News – 2012.02.07

Published: February 7, 2012

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

Business Forum: Changes for Women in Business – Al-Kuwaiz: SUSRIS

At the U.S-Saudi Business Opportunities Forum held in Atlanta in December the Saudi delegation included many highly qualified women. Their contributions to the Forum and to the community outreach effort were noted by Ms. Samar Fatany who wrote in Arab News, “The participation by highly competent and professional Saudi women certainly contributed to the success of the US Saudi Business Opportunities Forum,” adding, “Not many people outside our borders are aware of the existence of exceptional women in Saudi Arabia so the presence of such qualified women was a great surprise to a lot of attendees at the forum.” One such exceptional woman delegate was Ms. Samra Al-Kuwaiz, Managing Director of Osool Capital, regarded as among the most influential women in the Middle East financial industry. SUSRIS had an opportunity to talk with Ms Al-Kuwaiz and will provide that exclusive interview in a separate item. Today we have for your consideration her presentation to the Forum as the keynote speaker at the December 7, 2011 luncheon.

Two Holy Mosques Will See Projects worth SR2 Billion This Year: ARAB NEWS

2/7/12

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah will implement a number of projects valued at over SR2 billion at the two holy mosques during the current financial year. Muhammad bin Nasser Al-Khozaim, deputy head of the presidency, said a total of SR1.76 billion has been earmarked for the implementation of various maintenance, operation and cleaning contracts at the Grand Mosque.

Saudi Fin Min: Too Early To Offer IMF Contribution: REUTERS

2/7/12

Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf said on Tuesday that it was too early for his country to offer a fresh financial contribution to the International Monetary Fund. IMF LAUDS SAUDI ROLE IN STABLE ECONOMY: The head of the International Monetary Fund has hailed Saudi Arabia’s role in supporting the world economy, following meetings with the country’s king and top finance officials, AP/Bloomberg reports.

Gulf States Recalling Ambassadors in Syria: REUTERS

2/7/12

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, current head of the council, announces that the GCC states have decided to withdraw all their ambassadors from Syria and also demand that all ambassadors of the Syrian regime in its lands leave immediately,” said the six-member council, which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Saudis Risk Iranian Anger Over Crude Flow: FINANCIAL TIMES

Javier Blas | 2/7/12

Saudi Arabia has started to supply small quantities of extra crude oil to several European countries that have begun to reduce their purchases of Iranian crude, a move that would put Riyadh on collision course with Tehran.

BRJ Created 19,771 Jobs in Four Countries in 2011: ARAB NEWS

2/6/12

Bab Rizq Jameel (BRJ), an initiative of ALJ Community Initiatives (ALJCI), created 19,771 jobs through its international branches in Egypt, Syria, Turkey and Morocco in 2011.

This is in addition to the 40,000 job opportunities BRJ created in Saudi Arabia during the same year.

Saudi Arabian Power Demand Is Growing by 8% a Year, SPA Reports: BLOOMBERG

Mourad Haroutunian | 2/6/12

Saudi Arabia’s electricity demand is growing by 8 percent a year, the official Saudi Press Agency reported, citing Mohammed Ibn Ibrahim Al-Suwaiyel, the president of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.

Saudi Petrochemicals Manufacturers Form Committee to Counter Anti-Dumping Duties: PLATTS

2/7/12

Saudi Arabia’s petrochemicals manufacturers have formed a 15-member organization called Saudi Committee of Petrochemical Manufacturers in the wake of growing number of anti-dumping cases against the country’s petrochemical producers, an industry source said Tuesday.

Johnstown Company Finding Success Overseas: DAILY AMERICAN

2/6/12

Three years ago Somerset native Eileen Melvin, president of UMF Medical in Richland Township, never dreamed she would be donning an abaya, the robe-like dress worn by some women in parts of the Islamic world. On a trade mission to Saudi Arabia, however, Melvin did just that, after using Pennsylvania’s State Export Program funded by the Office of International Business.

Arbabsiar in Talks for ‘Disposition’ Of Saudi Ambassador Bomb-Plot Case: BLOOMBERG

Patricia Hurtado | 2/6/12

A lawyer for the Iranian-American car salesman accused of plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. lost a bid for a delay in the case to discuss a possible resolution.

Saudi Arabia Most Risky of Emerging Economies, Maplecroft Says: BLOOMBERG

Ayesha Daya | 2/7/12

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, has the most uncertain political environment of 15 major growth economies including China and Russia, according to the founder of risk-assessment consultants Maplecroft.

Students Abroad Want Child Care Allowance Hiked: SAUDI GAZETTE

Doha Ghouth | 2/6/12

Saudi students in the United States are calling on the government to increase their allowances for child daycare and other expenses.

Saudi Arabia Will Not Let Oil Go Above $100: Prince: CNBC

Margo D. Beller | 2/6/12

An “element of fear” is playing into the price of oil despite higher supply and decreasing demand, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al Saud told CNBC Monday.

More News and Commentary from SUSTG

SYRIA: AFTER CATCHING A BREAK AT UN, ASSAD RESUMES SHELLING OF HOMS; RUSSIA DEFENDS DECISION AND CALLS ASSAD INTENTIONS ‘PEACEFUL’

Russia’s top diplomat said Tuesday that a Syrian commission has prepared a new constitution, to be voted on in a referendum, and added that President Bashar al-Assad is ready for a “dialogue” with opposition groups after months of a harsh and bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters. Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov made the statements following discussions with Assad in the Syrian capital, even as France and Italy recalled their ambassadors for consultations over the worsening crisis and shelling continued for a fifth day in the restive city of Homs, Alice Fordham, Will Englund and Debbi Wilgoren (Washington Post) report. IN DEPTH: SEVEN HOURS IN HAMA: Hama is situated in a valley, so you cannot catch sight of the city from afar until you reach a hill at the midpoint between Rastan and Hama. My heart still squeezes as I remember the very first glimpse of the ruined city. A layer of clouds covered the city but a small window allowed a few strong sun rays to pierce the gray sky. Dust was everywhere, billowing out of the many monstrous bulldozers Assad had sent to finish what his tanks had failed to do. The three helicopters that regularly hovered over the city, between the western military airport and the eastern mount of Ali Kasoon, were absent. The lack of helicopters in itself was a sufficient sign that the city was not well, writes Bara Sarraj (Jadaliyya). TURKEY PLANS NEW INITIATIVE: Turkey is preparing a new initiative with those countries who oppose the Syrian government, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, describing China’s and Russia’s veto of a U.N. resolution on Syria a “fiasco,” Al Arabiya reports. OPINION: ARMING THE OPPOSITION IS THE WRONG WAY TO UNSEAT ASSAD: That temptation to arm the opposition, however, should be resisted. Syria is not Libya. High on the list of differences: the fault lines in Syrian society are sectarian. If the Arab League, the U.S. or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization were to arm the rebels, that could accelerate the downfall of Assad, but it would also ensure a much broader civil war. Syria’s Sunni majority might mark its victory by taking revenge on the minority Alawites and Christians who have largely stood with the regime. Those who armed them would bear some of the responsibility.

EGYPT: AMERICANS FACE PROSECUTION AS EGYPT IGNORES CLINTON, CONGRESS

Egypt is bringing criminal charges against at least 40 people, including some American citizens, over the foreign funding of nongovernmental organizations, sharply raising the stakes in a standoff with the US that has put $1.3 billion in US military aid to Egypt at risk, CSM reports. WILL EGYPT’S MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD MEND TIES WITH GULF STATES?: As the Muslim Brotherhood ascends to power, a question remains on how the once “banned” group will handle the issue of ties with the Arab Gulf states, Sultan Al-Qassemi (Egypt Independent) writes.

ISRAEL: UNITY DEAL BRINGS RISKS

Palestinians cautiously embraced reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, but much remains to be done, and the effect on a bid for Palestinian statehood remains unknown, Ethan Bronner (NYT) writes.

IRAN: MIDDLE CLASS ON EDGE AS WORLD PRESSES IN

One measure of the profound anxiety now coursing through Iranian society can be seen on Manouchehri Street, a winding lane at the heart of this city where furtive crowds of men gather every day like drug dealers to buy and sell American dollars, Robert F. Worth (NYT) writes.  IRANIANS EXPECT TO FEEL SANCTIONS:  As the U.S. orders more economic sanctions against Iran, a new Gallup poll finds nearly two-thirds of Iranians think recent sanctions that the United Nations, the U.S., and Western Europe have already imposed will hurt the livelihoods of the country’s residents “a great deal” (27%) or “somewhat” (38%), Gallup reports.

ANALYSIS: WILL VICTORY IN LIBYA CAUSE DEFEAT IN SYRIA?

Did last year’s triumph in Libya help stymie efforts to forge an international consensus on Syria?

Some of you will have already seen FP colleagues Marc and Colum Lynch’s excellent posts bemoaning the U.N. Security Council’s inability to pass a resolution addressing the continuing violence on Syria. The proximate cause was a joint Russian and Chinese veto of the proposed resolution, ostensibly on the grounds that it was one-sided. I think Marc is right to say that this lapse weakens the authority and legitimacy of the Security Council (SC). I place less weight on the SC than some commentators do, but even I don’t think a weak and discredited SC is a good thing. I also agree that this development increases the danger of a prolonged conflict in Syria, and maybe even an internationalized civil war there, writes Stephen Walt (FP) writes.

PAKISTAN: ‘HIGHLY VULNERABLE’ TO ECONOMY SHOCKS, NEEDS TAX REFORM, IMF SAYS

Pakistan must stem risks to a “highly vulnerable” economy that include inflation projected at 12 percent, a widening budget deficit and declining currency reserves, the International Monetary Fund said, Bloomberg reports. The Washington-based IMF called on Pakistan to broaden the tax base, eliminate some subsidies and curtail central bank financing of a budget shortfall that may rise to 7 percent of gross domestic product this fiscal year.

OPINION: ENVISIONING A DEAL WITH IRAN

A diplomatic strategy must begin with the United States’ setting its priorities and then defining a practical path to achieve them. To achieve its top priorities, it will have to learn what Iran needs. Since the United States will not get total surrender from Iran, it must decide what it can put on the table to assure that both sides can reach a deal that will be durable, William H. Luers and Thomas R. Pickering (NYT) write.

/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>