News – 2012.03.05

Published: March 5, 2012

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

3.5.12 EDITION

Kingdom Aims To Become Industrial State: Al-Rabiah: ARAB NEWS

3/4/12

Commerce and Industry Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah yesterday reaffirmed the Kingdom’s desire to become an advanced industrialized country. “The ministry has also resolved to fight cover-up businesses that incur heavy losses to the country,” Al-Rabiah said while addressing the 12th Jeddah Economic Forum during its formal inaugural ceremony at the Jeddah Hilton. The venue was packed to capacity with top officials, decision makers, business leaders, executives, professionals, and professors and teachers.

Saudi Non-Oil Private Sector Growth Remains Strong: NASDAQ

RTT News | 3/5/12

Saudi Arabia’s non-oil private sector continued to expand at a marked pace, data from a survey by Markit Economics and the Saudi British Bank showed Monday. SABB WINS BEST PRIVATE BANK: The Saudi British Bank (SABB) has been named “best private bank in Saudi Arabia” in a global survey, Arab News reports.

Saudi Arabia Begins Trial of Men Charged In 2004 US Consulate Attack: FOX NEWS

Associated Press | 5/4/12

Saudi Arabia has begun trials of 55 suspected Al Qaeda members, some charged in a deadly attack on a U.S. Consulate in 2004, the kingdom’s official news agency reported Sunday.

The Saudi Interior Ministry said eight people were killed in the 2004 storming of the consulate in the port city of Jeddah, including three militants and five citizens of Arab countries who worked at the consulate. A fourth militant died later.

Saudi Electricity Production Capacity to Top 120 GW by 2030: STEEL GURU

5/4/12

Extensive industrial development across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is expected to drive up electricity demand to an estimated 67,000 MW by 2020. 6 major economic cities currently being built across the Kingdom at a cost of more than USD 60 billion already require massive energy resources. At the current pace of demand, Saudi Arabia’s total productive capacity is projected to surpass 120 GW in 2030 demand is already rising at around 8% per year.

Iraq and Saudi Arabia Show Signs of Improved Relations after Years of Strain: WASHINGTON POST

Alice Fordham | 5/4/12

After years of strained relations, a series of diplomatic gestures between Iraq and Saudi Arabia is easing tensions between two of the Middle East’s most influential nations at a critical time for the region. PUSH FOR STRONGER TIES WITH IRAQ MEANT TO COUNTER IRAN, SYRIA: Saudi Arabia’s push to improve ties with Iraq is part of a drive to convince it to abandon the Syrian president, despite the strong influence in Baghdad of Riyadh’s foe Tehran, experts say, Middle East Online reports.

Saudi: Syrians Have Right to Defend Themselves: BOSTON HERALD

AP | 3/5/12

Saudi Arabia has said that Syrians have a right to take up arms to defend themselves against the regime and accuses the Damascus government of “imposing itself by force,” as concerns mount over a humanitarian crisis there.

Saudis ‘Don’t See Oil Demand Destruction’: TRADE ARABIA

3/5/12

Saudi Aramco’s decision to increase crude prices for Asia while trimming them for Europe, although reflecting movements in the regional benchmarks, also shows that higher prices have yet to bring demand destruction, says a Reuters analyst.

Saudi Flexes Gulf Grip with Bahrain ‘Union’ Plans: BOSTON GLOBE

AP | Brian Murphy | 3/5/12

During a sermon last week at Bahrain’s Grand Mosque, the pro-government prayer leader offered sweeping praise for one of the Arab Spring’s counter-revolutions: Gulf rulers bonding together against dissent with powerful Saudi Arabia as their main guardian.

Money Flows into Saudi Realty Bonds amid Economic Boom: SAUDI GAZETTE

3/5/12

A flood of money into the bonds of Saudi Arabian property developer Dar Al Arkan is due to renewed confidence in the company’s ability to repay its debt, but also to a general scramble to buy Saudi assets as the economy booms.

Saudi Ports Signs SR500m Contracts: ARAB NEWS

3/5/12

Abdul Aziz Al-Tuwaijri, president of Saudi Ports Authority, on Sunday signed a number of contracts for the development and maintenance of ports at a cost of SR500 million. The signing ceremony was attended by Transport Minister Jabara Al-Seraisry.

7km Carpet of Flowers in Yanbu Fest: AL ARABIYA

Saudi Gazette | 5/4/12

Yanbu Industrial City is welcoming visitors to its fifth flower and garden festival. This year it is featuring a 7,000-meter-long carpet of flowers.

More News and Commentary from SUSTG

UNITED STATES: US BACKERS OF ISRAEL PRESSURE OBAMA OVER IRAN POLICY

On the eve of a crucial visit to the White House by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, that country’s most powerful American advocates are mounting an extraordinary public campaign to pressure President Obama into hardening American policy toward Iran over its nuclear program, Mark Landler (NYT) reports.

POLL: AMERICANS CONTINUE TO TILT PRO-ISRAEL

The large majority of Americans continue to view Israel favorably, while far fewer say they view the Palestinian Authority or Iran very or mostly favorably, Gallup reports.

OPINION: BEFORE ATTACKING IRAN, ISRAEL SHOULD LEARN FROM ’81 STRIKE ON IRAQ

Three decades later, eerily similar arguments can be heard regarding the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. Last May, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a joint session of the U.S. Congress that “the hinge of history may soon turn, for the greatest danger of all could soon be upon us: a militant Islamic regime armed with nuclear weapons.” In a Feb. 2 speech in Israel, Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Barak channeled Begin in making the case for possible military action against Iran, arguing that “those who say ‘later’ may find that later is too late.” And late last month, Barak sought to discredit Israeli President Shimon Peres’s reported opposition to a possible strike on Iran by pointing to his dissent during the 1981 attack, Colin H. Kahl (Washington Post) writes.

OPINION: ISRAEL WILL NOT ATTACK IRAN

Curiously missing in this flurry of coverage has been a more considered assessment of the internal dynamics in play for Israeli decision-makers and how those might be most effectively influenced. Too often, the calculations of Israel’s leaders are depicted as if this were a collection of think-tankers and trauma victims given a very big and high-tech army to play with. Netanyahu represents the latter, guided by his “existentialist mindset” and his 101-year-old historian father. (The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg drew heavily on the father-son relationship in his assessment 18 months ago that an Israeli strike on Iran was imminent.) Peter Beinart has written, “Benjamin Netanyahu has only one mode: apocalyptic.” And the prime minister often depicts contemporary realities as akin to 1938, Daniel Levy (Foreign Policy) writes.

SYRIA: THOUSANDS OF REFUGEES POUR INTO LEBANON

More than a thousand Syrian refugees have poured across the border into Lebanon, among them families with small children carrying only plastic bags filled with their belongings as they fled a regime hunting down its opponents, AP reports.

TUNISIA: THE SKATEBOARDERS BRINGING PEACE

How do you bring people together in the immediate aftermath of a revolution? Meet the Bedouins, the arty skate gang which commandeered an abandoned mansion in Tunisia to promote peace in the wake of the upheaval, the Guardian reports.

AFGHANISTAN: CHAIN OF UNAVOIDABLE ERRORS CITED

American and Afghan officials investigating the Koran-burning episode that has brought relations between the countries to a new low say that the destruction could have been headed off at several points along a chain of mishaps, poor judgments and ignored procedures, according to interviews over the past week, Alissa Rubin (NYT) reports.

QATAR: DECIPHERING THE QATAR ENIGMA

Of all the actors in the Arab Spring, one of the most effective — and perhaps the most intriguing — has been the state of Qatar. Situated between Saudi Arabia and Iran — with each of whom it entertains somewhat wary relations — Qatar’s remarkable achievement has been to carve out an independent and ambitious role for itself, Patrick Seale (Gulf News) writes.

YEMEN: AL QAEDA MILITANTS ARE A SERIOUS THREAT

Al Qaeda militants in southern Yemen attacked several military bases in the region, resulting in the death of at least 106 people. The attacks show that militants continue to be a serious threat in Yemen, even as the nation attempts to transition from the dictatorship of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Arthur Bright (CSM) writes.

 

/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>