Salman Al-Dossary
Salman Al-Dossary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

What Has Saudi Arabia Done to the World?

Last Tuesday, 22/11/2022, is no longer just another day on the global calendar.

That day, the Saudis weaved a story that will remain engraved in the world’s collective memory, in the minds of the West more than the East and rivals more than friends.

The victory of the Saudi national team over Argentina is more than a football game. Its significance extends beyond the world of sports. It is a victory for a spirit of ambition - a spirit that found itself an exceptional leader capable of instilling confidence and drive, leaving us with this achievement.

The Saudi national team sent an eloquent message to all the skeptics of the Saudi dream. There are no weak and small players in this world, big and small, progressive and regressive, open and insular… There are those who make the most of their abilities, set goals and work to achieve their vision.

The Saudi victory over Argentina and the victory of Japan over Germany that followed have radically changed the equation of obnoxiousness, refining and redefining competition, those who plan from the beginning to win.

The Saudi victory over Argentina is bigger than football. It was a “tsunami of Saudi positivity.”

When Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived, the hardline Iranian model was in charge regionally. The world got used to this and lived with it.

The Crown Prince put his vision, not just for the Kingdom but the region as a whole. His model strives for development, civilizations, progress, and competition. What is surprising is that the benefits of development initiatives usually take decades to emerge, while it took a few years in Saudi Arabia, which dazzled the world with its new model.

Indeed, the Saudi victory in the tournament is a testament to the superiority and success of Saudi reforms more generally. Does anyone still doubt them?

The Saudi model has concretely demonstrated that it has the capacity to deal with destructive failed projects in the region. The fact is that Saudi Arabia has the capacity, not only to be a model for the region but to put its mark on the global diplomatic, military, and social map, perhaps even the sports map - as we saw in its opening World Cup match.

By the way, this isn’t the first time Saudi Arabia has won its opening game. I did so in 1994. Against whom? One of the favorites to win the competition.

It would be no exaggeration to say that the Saudi victory over Argentina is a victory over all the skeptics and everyone who belittled the Kingdom and obsessively waited for it to falter.

This historic victory united the Arab and Muslim peoples of the world for a moment. It was like a referendum that demonstrated the extent of the esteem that the peoples of these countries have for Saudi Arabia. This esteem drove residents of the Kingdom to take to the streets and demonstration their elation with this historic achievement, celebrating as though it were a personal one.

The scenes of elation across the Arab and Muslim worlds demonstrate that Saudi Arabia will remain for decades the most significant, powerful and spontaneous in the history of the whole region.

The message is one of love and pride. To the same extent that it demonstrates the love for this country, it speaks to the need for a wise, reformist, and accomplished leader capable of making history, as the godfather of the Saudi vision Prince Mohammed bin Salman is doing.