How the G20 summit taking place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1 “is going to unfold this year” is a matter of great curiosity. Because Saudi Arabia which has been the guest of honor of this summit, is going to attend under the shadow of two incidents that took place in 2018 which transformed this year’s entire agenda. The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the civil war in Yemen, which is still continuing under the leadership of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), with a strategic move, has started his visit to Argentina by visiting some Arab countries which are also his allies. However, the fact that all the countries he visited got into contact with Israel didn’t go unnoticed.
His visits which started from Saudi Arabia’s satellite state Bahrain and continued with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has been giving great support to MBS and sometimes taking his advice. He also visited Egypt and Tunisia in spite of the opposition of the people in the streets and finally departed for Argentina.
Who is going to be represented by MBS in the G20 charade?
It seems that MBS who is well aware that the Arab people on the streets and especially the demonstrations that have been going on for the last two days doesn’t mean anything and he wants to go with a stronger hand to Argentina against the accusations that he is involved in the murder of Khashoggi and that he committed war crimes in Yemen.
MBS, who hasn’t made due with the support Trump has given him, will be attending this summit with a different mission. MBS, with these visits he made on his way to Argentina, wants to demonstrate that he is attending the meeting as the representative of the Arab countries, which are also his allies in Yemen War and whom most of the G20 countries have some sort of relation with. On the other hand, MBS, who is presenting himself as a leader who can constitute peace with Israel that is considered to be legitimate and right by most of the G20 countries, has already taken measures against the heavy criticism he would be subjected to.
Since 1999, the world’s developed and developing countries come together every year and put on a play. It is very well known that although the leaders of the countries, which constitute 80 percent of the world’s GDP, are coming together under a common theme, all want to preserve the status quo and want to have a bigger share from the world’s GDP.
Nothing different will happen this year, and murders committed, war crimes, human rights violations and efforts to prevent environmental disasters will be overlooked and those who are responsible will get away.
The Yemen war, Khashoggi murder, and the G20 summit
Just like the other summits that took place this year, there is no doubt that the messages about trade wars will also come to the forefront in the G20 summit. China’s “peaceful” outlook will not reveal the struggle between the U.S. and China too much to the public eye, but behind closed doors, it will be the main issue of the agenda. Despite Russia’s increasing political role, it is certain that its primary concern here will be its commercial relations. Similarly, Russia’s attempt to swallow the Black Sea, Britain’s move to get Brexit’s approval from EU leaders, and the search for a European Army will overshadow the Yemen war, which has caused the death of tens of thousands of people, and the Khashoggi murder.
The most important issue for G20 countries is protecting their commercial interests. The fact that energy and weapons are still the primary elements of world trade shows who is going to be the guest of honor. While the embargo imposed on Iran, the events in Libya, and the fact that Iraq still hasn’t caught up its former levels of production are threatening oil and the natural gas supply in 2019, it seems impossible to leave Saudi Arabia out. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt which are the biggest customers of the weapons industry will not be sacrificed so easily for the sake of just humanitarian values. On the other hand, the competition between developed countries over Gulf countries’ funds especially makes this shared market much more valuable. MBS is aware of all of this. He is setting off with the self-confidence he draws from this situation. MBS, who knows that all the developed countries and arms producers are responsible for the over 20,000 air strikes made and deaths caused by them in Yemen since 2015, is attending the summit saying, “There isn’t any difference between us.”
There is no doubt that the messages Turkey will give are going to have great importance. These messages will also determine the policy about Syria in 2019, developments and the agenda in the east of the Euphrates River, and most importantly Turkey-Saudi Arabia relations. We hope that reason will prevail.