News – 2012.04.20

Published: April 20, 2012

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

4.20.12 EDITION

Editorial: Foreign Direct Investment: ARAB NEWS

Arabia continues to ratchet up the amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) that it brings in. Since December 2005, when the Kingdom became a full member of the World Trade Organization and began to open up its economy, more than $200 billion has been attracted from other countries.  In 2011 alone, some $34 billion of outside funds were committed to Saudi projects. This is a testament both to the considerable opportunities that exist here for foreign investors and to the increasingly benign investment climate. Given the current inability of overseas interests to invest directly in the Saudi Stock market, the inward flow of foreign funds is all the more remarkable.

Saudi Arabia: The Holy Grail For LPG Fracturing: SEEKING ALPHA

Nawar Alsaadi | 4.20.12

Saudi Arabia is blessed with the world’s largest oil reserves. However, for a country so rich with oil, it has poor conventional natural gas reserves. Only 25% of Saudi conventional gas is free from sulphur and thus easily recoverable, while 55% of its natural gas production is associated with oil production. Associated gas production fluctuates based on the level of oil production, and for a swing oil producer they do fluctuate. This has all recently changed; Baker Hughes announced last week that Saudi Arabia sits on the world’s fifth-largest natural gas shale reserves at 645 Trillion cubic feet. “This number will put Saudi Arabia as the fifth-largest holder of shale gas behind China, the U.S., Argentina and Mexico,” Robert Kennedy, lead petroleum engineer at Baker Hughes, said today at a Society of Petroleum Engineers conference in Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia: Fashion and Tradition Defined: AMERICAN BEDU

Carol Fleming | 4.20.12

This is a good video which discusses the different styles of fashions for Provinces of Saudi Arabia.  The commentator provides the background information and history of each outfit worn by a man or woman.  The fashion show took place at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC.

Cairo Sees Riyadh Aid By April End: ARAB NEWS

4.20.12

Saudi Arabia will deposit $1 billion at the Egyptian central bank and buy T-bonds worth $750 million by the end of April as part of a $2.7 billion package to support Egypt’s battered finances, an Egyptian official said yesterday.

Armor: Rebuilding The Saudi Tank Force: STRATEGY PAGE

4.20.12

Six years ago Saudi Arabia decided to have its 315 M1A2 tanks upgraded to the M1A2S standard. So far, 200 of the Saudi M1s have gone through the rebuilding, which involved shipping the tanks to the United States, where they are taken apart, worn or damaged parts are repaired or rebuilt, and the tank is reassembled with additional mechanical and electronic components, and refurbished older one, that bring it up to the M1A2S standard. That is, the Saudi tanks are restored to “like new” condition.

Saudi Air Force Hawks on display at Waddington Airshow: THE LINCOLNITE

Daniel Ionescu | 4.20.12

The Royal Saudi Air Force will make its debut at Waddington International Airshow, held 3 miles south of Lincoln, by bringing in its six BAe Hawk jets. Painted in green and white, the national colours of Saudi Arabia, they were formed in 1998 to represent the Saudi nation and act as ambassadors across the world. The team is based at King Faisal Air Base Tabuk and completed its first public display in 1999 over the capital Riyadh, which marked the nation’s 100th anniversary.

Ministry Of Agriculture To Employ Women: ARAB NEWS

4.19.12

Agricultural Minister Fahd Balghunaim said his ministry would soon employ Saudi women in its various sections. “Necessary alterations are being made in one of the ministry’s buildings to create a suitable environment for working women,” Balghunaim said while speaking at the board meeting of the Irrigation and Drainage Authority in Ahsa on Wednesday. Many ministries have been striving to employ women. More than 1.5 million women have applied for jobs under the Labor Ministry’s Hafiz scheme, according to a recent report. While unemployment in the Kingdom is estimated at 10.5 percent, women’s unemployment is considered far higher. Thousands of women are also being employed in lingerie and cosmetic shops across the Kingdom following a recent government order. New jobs for women have also been found in the Ministry of Education.

Kingdom To Fund Housing Projects For Flood-Hit Pakistanis: ARAB NEWS

Ghazanfar Ali Khan | 4.19.12

Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Abdulaziz Ibrahim Saleh Al-Ghadeer has announced a comprehensive plan to identify major development priorities and finance some important projects for Pakistan, especially in disaster-hit regions. Consequently the Kingdom will sign an MoU next week to fund the construction of 200 new houses in the flood-ravaged regions of Pakistan, a university and a world-class hospital in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Al-Ghadeer disclosed the initiative in an interview reviewing the growth in Saudi-Pakistani relations during a reception hosted in his honor by a group of high-ranking Saudi and Pakistani officials and businessmen in Riyadh yesterday. The event was attended by Pakistani Ambassador Mohammed Naeem Khan, Talat Mahmood Butt, a Pakistani businessman, and Abdul Qadeer Mirza, a senior executive of Saudi-French Bank.

Saudi Youngsters Weigh Career Options: ARAB NEWS

Khalid Tawalbeh | 4/19/12

The International Exhibition and Conference on Higher Education 2012 became a camp for all visitors and exhibitors to interact with each other as well as students from all around the Kingdom who came to discuss their career aims with exhibitors from abroad. Visitors talked to representatives of universities from around the world, while organizers lauded the success of the event.

Smes Can Play Key Role In Boosting Saudi Exports: ARAB NEWS

4.20.12

Saudi small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can play a pivotal role in increasing Saudi exports through their participation in trade fairs in Germany, said Commissioner of the German Ministry of Industry and Commerce in the Kingdom Andreas Hergenrother.

Saudi Arabia Offers Customers Extra Crude-Sources: REUTERS

Alex Lawler | 4.20.12

Saudi Arabia is offering extra crude supplies to some of its existing customers, industry sources said on Thursday, probably because it has more available while its own refineries are undergoing maintenance. Saudi Arabia is already pumping oil at the highest rate in decades at 10 million barrels per day. Sources at two customers of state oil company Saudi Aramco said it had offered additional cargoes under contract terms to already agreed supplement monthly supplies.

Saudi Olympic Riders Await Horse Doping Verdicts: THE DAILY STAR

AP | 4.20.12

The International Equestrian Federation completed hearing doping cases Thursday involving horses ridden by two members of Saudi Arabia’s Olympic jumping team.

More News and Commentary from SUSTG

EGYPT: PROTESTERS FILL TAHRIR SQUARE

Thousands of protesters have massed in Tahrir Square in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, to demonstrate against continuing military rule, BBC reports. Supporters of a variety of political groups, including Islamist, liberal and leftist forces, entered the square – a regular focal point for rallies. Many are angry at the disqualification of popular presidential candidates. TURMOIL IN EGYPT RACE PUTS SPOTLIGHT ON PANEL’S MOTIVES: When a panel of judges closed the door on the candidacies of three leading presidential contenders this week, anger at the ruling burst into the open, with some candidates publicly accusing the panel of being manipulated by the country’s military rulers, Kareem Fahim (NYT) reports.

SYRIA: US CALLS FOR TOUGH ACTION

The US has called on the UN Security Council to adopt an arms embargo and other tough measures against Syria to try to halt 13 months of bloodshed. Addressing the so-called Friends of Syria group in Paris on Thursday, Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, stopped short of calling for outside military intervention, but said it was time to impose more consequential measures on President Bashar al-Assad if his country failed to abide by a peace plan drafted by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.  “We have to keep Assad off balance by leaving options on the table,” Clinton said, Al Jazeera reports. ‘MIND THE NEIGHBORS’: The conventional wisdom last week on whether Syria would comply with former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s ceasefire plan was that it was up to Russia. We were reverting to Cold War politics, in which the West was unwilling to use force and Russia was willing to keep arming and supporting its client. Thus, Russia held the trump card: the choice of how much pressure it was willing to put on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to comply with the plan. If this view were correct, Iran would surely be holding an equally powerful hand. Annan, after all, traveled to Tehran as well. Traditional balance-of-power geopolitics, it seems, is alive and well, Anne-Marie Slaughter (CNN) writes.

IRAQ: AL-QAEDA CLAIMS COUNTRY-WIDE BOMBING ATTACKS

Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq on Friday claimed responsibility for more than 20 bombings that hit cities and towns across the country the previous day, killing at least 36 and wounding almost 150, Reuters reports.

BAHRAIN: BRACING FOR WAVE OF F1 PROTESTS

Bahrain is braced for three days of protests to coincide with the controversial formula one grand prix as the government and organisers insisted that the event would proceed as planned. Riot police fired teargas and stun grenades in sporadic clashes with protesters as the authorities in the Gulf island state sought to project an image of stability before Sunday’s race, The Guardian writes.

IRAN: ASIAN NATIONS CUTTING FURTHER IRAN OIL IMPORTS

Japan slashed its oil purchases from Iran in April, the second time it has done so this year, cutting imports from the Islamic Republic by nearly 80 percent, IBT reports. Taiwan also cut its Iranian imports, and European countries reduced their April purchases by 75,000 bpd, Reuters reported. REPORTING ON IRAN IN THE UNITED STATES REFLECTS OLD MISTAKES: The media’s coverage of Iran’s nuclear program suggests that some outlets have not learned from Iraq reporting failures and risk repeating history. Media Matters reviewed transcripts of ABC’s World News, CBS’ Evening News, and NBC’s Nightly News between November 8, 2011 and March 31, 2012. The examination reveals that once again the media is frequently misrepresenting the expert opinion of the intelligence community, Media Matters for America reports.

ANALYSIS: IRAQ AND THE KURDS – THE HIGH STAKES HYDROCARBONS GAMBIT

A simmering conflict over territories and resources in northern Iraq is slowly coming to a boil. In early April 2012, the Kurdistan regional government (KRG) suspended its supply of oil for export through the national Iraqi pipeline, claiming Baghdad had not fully repaid operating costs to producing companies. The federal government responded by threatening to deduct what the oil would have generated in sales from the KRG’s annual budget allocation, potentially halving it. This latest flare-up in perennially tense Erbil-Baghdad relations has highlighted the troubling fact that not only have the two sides failed to resolve their differences but also that, by striking out on unilateral courses, they have deepened them to the point that a solution appears more remote than ever. It is late already, but the best way forward is a deal between Baghdad and Erbil, centred on a federal hydrocarbons law and a compromise on disputed territories. International actors – the UN with its technical expertise, the U.S. given its unique responsibility as well as strategic interest in keeping things on an even keel – should launch a new initiative to bring the two back to the table.

AFGHANISTAN: LEADER SEEKS FASTER PULLOUT

President Hamid Karzai suggested Thursday that a speeded-up departure of Western troops is the only way to prevent a recurrence of “painful experiences” such as the sight of American soldiers posing with the body parts of dead insurgents, Laura King (LAT) reports.

KUWAIT: HEAVY MOBILE USE, REPORT FINDS

A new Arab Advisors Group’s survey of cellular users in Kuwait reveals insightful details on smartphones and tablets adoption and usage patterns. The survey probed general cellular usage habits, smartphones awareness in addition to tablets availability among cellular users in Kuwait. The Kuwait smartphone survey follows the three smartphone survey reports concluded in Jordan, UAE and Saudi Arabia.

UNITED STATES: MARINE ECOSYSTEM DESTABILIZED BY BP GULF OIL SPILL

Two years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, a deep-sea biodiversity study suggests residual oil from the BP blowout threatens the stability of the entire Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, Pierre Bertrand reports.

/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>