Commodore, Royal Saudi Navy (Retired)
Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques King Salman is known to be the top historian not only in Saudi Arabia, but also in the Arab world. And today many political analysts not only consider him a historian, but, also a leader who made history. During his first 100 days as the king of Saudi Arabia he has made many important changes that will eventually shape the history of Saudi Arabia and the region and most probably the world. It happened before when his father King Abdul Aziz, the founder of modern day Saudi Arabia, also made many political and economic moves that eventually influenced the course of world history, most notably when King Abdul Aziz took the side of the allied countries during WW II. Toward the end of the conflict, it was oil that influenced the outcome of the war. From the outset of King Salman’s reign, many people around the world had started asking questions about Saudi interior and foreign policies and many wrote and speculated about King Salman’s plans to tackle the ongoing issues surrounding Saudi Arabia and his next step to deal with the turmoil in Yemen. Many political analysts were discussing King Salman’s approach to the most sensitive issue regarding who is who in the line of succession. And some people were asking about the future of Saudi-American relations and the Kingdom’s stand on Iran’s continued efforts to influence events in the region, especially in Yemen. Saudis inside the Kingdom had read many of the foreign reports and saw many analysts on media outlets — some of them doubted quick and transparent decisions especially on the issue of succession. But, King Salman surprised the whole world in just less than 100 days when he tackled all the issues in question with great political acumen and wisdom. Now, many of world’s commentators admit that Saudi Arabia has proved itself as the region’s leader. King Salman made the biggest and an extensive government change. It was not only a major reshuffle, but also the first of its kind in the history of Saudi Arabia. King Salman after accepting the resignation of the former Crown Prince Muqrin appointed Prince Mohammed bin Naif as the crown prince and Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the deputy crown prince, thus appointing members of the second generation of the Saudi royal family to lead the country. By his wise decision, King Salman proved that Kingdom is very stable and has a very strong mechanism to deal with any issue, including succession. His move also closed a chapter of history that had been discussed and talked about not only in the Kingdom, but by think tanks and political analysts abroad. Books were written about the Saudi royal succession and so many questions were raised but King Salman resolved this issue with one royal decree. Also when the world was watching the crisis unfolding in Yemen with Houthi rebels creating chaos and staging a coup to unseat the legitimate Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, Saudi Arabia played a leadership role and showed that it will not allow evil designs by a particular country to destabilize the region. Houthis also posed a threat to Saudi security and stability because of Kingdom’s vast border with Yemen. Saudi Arabia led a coalition that launched Operation Decisive Storm to pulverize the Houthi menace. The mission was accomplished and the second phase was launched — Operation Restoring Hope — that has given hope and is bound to take Yemen out of the abyss. King Salman has achieved in 100 days what many Saudis had been hoping for. He has proved to be a man of principles who has brought about qualitative changes in the country, which received widespread acclaim from people inside and outside the Kingdom. He has taken action against officials no matter how high positions they may be holding if they are not up to the mark in serving the Saudi people. King Salman sacked the minister of health and the chief of royal protocol in very transparent way and very swiftly. This is the most important and most genuine step toward fighting corruption and social inequality. King Salman has made it clear to all top officials that Saudi citizens’ prosperity and well-being should be the top priority of the government. Many questions were raised about the Saudi foreign policy. But, it turned out that the answer was very clear. Tens of world leaders come to the Saudi capital to discuss regional and world issues with King Salman. In other words, many in the Kingdom and around the world firmly believe that the first 100 days of King Salman’s rule have shaped the history of Saudi Arabia and the world. The king played a great role in unifying the GCC and solidifying the bloc’s stand on various issues. King Salman in 100 days has redefined the meaning of transparency in the Arab world. Written by Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim. King Salman’s 100 Days that Shaped History reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim.