Political Reform In Saudi Arabia: A special Interview with Twafiq Al-Saif
Saudishia.com - 1 / 2 / 2015 - 1:45 pm

On January 24, Rotana Channel hosted Dr. Twafiq Al-Saif, a Shia political thinker in a special episode entitled “political Reform after the Death of King Abdullah”

Al-Saif said “political reform and the relationship between the state’s and its citizens contribute to increase people’s respect for the state”.

He pointed in the interview to the importance of adopting a national document approves civil liberties and citizen’s rights. He also stressed on the need to transform Basic Law of Governance to a constitutional and the appointed Shura Council to an elected one.
Al-Saif was pleased that Saudi government finally ended studying voluntary work law which is supposed to be issued within two months. 

He said that “political leadership role must be limited on governmental responsibilities and municipal councils should be elected; this will ease the pressure on the royal family and enable people to be involved in decision- making process”

Al-Saif hoped to appoint young princes in some ministries, expressing that appointing Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a Minister of Defense and as a chief of the Royal Court is considered a good step.   

On the other hand, he said that “people always complain from corruption and slowness in some governmental departments. Delaying citizen’s transactions depletes money and leads to a state of dissatisfaction among citizens toward the state agencies”

He stressed on the need to address this problem through simplifying the rules and replacing them with electronic government. Al-Saif also pointed to the importance of improving developmental movement in the state and continuing reform march.

On the foreign affair, Dr. Twafiq said “Saudi Arabia should play a political role fits with its international and economical position and it should protect its national security through extending its influence in the region”

He also talked about the importance of working alliance with major and influential countries in the world such as India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Algeria, South Africa, China and Japan.

Al-Saif explained that the relationship with GCC countries is important as well, yet major countries can contribute to expand Saudi influence in the world.

He said “it is important to cooperate with Turkey, Iran and Egypt to resolve the crisis in Syria.

Al-Saif criticized giving much concern to organizations such as Houthis, Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and other small groups after what have been reported about Saudi Arabia’s attitude toward Yemen.

He added that politicians do not think about minor issues or sectarian classifications, instead they should aim to have regional influence regardless of identities. He mentioned America and Russia as examples of countries that are concerned about their strategic interests; therefore they keep communication with other states which launched war against them in the past.

On the other hand, he talked about ISIS and Salafi movements which adopt violence and said “security measures should be used to combat militant organizations but not with the social incubator which is not a part of the belligerent powers”

Al-Saif defined the social incubator as a group of people who are influenced by radical ideology and usually sympathize with militants. He explained that in this case, security measures are not the solution, authorities have to dismantle social incubator through cultural awareness.       

In regard to Saudi Iraqi relationship, Al-Saif pointed that Saudi Arabia must be present more actively in Iraq which serves its interests in the first place.

He called to give more consideration for Iraqi issue before the crises damage the country and result in bigger regional complications as in Syria