News – 2010.11.16

Published: November 16, 2010
SUSRIS Daily News – Excerpts from International Media Reports
/Provided as a service from the Saudi-US Trade Group, Washington, DC/

11.16.2010 EDITION

Saudi Arabia Modernizes Mecca for Muslim Pilgrims: NPR

Renee Montagne | 11/16/10

NPR interviews author Riazat Butt (Guardian) about how Saudi Arabia is modernizing Mecca for a better Hajj experience. RELATED: Butt writes in the Guardian that “The arid landscape hugging the Jeddah-Mecca highway used to hold little appeal. But now travellers can marvel at the fantastical structure rearing out of the otherwise unforgiving landscape, clearly visible from 25 miles away.” HAJJ SERMON: Grand Mufti of Saudi Arab Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh said on Monday that Islam is based on justice and equity, which admits of no terrorism, extremism and injustice, the Pakistan Times reports.  66K PASSENGERS: The newly built Mecca Metro carried 66,000 pilgrims on its first day of operation, Amjad Parkar (Arab News) reports. DIARY: Siraj Wahab (Arab News) provides a diary of Hajj experiences. RARE PHOTOS: “He was an adventurer, a scholar, and possibly a spy — but as Dutchman Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje proved with his rare 1885 photographs and sound recordings of Mecca, he was also a pioneering multimedia journalist,” Barry Neild (CNN) reports.

U.S. Pursues Wider Role in Yemen: WALL STREET JOURNAL

Adam Entous, Julian E. Barnes, and Margaret Coker | 11/16/10

“For now, the U.S. gets much of its on-the-ground intelligence from a growing partnership with Saudi Arabia, which shares a border with Yemen and has a fruitful informant network in Yemen’s tribal areas.”

Lawmakers Seek Conditions on Arms Sale To Saudis: LOS ANGELES TIMES

Paul Richter | 11/15/10

“House members aren’t likely to block the deal, officials said, but want conditions applied to try to prevent the weaponry from potentially being used against Israeli, U.S. or allied forces.”

Sri Lankan Maids Become Victims in Saudi Arabia: TIME

Amanda Perera | 11/16/10

The case of a Sri Lankan maid who sits on death row in Saudi Arabia illustrates the difficult time and widespread injustices that many foreign workers have in the Kingdom. HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Human Rights Watch (HRW) is urging “Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to do more to protect domestic workers, citing fresh allegations that employers in the three Mideast nations abused their Sri Lankan maids,” Dale Gavlak (Washington Post) reports.

Spain, Saudi Arabia Talk Leopard Tanks: UPI


“Saudi Arabian designs to buy up to $7 billion worth of Spanish-made Leopard 2E tanks have yet to follow through despite the kingdom’s expressed interest.”

Hundreds Of Saudis To Study In Ireland In New Deal: ARABIAN BUSINESS

Shane McGinley | 11/16/10

“Hundreds of Saudi students are to be trained in colleges in Ireland as part of a new agreement between the Irish and Saudi government, an Irish minister has confirmed.”

Israelis Debate Swapping Settlements Freeze For U.S. Jets: MIAMI HERALD

Sheera Frenkel | McClatchy | 11/15/10

Israeli defense officials urged the government Monday to accept a new U.S.-drafted deal to freeze Jewish settlement building temporarily in exchange for a $3 billion military package, including a U.S. gift of 20 F-35 stealth fighter jets. ANALYSIS:Call it a triumph of hope over experience,” writes Glenn Kessler (Washington Post). “The theory is that if the sides can establish the borders of a Palestinian state, and it is clear which settlements will become part of Israel and which will be dismantled, the issue of settlement expansion will fade in importance and the talks will keep going…This appears to be the last chance.” OPINION: “Any advance in the excruciatingly painful world of Arab-Israeli negotiations is significant,” writes Aaron David Miller (FP). “The Obama administration deserves much credit for keeping the Israelis, Palestinians, and key Arab states on board during some very tough times. The U.S. president has seized on this issue and isn’t giving up — a central requirement for success.”

More News and Commentary

“Afghan government officials sought Monday to contain damaging fallout from President Hamid Karzai’s criticism of the U.S. military’s use of special operation raids, insisting that the critique does not signal a deepening rift between strategic partners,” David Nakamura (Washington Post) reports. KANDAHAR: Kandahar is the “Taliban’s stronghold and target of an allied assault in Afghanistan,” writes Julius Cavendish (CSM), as he asks, Can NATO win hearts and minds as well as territory? OPINION: NATO’s effort to move the “sell by” date in Afghanistan to 2014 is, in policy terms, “called ‘kicking the can down the road,’” writes Stephen Walt (FP).

An Iranian shipment of weaponry disguised as building equipment was a “misunderstanding,” according to Iranian officials. The Associated Press reports that “Nigeria says the shipment of artillery rockets and other weapons, which were labeled as building supplies and found in Lagos, Nigeria, last month, may have been on the way to politicians who intend to use violence if they lose forthcoming elections.”

New research concludes that the Stuxnet computer worm that infiltrated industrial systems in Iran this fall may have been designed specifically to attack the country’s nuclear program, potentially crippling centrifuges used to enrich uranium gas,” Glenn Kessler (Washington Post) reports.

Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are “are in the market for some fancy new war toys” and plan to beef up missile capabilities to counter Iran, Meris Lutz (Babylon and Beyond).

A California woman has been arrested and “charged with conspiring to provide money and people to a Somali terrorist group to help carry out killings in the African nation, according to a federal indictment unsealed Monday,” Amy Forliti (AP) reports.

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