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GEO: Saudi Arabia Archives

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July 13, 2011

Saudis Buying German Tanks?

By Joe Katzman at 07:37

If anyone is curious what's going on with that, you can get the whole run-down at Defense Industry Daily - just read "Desert Leopards: Germany Selling Heavy Armor to the Saudis?".

As a bonus, DJ Elliott offers "The Missing Links: A Realistic Appraisal of the Iraqi Military."

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  • Joe Katzman: Collect them all! Though the French would be upset about read more
  • Glen Wishard: Now all the Saudis need is a division's worth of read more
  • mark buehner: Its one thing to accept the Iranians as an ally read more

April 14, 2008

Catholic churches coming to Saudi Arabia?

By Donald Sensing at 18:27
In a medium-long article about the delayed but still arriving "Arab Spring," Abe Greenwald notes,
[T]he Vatican has confirmed that it’s in negotiations with Saudi Arabia to establish the first Catholic Church inside the Kingdom.
Well, zing! As you know, it is presently against Saudi law for any non-Muslim congregation to meet in the kingdom. Even house churches there are illegal, and the penalties can be quite severe. (In fact, mere possession of a Bible is illegal.)

Abe documents how Islamism in in retreat almost everywhere in the Muslim world, being steadily rejected by the ummah every opportunity they get to do so. I remember reading (I think on Michael Yon's site) of an Anbar sheik who said the Sunnis in Iraq had become so lethally oppressed by al Qaeda that even the shephers in the desert hated al Qaeda. "And the shepherds a hundred years from now will still hate al Qaeda."

But back to the church in Saudi Arabia. The Telegraph reports:

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  • ckay: The people of Switzerland have voted against the building of read more
  • John Burgess: As thrilling as that news item might seem, there's not read more
  • mary: While it will take some time, every convert away from read more

September 20, 2007

Sand Dollars

By 'Cicero' at 11:54

I know very little about currency markets, but this sounds ominous:

Fears of dollar collapse as Saudis take fright

Saudi Arabia has refused to cut interest rates in lockstep with the US Federal Reserve for the first time, signalling that the oil-rich Gulf kingdom is preparing to break the dollar currency peg in a move that risks setting off a stampede out of the dollar across the Middle East.

"This is a very dangerous situation for the dollar," said Hans Redeker, currency chief at BNP Paribas.

"Saudi Arabia has $800bn (£400bn) in their future generation fund, and the entire region has $3,500bn under management. They face an inflationary threat and do not want to import an interest rate policy set for the recessionary conditions in the United States," he said.

The Saudi central bank said today that it would take "appropriate measures" to halt huge capital inflows into the country, but analysts say this policy is unsustainable and will inevitably lead to the collapse of the dollar peg.

As a close ally of the US, Riyadh has so far tried to stick to the peg, but the link is now destabilising its own economy.

The Fed's dramatic half point cut to 4.75pc yesterday has already caused a plunge in the world dollar index to a fifteen year low, touching with weakest level ever against the mighty euro at just under $1.40.

There is now a growing danger that global investors will start to shun the US bond markets. The latest US government data on foreign holdings released this week show a collapse in purchases of US bonds from $97bn to just $19bn in July, with outright net sales of US Treasuries.

A reasoned debate on this would be beneficial. For me, at least.

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  • TOC: #42 from Treefrog at 7:34 pm on Sep 22, read more
  • J Thomas: China had the Cultural Revolution within living memory. For that read more
  • Treefrog: The Chinese people have been sold an incredibly flawed Bill read more

September 18, 2007

Saudis Sign Deal for 72 Eurofighters

By Joe Katzman at 06:34
RAF Eurofighter
(click to view full)

Back in 2005, DID reported that talks were underway for a Saudi purchase of Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft from Britain's BAE Systems - with an important (albeit denied) set of conditions on the Saudi side. The Eurofighter Typhoon is an advanced 4+ generation fighter built to excel at air-air combat; subsequent versions that have just come into service are beginning to get some precision strike capability as well. Its excellent integration of controls and software lets pilots focus on flying the situation, rather than flying the plane, and it is superior to all existing and planned US aircraft except the F-22A Raptor in the air-air combat role. There are reports that Russia's advanced SU-30MKI/M sold to India and Malaysia may be superior - but at the very least, one can say with confidence that the Eurofighter Typhoon is one of the top 3 air superiority fighters in the world. To date, it has been ordered by its partner nations (Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain) and by Austria, but it has lost out in a number of export competitions for various reasons.

December 2005 saw confirmation that Saudi Arabia had ordered Eurofighter Typhoons, but the 72-plane deal started sinking into the tar sands shortly thereafter. Investigations from Britain's Serious Fraud Office swirled around a GBP 43 billion oil-for-planes deal from the 1980s called Al-Yamamah (see Appendix A); in return, the Saudis played some hardball of their own. The investigation was eventually called off at the highest levels of government, and after a period of uncertainty, a contract was finally signed on Sept 11/07. Ironies aside, the price was a bit lower than many expected; even so, it comes with support arrangements that are likely to push the final value quite a bit higher, while facing much less scrutiny.

DID's Spotlight article covers the Saudi Eurofighter deal, its associated controversies, and related developments...

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  • Mark Pyruz Merat: J Thomas: It should be realized that one of the read more
  • Mark Pyruz Merat: Joe Katzman: Thanks for the correction (F16I). I appreciate that. read more
  • PD Shaw: Photo intelligence was supplied to show Saddam military targets. When read more

September 11, 2007

Welcome (back) to the Hotel Saudifornia

By Nitin Pai at 18:29

As the report in Dawn put it, the Musharraf regime used force and guile to send Nawaz Sharif bouncing back to Hotel Saudifornia. But as perspicacious commentators have it, no one in Pakistan actually won this round.

Gen Musharraf may have purchased some breathing room by expelling Nawaz Sharif. But by deciding to violate a Supreme Court decision, he has opened the doors for a new confrontation with the court and Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry. If the court decides to confront him on this--and this will be the acid test of its newfound independence--he might well have to declare martial law. That too is unlikely to work--because the America won't be able to cover him beyond that point. But also because the people might come out on the streets.

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  • Tom Perry 1776: Why do we keep trying to manage these foreign lands? read more
  • Nitin: Alphie, The US is attempting to cobble up a relationship read more
  • alphie: Who is America supposed to be rooting for in Pakistan read more

September 25, 2006

It's the State, stupid!

By Nitin Pai at 09:01

A debate over matters of faith is drawing attention away from a very necessary debate over matters of international politics

Even as the world grapples with the threat from radical Islamist terrorists and watches with concern---both silent and noisy---of a 'return to the roots' movement among the world's Muslims, a good part of the debate has focused on whether or not Islam is as peaceful as many of its moderate adherents claim it to be (via Desipundit). As Retributions points out in a recent post, the debate over the tenets of Islam is misdirected. It is also misleading and ultimately counter-productive for it plays into the very hands of those who benefit from both Islamist terrorism and from the war against it.

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  • J Aguilar: It's easy on the basis of such invented pseudo-history with read more
  • David Blue: People are making all kinds of very big, free, sweeping read more
  • J Aguilar: M. Simon (#21) Interesting point. Tribalism is encoded in Islam. read more

February 14, 2006

Fully-Owned Subsidaries Of The House Of Saud

By Armed Liberal at 04:46

I'm hammered pretty regularly for claiming that the core of the Democratic Party's foreign policy "cloud" really doesn't do a good job of standing for American interests. I'm reminded that Kos isn't the Democratic Party, Cindy Sheehan isn't the Democratic Party, Michael Moore isn't the Democratic Party.

Well, Al Gore is actually pretty damn close to the epicenter of the Democratic Party.

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  • mary: Chris - I feel like I'm talking to Dick Cheney read more
  • Glen Wishard: JRA: I'll note also that comics don't have much to read more
  • JRA: Jim: Miller's villains in Dark Knight Returns included the "evil-stupid" read more

January 20, 2006

The MESA-ization of Columbia U

By Yehudit at 05:38

Reading about the Saudi-funded junket of a Columbia University dean rang some bells. Lisa Anderson not only runs the School of International and Public Affairs, but puts a lot of effort into promoting the agenda of the Middle East Studies Association, and was deeply involved in the development of the MEALAC program criticized in the documentary Columbia Unbecoming:

She is the subject of an article that is part of a series on Columbia University by Campus Watch.
Her most recent achievement was in raising money, almost entirely from Arab sources for an "Edward Said Chair in Middle Eastern Studies." Though Edward Said was neither a scholar or teacher of either Islam, or of the Middle East, but a celebrated polemicist, Anderson found nothing peculiar in naming this chair after him . . . . she managed to raise $4 million, and was instrumental in keeping the sources of that funding secret for as long as possible. Much effort had to be expended to persuade Columbia to reveal those sources, though New York State Law requires such information to be reported when it involves foreign funds. And finding the perfect occupant for the chair, she held it for him until such time as he, Rashid Khalidi, could extricate himself from the University of Chicago, and arrive to sit on it himself. She gushed that she "can't "honestly think of a better person to recruit to Columbia."
Rashid Khalidi has been exposed as a plagiarist.
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September 25, 2005

Summary of Cordesman on Saudi Insurgents in Iraq

By Dan Darling at 08:27

Having gone through Anthony Cordesman's latest work, Saudi militants in Iraq, I have to say that once I finally found the thing I was pretty impressed - if the data contained within is accurate. Call me paranoid, but after everything we've seen out of Saudi Arabia in the last several years I don't find it entirely unreasonable to question the validity of the Saudi intelligence and interior ministry reports that Cordesman is relying on to make his assessments here. I don't begrudge the man for doing so, you have to work with whatever data you can get ahold of, but at the same time I think that needs to be stated from the get-go as a major caveat with regard to this information and drawing conclusions from it. It is also a work in progress, so the information summarized here may or may not reflect what is included in later drafts.

With all that in mind, let us begin, shall we?

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  • Mark Buehner: Its entirely possible that both points of view are correct, read more
  • antimedia: According to the latest Iraq Report, released by the Brookings read more
  • Glen Wishard: 1. The report estimates the foreign contingent at less tahn read more

September 6, 2005

News Shorts: Saudi, Indonesia, Katrina

By Donald Sensing at 02:18

Saudis battle terrorists.

DAMMAM, Saudi Arabia Saudi security forces battled heavily armed suspected al Qaeda members holed up in a sea-front apartment building Monday, a day after two militants -- one of them the kingdom's No. 3 most-wanted terrorist -- died in clashes across this eastern city.

The American consulate in the city was closed during the gunfight. Saudi Zaid Saad Zaid al-Samari, who was killed, was on a list of 36 most-wanted terrorists sought in relation to multiple terror attacks launched in this kingdom since May 2003. The American consulate was closed during the battle.

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  • Max: Firefighters thought they were going to be deployed: Instead told read more
  • Roger Fenton: If only the military had had jurisdiction in New Orleans read more

August 22, 2005

Saudi Arabia Exposed - an interview with John R. Bradley

By Colt at 16:55

It has been several months since Saudi Arabia was the lead story or headline, or it feels like it. Winds of War readers will have noted a steady drip-drip of reports of Saudi security forces killing militants and gunmen, culminating in the recent killing of Saleh al Awfi, Majid Hamed al Haseri and Mohammed Abdullah Owaida all wanted men. According to Asharq Al Awsat, since May 2003, Saudi forces have killed over 100 terrorists.

However, all is not well in the kingdom. After attending a debate on whether or not the House of Saud is a friend of the West (accounts here: one, two, three), I read John R. Bradleys new book, Saudi Arabia Exposed. Bradley worked for the Arab News as a news editor in the aftermath of 9/11, living amongst Saudis rather than in a Western compound, and travelling the country extensively.

Having read the book, Ive come to the conclusion that the situation in Saudi Arabia is both better and worse than Id previously believed. To take one example, homosexuality is de facto accepted by the religious police as preferable to the honour of Saudi women being tarnished. On the other hand, it is official Saudi policy to encourage terrorists to carry out attacks in Iraq which may well explain why there hasnt been a major attack in Saudi Arabia for months.

John accepted my request that he answer a few questions for me, and below is the sum total.

Read the Rest...

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  • Pole: I have a whole section on that maniac Sheik al read more
  • John R. Bradley: The Washington Quarterly essay I've been harping on about can read more
  • John R. Bradley: The Washington Quarterly essay I've been harping on about can read more

August 9, 2005

Saudi Terror Warning: "Don't Panic"

By Joe Katzman at 08:32

At least, that's what Saudi Interior Ministry says about the recent U.S. terror warning. A fine admonition if you're an intergalactic hitch-hiker, but may not cut it if you're living in Saudi Arabia.

Indeed, Saudi blogger The Religious Policeman does some thinking about Prince "Nasty" Nayif's past record with skewer in hand, and, well, he's feeling a bit panicky....

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