Year 2015 in retrospect

Talal Alharbi
Talal Alharbi

Talal Alharbi

By : Talal Alharbi

The New Year is just about to dawn on us. The clock is ticking and soon we will enter yet another year. The year 2015 proved to be a year riven by conflict and crisis. It was not only marked by manmade wars and conflicts, nature also wreaked havoc on this planet. It would be safe to say that the recent natural disasters are of our own making.

In short, it was a year full of events at the local, regional and global levels. Saudi Arabia entered a new era after the demise of King Abdullah. Despite many speculations about the transfer of power, Saudi Arabia experienced a smooth transition. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman took the reins of the country at a critical juncture in the history of Arab world. Since its foundation, Saudi Arabia has been fortunate to have visionary leaders who continuously worked for the betterment of the country and the people. Our leaders have always made attempts to modernize the country in each and every aspect. They did not leave any stone unturned to unify the Arab and the Muslim world.

King Salman, however, gave a new meaning to this approach. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has breathed a new life into the Muslim world. Thanks to these efforts, the new mantra of Muslims around the world is: “We are strong enough and we do not need help from others.”

King Salman started his rule by making important decisions to introduce far-reaching reforms so as to prepare the Kingdom to face the challenges of the fast-changing world. Introduction of technocrats in the government or Cabinet was part of those reforms. Appropriate actions are being taken to streamline official procedures to facilitate both nationals and expatriates. In other words, we can say that he laid foundations of good governance in line with the modern world.

King Salman has launched an era of change and enforced principles of responsibility and accountability. As such some ministers and government officials were sacked and many boards and councils were abolished.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques attaches great importance to the youth of the country. He has assigned young leaders to key roles so as to cultivate a young breed of leaders for the country. King Salman is not only taking measures to improve our present but he is also thinking about our future.

The year 2015 wasn’t without challenges. We saw the Iranian-backed Houthi rebellion in Yemen. The Kingdom is known for its policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states. So, when demonstrations and protests began in the neighboring country, it did its best to help the various political factions in Yemen to reach an agreement. But the Houthis and former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh had their discrete agendas and they both conspired to topple the legitimate Yemeni government and held the democratically elected president hostage.

In the light of these events, the Kingdom was forced to move to rescue the Yemeni people and the legitimate government, especially after realizing that the Houthis were acting at the behest of the Iranian regime.

This time, the Kingdom had no other option but to interfere because a dirty game was being played in its backyard.

Leading a coalition of Arab states, the Kingdom launched an offensive to quell the Houthi rebellion. These were preemptive strikes to stop spread of sectarian wars and the Iranian hegemony in region. Contrary to what the Russians, the Iranians and Hezbollah are doing in Syria, by targeting civilians and destroying the infrastructures of the war-torn Arab country, the Saudi-led operation only targets the armed rebels.

Due to the growing threat of terrorism in the Muslim world, the Kingdom announced the formation of an Islamic alliance comprising 34 countries to fight terrorism.

On the economic front, the budget has been designed on a new basis after a steep decline in oil prices. The Council for Economic Affairs and Development will work to bring about drastic changes in the economic structure of the country so as to diversify resources of national income and to do away with heavy reliance on oil. It will also work for the total restructuring of the Saudi economic system by 2020.

After bidding farewell to 2015, we are now on the thresholds of 2016, which heralds the beginning of new long march toward development, construction and self-reliance. “The march of a thousand miles starts with one step,” Mao Tse Tung, said once, and this is what our leadership is determined to do.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in the Column section are their own and do not reflect RiyadhVision’s point-of-view.


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