SUSRIS Daily News – Excerpts from International Media Reports
/Provided as a service from the Saudi-US Trade Group, Washington, DC/
Forbes ranks King Abdullah one of “world’s most powerful people”: ASHARQ ALAWSAT
“Forbes” magazine has chosen Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, as one of the “world’s most powerful people.” The US magazine ranked the Saudi monarch the sixth most powerful person in the world. KING ABDULLAH RANKS AMONG MOST POWERFUL WORLD LEADERS: Arab News reports that, “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has been ranked among the most powerful leaders in the world for the third time in a row by the US business magazine Forbes. King Abdullah has been placed sixth in the list of 70 people topped by US President Barack Obama.”
Abdel Hadi al-Habtoor | 11/4/11
More than 2.5 million Muslim pilgrims began on Friday the rites of the annual hajj pilgrimage, leaving the holy city of Mecca for Mount Arafat, where the prophet Mohammed is believed to have delivered his final hajj sermon.
Kingdom Pledges Support For Market Stability: ARAB NEWS
“Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf said Thursday that the Kingdom would continue to contribute effectively to maintain stability in global energy markets. ‘The Kingdom’s long and short term efforts have been bolstering the world economic situation,’ the Saudi Press Agency quoted him as saying in Cannes, southern France, where he is attending the Group of 20 meeting.”
Last week the Jadwa Investment firm in Riyadh produced an insightful report on companies listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange focusing on the increasingly important foreign revenue segment. That report is provided here for your consideration.
Saudi Ripe For Chinese-Style Stock Market Opening: ARABIAN BUSINESS
“Saudi Arabia is ripe to open its doors to foreigners. Kingdom watchers expect that the $330bn stock market will be made more accessible early next year. Riyadh may follow China’s model of granting licences to “qualified foreign institutional investors”. The move isn’t without risks. But letting outsiders in would, at worst, line domestic pockets and, at best, help Saudi to build a stronger private sector.”
Mahmoud Habboush | 11/3/11
“Across the Gulf, Arab governments are seeking to create more private sector jobs for their citizens while reducing their economies’ reliance on hundreds of thousands of foreign workers, who fill posts in sectors ranging from construction and public transport to tourism, retail and financial services.” GCC FIRMS MUST ALSO MEET NITAQAT QUOTAS: The Saudi Gazette reports, “All Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) firms, allowed to operate in Saudi Arabia, will have to meet Nitaqat quotas, according to Hattab Al-Enezi, Ministry of Labor spokesman.”
John Irish | 11/3/11
“Saudi Basic Industries’ (SABIC) venture capital arm is looking at acquisitions of up to $100 million for the new business, its chief executive said on Thursday, and has already made a few purchases in Europe and the United States.”
Gulf Gasoline, Gasoil Markets Ease: AL ARABIYA
Humeyra Pamuk | 11/3/11
“Gulf Middle East product market tightness eased this week, with gasoline prices softening, high-sulphur fuel oil easing from 10-month highs seen last week, and fuel oil premiums dropping slightly, traders said.”
Saudi Arabia’s transport minister Jabara Al-Seraisry has said the second phase of the Haramain Railway project linking the two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah as well as Jeddah and Rabigh with a high-speed train system is to cost SR30.8bn, Arab News has reported. The second phase includes the importing and installation of rail tracks, signal and communication systems, electric systems and import of trains as well as maintenance, Al-Seraisry said, adding that Al-Shoula consortium would carry out operation and maintenance of the railway for 12 years. The project will be ready in three years, the minister added.
Keeping It in the Family: FOREIGN POLICY
Jane Kinninmont | 11/3/11
“The naming of Prince Nayef bin Abdel-Aziz Al Saud as Saudi Arabia’s new crown prince was no great surprise, but has nonetheless highlighted ongoing questions about the generation gap in Saudi Arabia, and about the capacity for the country’s political system to evolve in a changing Middle East.” THE TRANSITIONING SAUDI LEADERSHIP: Toni Johnson (Council on Foreign Relations) writes, “The potential for instability is amplified by an escalating conflict with Iran in the past year. Iran has been angered by Saudi participation in quelling a Shia-led uprising in Bahrain and Saudi sympathies for Sunni protesters in Syria. Iran, meanwhile, faces accusations of an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States and instigating Shia-minority riots in eastern Saudi Arabia.”
UAE to Boost Exports to Saudi Construction Sector: SAUDI GAZETTE
“UAE firms are expected to increase exports of local products and services to Saudi Arabia’s booming construction sector over the coming year, as a result of their recent participation at Saudi Build 2011, the Middle East’s largest construction and building material exhibition in the region.”
“Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) said its use of new advanced technologies to guarantee the flow of the calls and data in the holy sites will improve its provision of high quality services to pilgrims.”
LIBYA: CHARTING A MODERATE COURSE ON ISLAM?
The threat of radical Islamic extremists coming to power in Libya was a spectre repeatedly invoked by Muammar Gaddafi and his supporters in order to delegitimise the Libyan revolution, Mohamed Madi (BBC) reports.
AFGHANISTAN: US WEIGHS STRATEGY SHIFT
President Barack Obama’s advisers are debating a shift in the military’s mission in Afghanistan that would focus on advising Afghan forces while scaling back combat operations much earlier than planned, officials say, AFP reports. TALIBAN CHIEF ORDERS MILITANTS TO STOP ATTACKING CIVILIANS: Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar says his fighters need to protect Afghan civilians from harm so that the insurgency can maintain good relations with the population, Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports.
ISRAEL: NAVY TOLD TO INTERCEPT GAZA-BOUND BOATS
Israel’s military chief ordered the navy Friday to intercept two Gaza-bound boats carrying pro-Palestinian activists who were challenging Israel’s maritime blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza, a statement from Israel’s military said, Reuters reports.
EGPYT: CONDEMNATIONS FOR ISRAEL SETTLEMENT EXPANSION
Egypt on Friday condemned Israel’s plan to construct 2,000 new housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, announced earlier this week. “This decision is a blow to all efforts being made to reach a fair settlement to the conflict and the Palestinian problem,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr said.
PALESTINE: NEW BLOW FOR UN BID
SYRIA: AT LEAST 4 KILLED AFTER FORCES FIRE ON PROTESTERS
TERRORISM: DESTROYING AL QAEDA
The Al Qaeda network over the past three years suffered its greatest losses since the United States and its allies evicted the terrorist organization from Afghanistan in 2001, writes Brian Katulis (American Progress). Given these major successes, it’s no wonder U.S. officials, including former CIA Director and current Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, are declaring that the United States is “within reach of strategically defeating al Qaeda.” As President Obama put it in June, the United States has “put al Qaeda on a path to defeat, and we will not relent until the job is done.”
/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>