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Posts tagged ‘Jeddah’

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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Maiduguri Attack President Jonathan summons emergency security meeting.


Boko-Haram-insecurity1

President Goodluck Jonathan summoned an emergency security meeting following an attack by suspected members of Boko Haram sect in some parts of Maiduguri on Monday.

Those in attendance at the meeting were the National Security Adviser, retired Col. Sambo Dasuki, and the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Admiral Ola Ibrahim.

The others are the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh.

There was no official statement at the end of the meeting held in the office of the President at the State House. The CDS, who emerged from the meeting at about 3.40 p.m., declined interview with the State House correspondents.

On the situation in Maiduguri, he said “it is being managed”.
The Chief of Air Staff also declined to comments, saying “please ask the CDS, it is only the CDS that can talks for all of us”.

NAN reports that following the attack by the suspected Boko Haram sect, the Borno government had imposed a 24-hour curfew on Maiduguri metropolis.

The Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Ahmed Jidda, had announced the decision in a statement released to newsmen in Maiduguri.

The statement said the curfew was imposed in consultation with the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri.

“During the period of curfew, government pleads with all citizens to remain calm.

“Only vehicles on emergency calls and essential services are allowed to move while the curfew will be lifted as soon as situation improves,” it added. (NAN).

Source: Radio Biafra.

Maiduguri By Soyombo Ayomikun.


By Soyombo Ayomikun

Better than this there should be a route
That won’t fill our eyes with tears and lungs with soot
From charred bodies of those that dared to stand
To fight for liberty as a sacrificial band

To a battle uncalled for we’ve lost our warriors
Destruction by hooded men feeding us grains of terrors
In a twinkle of an eye several wives became widows
With their husbands forced down dark tear-filled meadows

Heaven feeds not on the blood of the innocent
Neither does it drink the tears of the hapless indigent
In seeking to be heard why inaugurate more tombs
Why not give peace a chance rather than starting an horrendous revival of bombs

These acts of destruction daily load us with cyanotic spells
Caused by fumes from the carnage reminiscent of hells’
If Nigeria has hurt you please name your price
Let’s love again instead of destroying ourselves as if life isn’t more than a game of dice

To our leaders,the best daily seek for the weak
Multitudes that struggle to live & at night recline in a house of brick
When you talk please convey loads of pity
From the forgotten hamlets to the big big city

Can we remember this day for good
When countless are slain in their search for food
Are we ever going to wade through this ocean of sorrow
Are we going to rave in victory when present becomes the morrow

Reawakening Bongos Ikwue’s words I ask if we’ll ever get there
Will we ever make it
Will Nigeria again hear the sound
Of the cock crow at dawn

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

An Eternal Foundation.


For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:11

Recommended Reading
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians%203:11-15&version=NKJV )

Work on Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is scheduled to begin in 2013. It is slated to be the world’s tallest building at around 3,280 feet (the exact planned height is a secret). The foundation is designed to be 197 feet deep and the 270 piles (deep foundational poles driven into the earth) will be up to 361 feet deep. When spending $1.23 billion on a skyscraper, the centerpiece of a $20 billion commercial complex, getting the foundation right is imperative.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message  ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

If you were paying for that building, how insistent would you be on the design and testing of the foundation? Buildings don’t last for eternity — with one exception: the building we call life.

The question of whether or not our life will stand up to the judgment of God (Hebrews 9:27) is certainly a motivating factor to insist on a firm foundation.

The apostle Paul wrote that there is no foundation on which a life for eternity should be built except the foundation that is Jesus Christ. Only that building will stand the test of fire that is to come (1 Corinthians 3:13-15).

The question is not whether we are building a life for eternity, but whether we are building on a foundation that will last.

The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord.
Samuel J. Stone

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Judges 14-16

By David Jeremiah

Saudi court gives prison and lashes to Egyptian lawyer.


JEDDAH (Reuters) – An Egyptian lawyer whose arrest on drug smuggling charges in Saudi Arabia last year caused a diplomatic row between Riyadh and Cairo was sentenced to five years in prison and 300 lashes on Tuesday, a witness present in court said.

The case has been closely watched by Egyptian activists who say Ahmed al-Gezawi was arrested because of his work documenting what he described as the poor treatment of Egyptians working in Saudi Arabia, which Riyadh denies. Rights groups say the Saudi legal system is unfair, another charge Riyadh denies.

Nearly 1,000 people gathered outside the Saudi embassy in Cairo last April after Gezawi was detained on arrival at Jeddah airport, with some hurling shoes and shouting insults directed at the kingdom’s rulers.

Riyadh, which already feared that its close relationship with Egypt risked being undermined by the 2011 revolution that toppled autocratic President Hosni Mubarak, recalled its ambassador.

But Cairo flew a high-level delegation to the Saudi capital within days to affirm its commitment to keeping ties strong. Cairo is a major recipient of Saudi aid.

Gezawi was charged with smuggling around 21,000 pills of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax into Saudi Arabia. His former lawyer – who quit the case because Gezawi failed to pay legal fees – has said the public prosecution was seeking the death penalty.

Two other men on trial on Tuesday, a Saudi and an Egyptian, were also sentenced to prison terms and lashes, the witness said.

(Reporting by Asma Alsharif and Angus McDowall; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

Reuters

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 coast guard arrests 21 Iranians.


JEDDAH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has detained 21 Iranian nationals who were aboard two boats near an island off the kingdom’s eastern coast, the Saudi border guard said on Thursday.

Separated by about 250 km (150 miles) of Gulf waters, Shi’ite Muslim power Iran and Sunni-led Saudi Arabia have often had tense relations. U.S. ally Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of fomenting unrest among Shi’ites in its oil-rich Eastern Province, a charge Iran denies.

“One of the marine patrols was able to seize two Iranian boats on Wednesday inside Saudi regional waters,” a border guard statement said. “One of the boats had 12 people and the other nine people … all of them are Iranians and are being questioned.”

The Iranians were seized near al-Harqus island, 42 miles off the Saudi coast, the statement said but gave no further details.

(Reporting by Asmaa Alsharif; Writing by Mahmoud Habboush; Editing by Sami Aboudi)

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

Reuters

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