Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, has made a name of himself as one of the world’s leading figures by spearheading a “revolution” that has reached all aspects of life in his country and transformed Saudi Arabia into an international political, economic and social heavyweight.
Riyadh has made itself a model capital of an ideal state. In several countries, people carry the images of Prince Mohammed in protests against their own states that have failed to resolve their political, economic and development problems. In search of freedom and a dignified life, they chant: “We want a ruler like Mohammed bin Salman.”
The Saudi Crown Prince has prioritized the fight against corruption - in all its financial, ideological and cultural forms – since he became the country’s number two leader. He believes that corruption in all its forms is the bane of the age and hurdle in development. Saudi Arabia is unique because it boasts what no other country does, the Two Holy Mosques. It also boasts a wealth of natural resources, such as oil and metals, and thousands of years of historical and cultural heritage.
The young prince managed to find the “secret formula” and rode the fast train that has moved in all directions, bringing with him change against everything that was familiar, ordinary and fixed. He drew a plan to build the country of the future, taking advantage of the resources and by keeping an eye on the regional and international arenas.
He became an influential player, closely read the local, regional and international files – both old and new – and realized that many needed revising in line with the times and the conditions at hand. He prioritized the interests of his country, region and ummah. To achieve this goal, he formed a team of ministers and advisors inside the country and beyond. He tasked them with missions that he directly supervises.
At the top of his priorities was the comprehensive development of Saudi Arabia and searching for new sources of income that don’t rely on oil. Through his wisdom and long-sightedness, he realized that this mission needed legislation and a roadmap and so, Vision 2030 was born. It set the course for development in all aspects of the country. The world has seen its goals come to life. Saudi Arabia has become a workshop that tackles all aspects of development.
Crown Prince Mohammed also realized that countries cannot work alone politically and economically in achieving their goals and demands for development. Rather, this demands the application of economic integration, a concept that emerged after World War II. This will promote trade exchange between countries, coordinate financial and monetary policies and fortify them against sudden crises. To this end, Crown Prince Mohammed proposed initiatives that take advantage of Saudi Arabia’s resources and wealth to build a country of the future. Everyone recalls his call for the formation of a new Middle East that was followed with the forging of alliances and signing of economic and trade agreements with influential countries.
Furthermore, Crown Prince Mohammed succeeded in achieving the independence of Saudi political decision-making, transforming it into a rising Arab power with international weight in all fields and that should not be underestimated.
To that end, he tackled perhaps one of the thorniest issues, that of Iran, which for years had posed a threat to Saudi Arabia, the Gulf and other Arab countries. He was convinced that the political solution through dialogue was the best option. Iran, he believes, is a country with a long history and differences with it cannot be tackled through direct military confrontation.
He dismissed American and Israeli threats to strike Iran, believing that they are a form of political blackmail. Such threats had been on the table for decades and they have never been proven credible. So, reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran took place. They restored relations that had been severed for years. Through his wisdom and vision, Crown Prince Mohammed effectively put behind him a thorny issue and he also returned both Syria and Iraq to their Arab fold.
On the local level, Crown Prince Mohammed approved the system of the personal status law, replacing laws that had been in place for years, out of his conviction that the Holy Quran is applicable during all times and in all places. His country is bound to apply Quranic texts. He believes that texts must take into account circumstances, the place and time they were adopted. In order to achieve the goals of Vision 2030, he believed that religious speech and rhetoric should be addressed without infringing on clear religious principles.
All of the above are accomplishments and files that were achieved by Crown Prince Mohammed. Only a charismatic leader, with unique characteristics and a drive for change and one who can take the initiative could have made these achievements.
Researcher in Saudi history and sociology, Dr. Ismail al-Salamat told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Man is born with talents bestowed upon him by God. These talents either remain untapped or are exploited. God blessed this nation with a young prince and skilled leader. He was born with exceptional talents and capabilities. He was aided by circumstances, a good upbringing, multiple talents and a balanced and strong personality.”
“He is also driven by positive personal ambition and desire to succeed, and love for goodness and building a promising future for the people,” he added.
Crown Prince Mohammed enjoys unique characteristics that played the greater part in achieving the Arab dream of living in the ideal city. He is the hope of every individual of the nation that has for years endured fragmentation, division, loss and weakness. The nation was overpowered by world forces surrounding it. It was not taken seriously, as Arab citizens in the majority of Arab countries are being misled, are suffering from poverty, are oppressed and are forced to immigrate. They see hope in the accomplishments of Crown Prince Mohammed and a salvation from their miserable reality.
Al-Salamat spoke of the characteristics that have made the Crown Prince a model ruler and leader. He is a responsible ruler - one of the most important traits of the young prince that motivates him to work hard to achieve his goal. He has integrity that makes others trust him. He is dedicated to his principles and responsibilities. His principles are unchanging, which motivates the people on his team and builds confidence that their efforts will achieve their goal.
A successful leader is inspiring and knows what he wants and where he is headed. “We can see this through the quality of projects and plans that are part of Vision 2030 and that aim for development and prosperity,” said Al-Salamat. The successful leader does not rely on luck, but on serious hard work and accurate planning.
Crown Prince Mohammed is also just and fair, assigning the right man to the right position and choosing people based on their skills and capabilities. He is a good communicator and listener and displays emotional intelligence, which is one of the most important traits a leader needs as he forges ahead on his path to glory and improving the lives of his followers.
Moreover, Crown Prince Mohammed’s ambitions know no bounds and his drive will not be stopped and will not stop. It will continue to confront and overcome challenges. He is also a risk-taker. He doesn’t view challenges as obstacles, rather as necessary steps to achieve what is demanded. The greater the task the more innovative and determined he becomes. He does not take risks for the sake of taking them and is unafraid to get out of his comfort zone to achieve his goals.
Crown Prince Mohammed is good at managing and leading his team. He has directly and indirectly overseen all state institutions and their way of work. He has motivated the people to work and cooperate together, offering rewards and benefits, which has produced successful government agencies that are constantly developing and improving.
Moreover, Crown Prince Mohammed has displayed openness, making it his motto. His policy and constructive vision are based on openness, which is accepting the other and their differences, while maintaining the principles of his people and religion. “These are rare traits in a leader – ones we can find in a few great leaders throughout history. He is open-minded and represents the hope of his people and nation.”
Al-Salamat said that if one were to examine the Arab region and Middle East, stretching from the Levant, Anatolia, Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Jordan, Iran and Iraq, “we find the gleaming star of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”
“He has earned the title Prince of the East – a young ambitious man, who exudes innovation and energy and boasts the massive ability to give and innovate and soar towards dreams and ambitions.”