News – 2012.03.13

Published: March 13, 2012

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

3.13.12 EDITION

Kingdom’s Economic Outlook Bright Despite Global And Regional Headwinds: ARAB NEWS

3/12/12

Led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, some regional economies are expected to offer a strong policy response to global and regional headwinds.

Saudi February Inflation Hits 14-Month High: TRADE ARABIA

3/13/12

Saudi inflation edged up to a 14-month high of 5.4 percent on an annual basis in February, mainly because of higher food and housing costs, state news agency SPA reported on Sunday, quoting data from the Central Department of Statistics. RENTS KEEP SAUDI INFLATION HIGH: An increase in rents due to higher income and slow supply growth boosted inflation in Saudi Arabia in February to its highest monthly average since late 2010, according to a local report, Emirates 24|7 reports.

Saudi Arabia Reluctant to Replace Iran Oil: WALL STREET JOURNAL

3/12/12

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, is prepared to fill any gap in world oil markets caused by sanctions against Iran, but will do so only reluctantly, an official from the Gulf state said Monday. “We don’t want to replace Iranian oil, and we never said we wanted to. We will step in and fill any gap in the market if needed,” said the oil official. “No one is happy with the current situation about the Iranian sanctions. Neither the Americans, the Europeans or Asians are pleased with it.

Tadawul Rallies As Analysts Reject ‘Bubble’ Claims: ARAB NEWS

Khalil Hanware | 3/12/12

The Saudi stock market has spent much of the global economic crisis to disappointing expectations. They largely failed to join in the impressive emerging market rallies fueled by the post-Lehman Brothers recovery and the adoption of loose economic policies the world over. INVESTORS ARE AGGRESSIVE IN BUYING SAUDI STOCKS: Trading activity at the Saudi stock market yesterday surged to a new high. Recently, renewed investor confidence spurred Tadawul to hit a record of new high volume, Arab News reports.

Saudi Arabia’s Property Market – Hot, Hot, Hot!: IBT

3/13/12

Saudi Arabia’s property market is hot.  Other places may worry, but the oil Kingdom is rolling in money.  Result – a property boom.

Saudi Job-Seekers Warned Over Refusing To Work: CONSTRUCTION WEEK ONLINE

3/13/12

Recipients of Saudi’s Hafiz unemployment benefit have been told that they will be taken off the program if they refuse job offers.

Rules Set for Municipal Council Candidates: CROSSROADS ARABIA

John Burgess | 3/13/12

Saudi Gazette runs an article noting that the criteria for those who would run for election to the Municipal Councils have been announced. The regulations address the requirements of both mean and women. Those rules are essentially the same, but for some reason, the minimum age for female candidates is set at 30, while that of males remains at 25.

Best Report: Saudi Arabia’s Insurance Market Adapts to Dramatic Change: INSURANCE JOURNAL

3/13/12

“The insurance market in Saudi Arabia has changed dramatically in the past decade, with further development anticipated, according to a recently released report from A.M. Best Co.

Female Saudi Scholar To Develop Portable MRI Scanner: ARABIAN BUSINESS

Elizabeth Broomhall | 3/13/12

A female medical researcher from Saudi Arabia is planning to develop a portable MRI scanner in a bid to ease the process of diagnosing organ, bone and tissue diseases for people in the Arab world.

Bahrain, Saudi Mull Upgrading, Changing Path of Joint Oil Pipeline: WALL STREET JOURNAL

Summer Said | 3/13/12

State-run firms Bahrain Petroleum Co., or Bapco, and Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Saudi Aramco, are considering a project to replace, upgrade, and change the path of a pipeline that links Saudi oil fields to Bahrain’s only refinery, said Bahraini energy minister Abdul Hussein Mirza Monday.

Syrian Opposition Calls For Arab, Western Intervention: REUTERS

3/12/12

The opposition Syrian National Council called on Monday for military intervention by Arab and Western governments, including the establishment of a no-fly zone across all of Syria to protect civilians from President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

New CEO for Zain Saudi Arabia: TRADE ARABIA

3/12/12

Mobile Telecommunications Company Saudi Arabia (Zain KSA) today appointed Fraser Curley as its chief executive officer.

Rogge Confident Saudis Will Send Women To London: FOX NEWS

Associated Press | 3/12/12

IOC President Jacques Rogge is optimistic that Saudi Arabia will send female athletes to the Olympics for the first time at this summer’s London Games, helping achieve the Olympic body’s target of having women represented on every national team.

IHG Inks Deal For Two New Hotels In Riyadh: ARABIAN BUSINESS

Andy Sambidge | 3/12/12

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced on Monday an agreement to open two new hotels in Riyadh, including the Middle East’s first Hotel Indigo property.

Conserving Beauty: The Majestic Arabian Oryx: MIDEAST POSTS

American Bedu | 3/7/12

Did you know that Saudi Arabia is home to gazelles?  I know, a gazelle is not the first creature that comes to mind when thinking about Saudi Arabia.  The gazelle is actually the Arabian oryx.

The Arabian oryx, also referred to as a white antelope, roamed throughout most of the Arabian Peninsula until it was hunted to extinction in the 1970’s.

More News and Commentary from SUSTG

AFGHANISTAN: TALIBAN FIRES ON AFGHAN OFFICIALS VISITING SITE OF MASSACRE

Seconds after the Afghan president’s brothers stepped outside the village mosque where they had been attending a memorial ceremony Tuesday for 16 civilians allegedly killed by a U.S. soldier, the Taliban opened fire, Google News/AP reports. AFGHAN MEDIA CALLS FOR JUSTICE: The aftermath of Sunday’s massacre in Kandahar province dominated early morning TV bulletins in Afghanistan, although this was swiftly replaced by coverage of the Taliban attack on a government delegation to the scene of the crime, BBC reports. POST-MASSACRE: WHITHER AFGHANISTAN? Mark Thompson (Battleland) writes, “No, the U.S. won’t accelerate its withdrawal because of a single event, however tragic. But it’s the steady accumulation of such events — Koran burnings, urinating Marines, apparent murder most foul — that will drive the public around the bend. Then all bets are off, despite what the Administration or Congress has pledged. That’s how a democracy, for both good and ill, works. U.S. troops in Afghanistan have dropped from 101,000 last summer to 91,000 today. By the end of this summer, 23,000 more are slated to depart, bringing the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan down to 68,000.”

SYRIA: VIOLENCE PERSISTS AS THE UN WAITS FOR A RESPONSE FROM DAMASCUS

Syrian forces killed dozens of people near a mosque in the city of Idlib, opposition activists said on Tuesday, and rebels killed at least 10 troops in an ambush in the same area, focus of the latest government crackdown, Reuters reports. LIFE AND DEATH UNDER MILITARY ONSLAUGHT: The horror of enduring the all-out assault by the Syrian military is brought vividly to life in a CNN documentary airing this weekend. With the help of local activists, a CNN crew was smuggled into Homs, moving from house to house as the Syrian army fired missiles and tank shells.

ISRAEL: TRUCE WITH GAZA ENDS WORST FIGHTING SINCE 2009

A tentative truce between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza took hold today after the worst flare-up in three years brought the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad militia into the spotlight.

While the rockets did little damage, thanks to Israel’s Iron Dome antiballistic system, Islamic Jihad’s move has played well on the Palestinian street, which blames Israel for violating months of relative calm.

EUROPE: MUSLIM MAN SETS FIRE TO MOSQUE

An axe-wielding man burst into a mosque outside Brussels Monday and started a fire that resulted in the death of the imam, VOA reports.

PAKISTAN: DRONE HITS MILITANTS VEHICLE, 6 KILLED
American drone-fired missiles hit a vehicle traveling on the Pakistan side of the Afghan border on Tuesday, killing six militants from a group known to have signed a nonaggression pact with the Pakistani army, intelligence officials and a local tribesman said, AP reports.

IRAQ: VIOLENCE AGAINST ‘EMO’ STYLE RESULTS IN AT LEAST 14 DEATHS

At least 14 youths have been stoned to death in Baghdad in the past three weeks in what appears to be a campaign by Shi’ite militants against youths wearing Western-style “emo” clothes and haircuts, security and hospital sources say, Reuters reports.

OPINION: IN IRAN STANDOFF NETANYAHU MAY BE BLUFFING

“I’m talking about the belief, advanced to me by a former senior Israeli military official, and echoed by other non-insane people, that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is bluffing: He has never had any intention of launching air and missile strikes against Iran’s nuclear program, and is working behind the scenes with Obama to stop Iran through sanctions.

In this interpretation, what Netanyahu has been doing — for the past 15 years, in and out of office — is creating conditions in which U.S., Western and Arab leaders believe that they must deny Iran its dream of nuclear weapons or else suffer the chaotic fallout of a precipitous, paranoia-driven Israeli attack,” Bloomberg reports.  AMERICA RECALIBRATES ITS ISRAELI ALLIANCE: Sarwar Kashmeri (Atlantic) observes that, “Netanyahu came to town with both guns blazing. He gathered the powerful forces of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC, and the hawkish elements of the U.S. Congress around his argument. That he still could not pressure the United States to see the Middle East through his optics, in spite of all this firepower, and during an American presidential election campaign, makes his failure a notable development. And a remarkable success story for the Obama administration.

/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>