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Posts tagged ‘Abdullah of Saudi Arabia’

Alarmed over Obama’s Leadership, Saudis Strengthen Ties Elsewhere.


Image: Alarmed over Obama's Leadership, Saudis Strengthen Ties Elsewhere French President Francois Hollande meets with Saudi King Abdullah at the Saudi Royal palace in Riyadh on Dec. 29.

Increasingly vocal in its frustration over United States policies in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia is strengthening ties elsewhere, seeking out an alignment that will bolster its position after it was pushed to the sidelines this year.

It may find a solution in France, whose president is ending the year with 24 hours of high-level meetings with the Saudi leadership in a visit intended to showcase commercial and diplomatic strength.

With an entourage of French executives from the lucrative defense and energy sectors, President Francois Hollande arrives Sunday in Riyadh for a flurry of accords and contracts that have been in the works for months. The two countries also find themselves unexpectedly aligned in resistance, if not outright opposition, to U.S. policy on Syria’s civil war and Iran’s nuclear program.

The Saudi ambassador to Britain, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, recently described the policies of some partners toward Iran and Syria as a “dangerous gamble” while calling for the kingdom to be more assertive internationally after decades of operating in diplomatic shadows.

France, with similar fears about Syria, has been one of the strongest backers of the Syrian moderate leadership and Hollande had pledged military support against Syrian President Bashar Assad until both the U.S. and Britain backed away. On Iran, the French shouldered their way into the negotiations with Iran, demanding a better deal and warning that the Tehran government needed careful monitoring.

“We cannot remain silent, and will not stand idly by,” Prince Mohammed wrote in a Dec. 17 opinion piece in The New York Times.

“We expected to be standing shoulder to shoulder with our friends and partners who have previously talked so much about the importance of moral values in foreign policy,” he wrote in the piece titled “Saudi Arabia Will Go It Alone.”

But it may not have to. The French have been clear that they share Saudi fears that U.S. and Russian concerns over Islamic militants could leave Assad the victor in any peace deal. Hollande’s visit will be his second since taking office in May 2012 — a rarity for a French leader outside Europe — and his defense minister has been three times, most recently after the announcement of a 1.1 billion euro ($1.4 billion) contract with the Saudi navy.

“There is an offensive among the Saudis to try to reach out to different partners and try and see if they can find new allies,” said Valentina Soria, a security analyst with IHS Jane’s. At the same time, she said, Hollande is showing “the kind of willingness to intervene on the international stage in a much more assertive way, a much more convinced way.”

In October, Saudi Arabia stunned diplomats when it rejected its first seat on the United Nations Security Council. The Saudi foreign ministry blasted the council for an “inability to perform its duties” in stopping the war.

“The problem in Syria today is … clear negligence on the part of the world, who continue to watch the suffering of the Syrian people without taking steps to stop that suffering,” Saudi Prince Turki Al Faisal, an influential member of the royal family and a former intelligence chief, said at a conference in Monaco this month.

The Saudis are particularly annoyed that the U.S. and Britain did not follow through with threats to punish Assad’s government over the use of chemical weapons. Those decisions caused similar uproar in France for Hollande, who many at home believed was left hanging as the only Western power to pledge military support.

“The Saudi monarchy cannot fathom the fact that Assad might survive this crisis and then turn against them. They reject this possibility and are willing to do what they can to make Assad go,” said Ali al-Ahmed, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Gulf Affairs.

Both countries say they will continue to back the rebels fighting to overthrow Assad, in contrast with the Obama administration’s hesitation. Unlike the U.S., the French have resisted suspending non-lethal aid to the rebels and show no signs of changing course.

The Syrian conflict, which has claimed more than 120,000 people and spawned a regional refugee crisis, has become in many ways a proxy fight pitting Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-led Arab states against Shiite powerhouse Iran, a major supporter of Assad.

What the Saudis won’t do is send in their own well-equipped armed forces, al-Ahmed said, because it could empower the Saudi military to turn against them as happened elsewhere during the Arab Spring.

The Saudis also watch with trepidation at the warming ties between Iran and the West.

The way the nuclear talks were handled — with U.S. officials secretly meeting their Iranian counterparts before more formal talks involving world powers — particularly rankled the Saudis.

“Saudi Arabia is clamoring for a major role in shaping the region. They feel they deserve that,” said Theodore Karasik, a security and political affairs analyst at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.

Washington has strived to downplay any suggestion of a rift. Senior American officials have traveled to the Gulf recently to reassure allies including Saudi Arabia. And Soria, the analyst, said the U.S. partnership, which includes billions in defense contracts, would endure beyond the current tensions.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. and Saudi Arabia “share the same goals” of ending the war in Syria and preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, but she stopped short of endorsing a Saudi role at the bargaining table with Iran.

Al-Ahmed said Iran would never agree to any talks involving the Saudis, but that wouldn’t stop the kingdom from trying.

“The Saudi obsession that they will be sold out to the Iranians in a grand bargain makes them want to be in these meetings to ensure that does not happen,” he said.
© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Newsmax.com

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Saudi Arabia: US Lied to Us in Negotiating Iran Nuke Pact.


Saudi Arabia says it was deceived in the way the Washington struck the nuclear deal with Iran, forcing the Saudis to pursue a foreign policy independent from the West.  with Iran.

According to The UK’s Daily Telegraph, a senior adviser to the Saudi royal family said while it knew the U.S. was talking directly to Iran through a channel in Oman, its Western allies failed to brief the country on its talks with Iran.

“We were lied to, things were hidden from us,” Nawaf Obaid told a think tank meeting in London, the Telegraph reports. “The problem is not with the deal struck in Geneva but how it was done.”

While the country has not condemned the deal, Saudi Arabia has previously expressed its concern about U.S. outreach to Iran and continues at odds with the Obama administration’s hands-off approach to the conflict in Syria.

“[Saudi Arabia] will be there to stop them wherever they are in Arab countries,” Obaid said. “We cannot accept Revolutionary Guards round Homs.”

Earlier this month, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Saudi King Abdullah in an attempt to quell tensions over American policy on Syria and Iran.

Related stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Melanie Batley

Saudi king names new governor for restive oil region.


JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah appointed Prince Saud bin Nayef as governor of the oil-producing Eastern Province, the Royal Court said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA on Monday.

The Eastern Province is home to the country’s Shi’ite Muslim minority which has held protests over the past two years calling for more rights and the release of jailed relatives.

“Prince Mohamad bin Fahad bin Abdulaziz is relieved of his duties as the governor of the Eastern Province, upon his request, and Prince Saud bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz … is appointed governor of the Eastern province,” the statement said.

The newly appointed Prince Saud is Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef‘s older brother. After serving as ambassador to Spain, Prince Saud was recalled to Riyadh to serve at the court of his late father, Crown Prince Nayef, who was also an interior minister.

Activists in the Eastern Province said it was not clear yet if the change in leadership would have an impact on policy in the region, where much of the country’s oil industry is based.

“It is a significant change. But to my knowledge in the upper echelons of the state, the view of Qatif is very much influenced by security issues,” said Tawfiq al-Seif, a leader of the Shi’ite community in Saudi Arabia, referring to the town where most of the Eastern Province protests have taken place.

“We have to wait and see if that will now happen,” he said.

(Reporting by Asma Alsharif and Angus McDowall; Editing by Louise Ireland and Sami Aboudi)

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

Reuters

Saudi 2013 budget sees revenues over $220 billion.


Saudi 2013 budget is biggest in kingdom’s history, revenues seen exceeding $220 billion

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s official news agency says King Abdullah’s cabinet has approved the kingdom’s largest ever annual budget, projecting revenues of 829 billion rials, or $221 billion, for 2013 and 820 billion rials, or $219 billion of expenditure.

The budget foresees a $2.4 billion surplus.

The Cabinet meeting Saturday reported that revenues in 2012 amounted to $330 billion with $227 billion expenditure, leaving a $103 billion surplus. That surplus was due to the government’s calculating oil prices at $70 per barrel, while the actual price stood at around $100 per barrel.

The 2013 allocation for education has risen by 21 percent to $54.3 billion. The budget includes $26.6 billion for health and social affairs services and $9 billion for municipality services.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

Associated Press

Saudi Women Tracked With RFID Chips By Their Male Masters.


The Mark of the Beast is already at work in the Middle East

From AFP: – Denied the right to travel without consent from their male guardians and banned from driving, women in Saudi Arabia are now monitored by an electronic system that tracks any cross-border movements.

saudi-women-tracked-with-microchips-by-their-male-masters

“This is technology used to serve backwardness in order to keep women imprisoned,” said Bishr, the columnist.

Since last week, Saudi women’s male guardians began receiving text messages on their phones informing them when women under their custody leave the country, even if they are travelling together.

Manal al-Sherif, who became the symbol of a campaign launched last year urging Saudi women to defy a driving ban, began spreading the information on Twitter, after she was alerted by a couple.

The husband, who was travelling with his wife, received a text message from the immigration authorities informing him that his wife had left the international airport in Riyadh.

“The authorities are using technology to monitor women,” said columnist Badriya al-Bishr, who criticised the “state of slavery under which women are held” in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

Women are not allowed to leave the kingdom without permission from their male guardian, who must give his consent by signing what is known as the “yellow sheet” at the airport or border.

The move by the Saudi authorities was swiftly condemned on social network Twitter — a rare bubble of freedom for millions in the kingdom — with critics mocking the decision.

“Hello Taliban, herewith some tips from the Saudi e-government!” read one post.

“Why don’t you cuff your women with tracking ankle bracelets too?” wrote Israa.

“Why don’t we just install a microchip into our women to track them around?” joked another.

“If I need an SMS to let me know my wife is leaving Saudi Arabia, then I’m either married to the wrong woman or need a psychiatrist,” tweeted Hisham.

“This is technology used to serve backwardness in order to keep women imprisoned,” said Bishr, the columnist.

“It would have been better for the government to busy itself with finding a solution for women subjected to domestic violence” than track their movements into and out of the country.

Saudi Arabia applies a strict interpretation of sharia, or Islamic law, and is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive.

In June 2011, female activists launched a campaign to defy the ban, with many arrested for doing so and forced to sign a pledge they will never drive again.

No law specifically forbids women in Saudi Arabia from driving, but the interior minister formally banned them after 47 women were arrested and punished after demonstrating in cars in November 1990.

Last year, King Abdullah — a cautious reformer — granted women the right to vote and run in the 2015 municipal elections, a historic first for the country.

In January, the 89-year-old monarch appointed Sheikh Abdullatif Abdel Aziz al-Sheikh, a moderate, to head the notorious religious police commission, which enforces the kingdom’s severe version of sharia law.

Following his appointment, Sheikh banned members of the commission from harassing Saudi women over their behaviour and attire, raising hopes a more lenient force will ease draconian social constraints in the country.

But the kingdom’s “religious establishment” is still to blame for the discrimination of women in Saudi Arabia, says liberal activist Suad Shemmari.

“Saudi women are treated as minors throughout their lives even if they hold high positions,” said Shemmari, who believes “there can never be reform in the kingdom without changing the status of women and treating them” as equals to men.

But that seems a very long way off

The kingdom enforces strict rules governing mixing between the sexes, while women are forced to wear a veil and a black cloak, or abaya, that covers them from head to toe except for their hands and faces.

The many restrictions on women have led to high rates of female unemployment, officially estimated at around 30 percent.

In October, local media published a justice ministry directive allowing all women lawyers who have a law degree and who have spent at least three years working in a lawyer’s office to plead cases in court.

But the ruling, which was to take effect this month, has not been implemented. source- France 24.

by NTEB News Desk

RIOTS! The Muslim Brotherhood’s Arab Spring Riots Finally Arrive In Jordan.


The Muslim Brotherhood is about to take Jordan

“They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:” Psalm 83

RELATED STORY: Please visit our Muslim Brotherhood and Obama Archives. A guaranteed eye-opener!

US President Barack Hussein Obama, so effective in arming and financing the Muslim Brotherhood’stakeover of Egypt has not yet voiced his support for the poor, misunderstood “students who want democratic change” in Jordan, but he will. You can almost set your watch by it…

From NBC WorldNews: Thousands of people called for the removal Jordan’s King Abdullah at a rally in downtown Amman on Friday in protest at fuel price hikes, in a marked escalation of street anger in the third day of demonstrations in the Western-backed kingdom.

arab-spring-riots-arrive-in-jordan-november-16-2012-muslim-brotherhood

Protesters from the Islamic Action Front and other opposition parties shout slogans during a demonstration after Friday prayers in Amman. Muhammad Hamed / Reuters

“Go down Abdullah, go down,” the protesters Friday chanted as police, some in riot gear, largely stayed away from crowd, near the main Husseini Mosque.

The crowed also chanted “The people want the downfall of the regime,” the rallying cry of the Arab Spring uprisings that have shaken the Middle East and toppled leaders in TunisiaEgyptLibya andYemen.

“Shame. Shame. Prices are spiking and Abdullah gambles,” people shouted. Criticizing the king in public is forbidden in Jordan and is punishable by up to three years in jail.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest opposition group, had called on people to take to the streets, but top officials from the group choose not to participate in the rally. The 50-year-old king has ruled since 1999.

On Thursday, the protester was killed and scores were injured during an attack on a police station overnight in Jordan’s second-largest city of Irbid, witnesses told Reuters. Police said they used tear gas to disperse masked youths who attacked government property.

Some protesters torched part of Irbid’s municipal headquarters later on Thursday to vent their anger at officials who said the dead young man had been armed, the witnesses said.

Elswhere, hundreds of people blocked roads, set government buildings alight and trashed shops in the towns of Maan, Tafila, Salt and Karak.

“The country has risen up from north to south and this state of popular tension is unprecedented,” said Murad Adailah, a senior member of the Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.

‘Political crisis’
A staunch U.S. ally with the longest border with Israel, Jordan has not seen the kind of mass revolts that swept other Arab countries. The coming days will be crucial in testing whether the relative calm can continue.

Jordanians have held occasional protests inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings, demanding democratic reforms and curbs on corruption. But those gatherings were peaceful and the security forces did not use weapons.

Demonstrators sometimes chant against Abdullah but there seems to be little enthusiasm for revolution. The monarchy is seen as a guarantor of stability, balancing the interests of tribes native to the east of the Jordan river with those of the majority of citizens, who are of Palestinian origin.

But the price rises announced on Tuesday could boost the popularity of the Islamist opposition, emboldened by the successes of its ideological brethren in Egypt and Tunisia.

The government has warned Islamists not to take advantage of the tension caused by the price rises but they have never sounded more confident.

“This is a huge political crisis and it has become clear that there is no more room to delay real and comprehensive reforms,” said Jamil Abu Bakr, a Muslim Brotherhood leader.

Most of the civil unrest is in outlying areas inhabited by powerful tribes who are the original inhabitants of the country. They supply the army and security forces with recruits and form the backbone of support for the ruling Hashemite dynasty. source – NBC WorldNews

by NTEB News Desk

Jordan’s Islamists to march, angry at slow reform.


AMMAN (Reuters) – Jordan‘s main Islamist opposition is preparing to flex its muscles in a march on Friday that could be its biggest demonstration since Arab Spring-inspired protests last year against the slow pace of political reform.

The “Friday to Rescue the Nation” rally called by the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition party, in the capital Amman will press for broader political representation and a more democratic parliament.

But plans by pro-government groups to stage a counter-demonstration have raised fears of clashes.

“We are talking about a new phase after 20 months of continued popular protests and unwillingness to listen to our demands for reform,” Zaki Bani Rusheid, the deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood, told Reuters.

Jordan has had nearly two years of peaceful street protests by Islamists, tribal figures and leftists, inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings, but they have focused on reforming government and limitingKing Abdullah’s powers rather than ousting him.

Jordan’s Islamists are highly organized and have been mobilizing supporters by distributing leaflets at mosques. Their main rallies usually attract tens of thousands of people.

“We are calling for real reforms that restore power to Jordanian people and curb the powers of those who have seized power and influence for decades,” Bani Rusheid said.

He accused the authorities of creating a climate of “incitement and fear” to prevent people from other areas turning up to march, after a backlash in most pro-government media.

Some tribal and leftist groups have said they will join the march. Pro-government groups, widely suspected of being directed by the authorities, have said they will rally in the same area.

Loyalists tied to the country’s powerful intelligence apparatus have been blamed for disrupting past Islamist-led gatherings and there are fears of clashes on Friday.

Bani Rusheid said any attempt by the security forces to provoke a confrontation would backfire.

“The inclination to artificially instigate a confrontation is a gamble with dangerous consequences and no one would be able to predict its outcome. They have tried in the past to provoke us and get us to act irresponsibly but all attempts have failed,” he said.

‘ROYAL INITIATIVE’

Jordan has tolerated protests in provincial towns inhabited by native Jordanians from East Bank tribes, who are used to preferential access to state jobs. Those protests have been driven largely by concern over dwindling benefits.

But the mostly urban Islamists, with a strong following among Jordanians of Palestinian origin, are viewed by the political establishment as a threat.

Bani Rusheid has a wide following among poor Jordanians and has been the focus of vitriol by pro-government hardliners.

The Muslim Brotherhood refuses to take part in an election for parliament to be contested within months under an electoral law passed in July by a rubber stamp parliament.

“When the security forces failed to make us participate in elections on their terms they wanted to take revenge on the Islamic movement with the same old methods that existed before the Arab Spring. They forget the world has changed,” he said.

The Islamists say the law gives pro-government tribes in sparsely populated provincial areas a much bigger allocation of parliamentary seats than their own strongholds in cities where Palestinians dominate.

Jordan’s political elite has watched with trepidation as Islamist parties in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have gained ground, seeing their rise as a sign of the future empowerment of Jordanians of Palestinian origin, a majority of the population, who are unrepresented politically but are the backbone of the economy.

Bani Rusheid said only King Abdullah could stand up to the old guard bent on preserving their privileges. The king says his reformist agenda has been frustrated by conservative politicians who hold extensive power within the security establishment.

“We are awaiting a royal initiative. King Abdullah is the only person able to rein in these security forces and get the country out of this crisis and to achieve a major political breakthrough from a grinding deadlock,” he said.

(Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By Suleiman Al-Khalidi | Reuters

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