Last year Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia declared that a new City named NEOM (a name derived from the Latin word for “new” or NEO and the first letter M of the Arabic word mostaqbal meaning “future”) was being founded. This city, some believe, will rival Dubai in the region as an economic zone featuring cutting edge technology. Some also believe that NEOM will help towards progress in the Middle East peace process. It appears that the geopolitical nature of such an economic zone and city cannot be under-emphasized.
But how would Saudi Arabia achieve this soft approach for peace? NEOM requires cooperation among the Gulf States and Israel. Take note that NEOM is planned to span not only the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but Egypt (read this article from news.com.au) and Jordan (read this article from middleeastmonitor.com) as well. But that’s not all. Israel (read this article from voltairenet.org) will also play a vital role. Why you may ask? Because NEOM would need to link these three nations with bridges which would mean Israel’s permission would likely be garnered in order to not violate the Camp David Egyptian-Israeli agreements. An agreement in which the United States takes very seriously as a traditional guardian of Israeli sovereignty.
This might sound far fetched, but readers should not dismiss this invaluable catalyst for peace. “I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation,” said the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman when asked if he affirmatively accepted Israel’s right to exist as a state (read this article from jta.org). Indeed, Saudi Arabia has many future investment goals (read this article from CNBC), but NEOM is an important goal towards realizing that cooperation and knowledge as shown through technological advancement may hold the key towards peace and prosperity in the Gulf region.