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The Biggest Winner at Argentina’s Summit

The Biggest Winner at Argentina’s Summit

Sunday, 2 December, 2018 - 09:30
Salman Al-Dossary
Salman Al-Dossary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

This year’s G20 summit in Argentina was not like other previous ones, at least for Saudi Arabia, which was at the forefront before and during the event. The spotlight was on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who chaired his country’s delegation. It was a global summit but with a Saudi flavor. The Crown Prince was present despite all the major uproar against Saudi Arabia recently, and despite countless attempts to prove that the Kingdom can be isolated… attempts by states, organizations and parties.

The world then discovered that the presence of Prince Mohammed has annihilated the harshest campaign that extended over nearly two months. The reason is not only because major leaders such as the heads of Russia, Britain, France, Italy, China, India, South Africa, Argentina, South Korea, Indonesia and Mexico, did not miss the opportunity to meet with the Saudi leader; and not because it also showed that the Kingdom is greater than any attempts to exclude it as an influential country at the international level; but simply because the overwhelming presence of Prince Mohammed at the G20 proved that the crisis facing the Kingdom was only a prolonged media crisis, not a political one as it was meant to be.

Since its start, the summit was full of unprecedented moments: a Chinese delegation official walked out of the plane before the Chinese president and the Chinese national anthem was played in his honor. Technical problems forced German Chancellor Angela Merkel to fly to Argentina in a commercial plane. President Donald Trump expressed his boredom as he was listening to the interpreter who was translating the discussion between him and his Argentinian counterpart, before he got rid of his earphone in front of the audience. French President Emmanuel Macron landed in Argentina to find out that instead of an official welcome, he was greeted by air service personnel.

Despite all these embarrassing moments, which are fodder for the press, the participation of Prince Mohammed overshadowed all else. Dozens of photographers, who swarmed around him in anticipation of any misstep, were surprised by his overwhelming presence that surpassed all the other attendees.

Great powers know very well the importance of their interests with the Kingdom, which should not be subject to fluctuations because of a passing crisis and misleading accusations. In addition, the Crown Prince affirmed the credibility of the firm Saudi position regarding the inability of any party to influence the Kingdom’s position or even attempt to contain it. Undoubtedly, anyone who expected, wished, or waited for the opposite to happen, was disappointed as they watched the distinct appearance of Saudi Arabia during the summit.

The Kingdom has stressed that it is able to overcome an exaggerated crisis and successfully managed to turn the propaganda in its favor, into political gains that the entire world has seen. It was the biggest winner of Argentina’s summit.

The remarkable participation of Prince Mohammed has blocked all efforts that had been exerted to take advantage of the summit to marginalize the Saudi role and complete the series of exaggeration of the story of the death of Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia did not respond with a wave of statements or speeches, not even systematic leaks. It has instead proven to be greater than attempts to target it, showing it was capable of overcoming all obstacles placed in its way.

Most importantly, Prince Mohammed’s participation has confirmed that the crisis, in its essence, was in the media and was intended to develop into a political crisis that the Kingdom cannot confront. Then came the G20 summit to give the Kingdom all its retributions by the very presence of its Crown Prince.

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