Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

The Economic Corridor and The Ideological Corridor

As soon as Saudi Arabia announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the United States to establish an economic corridor linking India and Europe, in cooperation with the European Union, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, and Italy, we had two corridors in our region. One is economic and the other is "ideological.” How? The signing of the memorandum of understanding on the economic corridor at the G20 Summit in India sparked a broad debate, with some questioning its seriousness, others assessing its benefits, and a third group fearing its consequences.


The Saudi-led camp of construction, stability, and development through serious ideas, is now assessing its benefits and potential returns; it is contemplating what the Saudi economy can achieve through this agreement and how its conclusion could reinforce the stability of the region. Meanwhile, others are approaching it differently, seeking a role for themselves not through partnership, but a zero-sum approach. “If it is not me, it won’t be anyone else.” The first figure to publicly oppose it was the Turkish president, who said that there could be no economic corridor without Türkiye, suggesting that the economic corridor goes from Iraq to Türkiye rather than the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.


This proposal contradicts Türkiye’s policy towards Iraq. I say "contradicts" because it is strange for Ankara to demand an economic corridor through a country it has been bombarding under the pretext of combating terrorism. These strikes are tied, of course, to Türkiye's stance on the Kurds, and one cannot bomb a state and be its economic ally at the same time!


We hear the same criticisms from Iran’s men in the region, specifically those in Lebanon. The question here is clear and simple; it is not tenable for the “Guardianship of the Jurists” that stretches from Tehran to Lebanon passing through Iraq, and Syria, through which arms and militiamen are smuggled, to be a commercial trade route at the same time!


Speaking of Lebanon, Iran loyalists there claim that the economic corridor is merely a service to the "Zionist project." This can only be seen as a sick joke; no one in Lebanon has the right to speak out about this economic corridor after the maritime border demarcation agreement between Lebanon and Israel.


Obviously, no one can claim that the demarcation agreement was concluded by Lebanon’s politicians and not Hezbollah. The latter’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, gave his blessings personally. "As far as the resistance is concerned, the mission has been accomplished," he said; adding, "I announce the end of all the exceptional measures and mobilizations that the resistance. He also called the agreement "a major big and significant victory for Lebanon... for its state, its people, and its resistance".


Alright, that leaves the Muslim Brotherhood, be it those subordinate to Türkiye, those allied with Iran, or those currently realigning. All three are striving to establish an "ideological corridor" by exploiting the memorandum of understanding. Indeed, Muslim Brotherhood top brass and cadres are now trying to claim that the Suez Canal will be the ultimate victim of this economic corridor, pretending to care about Egyptians’ well-being. They are also attempting to use the "ideological corridor" to deepen their relationship with Türkiye once again.


In conclusion: the era of empty slogans and taking people for a ride is over. Everyone identifies their interest and looks into what benefits them. Whoever wishes to participate and compete positively is welcome to do so, but we do not have time for stale slogans that neither benefit nor turn hunger into satiation.