SUSRIS Daily News – Excerpts from International Media Reports
/Provided as a service from the Saudi-US Trade Group, Washington, DC/
DPA | 2/15/12
The UN General Assembly is scheduled to meet Thursday to consider a Saudi Arabia-led draft resolution condemning the continuing violence in Syria and calling for a political transition to a democratic system. The meeting is set for 2000 GMT, diplomats and the UN confirmed Wednesday. The assembly may vote on the draft, which contains language similar to the Western-backed resolution that was vetoed by Russia and China at a UN Security Council meeting on February 4.
The most likely victims of a nuclear armed Iran are not the U.S. or Israel, but the Gulf states — countries that are engaged in intense competition with the regime in Tehran, but that lack the power to deter any threat or aggression with a nuclear-strike capability of their own. That, at least, is how it looks from Riyadh and other Gulf capitals.
U.S.-based global food giant Mars Incorporated will make an initial investment of SR225 million ($60 million) to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Rabigh, about 130 kilometer north of the Red Sea port city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, it was announced on Wednesday.
Sadara Chemical Co., a joint venture between Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and Dow Chemical Co., is awarding contracts for the construction of a petrochemical plant, said an official with KBR Inc., an adviser on the bidding.
Associated Press | 2/15/12
A human rights group is calling on the International Olympic Committee to require that Saudi Arabia’s participation in Olympic sporting events, including the upcoming London Games, be contingent upon the Arab country allowing girls and women to play competitive sports.
Glen Carey and Mourad Haroutunian | 2/15/12
Two Saudi newspapers supported a boycott of Russian and Chinese products after the two countries vetoed a United Nations Security Council Resolution aiming to end the 11-month conflict in Syria.
Saudi Utility Gets $1.2 Billion Loan: CPI FINANCIAL
HSBC and Banque Saudi Fransi have helped arrange a $1.2 billion loan for Saudi utility company Marafiq, according to a report by the Saudi Press Agency.
Glen Carey | 2/15/12
Saudi Arabia’s Public Pension Agency bought as much as 5.5 percent of Riyad Bank (RIBL) from the kingdom’s central bank, al-Eqtisadiah newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information.
Saudi to Launch Restaurant, Car Index: EMIRATES 24|7
Saudi Arabia is planning to launch a unique index for its restaurants, car shows and clothes shops to classify them as either good or bad, a move that will have a strong impact on customer demand, a newspaper said on Thursday.
Kingdom’s Desalination Output To Keep Rising: SAUDI GAZETTE
Saudi Arabia’s water sector is poised for a period of significant activity over the next year, as the government – under pressure to deliver better public services – implements a major spending program designed to ramp up access to water.
Saudi in Mohammed Twitter Row ‘Repents’: TELEGRAPH
A Saudi journalist awaiting interrogation over Tweets deemed insulting to Islam’s Prophet Mohammed insisted that he has repented, according to a relative.
Arab Spring Started With Saudi King’s Initiative to Find Peace in Region: Lebanese PM: AL ARABIYA
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said the Arab Spring started in 2002 with the initiative launched by then Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. “In 2002, the Arab Summit was held in Beirut and the then Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz launched an initiative to ensure the prevalence of peace in the region,” Mikati told Al Arabiya’s Special Interview from the French capital Paris. The initiative, Mikati explained, was meant to start a new era of Arab-Israeli peace, therefore setting the foundation for the Arab Spring.
Saudi Arabian Oil Co. plans to re- open the Gulf kingdom’s oldest oil field and produce there for the first time in 30 years as the company boosts output of heavy crude, the Economist Intelligence Unit said.
India, Saudi to Ramp up Defence Cooperation: TIMES OF INDIA
India and Saudi Arabia plan to establish a joint committee to chalk out a roadmap for bolstering bilateral defence cooperation, ranging from stepped up high-level exchanges and warship visits to hydrography and training, as well as work out the details of a proposed defence pact.
Saudis Throw Their Money at Qualifier: SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
Michael Cockerill | 2/16/12
Saudi Arabia are sparing no expense before their do-or-die World Cup qualifier against Australia this month, with Frank Rijkaard’s squad arriving in Melbourne tomorrow for a $500,000 training camp that will involve two matches against the New Zealand ”B” team.
BAHRAIN: UN CONCERNED ABOUT CLASHES REPORTED IN BAHRAIN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he’s concerned about reported clashes between security forces and demonstrators in Bahrain in recent days, CBS News reports.
OPINION: IRAN IS READY TO TALK, SAYS DENNIS ROSS
“Today, Iran is more isolated than ever. The regional balance of power is shifting against Tehran, in no small part because of its ongoing support for the beleaguered government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The Assad regime is failing, and in time, Iran will lose its only state ally in the Arab world and its conduit for arming the militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon….The Obama administration has now created a situation in which diplomacy has a chance to succeed. It remains an open question whether it will,” Dennis Ross (NYT) writes. INTERVIEW WITH HAARETZ: In an interview with Haaretz, Ross said, “These sanctions, Ross said, are the crippling sanctions Israel has called for, and can affect Iran’s behavior. When the Iranians feel they are under sufficient pressure, they look for a way to reduce it, Ross said, and right now they are under pressure they have not been under before. “It’s not an accident that suddenly they want to meet with the P5 +1,” Ross said, referring to the forum of five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany.”
ARAB SPRING: A YEAR AFTER THE EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION, 10% OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA DOCUMENTATION IS GONE.
The Egyptian revolution on the 25th of January 2011 was unlike any other revolution in history because of the role of social media. Several blogs, Storify entries, web pages, channels on YouTube where created to document the revolution. Several books were even published documenting the 18 days. All of these contributions were made by the public, not historians, utilizing the tools of web 2.0. As a result of all these contributions we have an enormous digital content including thousands of posts, tweets, images, videos and sound files narrating and documenting the revolution. Unfortunately, at the first anniversary of this revolution over 10%
of this digital content is already gone, WSDL (Blog) writes.
AFGHANISTAN: US AND AFGHANS IN TALIBAN TALKS
The U.S. and Afghan governments have begun secret three-way talks with the Taliban, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told The Wall Street Journal, disclosing an important breakthrough in efforts to end the 10-year war.
Mr. Karzai, whose government had protested being left out of recent talks between Washington and the insurgents, added he believes most Taliban are “definitively” interested in a peace settlement.
PAKISTAN: US MONITORS PAKISTAN’S CHOICE OF SPYMASTER
The succession question in Pakistan’s ISI has triggered barely a ripple in Pakistan’s normally boisterous media, with some pundits betting that the army will solve the dilemma by pushing for Lt Gen Pasha to stay on for a year. But the issue is being keenly watched by the Obama administration, which wants to convince the ISI to nudge its former Taliban protégés into talks to end the Afghan war, FT reports.
OPINION: WASHINGTON’S WAR IN YEMEN BACKFIRES
The taking of Zinjibar could be an indication that AQAP is effectively exploiting the growing power vacuum in Yemen. But what could be more dangerous is that support for AQAP’s agenda is indigenously spreading and merging with the mounting rage of powerful tribes at US counterterrorism policy and Washington’s years of support for the Saleh regime, writes Jeremy Scahill, in a feature for The Nation.
INTERVIEW: REPLACING MUBARAK; A DISCUSSION WITH AMR MOUSSA
Amr Moussa is nothing if not a political survivor. As he prepares to contend Egypt’s upcoming presidential election, he talks to Foreign Policy about his views toward Israel, the military’s role in politics, and Obama’s first term in office.
CULTURE: WIKIPEDIA LOOKS TO EXPAND ARABIC CONTENT VIA EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVE
Wikipedia is looking to North Africa as the key to unlocking an audience that would increase the number of visitors to the online encyclopedia by millions. While the English version of Wikipedia has about 3.8m articles, the Arabic version has only about 150,000 – this despite the fact that Arabic is the fifth most common language in the world and has about 400 million speakers globally, the Guardian reports.
LIBYA: MILITAS THREATENING DEMOCRACY
Armed militias are threatening the security and stability of Libya, Amnesty International has warned, BBC reports.
EGYPT: MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD WILL BACK MILITARY IN DISPUTE OVER JAILED AMERICANS
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood on Wednesday threw its weight behind the country’s military-backed government in an escalating dispute with the U.S. over the funding of pro-democracy groups, AP/Washington Post reports.
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