News – 2011.09.21

Published: September 21, 2011
SUSRIS Daily News – Excerpts from International Media Reports
/Provided as a service from the Saudi-US Trade Group, Washington, DC/

9.21.11 EDITION

U.S. Assembling Secret Drone Bases in Africa, Arabian Peninsula, Officials Say: WASHINGTON POST

Craig Whitlock and Greg Miller | 9/20/11

The Obama administration is assembling a constellation of secret drone bases for counterterrorism operations in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula as part of a newly aggressive campaign to attack al-Qaeda affiliates in Somalia and Yemen, U.S. officials said.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar to lead MENA growth – IMF Report: SAUDI GAZETTE


“The forecast for Saudi Arabia’s economic growth in 2011 has also been cut from 7.5 percent forecast in April to 6.5 percent. The largest Arab economy is expected to grow by 3.6 percent next year.”  SAUDI PRIVATE EQUITY INDUSTRY OFFERS ATTRACTIVE OPPORTUNITIES: “Saudi Arabia can look back on a decade of impressive reforms, which have made it the 11th most competitive economy in the world,” reports Arab News.

OPEC’s $1 Trillion Cash Quiets Poor on Longest Ever $100 Oil: BLOOMBERG

Ayesha Daya and Vivian Salama | 9/20/11

“Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries members are poised to earn an unprecedented $1 trillion this year, according to the U.S. Energy Department, as the group’s benchmark oil measure exceeded $100 a barrel for the longest period ever. They are promising to plow record amounts into public and social programs after pro-democracy movements overthrew rulers in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and spread to Yemen and Syria.”

Monopoly: The Saudi Short-Film Which Went a Long Way: HUFFINGTON POST

Faisal J Abbas | 9/20/11

In less than a week, more than 750,000 people viewed Monopoly, the Saudi short-film released on YouTube on Wednesday 14 September 2011, making it the undisputed biggest blockbuster of this summer for most Saudis.

Yemeni President, Saudi King Meet as Dozens Die in Yemen Clashes: BLOOMBERG

Mohammed Hatem and Vivian Salama

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh met with King Abdullah of neighboring Saudi Arabia on the second day of clashes in Yemen between anti-government protesters and security forces that left almost 50 people dead. SNIPERS AND SHELLS RAISE DEATH TOLL AS FIGHTING CONTINUES: Snipers and shelling killed at least five people in the Yemeni capital on Wednesday, violating a ceasefire agreed a day earlier to prevent a spiral into civil war over President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s refusal to quit power after months of popular protests, Reuters reports.

Making MENA Homes Affordable: FT TILT

Tom Gara | 9/20/11

“While the top end of the MENA real estate market now looks to be in oversupply, a new Jones Lang LaSalle report estimates there is still unmet demand for millions of new affordable homes across the region, with Egypt, Iraq, Morocco and Saudi Arabia alone needing 3.5m such homes between them.”

Gulf States in Renewed Push for Rail Projects: REUTERS

Stanley Carvalho | 9/20/11

“Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are pushing ahead with multi-billion dollar railway projects, and key contracts are set to be awarded soon as the energy-rich Gulf states seek to boost local infrastructure to meet rising demand.”

M&A Volume in MENA Soars 36%: SAUDI GAZETTE


“The total volume of mergers & acquisition (M&A) deals in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region posted a healthy 36 percent growth in the first half, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia topping the list.”

Tadawul Index up 0.4%: ARAB NEWS


“In Saudi Arabia, the Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) rose for a fourth day in six, up 0.42 percent to 6,144.27, tracking gains in world stocks, which shrugged off Standard & Poor’s downgrading of Italian debt.”

Saudi Ethylene, Propylene Capacities to Rise: SAUDI GAZETTE


“Saudi Arabia’s ethylene and propylene capacities will rise to 16.52 million tpa and 6.55 million tpa respectively, with Saudi Kayan’s commercial operation in 2011 set to contribute most to the increase.”

Saudi Prince Rebuts Claim of Rape in Spain: NEW YORK TIMES

Raphael Minder | 9/20/11

“The office of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, a billionaire investor and nephew of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, released documents to rebut an accusation that the prince raped a Spanish woman on a luxury yacht off the Mediterranean island of Ibiza three years ago.”

More News and Commentary from SUSTG


Wadah Khanfar, the director-general of the Qatar-backed Al Jazeera satellite TV network, resigned on Tuesday, to be replaced by a member of the Gulf state’s ruling family, reports.

Khanfar, who has led the network for eight years, said that his goal had been to “establish Al Jazeera as a global media leader,” and that the “target had been met”.


“The relationship between the Israeli government and the Republican Party has significantly complicated the administration’s diplomatic efforts to avert a confrontation at the United Nations this week over the Palestinian bid for full membership as a state, limiting President Obama’s ability to exert pressure on Mr. Netanyahu to make concessions that could restart negotiations with the Palestinians,” NY Times reports.


Iran has released two American hikers who were detained in 2009 on charges of spying, VOA reports.

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal walked out of an Iranian prison on Wednesday after a judge approved an order for their release. A car from the Swiss Embassy waited for them in the prison grounds. They were released after posting $1 million bail.


The suicide bomber who killed the head of an Afghan peace council struggling to start meaningful negotiations with the Taliban delivered a potentially fatal blow to the efforts to find a political settlement in Afghanistan, ABC news reports.

AMERICAS: NEW FIELDS MAY PROPEL AMERICAS TO TOP OF OIL COMPANIES’ LISTS: Simon Romero (NYT) reports that, “For the first time in decades, the emerging prize of global energy may be the Americas, where Western oil companies are refocusing their gaze in a rush to explore clusters of coveted oil fields.” “This is an historic shift that’s occurring, recalling the time before World War II when the U.S. and its neighbors in the hemisphere were the world’s main source of oil,” said Daniel Yergin, an American oil historian. “To some degree, we’re going to see a new rebalancing, with the Western Hemisphere moving back to self-sufficiency.”


After months of striking a far friendlier tone toward the government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, the Iraqi government has joined a chorus of other nations calling on him to step down, the NYT reports.


Turkey is considering imposing sanctions against Syria for its brutal crackdown on the country’s uprising and is coordinating its efforts with the United States, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying Wednesday, AP reports.


“At some point this coming week, during his visit to the this year’s opening of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, US President Barack Obama is going to have a nearly irresistible urge. He is going to want to stand up to his hovering political handlers and the smothering bureaucracy which tries to dictate his every move, summon his personal dignity, and say “Enough,” writes Robert Grenier (Al Jazeera). “As he prepares to singularly veto Palestine’s statehood bid, he must be thinking to himself: ‘This isn’t right’.


“One day, when America has less power to protect Israel than it does today, and when Abbas has given way to Palestinian leaders less interested in being Israel’s subcontractor against Palestinian terror, I suspect American Zionists will look back nostalgically upon this month’s bid for a Palestinian state,” writes Peter Beinart (Daily Beast). “Benjamin Netanyahu could have prevented the Palestinians’ bid for statehood at the U.N.”


/The daily news is provided as a service of the Saudi-US Trade Group, Washington, DC. Visit for more information and to get a free email subscription to the News Review./</h4></div>