Why do they love Mohammed bin Salman?

DUBAI; JULY 11, 2018:“We wouldn’t have gone alone, we needed him to be able to go further into the dream,” this is exactly what a young man whom I met in a London hotel lobby told me.

I have seen the enthusiasm of Saudi youth after the kingdom’s Vision 2030 was announced – an enthusiasm which was about to burn out before that. When I delivered a lecture in Columbia University in December 2017, this point was implicit in every question, why do the Arab youth, particularly those from Saudi Arabia, love Prince Mohammed bin Salman?

In terms of my generation, we may describe ourselves as confused; angry because years from our lives were hijacked by religious movements and in the name of nationalism and wars that only ended for new ones to begin. Yes, in the Gulf, we were and we are still more stable and enjoy better welfare than other Arab countries, but we were standing tall without a dream in the distance. We were standing tall as our students went to study abroad, we paved roads that were full of sand and watched Arabic movies in hopes that we’d have screens which we’d see our sons and daughters on, so that we see ourselves. We believed in the arts and we still do. We used to love in silence, walk in silence and stay distant from everyone. We were building the house where the dream will dwell – a dream that awoke with Mohammed bin Salman.

Irish satirist Jonathan Swift, who died in 1745, once said: “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” The ability to dream since the dawn of history continues to awaken the path and empower men. Bright minds are those that see the blessing in productiveness and hard work, not in stillness and inactivity. There’s nothing truer than the determination of a man who experienced staying in his office 18 hours a day to smile and say: “We can go far over there. We have everything. God granted us nature that makes the whole wants to visit. Why don’t we invest in museums? Who are we leaving the coral reefs and the magnificent islands for? For how long will we rely on oil when we have everything? We will not allow the best years of our lives to be hijacked from us.”

Mohammed bin Salman sees the challenge and takes it head on, and he makes rapid progress. It is the walk of a man whose dream will be stopped by nothing except death. How can we not love him, Turki? the young Saudi man said.

You cannot blame Arab and Gulf youths for loving the prince. Our Arab countries have been struggling since the 1960s across the region – with few exceptions that can be counted on the fingers of one hand. They have been through an unprecedented phase of weakness as republics slipped into chaos, some countries’ springs turned into autumns, and violence only produced more violence, all the way to the Levant, where one is distressed from the news of those killed every day. All of this happened because an Iranian cleric saw an Arab soft spot and snuck in from the North and South and in vain wanted to snatch away Yemen, considered the “old house” of the Arab world. He armed the militia of ignorance in Saa’da, but only to create a graveyard. Yemen is the origin of every Arab as bin Salman put it. He’s the one who supplied Yemen with forces and committed to purge Yemen of the defilement of Khomeini and his rogue remnants.

War on corruption

In Saudi Arabia, everyone loves Prince Mohammed bin Salman because his war on corruption surprised those who do not know him and confirmed to those who do know him that his ambitions are higher than first perceived. Where others need a long time to achieve something, Mohammed bin Salman needs less. Since he can deal with all these affairs during this short time, it’s his right to dream and to see the dream approaching him!

Mohammed bin Salman sees the challenge and takes it head on, and he makes rapid progress. It is the walk of a man whose dream will be stopped by nothing except death.

Turki Aldakhil

During his interview with American writer David Ignatius, Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: “You have a body that has cancer everywhere, the cancer of corruption. You need to have chemo, the shock of chemo, or the cancer will eat the body,” adding that the kingdom couldn’t meet budget targets without halting the looting.

Numbers, which the prince is fond of, do not lie and cannot be embellished. He cites numbers, holds others accountable based on them and is biased to them just like a man of law who trusts laws and regulations. This is why numbers came in his favor when Arab youth were asked about him in the 10th annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey. It found that 90% of Saudi youth and 60% of Arab youth view Mohammed bin Salman as a strong and influential leader who will impact the region in the future.

This survey was not random as it included 3,500 youths from both genders and aged between 18 and 24 years old. The survey was conducted face to face with the youths who represent 16 Arab countries.

Whenever I see Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambition, I believe in the honesty of the smiling young man in the lobby at the London hotel when he said: “We wouldn’t have done it alone,” but we needed a man who could turn dreams into reality.

This article is also available in Arabic.

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Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

Young Arabs say Egypt has the MENA region’s best chance of victory in biggest ever FIFA World Cup for Arab teams

  • Two-thirds of young Arabs say they will closely follow the World Cup competition
  • Saudi Arabia face Russia in opening game – but a third of young Arabs say region’s best hope for progressing lies with Egypt

DUBAI; JUNE 4, 2018: With a record four Arab national teams competing in the FIFA World Cup this year –  Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia – ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller’s 10th annual Arab Youth Survey reveals that young people across the region think that Egypt has the best chance among the Arab nations of progressing through the tournament.

Two in three young Arabs (65 per cent) say they will closely follow the World Cup competition, which kicks off in Russia on June 14, 2018 with the Saudia Arabia team playing the hosts of the World Cup; and young Arab women (60 per cent) are nearly as likely to follow the competition as young Arab men (70 per cent). Among those who will follow the competition, 14 per cent say that Germany will be crowned the FIFA World Cup 2018 champions, 13 per cent say Brazil has the best chance to win, while another 12 per cent expect Argentina to win.

Among those who will follow the competition, 11 per cent say they will support Egypt, making the Egyptian team as popular as Argentina (12 per cent) and Germany (10 per cent).  Egypt is the clear fan favorite in the GCC countries, with 24 per cent of GCC youth saying they will support Egypt in the competition.

When asked specifically about the four Arab nations taking part in the World Cup, Egypt is the favorite with a third or respondents (34 per cent) saying Egypt will outperform other Arab countries in Russia, followed by Morocco (22 per cent), Saudi Arabia (21 per cent), and Tunisia (19 per cent).

Sunil John, founder of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller and President, Middle East, Burson Cohn & Wolfe, said: “The FIFA World Cup is going to be a major event for youth in the Middle East and North Africa. With the highest ever participation from Arab national teams, it’s not surprising that two in every three young Arabs will be following the competition closely. The FIFA World Cup encourages a sense of unity among supporters in the Arab world, and brings feelings of hope and excitement across the region.”

The survey was conducted prior to Egypt’s star player, Mohammed Saleh, suffering a shoulder injury during Liverpool’s defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League final last month.  Saleh’s involvement in Russia is still hanging in the balance but there is hope that he will  make a full recovery and participate in Egypt’s opening match against Uruguay on June 15, 2018.

The ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey is the largest survey of its kind of the Middle East’s largest demographic – its youth. For this year’s Survey, international polling firm PSB Research conducted 3,500 face-to-face interviews with exclusively Arab national men and women aged 18-24 in the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain; Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Yemen, between January 21 and February 20, 2018.

Read the full findings and expert insight and commentary on this year’s Survey at www.arabyouthsurvey.com

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About the Arab Youth Survey
The ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey, launched in 2008, is the largest survey of its kind of the Middle East’s largest demographic – its youth. It provides governments, the private sector and civil society with insights into the hopes, concerns and aspirations of Arab youth. For the 10th annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey 2018, PSB Research, an international polling firm, conducted 3,500 face-to-face interviews with Arab national men and women aged 18-24 between January 21 and February 20, 2018, in the six Gulf Cooperation Council states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE), North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia) the Levant (Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestinian Territories) and Yemen. The margin of error is +/-1.65%. In-depth results from the Survey, including a white paper in Arabic and English, are available on www.arabyouthsurvey.com

About Burson Cohn & Wolfe
Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW) is one of the world’s largest, full-service, global communications agencies with deep expertise in digital and integrated communications, across all industry sectors. The agency combines expertise in digitally-driven, creative content and integrated communications – across the consumer, healthcare and technology sectors – with deep strength in public affairs, corporate reputation, crisis, and research and analytics. Burson Cohn & Wolfe is a network of more than 4,000 employees across 42 countries.

About ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller
Established in 2000, ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller is the region’s leading public relations consultancy, with ten wholly-owned offices and seven affiliates across 15 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The agency provides services to governments, multinational businesses and regional corporate clients and institutions, operating five specialist communication practices –  Consumer & Healthcare, Corporate, Financial, Enterprise & Technology and Public Affairs. A digital, design and marketing subsidiary – Proof IC – and a full-service research insights agency – PSB Research Middle East – complete the offering.
www.asdaabm.com    http://www.arabyouthsurvey.com/

About PSB Research:
PSB is a full-service global custom research and analytics consultancy that connects data-driven insights with human experience to help the world’s most admired brands solve their most critical challenges. PSB brings together the lessons from the campaign trail and the boardroom along with a competitive mindset that is fast and focused on winning. Rooted in the science of public opinion and advanced analytics, PSB specializes in providing messaging and strategic guidance for blue-chip political, corporate, technology, healthcare, entertainment, and government/public sector clients. PSB’s operations include over 200 consultants and a sophisticated in-house market research infrastructure with the capability to conduct work in over 90 countries. The company operates offices around the world, including in Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, London and Dubai. www.psbresearch.com

For further information, please contact:
Margaret Flanagan
ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller
Dubai, UAE
T: 971 4 4507600
E: ays@bm.com
www.arabyouthsurvey.com