I’m an American citizen who grew up in Saudi Arabia.
I lived in the U.S. for most of my life.
I was born and raised in the United States.
And yet, I’ve seen what I’ve been told about Saudi Arabia firsthand, and what it’s become over the past five years.
As the U of A student, I spent much of my time and energy in the Middle East.
And it’s not only in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, but also in Europe, Asia, and the United Nations, that the kingdom has become a major concern.
I have the utmost respect for Saudi Arabia and the people there, and I think the Kingdom’s been an integral part of the global community for centuries.
But I’ve come to realize that I’ve grown up in a very different place.
And so, for me, it’s very difficult to see the Kingdom as a good example for other countries that are experiencing similar situations, because I know they have the same challenges as Saudi Arabia, and they have similar concerns about their own populations.
So I’m trying to understand how we can build bridges with Saudi Arabia as we look at these issues and the solutions.
I think that what Saudi Arabia has accomplished in the last few years is very important for the Arab world.
But it’s also very important that we don’t forget that the country is also facing challenges from other countries.
Saudi Arabia’s history and culture is different from that of any other country.
It’s a very rich country, and it’s one of the few countries in the region that are very rich economically, but they’re also extremely poor culturally, and that’s very different than the United Kingdom.
So, I think for us to really understand the Arab Spring, we need to understand what’s driving the country, so that we can have a more comprehensive and thoughtful conversation about what’s going on in the Arab World.
We’re going to have to have a lot of people in the same place at the same time, and we’re going, for the first time, to be talking about these issues in a more meaningful way.
The Arab World is very different from the rest of the world.
The Gulf Cooperation Communities are not necessarily like a monolithic region, and yet the GCC countries are united in their commitment to regional cooperation, their economic interests, and their common values.
So if you look at the GCC as a whole, and not just the GCC, then you can see why the Arab people have a very high degree of support for Saudi.
I know that many of them feel a great deal of frustration and anger toward the Kingdom, because the Kingdom has done a great amount of good things in their own countries.
I also know that some of the countries in which they live feel a tremendous amount of resentment toward the United Arab Emirates, because they’ve been involved in this struggle for a long time.
So the Arab GCC countries and their people are very different countries from one another, but we should not forget that they share the same goals, the same values, and also have a common history.
So to really start building bridges, we should really understand that this is not the Arab Republic of Saudi Arabia that is the world’s leader in a global sense.
But if we do that, then we can begin to really change the narrative in the world about what Saudi has achieved and what is going on with the Gulf.
[Transcript of interview conducted by Al Jazeera English in English and Arabic]