Dept. of Defense news: Gen. Dempsey Sponsors Essay Competition to Honor Saudi King
This is my essay on the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and his legacy of peace. Legacy means what you leave behind. King Abdullah left peace behind in so many ways. Now I will tell you about it.
King Abdullah did not have an easy job. He was in charge of world oil prices and if you think that is easy think again. When he died, President Barack Obama talked about King Abdullah’s "steadfast and passionate belief in the importance of U.S.-Saudi relationship as a force for stability and security." But what do these words really mean? By keeping the oil flowing even when prices were going down in 2014, King Abdullah was doing his part for the economic recovery that President Obama talked about in his State of the Union speech in January, 2015. This may help people understand the President’s speech better since most of them at least in my family were wondering, “What economic recovery?”
But the hardest part of King Abdullah’s job has been his friendship with Israel. When one country is another country’s best friend, like the U.S. and Israel are, it is hard to be the third friend in the triangle. Sometimes it even leads to becoming frenemies. But King Abdullah always kept in mind that there is one country that is not even a frenemy, but just an enemy: Iran. By keeping in mind that Arabs and Israel can be friends as long as they remember that their real common enemy is Iran, King Abdullah played an important part. A U.S. State Department cable on April 20, 2008 tells that Prince “Al-Jubeir recalled the King's frequent exhortations to the US to attack Iran and so put an end to its nuclear weapons program. ‘He told you to cut off the head of the snake.’” And that is the kind of leadership that makes you America’s friend.
King Abdullah also played an important part in the mission accomplished in Iraq, for example. He refused to put an embassy there because there was too much influence from Iran. Iraq was not acting Arab enough and the King thought that if Saudi Arabia sent an ambassador to Iraq, "He would immediately become a target for the terrorists and the militias.” He should know since so many of the terrorists like al-Qaeda and the Taliban were grown in Saudi Arabia and especially ISIS which gets a lot of funding from there and also learned about beheading as a form of punishment. Once you have your head chopped off, you are done making trouble. Unless you had a blog because people can keep reading it even if you are put in jail for blogging, or beaten with a whip. Of course they might get in trouble for even having your blog on their computer and the government finding out. So it is probably better not to read blogs like that, if you want to keep your head.
Finally, King Abdullah was a big player in the Arab Spring which never seemed to reach Saudi Arabia for some reason. According to the Intercept article “Saudi Arabia’s King Misremembered As Man Of Peace,”
In Bahrain, Saudi forces intervened to crush a popular uprising which had threatened the rule of the ruling al-Khalifa monarchy, while in Syria Saudi-backed factions have helped turn what was once a popular democratic uprising into a bloody, intractable proxy war between regional rivals which is now a main driver of extremism in the Middle East.
So that is my essay for General Dempsey’s contest. Gen. Dempsey actually met King Abdullah and he said, "I found the king to be a man of remarkable character and courage.” The general created this contest to support “writing efforts on relevant issues at the intersection of U.S. security interests and the Arab-Muslim world,” and this is my effort. I hope you liked it.