/Provided as a service from the Saudi-US Trade Group, Washington, DC/
P.K. Abdul Ghafour | 3/13/11
“As many as 106,065 Saudis have so far obtained King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship to pursue their higher studies in reputable international universities in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Malaysia, China and other countries.”
Wael Mahdi | 3/13/11
“Saudi Arabian export of petroleum products and liquefied natural gas last year reached the lowest levels since 2008, while exports of petrochemicals increased, official data showed.”
Gulf Markets Surge after Aid to Bahrain, Oman: BUSINESSWEEK
“Stock markets across the Persian Gulf are up sharply after the oil-rich region agreed to aid Bahrain and Oman and major protests did not materialize in regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia.”
A forum called “Women in Leadership” was held in Jeddah in December to focus on assisting women entrepreneurs in five areas: government help, finance, knowledge and education, commercialization and support but also address other issues important to women in the Kingdom. Besides calling for more forums on women’s empowerment around the Kingdom and development of a strategy addressing women’s issues the question of a new Ministry of Women’s Affairs was put on the table. Ms. Samar Fatany, a journalist from Jeddah, and past contributor to SUSRIS, contributed her views on the prospects of such a development through an op-ed in Arab News [reprinted here].
Saudi Troops ‘Sent Into Bahrain’: ALJAZEERA
“A Saudi military force of about 1,000 troops has entered Bahrain to help protect government facilities there, according to reports citing Saudi sources.”
“Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) and the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon) signed a three-way deal on Sunday with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to conduct a study to develop six cities in the Kingdom.”
Saudi Geologists Seek to Reassure: CROSSROADS ARABIA
John Burgess | 3/14/11
“In 2009, there were a series of earthquakes in northwestern Saudi Arabia. In fact, there have been 40,000 of them since, all centered around the Al-Ais area of the Harrat Lunayyir, an ancient lava bed. After Friday’s devastating earthquake in Japan, Saudi geologists want to reassure the populace that they’re on top of the issue, though they cannot predict any pending events at the moment.”
Saudis Protest Outside Interior Ministry: ASSOCIATED PRESS
“More than 200 Saudis were allowed to protest outside the Interior Ministry on Sunday to demand the release of detainees in the largest demonstration in the capital since the regional outbreak of pro-democracy unrest.”
China’s Mideast Headache: WALL STREET JOURNAL
Andrew Critchlow | 3/14/11
The newly crowned world’s second-largest economy surpassed the U.S. as the biggest importer of oil from Saudi Arabia in 2009, and the kingdom’s crude is an increasingly important factor in powering the nation’s growth. Considering the economic importance of the Middle East for Asia as a whole, Beijing and its neighbors remain unable to influence the course of events in the Arab world, while being arguably the most exposed to the changes under way.
“A newly-released secret U.S. diplomatic cable has alleged that British-based defense contractor BAE Systems PLC bribed Saudi officials in return for lucrative arms deals.”
Majority of Zain Board Approves Joint Offer: WALL STREET JOURNAL
Summer Said | 3/13/11
“A majority of the board of Kuwait-based Zain’s approved a joint offer Sunday by Saudi’s Kingdom Holding Co. and Bahrain’s Batelco Group to buy its 25% stake in its Saudi operations, raising hopes that U.A.E.-based Etisalat might still yet succeed in its pursuit of a 46% share of the Kuwaiti telco.”
LIBYA: GADDAFI FORCES CONTINUE TO SEIZE MOMENTUM
“Military forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi cranked up military and psychological pressure against rebels on two fronts on Monday, offering an amnesty to those who surrendered their weapons while bombing a strategic linchpin in the east and surrounding a rebel-held town in the west,” Anthony Shadid (NYT) reports. ‘MORALE AT NEW LOW’: The assault by Gaddafi forces on the rebels with their vastly superior arms and airpower have morale amongst the rebels at a new low, Dan Murphy (CSM) writes. AL JAZEERA CAMERAMAN KILLED: A cameraman for Al Jazeera was “killed and another man wounded Saturday afternoon when a network van came under fire near the rebel-held city of Benghazi,” Meris Lutz (Babylon and Beyond) reports. ARAB LEAGUE WANTS NO-FLY ZONE: Arab leaders have turned on Gaddafi “and thrown their support behind a no-fly zone because they are concerned about their own political survival, analysts say,” Jim Michaels (USA Today) reports. AMERICA ‘HAS COUNTERED GADDAFI BEFORE’: “As the world debates how best to stop the slaughter in Libya, it’s worth remembering that the United States has successfully countered Muammar al-Qaddafi’s military before,” writes Charles Ferguson (Middle East Channel) as he discusses the Libyan invasion of Chad in the early 1980s.
ISRAEL: NEW SETTLEMENTS AFTER BRUTAL STABBING
The Israeli government “said Sunday that it had approved the construction of hundreds of new homes in West Bank settlements after a couple and three of their children were stabbed to death in their home in a Jewish settlement Friday night,” Joel Greenberg (Washington Post) reports. PALESTINIANS ‘NOT PROUD’: “Far from gloating over a terrorist attack Friday night that left five Israeli family members dead in Itamar, a Jewish town located beyond Israel’s pre-1967 borders, Palestinians across the political spectrum reacted with embarrassment. Many preferred to put the blame for the attack on hidden Israeli hands than put the onus on any Palestinian group,” David Miller (Media Line) reports.
NUCLEAR POWER: US RETHINKING RELIANCE?
“The U.S. nuclear power industry believed it was poised for a renaissance,” writes Stephanie Simon (WSJ). “Then an explosion at an earthquake-damaged nuclear plant in northern Japan on Saturday tore apart a building housing a reactor containment structure. Smoke billowed from the plant. Japanese officials ordered an evacuation of tens of thousands of people. Later, officials said cooling systems were failing at a second reactor at the same plant, putting it at risk of meltdown. Industry experts and analysts at once began to ponder the political fallout in the United States.”
CHART: PENTAGON’S ‘BIGGEST BOONDOGGLES’
John Arquilla (NYT) provides a chart of some of the Pentagon’s worst spending ideas and writes, “As our government teeters on the brink of a shutdown, and Congress and the president haggle over spending cuts, the Pentagon budget should be scoured for places where significant reductions may be made. Not the handful of trims alluded to by Defense Secretary Robert Gates — $78 billion over the next five years, with these savings simply used to shore up spending on other acquisitions — but major cuts to systems that don’t work very well or that are not really going to be needed for decades to come.”
ANALYSIS: ‘THE BIRTH OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD’
“To understand the Muslim Brotherhood, and to assess its role today in a shifting Middle East,” writes Jay Winter (LAT), “it is necessary to first examine the forces that led to the organization’s birth. And that takes us back to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire during World War I…In the aftermath of the war, the remains of the Ottoman Empire were partitioned by the victors, which gave the Western powers far more influence in the Middle East and created enormous tension in Islamic populations.”
OPINION: WOULD ELBARADEI MAKE FOR A GOOD PRESIDENT?
“Is working in a big multilateral organization good training to run a country? Many seem to think so. ElBaradei is just one of several prominent figures who have tried to move from international secretariats to presidential palaces,” David Bosco (Washington Post) writes. “Capturing the spirit of the moment — and swaying a restive population to his side — may be a tougher challenge for the longtime international bureaucrat.”
/The daily news is provided as a service of the Saudi-US Trade Group, Washington, DC. Visit www.SUSTG.org for more information and to get a free email subscription to the News Review./</h4></div>