Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saudi Arabia To Iraq...Through The Door
By Tariq Alhomayed
This opinion was published in Asharq al-Awsat on 31/10/2010
The call issued by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz to all Iraqi parties to meet in Riyadh, under the umbrella of the Arab League, is a good thing not just for Iraq and the people of Iraq, but for the entire region. The importance of this call is that Saudi Arabia has approached Baghdad through the [official] door [i.e. in the right way].
The Saudi Arabian King did not invite one [Iraqi] party at the expense of another, nor did he call for an Arab Summit or regional meeting to take place without the input of those involved in this issue, namely the Iraqis themselves. Rather King Abdullah called on the people of Iraq, and "all parties that participated in the elections, and political actors" to discuss the affairs of their country, and it's future, themselves; especially as the situation in Iraq is in dire need of a proposal to save the country from a dark and indeed terrifying future.
With the decline in the proposal of positive initiatives that deal with all Iraqi [parties] in an equal manner; King Abdullah's initiative comes at an important time in order to contribute to helping Iraq to overcome this ongoing crisis [over the formation of a government], with the Iraqis resolving this with their own hands. By inviting all Iraqi parties to meet in Riyadh, this means that the Iraqi problems will be solved by Iraqi ideas, rather than in foreign capitals, with one party going to Iraq, another to Syria, a third to Egypt, and another to Saudi Arabia. What is most important in the Saudi Arabian initiative is that it calls for all Iraqi parties to meet under one roof, and in a country that was and remains concerned about Iraq and the Iraqi people, namely Saudi Arabia.
This is in complete contrast to what I mentioned in my article yesterday about how the game is being played in Iraq [This is How the Game is Being Played in Iraq], according to a well-informed source. Saudi Arabia has taken the initiative to help Iraq overcome this predicament by inviting the Iraqis to sit at one table, face to face, in Riyadh, rather than proposing detailed solutions from abroad. King Abdullah clearly and explicitly called on the Iraqis to come [to Riyadh] to "consult and decide which noble way you take and which honorable direction you choose." He went on to say that Saudi Arabia "assure[s] you of our full readiness to extend a helping hand and support for all resolutions that you will reach and agree upon in order to restore security and peace to the land of Mesopotamia."
Without a doubt, Saudi Arabia's strength does not lie in militias; for it has nothing of this, but rather in its credibility, which was demonstrated in King Abdullah's historic speech when he said "your unity and solidarity strengthen you and us and are cause enough for reunion, patience and wisdom."
Today, as we mentioned before, Saudi Arabia has approached Baghdad through the door, and King Abdullah has called on the Iraqis to meet in Riyadh without setting any preconditions in order for the Iraqis to provide the solutions for themselves. Therefore, this is a historic opportunity for Iraq and the entire region, and it is up to the Iraqis of all [political and sectarian] inclinations to take advantage of this. In Saudi Arabia there will be no pressure on any one party against another, for Saudi Arabia's obsessions, and that of King Abdullah – which is clear to anybody who listens to him talking on the subject of Iraq – is protecting the unity and independence of Iraq. This was demonstrated in King Abdullah's historic speech when he said "our hands are outstretched to you. Let us work together for the security, integrity and stability of the land and brotherly people of Iraq. O Allah, I worked hard and I now ask righteousness; I prayed and I now beseech your response; and I have informed so that You, the most generous of all, will be my witness."
This is a historic call [by the Saudi King] and an opportunity that the wise and those concerned about Iraq have long dreamed of.