Opinion

Saudi-American relationship cornerstone of global stability

Saudi-American relationship cornerstone of global stability

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Seventy-five years ago, US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt met with Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to begin planning Europe’s recovery from World War II.

Following the Yalta Conference, President Roosevelt didn’t immediately begin his weeks-long return to the US; instead, he scheduled one additional stop.

A meeting with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdul Aziz aboard the USS Quincy in the Great Bitter Lake on the Suez Canal.

It would be the first and only meeting of these two historic influential leaders.

King Abdul Aziz, modern Saudi Arabia’s founder and first king, was a battlefield warrior, who as a young man expanded and unified the Kingdom.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, victor of four US presidential elections and author of the transformational New Deal, guided the US through two of the 20th century’s principal crises — the Great Depression and World War II.

It was a turning point in world history. King Abdul Aziz and President Roosevelt both understood that what was at stake was far more than just the immediate recovery of post-war Europe and Germany.

These two leaders saw this as the time for new alliances and partnerships that would expand existing bilateral relationships, forge new economic ties and create new international institutions that would be essential for global peace and security.

Both leaders recognized that establishing a sustained and lasting global stability would require new international bonds — and that if the US and Saudi Arabia were to help develop this new approach to global, collective security — both leaders and both nations would need to look beyond their own provincial interests.

As it would turn out, what was good for both nations, was also good for the world.

The king and the president saw that a groundbreaking partnership between Saudi Arabia and the US would both transform the region and diplomatically reshape the world.

Saudi Arabia would become the US’ first ally in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia chose the US as its first international ally — a move that would truly recalibrate the balance of global power in the region — not just immediately, but for decades to come.

The Saudi-US partnership became — and still remains — a cornerstone of global security and stability.

But when King Abdul Aziz and President Roosevelt met, nothing about the meeting between these two men was guaranteed.

The mere convening of the meeting itself was dangerous.

The war was not yet over.

Our friendship has become critical to preserving global peace and stability and to fostering economic prosperity.

Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud

No one even had any idea whether these two men, with seemingly little in common, would actually get along — the essential first step in any relationship between our two nations.

But they did...

They found common ground, mutual respect, and a shared commitment to bringing our nations together in a relationship that would transcend the bumps and difficulties of day-to-day political and diplomatic differences and challenges — both nations always able to keep in mind the big picture, the deep bonds between our nations, the vital importance of our alliance to regional and global security.

Our friendship has become critical to preserving global peace and stability and to fostering economic prosperity.

It is a partnership that would have our two nations work together, and fight together, to overcome common enemies and confront terrorism and extremism.

A partnership that would enable our two nations to strengthen international economic development and ensure the benefits of that development were widely and fairly shared.

A partnership that would stabilize global energy markets, as Saudi Arabia and the US cooperated to keep energy supplies safe and secure.

And it has been a strong relationship — one that has yielded extraordinary benefits for both nations and continues to do so.

In the 75 years since that meeting, the Saudi-US alliance has:

• Partnered to defeat communism;

• Ensured stable global energy markets;

• Reversed Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait;

• Led a global campaign to eliminate Al-Qaeda and ISIS (Daesh);

• Coordinated counterterrorism efforts that have saved thousands of innocent lives;

• And delivered unprecedented economic development to the Arab world.

This is the legacy of King Abdul Aziz and President Roosevelt and their meeting 75 years ago...

A relationship between our two nations that remains strong...

A relationship that continues to be a force for prosperity and peace...

A partnership that ensures stability and security...

And a friendship that promotes dialogue and understanding.

 

Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud is Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the United States

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point-of-view

Saudi-US relations key to global stability, says Princess Reema on 75th anniversary of USS Quincy meeting

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Updated 14 February 2020

Saudi-US relations key to global stability, says Princess Reema on 75th anniversary of USS Quincy meeting

When Saudi Arabia's King Abdul Aziz and US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt met on February 14, 1945 aboard the USS Quincy in Egypt's Great Bitter Lake, no one probably had a faint idea whether they would actually get along well. After all, they seemed not to have much in common. The meeting was just a side trip for Roosevelt, whose main purpose was to meet with Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in Yalta in the Crimea to discuss the postwar reorganization of Germany and Europe.

As it would turn out, the first and only meeting between Ibn Saud and Roosevelt had become a defining moment in world history.

"King Abdul Aziz and President Roosevelt both understood that what was at stake was far more than just the immediate recovery of post-war Europe and Germany," writes Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Washington in an opinion article enumerating the bonds that tie the two great nations together.

Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud's article is part of today's special supplement in Arab News in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of that historic meeting.

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"These two leaders saw this as the time for new alliances and partnerships that would expand existing bilateral relationships, forge new economic ties and create new international institutions that would be essential for global peace and security.

"Both leaders recognized that establishing a sustained and lasting global stability would require new international bonds — and that if the US and Saudi Arabia were to help develop this new approach to global, collective security — both leaders and both nations would need to look beyond their own provincial interests," the ambassador writes.

Arab News also sat with Roosevelt's grandson Hall Delano Roosevelt, who has devoted a significant part of his career to promoting US-Saudi partnerships, to share his reflections on that historic meeting. 

“It was about creating a relationship and a friendship with this new King, who had just spent quite some time, and resources, and blood, and effort to unite the Arabian Peninsula for the purpose of being a productive part of the world,” he says.

For US Ambassador John Abizaid, since that meeting between Saudi Arabia’s founding monarch and the US president, Washington has been a steady strategic partner of Riyadh, notwithstanding the up and downs in the relationship.

Columnist Oubai Shahbandar, a former Middle East Pentagon analyst, writes that the two nations have managed to overcome a number of obstacles in their bilateral relations over the years because "it is a relationship that has been anchored on common security interests and personal bonds between leaders."

Arab News writer and columnist Frank Kane writes that "Saudi Aramco has been at the heart of the 75-year-old partnership between the US and the Kingdom."


Adidas’ latest campaign shot in Saudi Arabia

Updated 18 February 2020

Adidas’ latest campaign shot in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: In celebration of the 50th anniversary of its iconic superstar sneakers, Adidas Originals decided to shoot its latest “Change is a Team Sport” campaign in Saudi Arabia. 

Featuring four talented women hailing from the Kingdom, the campaign images were photographed against the striking backdrop of the AlUla heritage site.

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For the campaign, the athletic giant tapped designer Alaa Balkhy, rapper Aseel Saraj, fashion blogger Jory Al Maiman and skateboarder and actress Sarah Taibah to showcase the sportswear brand’s iconic sneakers.

It is the first time a major brand has shot a campaign at the UNESCO heritage site.