Leading Arab Media Figure: Trump’s Trip to Saudi Arabia Can ‘Correct’ Obama’s Foreign Policy

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FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty

TEL AVIV — President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia scheduled for later this month serves as a correction of sorts for the Obama administration’s orientation away from the Saudis and toward Iran, contended Abdel Rahman Rashed, a leading Saudi media figure.

Rashed is one of the top commentators in the Arab world. He formerly directed the Saudi television station Al Arabiya and was previously the editor-in-chief at Alsharq Alwasat, an international Saudi newspaper.

According to Rashed, the White House’s announcement that Trump will visit Saudi Arabia upon his first trip outside of the U.S. as president “sends a message that constitutes a change in priorities regarding his (Trump’s) foreign policy after relations between the countries in the Obama era and up until his (Obama’s) visit last year to Saudi Arabia, were the worst relations between the countries in 50 years.”

With Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, “We’re seeing a correction in American policy on all fronts: Syria, Iran, Yemen and on the level of bilateral relations,” Rashed wrote.

Rashed also discussed the challenge posed by the Muslim Brotherhood movement for Egypt and the Egyptian government.

He wrote: “The Muslim Brotherhood is a general problem, not a problem that effects one country. This is a political movement that uses religion to come to power. This is a movement similar to communism in that it’s a internationalist movement, a fact that turns it into a problem for all the governments in the region.”

Rashed added, “In the Muslim Brotherhood, members with citizenship in Mediterranean countries – Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia and other countries – are fighting a collective war. The movement tried to put the Egyptian government under a media siege and tried to incite against it and the Egyptian people and to incite other nations in the region against Egypt.

“And despite its control of dozens of television stations, websites and social media sites, the movement has failed. The Egyptian government today is much stronger than it was when the government of Mohammed Morsi (a Muslim Brotherhood leader) was removed three years ago.”

Rashed concluded, “The Muslim Brotherhood project in Egypt has failed. The defeat deepened after President Trump reversed his country’s policy from what it was during the Obama era, which boycotted the government of Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and tried to restrict it.”

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