News – 2011.06.24

Published: June 24, 2011
SUSRIS Daily News – Excerpts from International Media Reports
/Provided as a service from the Saudi-US Trade Group, Washington, DC/ 

6.24.11 EDITION

US Says Oil Action Complements Saudi Output Boost: REUTERS


“The U.S. decision to tap its emergency petroleum stockpile complements Saudi Arabia’s boost in production, a senior U.S. administration official said on Thursday.” OPEC RETALIATION?: “The IEA said it’s acting to protect the global economic recovery by filling some of the ongoing supply shortfall from lost Libyan production, due to its civil war. “The IEA’s move, however, could prompt producers to mend fences within OPEC after Saudi Arabia failed to persuade other members at a policy meeting this month to collectively boost output. Some OPEC members quickly united Thursday in condemning the IEA’s action, setting up the possibility that producers might take countermeasures to prop up the oil price,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Abu Dhabi, Saudi Cities See Occupancy Rises In May: ARABIAN BUSINESS

Andy Sambidge | 6/24/11

“Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh reported the second-best occupancy increase with an 8.4 percent rise to 73.5 percent.”

Saudi Airlines Cargo Expands Freighter Fleet: AME INFO


“Saudi Airlines Cargo has expanded its freighter fleet by three additional B747’s to increase frequencies on the scheduled services and create more capacity for the charter market, Saudi Gazette has reported. The carrier is set to increase weekly freighter frequencies to 14 in Brussels, five to Amsterdam, six to Hong Kong, five to Johannesburg, three to Sharjah, four to Khartoum and four to Addis Ababa.”

Developing Saudi Tourism: ARAB NEWS

Mahad Nadeem | 6/24/11

Millions of Muslims come to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah every year for Umrah and Haj.

But the Kingdom’s tourist infrastructure still lags behind that of Egypt even though it has the Middle East’s largest economy. This is largely because the tourism industry solely revolves around Haj and Umrah. There is a large scope for developing tourism in other parts of Saudi Arabia as well. SAUDI DITCHES MECCA AIRPORT PLANS: “Plans for an airport in Saudi Arabia’s Muslim pilgrimage city, Mecca, have been crushed as the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) rejected proposals for the project this week,” Al Arabya reports.

First Website Offering Jobs for Saudi Women Launched: SAUDI GAZETTE


The first ever employment website exclusively for Saudi women has been launched, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat Arabic daily reported Thursday.

Smart Building Concept Not Catching Up Fast Enough: ARAB NEWS

Ibrahim Nafie | 6/24/11

“Though smart buildings in the Kingdom hardly constitute five percent of all buildings in Saudi Arabia, investments in this sector will amount to SR140 billion in the next eight years, according to real estate and construction analysts.”

Jeddah to Host Major Islamic Economic and Finance Conference: IDB Official: ARAB NEWS

P. K. Abdul Ghafour and Sarah Abdullah | 6/23/11

“Finance, economy and planning ministers from 56 Muslim countries will attend a major Islamic economic and finance conference here next week, which is likely to be opened by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah at Jeddah Hilton on Monday.”

PME President Signs Contracts worth Sr300m: SAUDI GAZETTE

Muhammad Dawoud | 6/23/11

“Prince Turki Bin Nasser, President of the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME), signed Tuesday four new contracts for environmental rehabilitation and cleanup works in the north and east of the Kingdom to redress damage done during the 1991 Gulf War.”

Fear and Trembling In Saudi Arabia: AHN


“Many Saudis worry about Harrat Lunayyir. Two years ago the area was shaken by a so-called swarm of more than 30,000 mini-earthquakes, which geologists say was caused by magma flows deep underground. The swarm left a 5-mile-long fissure and forced some 40,000 people to evacuate their homes. The incident might have been forgotten, except that a Saudi news agency last week cited Professor Ali Adnan Eshky of King Abdulaziz University as warning of a “volcanic eruption” between the holy cities of Mekkah and Medinah sometime in the next two years. He based his forecast on U.S. and Saudi geological survey reports. That prompted a denial from the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS).”

Saudi Princess Speaks Out Over Kingdom’s Driving Ban: ARABIAN BUSINESS

Claire Ferris-Lay | 6/23/11

“The wife of Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal has spoken out about in support of women lobbying to overturn the kingdom’s ban on female drivers.”

Would-Be Grooms Feel the Heat as Jewelers Raise Summer Prices: ARAB NEWS

Diana Al-Jassem | 6/23/11

“Prices of gold have continued to rise across the Kingdom because of the summer season.”

More News and Commentary from SUSTG


One person was killed and six injured when Yemeni security forces opened fire at a funeral gathering in the Yemeni city of Aden, eyewitness Fawaz Sharabi said,” Mohammed Hatem and Tamara Walid (Bloomberg) report.


“Just outside his office at the Arab League, Amr Moussa displays the typical power photos of Western politicians…With the photos serving as a reminder of how close Moussa was to the previous Egyptian regime and to world leaders now likewise threatened by popular uprisings, the Arab League secretary-general faces a difficult balancing act in the coming months as he tries to position himself as both political veteran and reformer,” Molly Hennessy-Fiske (LAT) reports. MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD YOUTH BREAK OFF TO FORM PARTY: “The Muslim Brotherhood is struggling with more dissent in its ranks after a group of young members broke away from the Islamist organization’s political party to form a secular party that is more inclusive of other cultures and religions,” Babylon and Beyond reports.


“With the nation’s financial state expected to worsen, conditions prove to be a big factor in how the unrest evolves,” Anthony Shadid (NYT) writes.  NEW PROTESTS ERUPT AGAINST ASSAD: “Protesters have taken to the streets across Syria after Friday prayers, in new rallies against President Bashar al-Assad, activists and witnesses say,” BBC News reports. EU EXPANDS SANCTIONS: “The European Union has extended its sanctions against Syria to include the names of three commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard accused of supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on dissent,” Al Jazeera reports.


“Mohammed Sharif Malekzadeh has been arrested amid a deepening power struggle between the president and the country’s highest religious leader, Iranian news agencies reported,” J.David Goodman (NYT) reports. “Fars, a semiofficial state news agency, did not specify the reason for the arrest of the Ahmadinejad ally, Mohammed Sharif Malekzadeh, who resigned as deputy foreign minister this week, but a report by Mehr, another semiofficial agency, pointed to allegations of financial misdeeds.”


“Many Afghans fear that the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan beginning next month will plunge the country into civil war,” Erin Cunningham (The National) reports


“Ali Khan Afridi is a wanted man.

Militants come to his house in this frontier city and menace his family. Men claiming to be from Pakistan’s intelligence services call at 2 a.m., and tell him to watch his back. Afridi accepts all this as the price of his radical views: In a country where the vast majority of people believe the United States is an enemy, Afridi is unabashedly pro-American. “I believe that America is the only power that can defeat these monsters, these terrorists,” Afridi said. “And that means my life is in permanent danger,” Griff White (Washington Post) reports. CELLPHONE OFFERS CLUES OF BIN LADEN’S PAKISTAN TIES: “The cellphone of Osama bin Laden’s trusted courier, which was recovered in the raid that killed both men in Pakistan last month, contained contacts to a militant group that is a longtime asset of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, senior American officials who have been briefed on the findings say,” the NYT reports.


“New U.S. intelligence shows Col. Moammar Gadhafi is “seriously considering” fleeing Tripoli for a more secure location outside the capital, according to U.S. officials, raising the prospect that the Libyan leader’s hold on power is increasingly fragile,” the WSJ reports.


“Morocco has made an audacious bet with the new constitution that King Mohammed VI unveiled in a televised speech last Friday. If the proposed charter is approved by voters in a referendum next month, the country will once again prove itself to be an exception, both in the Arab world and on the African continent, where integral transformation voluntarily undertaken and carried out both with respect for history, religion, and culture, and at an appropriate speed can offer a path to the future that balances the competing demands of stability and openness to change, J. Peter Pham (New Atlanticist) writes.


“The trajectory of peaceful demonstrations in Libya and Syria has been impacted by regime violence. The result: large populations of internally displaced peoples (IDP’s) have been created inside of those countries as well as great numbers of refugees fleeing to bordering countries. Furthermore, the revolutions of the Arab Spring have serious ramifications for already existing refugee populations, notably the more than one million Iraqi refugees that have settled in Syria since 2006. The possibility of increased large-scale refugee movement from Libya and Syria will not only spur a devastating humanitarian crisis, but could also further destabilize the region,” Chris Ulack (FP-Middle East Channel) writes.


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