News – 2012.03.09

Published: March 9, 2012

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

3.9.12 EDITION

Saudi Hits Back At Russia’s Syria Claims: ARABIAN BUSINES

Shane McGinley | 3/8/12

Saudi Arabia has hit back at Russian allegations it was “supporting terrorism in Syria”, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in an official statement.

Saudi Desert Blooms: Earth Image of the Week: EARTHWEEK

Image from NASA | 3/9/12

Northern Saudi Arabia hosts some of the most extensive sand and gravel deserts in the world, but modern agriculture has changed the face of some of them. This photograph from astronauts on the International Space Station presents an almost surreal view of abundant green fields in the midst of a barren desert.

Arab Gulf Union Council – What’s in a Name?: SUSRIS BLOG

3/8/12

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), an association of six Gulf Arab countries including Saudi Arabia and established in 1981, introduced the idea of bringing Jordan and Morocco into the organization last May. In December at the 32nd GCC Summit King Abdullah introduced an initiative to move the GCC to a “single entity,” a proposal that was approved and announced in the “Riyadh Declaration.”

Saudi Billionaire Alwaleed: This End of America Talk Is Baloney: FORBES

3/8/12

It was a cold Sunday morning in February. The freewheeling conversation that follows, like the many that took place during Alwaleed’s trip, was held in a corner of the Plaza Hotel lobby accompanied by fresh fruit and coffee. The prince used to own the Plaza but sold it in 2004. His Fairmont management company still runs the place. The Prince’s fortune is based in Middle East real estate, mostly in Saudi Arabia, and his Kingdom Holding investment vehicle which has had long-term, major stakes in Citibank ($950 million), News Corp. and Apple. He bought $300 million of Twitter in December.

US Finalizes $11.4 Billion Saudi Order for F-15s: FLIGHT GLOBAL

3/8/12

Boeing has received a previously announced contract worth $11.4 billion to supply Saudi Arabia with 84 F-15SA Strike Eagle fighters, the US military announced on 8 March.

Caution! Saudi Diplomats Warned: SAUDI GAZETTE

3/9/12

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs has directed its diplomats abroad not to wear Saudi national dress in public places or to go out late at night, according to sources. SLAIN DIPLOMAT’S BODY ARRIVES IN RIYADH: A special aircraft carrying the body of Saudi diplomat Khalaf Al-Ali who was shot dead near his house in the Bangladeshi capital two days ago landed in Riyadh late last night, Arab News reports.

China Sending Envoy on Syria to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, France: AHRAM ONLINE

3/9/12

China sends envoys to Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and France to explain its plan for an immediate end to the bloody violence in Syria through dialogue between Al-Assad’s regime and the opposition.

Hamza Kashgari to Be Released: SAUDI JEANS

3/9/12

Hamza Kashgari, the detained Saudi writer accused of blasphemy, will be freed in the next few weeks after a court in Riyadh accepted his repentance, multiple sources said.

Rights Group Says Saudi Protesters Still In Prison Full Year after Arrest: WASHINGTON POST

Associated Press | 3/9/12

Amnesty International says at least six men remain imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for planning to take part in protests a year ago. Saudi activists declared March 11th last year as a “Day of Rage” to emulate protests in the region. By then, the “Arab Spring” uprisings had ousted authoritarian leaders in Tunisia and Egypt.

Women ‘Injured’ In Saudi University Protest: BBC

3/8/12

An investigation has been launched after at least 50 women were reportedly injured when a protest at a university in Saudi Arabia turned violent.

Poland Thanks Saudi Arabia for Rescue: UPI

3/8/12

Poland’s foreign minister thanked Saudi Arabian officials for aiding in the rescue of a Polish kite-surfer who went missing in the Red Sea.

Saudi Crown Prince in US for Medical Tests; No Details on Condition: WASHINGTON POST

Associated Press | 3/9/12

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Nayef is in the United States for medical tests, the kingdom’s state media reported on Friday. The Saudi Press Agency and state television said Nayef was in Cleveland for what was described as “scheduled” tests. No further details were given about the condition of the 78-year-old heir to the throne.

Analysis: Legal Maneuvering Around Saudis in 9/11 Case: REUTERS

News and Insight | 3/9/12

Fresh questions about the possible involvement of the Saudi government in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks might make waves in Washington, but it’s unlikely they will be considered by a judge on the case for years — if they are heard at all.

Out Of The Comfort Zone: ECONOMIST

3/3/12

So far Saudi Arabia’s rulers have escaped the Arab spring largely unscathed. A “day of rage” in March last year fizzled out, and there has been no concerted effort by opposition groups to organise another. Nonetheless, the troubles afflicting the kingdom’s Arab neighbours are a warning.

International Women’s Day: Celebrating Saudi Arabian Women: FORBES

Natalie Robehmed | 3/8/12

This International Women’s Day, a Forbes Woman post asked: “What Are We Celebrating, Anyway?” Well, perhaps it’s not a “what” but a “who” – Saudi Arabian women. Spearheaded by the Saudi women’s driving campaign, 2011 saw groundbreaking changes in regulations that allow women to work and participate in the Kingdom’s political bodies.

Is Pink “Pink” In Saudi Arabia?: SOCIETY PAGES

Lisa Wade | 3/8/12

The blog Blue Abaya is an account of the experiences of a woman who moved to Saudi Arabia from Finland.  One of her posts centers around the difference in the palette.  ”Pinkness,” she writes, “seems to be everywhere.”

Saudi Princess Robbed of $16 Million in Jewels, Cash Sues London Hotel: BLOOMBERG

Kit Chellel | 3/9/12

A Saudi Arabian princess and four other royals sued hotel group Wyndham Worldwide Corp. (WYN) after jewelry and cash worth a total of 10.2 million pounds ($16 million) was stolen during a 2010 visit to London.

Leo A Daly Opens Office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: DESIGN MENA

3/8/12

International architecture, planning, engineering, interior design and programme management firm Leo A Daly has opened an office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

More News and Commentary from SUSTG

SYRIA: SANCTIONS AGAINST SYRIA ARE HELPING, BUT MORE NEEDED FROM RUSSIA, CHINA

Sanctions against Syria appear to be working and defections by high-level officials show that President Bashar Assad’s regime is cracking, European leaders said Friday, AP reports.
FRANCE WILL NOT ACCEPT ‘EQUAL BLAME’ RESOLUTION ON SYRIA: France cannot accept a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria that would assign responsibility for the violence equally to the Syrian government and its opponents, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said on Friday, Reuters reports. ANNAN’S CALL FOR TALKS SPARKS ANGER: Syrian opposition activists have angrily rejected calls by Kofi Annan, the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, for dialogue with the government, BBC reports.

ISRAEL: FORMER SPY CHIEF SAYS ATTACK WOULD BE ‘STUPIDEST’ IDEA

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan gave a lengthy interview to CBS’s 60 Minutes just days after Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu came to Washington to drum up support for an Iran nuclear strike, Ariel Zirulnick (CSM) writes.

AFGHANISTAN: US STRIKES DEAL WITH GOVERNMENT OVER PRISON DEAL

The United States has agreed to hand over control of the main U.S. military detention center in Afghanistan to Afghan authorities, paving the way for a strategic deal to be signed between both countries, VOA reports.

SYRIA: INTERVENTION CALLS RISE, BUT FEW GOOD OPTIONS

As Syria’s death toll mounts, calls are growing for some form of outside intervention. But with few easy options, foreign powers who find themselves unable to halt the suffering could simply end up prolonging it, Reuters reports.

PAKISTAN: BIN LADEN’S 2004 HOUSE IN PAKISTAN BACK ON THE MARKET

A smart house in a bustling town just over 20 miles north of Islamabad was lived in by Osama bin Laden and his family in 2004, according to new research, the Telegraph reports. BIN LADEN’S FAMILY UNDER ARREST: Bin Laden’s wives and children are being held at an undisclosed house in Islamabad. Pakistan’s Interior minister said they would be placed under house arrest for illegally entering and living in the country, CSM writes.

ENERGY: IAEA SAYS NUCLEAR POWER SAFER ONE YEAR AFTER FUKUSHIMA

Nuclear power is safer than it was a year ago when a series of disasters at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant left 19,000 people dead or missing, the U.N. atomic energy chief said on Friday, but Greenpeace said no lessons had been learnt.

ANALYSIS: IS IRAN’S KHAMENEI FLIRTING WITH THE ‘GREAT SATAN’?

Does recent – and rare – praise by Iran’s supreme leader for President Barack Obama’s efforts to dampen war talk suggest the regime is making an overture toward the United States? Elise Labott 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>