Herald Middle East

MBS First Public Trip Abroad As Crown Prince Is To Cairo

Update: He is now in the UK receiving a well deserved and befitting royal welcome.


Original Article:

The past year or so has been quite tough for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the corruption scandals rocked the country, whereby 11 princes were detained, grip on business leaders was tightened and former as well as serving Ministers were arrested by Saudi Monarch Bin Salman’s Elite Squad last November. The Saudi Prince has embarked on his maiden official visit to the West, where he plans to visit Egypt – a close ally of the Kingdom – United Kingdom, and the United States.

Muhammad Bin Salman, who took the charge of the Kingdom in June last year has landed in Egypt – the relations with which have developed very strongly ever since Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took charge as the President of Egypt in 2014 – in a bid to further strengthen the Saudi-Egyptian relations as well as to discuss the recent developments in the region. The next stop for Bin Salman is the UK, where he is expected to meet the Prime Minister Theresa May and the Royal family.

The Saudi Crown Prince, however, is facing a barrage of Propaganda as thousands have signed a petition to request Theresa May to call-off the trip following Bin Salman’s continued support for the Yemeni government against the Iran-supported Houthi rebels as well as to back-off from UK’s arms sales to the Kingdom. On the other hand, the tour will “turn a new page”, as written by UK’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. While the masses are criticising the Prince for his involvement in the Yemen War, the 32-year old has planned his first visit on the back of a major military and political shuffle as the country has seen a pleasant change in the upper leadership in military, politics and business industry.

Some of the most important social changes introduced by the proactive Prince include the revival of cinema in the country which was closed down since the 1970s, women have been allowed to drive, they can watch the football games and join military as soldiers, entertainment industry has seen a rapid rise ever since the Prince’s arrival as the head of the government; around 5000 entertainment events are likely to take place this year, concerts, fashion shows, and music festivals are becoming a routine matter and whatnot.

The West used to criticise the Kingdom for the bans on women, on the entertainment industry and whatnot, right?

Well, the reforms introduced by the Prince have somewhat repressed the critics who have always blasted the Kingdom for its conservative nature. While the reason behind the propaganda against Bin Salman seems obvious – he is the driving force for Saudi’s Vision 2030 which aims to reduce the country’s dependence on oil as well as to diversify the economy along with bringing major reforms in the public sectors.

The amiable social reforms to go along with building strong relations with the West, including the UK, the USA, France, and other important countries bode well for the Kingdom and the Iran-led propaganda is making it all the more pertinent to support Bin Salman’s efforts more than ever. The Saudi Prince will be landing in UK on Wednesday in the upcoming week as confirmed by the Prime Minister while the third leg of tour will be from March 19-22 in the US.


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