realize that the Arab Spring was the result of decades of misplaced priorities and wrong policies coupled with hollow claims of progress and rhetoric. During the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, most Arab republics such as Egypt, Syria and Iraq were ruled by presidents for life. They used to label the Gulf countries as backward ruled by kings, amirs, sheikhs and sultans. But the rulers of the Gulf countries are more legitimate than the leaders of the so-called Arab republics. The rulers of the Gulf states ruled the land for many hundreds of years, while the Arab republics’ leaders came to the top following military coups. The Arab republics wasted the resources of their countries while the rulers of the Gulf countries quietly built their countries and remained closer to their people. Many analysts were dead wrong in their assessments about the stability, security and prosperity of the Gulf states, which would make it immune to any outside winds of changes. And this was made clear during the past two weeks in Saudi Arabia. We read many far-fetched analyses and reports about Saudi Arabia. But the world was amazed by the smooth transition of power in the Kingdom. We Saudis were not amazed at all because it was business as usual to us. Many people around the world do not know about how open and transparent the means of communications between the ruler and the ruled in countries labeled as absolute monarchies is. Leaders here do listen and meet citizens face to face to talk about their needs. In the Arab republics, the masses want their governments to take care of them and be close to them. Isn’t it funny that Arabs in the so-called republics want to adopt the governance style of the so- called absolute monarchies? Oh, I forgot to mention the two-month bonuses and payouts ordered by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to all Saudi government employees, university students and the retirees. So, may be Friedman is right. Maybe it was Dubai’s miraculous growth that ignited the Arab Spring and the analysts thought it was an orchestrated conspiracy. Written by Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim. Of Conspiracy Theories reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim.