The foreign policy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is based on geographical – historical – religious – economic – security – political everlasting principles and facts. It is shaped within major frameworks, among the most important of which are; good-neighbor policy, non interference in the internal affairs of other countries, strengthen relations with the Gulf States and the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, strengthen relations with Arab and Islamic countries for the benefit of common interests of these countries, as well as advocate their issues, adopt nonalignment policy, establish cooperation relations with friendly countries, and play effective role in the international and regional organizations. This policy is activated through several circles such as Gulf, Arab, Islamic, and international circles according to the following:
First: Gulf Circle :
Since the foundation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by its founder King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Saud, the Gulf circle, due to certain numerous reasons, is regarded as the major circle of Kingdom’s foreign policy. Within the Gulf Circle consideration is given to the blood relations, historical connections, unique geographical neighborhood that bring Arab Gulf States together, besides the similarity of existed political and economical systems.
The Kingdom and other Gulf States believe in the similarities among themselves and based on their desire to unify and coordinate joint policies of security and defense during massive crisis and conflicts that surround and affect the region in different ways, the leaders of the six Gulf States agreed in 1981 to found (Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf - GCC) to be the organizational framework that realizes comprehensive cooperation and integration context aims at fulfilling the desires and aspirations of the six Gulf States on both official and public levels in the fields of political, security, economic, social, educational, cultural, and etc…
The Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy in the Gulf Circle is based on major permanent basis and principles that are:
· The security and stability of the region is the responsibility of the states of the region.
· The Gulf States have the right to defend their security and maintain their independence according to their own discretion and as guaranteed by the international law to confront any internal or international challenges.
· Decline the interference in internal affairs of these countries, and work out to cooperate and stand against any aggression on one of the state members, with regard to any aggression, at the same time member states consider aggression on one country as aggression on all member states.
· Strengthen cooperation between the Kingdom and the member states of the GCC in different political, economical, security, social, cultural fields and others, through deepening and consolidating relations and ties among member states.
· Coordinate policies of the GCC when possible, especially toward the regional and international momentous issues. Such cooperation and coordination were obvious during the crisis witnessed by the region, especially during the Iraq-Iran war, and the Iraqi invasion to Kuwait.
· Take serious and persistent action to solve all disputes (especially border disputes) among the countries of the region through understanding that is based on brotherhood and good neighboring principles.
· Sound enthusiasm on the importance of economic coordination among member states through continuous support for unifying economic policies and establish suitable integrated contexts, paying special attention to coordination with regard to oil policies of the member states in a manner that serves their interests, considering that oil is the strategic source of these countries.
Second: Arab Circle:
Since Her foundation, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia realized the importance of joint Arab action and unification of Arab stance. Accordingly, from that time on, the Kingdom and other six Arab independent states in a sincere endeavor looked for a meeting to set up a mechanism to coordinate Arab relations and joint action to serve the interests and issues of these countries. Consequently, in March 1945 the Arab Countries established the Arab League and signed on its Charter.
The Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy in the Arab Circle is based on major permanent basis and principles that are:
· The inevitable connection between Arab-nationalism and Islam. The Kingdom is distinguished by being the birthplace of Islam and the origin of Arab-nationalism. This trend has been always emphasized by Saudi Arabia since the era of Her founder King Abdulaziz, and his followers sons.
· The necessity of Arab solidarity, together with coordination among the Arab countries with the aim to unify Arab stances and utilize all potentials and resources of Arab countries to serve the Arab interests.
· Realism, which is represented in avoiding slogans and overacting, which negatively affect the security and stability of Arab World, and prevent the interference in Arab internal affairs.
· Commitment to the principle of Arab brotherhood through offering all types of support and assistance.
Due to the fact that the Kingdom has reputable position and credibility in the Arab World, and enjoys logic and well balanced policy, the Kingdom, from the stand point of Kingdom’s concern to maintain Arab solidarity, has played a significant role as an honest and fair mediator to solve (internal and regional) Arab disputes. In addition, the Kingdom has exerted great reconciliation efforts aiming at the elimination of Arab controversies, which destroy the Arab unity.
Within this framework, the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia paid special attention to the Palestinian issue, considering it the main issue of Arab and Muslims, and a major element of the Kingdom’s foreign policy. There is no wonder, since the era of King Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the Kingdom shoulders the responsibility of defending the Palestinian issue in all international arenas, and never tarry or linger in one day or under any justification to support the issue, on the contrary the Kingdom devoted Herself to serve the Palestinian issue toward realizing rightful solutions and fair settlement.
Third: Islamic Circle:
Islam has been always the most important factor affecting the determination of priorities of Kingdom’s foreign policy. Since the foundation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom works out to devote and dedicate Her potentials and resources to serve issues of Islamic World and achieve the motives of solidarity and unity based on the fact of belongingness to one belief. The Islamic symbiosis is the method to regain Muslims position and honor.
For the sake of achieving Islamic solidarity, the Kingdom sought and initiated together with their Islamic countries to establish a system of Islamic governmental and non-governmental organizations, among which are the Muslims World League, established in 1962, and the Organization of Islamic Conference established in 1969, where the Kingdom embraced the Headquarters of both organizations. These efforts originate from the comprehensive image of the meaning of Islamic solidarity that includes several concepts, the major concept is the collective security of Islamic countries, and working out to peacefully settle disputes among Islamic countries, and provide economic aids to Islamic countries and societies of limited potentials, provide emergency assistance and relief to Islamic countries affected by disaster, and back up Muslims and defend their issues and provide moral and material support to Islamic groups wherever they exist, through generous contribution in building mosques, and establishing Islamic civilized centers.
We can say that Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy in the Islamic circle aims at achieving the following objectives:
. Achieve comprehensive Islamic solidarity.
. Open new horizons for economic cooperation among Islamic countries aiming at the support of their potentials and resources on different levels.
. Stand against different types and techniques of cultural overflow and intellectual invasion that threaten the Islamic World.
. Work out to develop the Organization of Islamic Conference and support its activities to achieve more effectiveness in confronting the issues encountered by the Islamic World.
. Activate the role of Islamic countries within the framework of new world order. Provide assistance and support to Muslim minorities worldwide, and look after their rights in accordance with the principles of international law.
. Introduce the real and true image of Islam and its tolerance law Sharia’a, and protect Islam from all the clear accusations and slanders addressed to Islam, such as; terrorism and human rights violations.
Fourth: International Circle:
In the international circle, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is very keen to establish equal relations with the great power that is connected with the Kingdom through a series of interests, these interests emerged as a result of Kingdom’s growing major role in both Arab and Islamic worlds. Where the Kingdom seeks out through both worlds to expand the Saudi move on the level of international society, and therefore tries to react with the effective and significant international policy centers, taking into consideration the consequences and responsibilities resulting from this policy.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is proud being a founding member of the United Nations in 1945. The Kingdom strongly believes that the international peace is part of Her foreign policy. The Kingdom always call for more transparent and justice in the treatment among countries, in terms of political, economical, social, and other fields. Since justice is the only method toward flourishing, prosperity, and stability of the world. Thus, the Kingdom does not believe in using power as a tool to carry out Her foreign policy. At the same time, the Kingdom believes in lawful self defense as a base of international law.
The Kingdom further believes in the role played by the United Nations and its affiliated specialized agencies and the international organizations as well, and their support to the prosperity of international society in all fields, especially, their support for international security and peace. The Kingdom has joined all these organizations and has been keen to support this international system by all the moral and material means and methods, in addition to maintain Her active participation in their activities.
It is possible to say that the Saudi foreign policy is based on major permanent basis and principles, among which are:
· Kingdom’s keenness to react with the international society through Her commitment to the UN Charter, concluded international agreements, and the basis of international law, which determine the framework of general conduct of civilized countries and societies.
· Commitment of the Kingdom not to use power and not to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. As well as, condemn violence and all means that negatively affect international security and peace. And emphasizes the principle of peaceful existence among the countries of the world.
· Keenness on the stability of international oil markets, and seeking to develop international trade on fair basis and through the fundamentals of free market economies.
· Form the Saudi foreign policy with moral shape through Her adoption to the principle of supporting the victims of natural disasters, homeless, and refugees in many countries of the world.
Finally, the basis and principles of Saudi foreign policy can be generally summarized in the following:
· Harmonizing with the principles of the Islamic Law (Sharia’a) considering it the constitution of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
· Value the principle of sovereignty and non interference in the internal affairs of any country. In addition, reject any attempt of others to interfere in Her internal affairs.
· Work out for international peace and justice, and reject the use of power and violence or any actions that threaten the international peace or lead to the building up of injustice and autocracy.
· Condemn and reject all methods and mechanisms of international terrorism, and confirm that Islam is above suspicion of all terrorist activities.
· Adherence to the regulations of the international law, agreements, charters, and bilateral agreements, as well as respecting them all either within the framework of international organizations or other agreements.
· Defend Arab and Islamic issues in the international arena through continuous support by all political, diplomatic, and economic means.
· Nonalignment and rejection of disputes that threaten international security and peace, and respect the right of people for self-determination and their lawful rights for self-defense.
· Implement balanced and reasonable policy in the field of oil production, in view of Kingdom’s position as the major oil producer and the holder of the largest world oil reserve.