News – 2012.05.08

Published: May 8, 2012

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

5.8.12 EDITION

KSA Says Should Aim For 41 GW Solar By 2032: ARABIAN BUSINESS


The King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) – set up to advise on the energy mix – has concluded the kingdom should try to build nearly 41 GW of solar capacity, enough to meet a third of expected peak power demand in 2032, while a sixth of installed capacity should come from nuclear and about half from oil and gas. “I’m confident Saudi Arabia will approve a diversified energy mix this year,” Khalid al-Sulaiman, vice president for renewable energy at KACARE, told Reuters after a presentation outlining KACARE’s recommendation to the Saudi government.

The Brotherhood Goes To Saudi: EGYPT INDEPENDANT

Sultan Al-Qassemi | 5.6.12

Unlikely circumstances came together in the past few days to mend ties between Saudi Arabia and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. Since the fall of Hosni Mubarak and the rise of the Brotherhood in Egypt, relations between the two states stagnated before spiraling following the arrest in Saudi Arabia of an Egyptian human rights lawyer, Ahmed al-Gizawy. The charges against him are rather ambiguous. The official Saudi narrative indicates he is charged with drug smuggling, while other sources, including the defendant’s family, claim he was initially arrested for defaming the Saudi monarch. The Saudi ambassador to Egypt was withdrawn following angry protests in front of the Saudi Embassy in Cairo, and a “citizens’ delegation” led by the Muslim Brotherhood was quickly formed to visit Saudi Arabia and contain the situation. Even though Gizawy remains in Saudi custody and the future of his detention is unknown, the mission for which the Egyptian delegation was formed was a major success for the Brotherhood. The visit succeeded in securing the return of the Saudi ambassador, and more importantly for the Brotherhood, the visit broke the ice between it and the Arab state most skeptical of its rise.

Consumer Lending In Saudi Arabia Increases 5%: ARABIAN BUSINESS

Massoud Derhally | 5.7.12

Bank loans in Saudi Arabia increased 5 percent in the fourth quarter of last year from the previous three months to SAR 242 billion ($64 billion), Arab News reported, citing  a Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency report. Credit card debt in the kingdom fell 3.7 percent to SAR 7.7 billion, the Jeddah-based newspaper reported. The government is trying to expand small and medium-scale enterprise lending as it vies to meet demand for housing and job creation.

S&P Affirms Saudi Arabia’s Ratings: REUTERS


Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services affirmed its long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at ‘AA-/A-1+’. The outlook is stable. The transfer & convertibility (T&C) assessment for Saudi Arabia is unchanged at ‘AA+’.

Legal Reform: Creeping Along: CROSSROADS ARABIA

John Burgess | 5.7.12

Saudi Arabia’s efforts to reform its legal system continue to progress, step by step. Arab News reports that the Shariah courts are likely to be the next target of codification. The issue has been a tendentious one, with some judges seeing it as an affront to their dignity and an attack on their powers. Nevertheless, the awkward fact of different courts imposing different sentences for identical behavior needs to be addressed. As the article notes, too, an important part of any justice system is permitting people who might end up before a judge to have some idea of what is criminal and what punishments they might expect. At present, there’s far too great a measure of randomness for actual justice to be found.

Saudi’s Naimi Says Kingdom Pumping 10 Mln Bpd: REUTERS


Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia is pumping around 10 million barrels per day (bpd) and is storing 80 million barrels to meet any sudden disruption in supplies, Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Tuesday. Worries of a supply disruption from the Middle East due to escalating tensions between the West and Iran over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme have pushed Brent prices 20 percent higher since the start of the year to a record of over $128 in March.

Qaeda Plot to Attack Plane Foiled, U.S. Officials Say: NEW YORK TIMES

Scott Shane and Eric Schmitt | 5.7.12

The Central Intelligence Agency, working closely with foreign partners, thwarted a plot by the branch of Al Qaeda in Yemen to smuggle an experimental bomb aboard an airliner bound for the United States, intelligence officials said on Monday. TIP CAME FROM SAUDI ARABIAN OFFICIALS: U.S. intelligence agents thwarted the plot two weeks ago after receiving a tip from Saudi Arabia, a source familiar with the operation said Tuesday. Authorities have said airline passengers were never in danger and that the would-be bomber no longer poses a threat, CNN reports. BOMB PLOT SHOWS NEW LEVEL OF SOPHISTICATION, LAWMAKER SAYS: Investigators were studying an explosive device Tuesday that they say terrorists in Yemen crafted to slip past airport metal detectors and onto an airplane bound for the United States, CNN reports. 

Japan to Seek Stable Oil Supply from Saudi Arabia: REUTERS


Japan’s Trade Minister Yukio Edano said on Tuesday he would ask for Saudi Arabia’s continued support to help Japan secure a stable oil supply when he meets with Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi later in the day. “In general, Saudi Arabia has provided the greatest cooperation over many years in regards to a stable crude oil supply. I want to thank him for that and ask for continued cooperation,” Edano told a news conference. Japan has cut its crude imports from Iran amid tighter Western sanctions aimed at limiting Tehran’s nuclear program.

Saudi-Egyptian Crisis Fabricated, Says Saudi Ambassador to Cairo: AL-ARABIYA


The recent crisis between Saudi Arabia and Egypt over the arrest of an Egyptian lawyer for drug possession was fabricated, Saudi ambassador to Cairo Ahmed Abdul Aziz Qattan said, stressing that it will not affect future ties between the two countries. “This incident cannot in any way be compared to the 1979 crisis when diplomatic ties were severed,” Qattan told Al Arabiya, in reference to a rift between both countries over Egypt’s signing of the peace treaty with Israel during the rule of late president Anwar Sadat. According to Qattan, the problem started after the wife of lawyer Ahmed al-Gizawi, who was arrested at the Jeddah Airport, fabricated a story about different reasons for his detention turning the issue into a diplomatic standoff.

Citizens Hail Gigantic Leap in Higher Education: ARAB NEWS


Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal has strongly lauded the unlimited support by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to higher education in the Kingdom in general and in Makkah province in particular. The king recently inaugurated a project to construct a number of university colleges and student campuses at the tune of SR 81.5 billion.

Working Saudi Women Can Make Great Impact: Herfy CEO Al-Saied: ARAB NEWS

Diana Al Jasem | 5.8.12

Water shortage, oil depletion, and rapidly increasing population are among the major challenges facing Saudi Arabia, according to Ahmed Al-Saied, CEO of Herfy Food Services Company. If overlooked or neglected these problems could cause immense harm to the society with a burgeoning youth, Al-Saied says in an exclusive interview with Arab News. However, he says, he has immense faith in the country’s youth. He wants them to be proud of what God has given – natural resources, huge country and the most valuable Islamic cities in the world – Makkah and Madinah. A Riyadh-born science graduate in economics and political science, Al-Saied is the co-owner, CEO and chairman of Herfy Food Services Co., which he founded in 1980. In 2010 Herfy became a  public company and has since been trading in the Saudi stock market.

Saudis Build World’s First-Ever Underwater Mosque: EMIRATES 24|7


A group of private Saudi divers said they had built what they described as the first underwater mosque in history and that they performed prayers inside it just after it was completed, according to a newspaper. The divers used massive plastic pipes filled with sand to construct the symbolic mosque under the water off the northwestern town of Tabuk close to the border with Jordan, Al Madina said.

Saudi Prince Alwaleed Weighs New Investments, Handelsblatt Says: BLOOMBERG

Tony Czuczka | 5.8.12

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is negotiating three major projects as he seeks a return on investment of at least 20 percent to 25 percent, Handelsblatt reported, citing an interview. The projects are in Saudi Arabia, the region and international, the German newspaper quoted Alwaleed as saying in comments published today. He declined to elaborate, according to the interview.

Van Eck Files For Saudi Arabia ETFs: ZACK’S

Eric Durham | 5.7.12

Van Eck, the surging ETF issuer best known for its commodity and country specific products, looks to be at it again in the Middle East space. The company currently has several ETFs targeting the region, including ones that are focused on Egypt (EGPT) and the broad region via the Gulf States Index ETF (MES). Now, Van Eck appears to be expanding further into the Middle East into one of the more controversial and well-known nations in the region, Saudi Arabia.

L&T’s Overseas JV Bags Saudi Chemical’s Contract: ECONOMIC TIMES


Engineering major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its overseas joint venture firm Larsen & Toubro ATCO Saudia has bagged a procure and construction contract from Sadara Chemical Company in Saudi Arabia. Sadara Chemical, a joint venture of Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) and the Dow Chemical Company (Dow), has awarded the contract for procurement and construction of solution polyethylene and specialty elastomers package in Al-Jubail Industrial City II in Saudi Arabia, where it is constructing a world scale chemical complex, L&T said in a statement.

More News and Commentary from SUSTG


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled a revamped coalition government on Tuesday, forming a broad alliance with the chief opposition party that could free his hand to take action on peace with the Palestinians and decide whether to attack Iran, CBS News reports.


International envoy Kofi Annan will brief the United Nations Security Council on the Syrian crisis Tuesday, a day after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the situation has become one of the “most serious and gravest concerns of the international community,” CNN reports.


Iran’s huge group of post-revolution young adults — 70 percent of the country’s population of 74 million is under 35 — calls itself the “burned generation,” because they feel they lost out on the natural evolution of life. While their parents managed to find jobs, marry and buy houses, this generation’s ambitions have been boxed in by the political decisions of Iran’s leaders and the foreign pressures that followed. Things have been particularly difficult since 2005, when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power and Iran’s nuclear stance hardened, bringing international sanctions and isolation as a large portion of Iranians were starting their adult lives. Instead of personal growth, politics has become central to their lives. “Every topic me and my friends discuss, whether it’s the latest movie, a trip or our future, ends up with politics,” said Samaneh, 27, who lives with her parents and did not want her family name used out of fear of retribution. “Here our lives are decided by those in power. Our options are more and more limited.”


That one of the most overt challenges yet to the authority of Jordan’s king took the form of a song-and-dance routine speaks to the restraint with which the Arab Spring has unfolded here over the past 16 months. The identity of the participants and the words they sang, immortalized in a video posted on YouTube, underscored just how dangerous the discontent pulsing through this little kingdom could become, Liz Sly (Washington Post) reports.


As world attention is still riveted with the ‘Arab Spring’, how is cultural dialogue between East and West faring? With a monograph of his collection due to be published this year, Shafik Gabr speaks to Juliet Highet about the significance of the Orientalists on the Arab world today, Juliet Highet (the Majalla) reports.


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Pakistan to do more in the fight against global terrorism Tuesday, saying that the latest plot in Yemen shows that extremists continue to devise more “perverse and terrible ways to kill innocent people,” CNN reports.


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