News – 2011.11.08

Published: November 8, 2011

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

11.8.11 EDITION

Keep Away From Dissent: King: SAUDI GAZETTE


King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, said in an address to pilgrims and Muslims, Monday that Haj is all about “diversity, tolerance and dialogue”. The King urged Muslims to use the lessons of Haj to live better lives.  CROWN PRINCE URGES MUSLIM LEADERS TO SHUN DISCORD: On behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, Crown Prince Naif, deputy premier and interior minister who is also chairman of the Supreme Haj Committee, conveyed Eid greetings to the dignitaries of the Muslim world attending in the Haj in a reception at the Mina Palace on Monday, Arab News Reports. CONCERN THAT IRAQI POLITICIANS ARE LIVING LAVISHLY AT HAJJ: At VIP tents, Iraqi lawmakers and politicians in their white pilgrim robes enjoyed the luxury of soft red carpets and air conditioning, fruit baskets set up on long tables and two refrigerators with cold water and soft drinks. It’s conveniently right next to the Jamarat, the site of three walls symbolizing the devil that pilgrims lined up to pelt with stones on Monday. It’s a stark contrast from the camp of their fellow citizens, several miles (kilometers) away, where Iraqi pilgrims crowd into stuffy tents and take hours to make their way on foot through the hot Saudi sun to reach the ritual site, Rebecca Santana (AP) reports.

China’s Emerging Twin Pillar Policy in the Gulf: FOREIGN POLICY

Geoffrey F. Gresh | 11/7/11

China’s gradual realignment from squarely backing Iran to courting Saudi Arabia in recent years heralds a geostrategic shift in Chinese foreign policy and marks the stirrings of a Chinese “twin-pillar” policy in the Gulf. Yet the U.S. should not necessarily view this shift as a threat to its strategic national interests in the Gulf. Rather, Chinese engagement with these two regional poles of influence could actually prove beneficial for the U.S. as it begins to rethink its regional strategy and seek ways to maintain stability without a large military presence.

‘Heir to the Heir’ Gets an Upgrade: THE DAILY BEAST

Joseph Kéchichian | 11/6/11

Though Nayef’s dealings with the U.S. and other Arab nations have been characterized in negative terms, the prince is a genuine Al Saud—which means that he always places the interests of the family and the country ahead of other considerations. A stickler for detail, as interior minister he kept regular tabs on opposition figures. Fond of parliamentary gatherings, Nayef is good at listening to various opinions, taking his time to reach decisions. Known for his patience, he is nonetheless impatient with those who threaten the existing order.

Chinese Refiner Buys Extra Saudi Crude: ARAB NEWS


At least one Chinese refiner has bought extra crude for December from Saudi Arabia, while the Kingdom will supply full contracted volumes to at least six Asian term buyers, industry sources said.  ARAMCO CUTS ASIA OIL DIFFERENTIALS, LIFTS U.S.: Anthony DiPaola (Bloomberg) reports, Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s largest crude exporter, reduced official selling-price premiums for most December shipments to Asia more than refiners anticipated amid falling fuel-processing profits.

Saudi Arabia Named Among Top G-20 Emissions Offenders: ARABIAN BUSINESS

Andy Sambidge | 11/7/11

Saudi Arabia was named on Monday as one of the worst performers in the G-20 for its level of carbon emissions in relation to economic growth. A report published by Price WaterhouseCoopers said the kingdom’s emissions grew almost twice as fast as its GDP.

Rail Plan Will Cut Saudi Holy Cities Trip to Two Hours: ARABIAN SUPPLY CHAIN

Andy Sambidge | 11/8/11

The new high-speed Haramain railway project in Saudi Arabia will cut travel time between the two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah to just two hours, a senior official has revealed.

Unconventional Oil: Tar Sands and Extra Heavy Crude: ECONOMIC TIMES

Gaurav S Ghosh | 11/7/11

Both tar sands and extra heavy oil are abundant. Estimates put global reserves in the same ball park as global conventional oil reserves. However, both resources are also remarkable in their extreme geographical concentration. About 85 percent of the world’s known tar sand reserves are in Alberta, Canada and about 80 percent of the world’s known extra heavy oil is located in the Orinoco river basin in Venezuela…A caveat must be added here: recovery rates associated with these resources are lower than those associated with conventional oil. This means that, at current technological levels, more oil is extractable from Saudi deposits than from Canadian ones.

Global Spotlight On Petro Rabigh’s Faster Growth: ARAB NEWS


Saudi Arabia’s Rabigh Refining & Petroleum Company (PetroRabigh), which is planning to issue new stocks to help fund expansion, has been ranked high among the world’s fastest growing energy companies.

More News and Commentary from SUSTG


The day before a new report on Iran’s nuclear program is expected to be released; China spoke out against any use of force to stop the program’s progress, but also urged Iran to “show flexibility and sincerity.” Based on leaks ahead of the official release, the report is expected to reveal that Iran is further along in its nuclear program than previously believed. Those expectations have already prompted a flurry of fighting words and, in response, efforts to tone down discussions among world leaders, CSM writes.  BOMBING IRAN RISKY, BUT DOABLE? One of the Israeli pilots who bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor 30 years ago in a dramatic military operation told The Daily Beast yesterday that an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities today would not be significantly more challenging given advances in technology and intelligence, the Daily Beast reports. RUSSIA: ATTACKS A MISTAKE: Military action against Iran would be a “very serious mistake fraught with unpredictable consequences”, Russia’s foreign minister has warned.


The White House over the summer put new restrictions on CIA drone strikes in the wake of concerns that the program was primarily targeting lower-level militants while provoking anger in Pakistan, U.S. officials said, the LAT reports.


More than 3,500 people have been killed in Syria’s crackdown on protesters, the United Nations said on Tuesday, as the military pressed its campaign to put down resistance against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule in the city of Homs, Reuters reports. HOMS A DISASTER AREA, DISSIDENTS WANT INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION: Syria’s opposition has appealed for international intervention in the central city of Homs, one of the focal points of the country’s uprising, calling it a “humanitarian disaster area,” Al Jazeera reports.


The situations in Syria entered a new stage yesterday with signs of Arab-international-regional maneuverings emerging, which could lead to fundamental changes in the handling of the Syrian crisis, Asharq Alawsat reports.


Egypt has received an offer of a US$400 million (Dh1.46 billion) loan from an arm of the Islamic Development Bank to help pay for food and petroleum as it races to close a budget gap after turning down emergency financing from the IMF, the National reports.


This has been Oman’s least quiet year in a generation. The Economist scored Oman sixth highest within its (unsophisticated) Arab instability index in early February, a forecast met with wide incredulity at the time. A few weeks later, the country was shaken with memorable scenes of unrest: protests — some violent, most peaceful, loyalty marches, regime concessions, a GCC “Marshall Plan,” labor strikes and opportunistic demands, and regime crackdowns. The ground has significantly shifted beneath the feet of a regime that has overseen the rapid transformation of society over the last 40 years, underwritten by absolute power and facilitated by oil income, Ra’id Zuhair Al-Jamali (FP) writes.


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