News – 2010.09.17

Published: September 17, 2010

SUSRIS Daily News – Excerpts from International Media Reports
[Links to full articles were active on the date posted here]

Riyadh Wants Air Superiority [Sep 17]
“Saudi Arabia’s planned massive arms deal with the United States is aimed at establishing air superiority over Iran while also addressing weaknesses bared in border fighting with Yemeni rebels, experts said on Thursday. The package is in part a response to failures in Saudi Arabia’s three-month assault on Al Houthi rebels along the Yemeni border in late 2009 and early 2010. The better-armed Saudi forces lost at least 109 men in guerrilla-type fighting in the craggy border mountains, and the conflict went on many weeks longer than they expected. “The Saudi forces were not prepared for this type of warfare.. .. The strike helicopters, the JDAM smart bombs, and night warfare technology possibly in the package would boost Saudi capabilities in this kind of scenario..”  [Complete Report]

Sweden’s Saab Sold Arms to Saudi Arabia: Report [Sep 17]
“Swedish defence firms Saab Bofors Dynamics sold anti-tank missiles to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, according to Swedish media reports, despite previous denials by trade minister Eva Björling that combat materiel has been sold to the Saudis. Saab Bofors Dynamics will neither confirm nor deny the report, which surfaced late Thursday night on the website of the financial daily Dagens Industri (DI). Saab Group spokesperson Peter Liander also remained tightlipped about the deal. “We can neither confirm nor deny that we’ve sold weapons to Saudi Arabia,” he told the TT news agency. Prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt denies that his government had any knowledge of selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, claiming that a decision about the deal was taken well before he became prime minister..”
  [Complete Report]

MBC Chief Declines Al-Rashed’s Resignation [Sep 17]
“MBC Group Chairman Waleed bin Ibrahim Al-Brahim said on Thursday that he did not accept the resignation of Al Arabiya Director General Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed, who he said resigned to “stand up for some errors that took place in the channel.” The resignation came after a controversial statement about Wahabism was made on a segment of the series “Islam and the West,” suggesting that the strict Salafi movement played an important role in the West’s association of terrorism and extremism with Islam. The comment sparked outrage and condemnation from Saudis.. .. Al-Rashed’s resignation attempt followed rumors that he was asked to stop writing his column in Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, a rumor denied by the paper’s Editor in Chief Tariq Al-Humaid..”
 [Complete Report]

Saudi Prince to Get Honorary Degree From University of Ulster’ [Sep 17]
“An Ulster university is to give a Saudi prince an honorary doctorate for promoting better Islamic-western relations. Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud will receive the Honorary Doctor of Laws at a special ceremony at the end of the month, in recognition of his services to diplomatic and international relations. The University of Ulster’s Jordanstown campus will hold host to the Prince and his son Prince Faisal. “He is a skilled diplomat and has done considerable work to promote strong Saudi-Western relations post-the 9-11 attacks,” said the university’s Vice-Chancellor professor Richard Barnett..” [Complete Report]

Saudi Women Barred From Concert [Sep 17]
“Saudi authorities backed off in the last minute and decided to maintain a long-standing taboo by barring women from entering a stadium to attend a concert, the Saudi Arabic language daily Alwatan reported on Friday. The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the most feared and influential Islamic authority in the conservative kingdom, said early this week it would allow women into the Prince Abdul Aziz bin Musaed Sports city in the central town of Hail to watch the concert marking Eid Al Fitr. But the Commission said it would construct a concrete barrier to separate women from men during the festival which was organised on Thursday night.. .. “Women were barred from last night’s concern just two hours before it started despite previous assurances that they would be let in,” Alwatan said. “The organisers backed off in the last minute..”
 [Complete Report]