Game of Lobbies and Changing Facts

https://rasanah-iiis.org/english/?p=382

ByMohammed Alsulami

It is known that pressure powers or what is known” Lobbies” work in two main tracks, the first one is working directly in favor of their sponsoring countries by affecting any resolutions that could be taken against them, and lessening any possible consequences that might come about. In addition to that, they try to improve the image of those countries and highlight their positive points, and veil or minimize the negative ones. The other track is through attacking their enemies and opponents, through underestimating their positive points, rumors and displaying the negative stereotypes about those rivals.

Recently, I attended a conference called (Think Tanks) that was held in Washington DC. One of the most prominent (Think Tanks) was discussing the future of US-Iranian relations, and their relationship with countries of the region. Among the key speakers was a senior official in the White House, overseeing the US national security file. The conference was also attended by prominent figures and researchers who are known worldwide, in addition to some members of the Iranian lobby in America, led by Trita Parsi, who was alert to my presence after my intervention in one of the sessions, and haunted me with his looks noticeably!
In a session that discussed the Iranian relationship with the countries in the region, I was surprised that one of the American researchers and speakers in this session gave false information about Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the disagreements of Riyadh and Tehran. Attendants probably thought this was correct information since it is presented by a specialist and an expert. I personally asked for intervention and corrected the misinformation. But, the most important point I concluded from those meetings, is that there is a systematic and institutionalized action going on behind the scenes in these centers within the framework of pressure powers, although some of their members are hiding behind administrative positions or research interests.
During a short break between the sessions of the conference, a number of audiences, some of them come from Arab origins, talked to me about the constant negative attitudes of some speakers toward the Arab Gulf countries and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in particular. The main goal is to distort the image of the kingdom and introduce Iran as a state seeking peace and security in the region. Such practices are not confined to Think Tanks, although they were the most important ones, but we find them in other newspapers and magazines of political concerns, and have become prevalent in a number of Western newspapers.
Hence, we stress that we are in need for constant communication with the Western and American research centers specifically. And to intensify attending conferences, seminars and workshops related to the region’s issues that are presented by organizations like Think Tanks, and bring up our point of view very clearly. There is also an urgent need to conduct workshops and seminars in partnership with Western and Gulf studies centers to provide objective and rational picture far from the influence of powers of pressure.
Our Gulf and specifically Saudi presence corrects many misconceptions and prejudice, and more importantly, it will put pressure on those lobbies by providing correct and accurate information objectively without offending speakers.
Our absence, as Gulf States and research institutions, from research activities, conferences and seminars that are held in Western countries will have a negative impact on the image of our countries. This has been used to distort our positions and change facts. Some western researchers informed me that many people took advantage of this absence to serve the interests of their home countries at the expense of Gulf States and Saudi Arabia in particular. This is a frequent and common affair that requires urgent vigilant and great institutional work. We urgently need to activate the soft powers we possess around the world especially the Saudi scholarship students, and urge them to attend seminars and conferences to clarify facts and correct misconceptions and prejudice about our countries. In addition to that, the Saudi students clubs and societies abroad bear a big responsibility by being part of those societies and contact with all social categories through volunteer work and other social activities. This requires support and cooperation of the Saudi Cultural Attachés by honoring active students who reflect the positive and clean image of our people and our nation.

Translated Article: Alwatan Newspaper

Mohammed Alsulami
Mohammed Alsulami
Head of Rasanah: International Institute for Iranian Studies