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Saudi Arabia News Archive: 9/01-6/02

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Checkpoints Set Up Near Riyadh to Track Down Terror Suspects  5/10/03 Arab News: "At least three of the 19 wanted Al-Qaeda suspects who escaped on Tuesday after a shootout with police fled in a Mercedes which was parked in front of a car maintenance workshop on the Riyadh-Dammam Expressway, Al-Watan reported yesterday. The terror suspects took the car at gunpoint. The Arabic daily said police did not open fire on the suspects because of the risk to bystanders. “Police also wanted to arrest them unhurt to question them about their contacts,” the paper added."

American Civilian Shot in Jubail  5/2/03 Arab News: "An American working at a Saudi naval base was shot and injured here yesterday, a Defense Ministry spokesman said. The motive for the shooting was unclear."

U.S. WARNS OF IMMINENT ATTACK IN SAUDI ARABIA  5/1/03 MENewsline 

Fierce Clashes Slow US/UK Forces’ Advance on the Capital  3/27/03 Arab News: "Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal warned yesterday that Saudi Arabia’s long-standing alliance with the United States may be damaged if the war against Iraq drags on or turns into a blood bath for Iraqi civilians."

Saudi Officials Shield U.S. Troop Presence From Public  3/22/03 Washington Post: "The Saudi monarchy, concerned about a public backlash against the war and fearful of inflaming the passions of Muslim extremists, is going to great lengths to cloak the degree to which it is cooperating with the United States against neighboring Iraq. The sensitivity about the U.S. troop presence here is so acute that even souvenir snapshots pose a sensitive diplomatic challenge at the remote Saudi desert air base, not marked on any map, where U.S. forces direct the air war against Iraq."

Kingdom Could Be a Future Target for US, Say Young Saudis  3/21/03 Arab News, Saudi Arabia 

Saudis Stock Oil Reserve to Make Up for Iraq Loss  3/18/03 NYT: "Saudi Arabia has amassed a reserve of nearly 50 million barrels of oil that it plans to use to compensate for possible disruptions of Iraqi oil exports if war erupts, according to a senior Saudi official and industry experts who have been told about the supply buildup."

US 'playing with fire', warns Yamani  3/14/03 BBC: "The key difference between Sheikh Yamani's outlook and theirs is that he thinks technology "is against oil producers". "It is reducing the cost of discovery, the cost of development and the cost of production." The result, he argued, is likely to be more output from Russia, the Caspian Sea and West Africa. Technology is also cutting the consumption of oil. It adds up to bleak outlook."

Reform With an Islamic Slant - Saudi Pro-Democracy Movement Poses Dilemma for U.S.  3/9/03 Washington Post: "Political analysts here say that free elections in Saudi Arabia would likely be won by Islamic fundamentalists hostile to the United States, creating the risk of an upsurge of anti-Americanism along the lines of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran. "I don't think the U.S. will like the outcome of democracy here," said Abdul Hai, one of several political science professors at Riyadh's King Saud University who signed the reform petition. "But let the Islamists and the traditionalists come to power. If they fail, others will take their place." "

US troops 'pouring into Saudi Arabia'  3/7/03 Telegraph: adding more fuel to Al Qaeda's top goal of removing House Saud.

US Deluding Itself Over Iraq: Saudi Arabia Denies Use Of Bases  2/27/03 Jihad Unspun: "The United States is deluding itself if it thinks it can control Iraq after a second Gulf war, which it has threatened to launch soon, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said here yesterday. Prince Saud was addressing a news conference to discuss the looming Iraq war and the weekend Arab summit which is slated to make a last-ditch effort to avert armed conflict. Anyone who thinks he can control Iraq is deluding himself,” Prince Saud said in reply to a question about Washington’s perceived plans to “control” Iraq after a possible war."

Al-Qa'ida 'link' to murder of Briton  2/22/03 Independent 

Westerners on edge in Saudi Arabia  2/22/03 Reuters: "The killing Thursday of Robert Dent, a 37-year-old employee of British defense company BAE Systems who was shot dead in his car at a traffic light, underscored Westerners' vulnerability in the Gulf state."

Saudis Plan to End U.S. Presence  2/8/03 NYT: "Saudi Arabia's leaders have made far-reaching decisions to prepare for an era of military disengagement from the United States, to enact what Saudi officials call the first significant democratic reforms at home, and to rein in the conservative clergy that has shared power in the kingdom… The presence of foreign — especially American — forces since the Persian Gulf war of 1991 has been a contentious issue in Saudi Arabia and has spurred the terrorism of Osama bin Laden, the now disowned scion of one of the kingdom's wealthiest families, and his followers in Al Qaeda. Saudi officials said the departure of American soldiers would set the stage for an announcement that Saudis — but probably not women, at least initially — would begin electing representatives to provincial assemblies and then to a national assembly, Saudi officials said."

90 with al-Qaeda links jailed in Saudi Arabia  2/6/03 Ummah News: "The interior minister said last year that Saudi security agencies had questioned some 700 people with suspected links to al-Qaeda but only the 250 were detained. Those still in detention face legal action."

'Al-Qaeda sympathisers fighting Saudi security forces'  2/5/03 Jang Group, Pakistan: "At least nine armed clashes have taken place in the last six or seven months, the most recent on Sunday in the eastern province of Qatif," he told AFP, quoting sources within the security apparatus. The spokesman for the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia said the clashes followed fatwas or religious decrees issued by unofficial Muslim leaders, including Sheikh Hmud bin Okla al-Shuaibi "who authorised, if necessary, armed resistance". A dissident living in Riyadh told AFP by telephone "these are not isolated incidents but part of an armed confrontation between us and security forces." "Such incidents will increase if there is an American attack against Iraq, and particularly if Riyadh grants military facilities to the Americans," said the Saudi, an "Afghan Arab" who fought against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan as did Osama bin Laden."

Anti-Americanism Spreads in Islamic World  1/26/03 Newhouse: "The findings of a major international public opinion poll conducted by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center and published last month highlight this churning frustration. According to the survey, which was based on interviews with 38,000 people in 44 countries, the image of the United States has suffered a major blow in the Middle East from a sense that Washington is ignoring the region's problems and targeting Muslim countries in the war on terrorism. Discontent with America has increased around the globe, but the Pew survey found that "true dislike, if not hatred, of America is concentrated in the Muslim nations of the Middle East and in Central Asia." This has been particularly true in two countries that have played important roles in the U.S.-led war on terrorism: Turkey, where the number of people offering a positive opinion of the United States has dropped by 22 percentage points in three years, and Pakistan, where it has fallen by 13 points. Among the Muslim countries surveyed, only the people of Mali and Uzbekistan supported the American war on terrorism. In Egypt and Jordan, two key U.S. allies, eight of 10 people surveyed opposed it."

Saudi charities barred from NGOs conference in Paris  1/12/03 Arab News, Saudi Arabia: "The French Embassy here refused to issue visas for 13 Islamic charity officials who were planning to attend an international conference for humanitarian organizations, one of the officials said yesterday. The officials, representing leading Saudi Islamic charities, were consequently unable to attend the Paris Conference for Humanitarian NGOs held Jan. 9-10, said Saleh Al-Wohaibi, head of the World Assembly for Muslim Youth (WAMY). “The French Embassy refused to provide any explanation. We requested to meet with the ambassador or the consul but were denied. They refused to give any reason for the rejection,” Wohaibi said."

Authorities deny hunger strike in Jeddah prison  1/5/03 Arab News: "Reports carried by foreign news agencies on Friday said some 40 detainees being held for months at the Ruwais prison in Jeddah had launched a hunger strike because they had not been put on trial or released following interrogation. “Being the governor of Makkah region, I can confirm that I have received no information” about the hunger strike, Prince Abdul Majeed said."

Turkey, Saudis fall into line with backing for US invasion  12/5/02 Sydney Morning Herald: "The news came as Saudi Arabia agreed to allow a US-led coalition to use its airspace and the Prince Sultan Air Base in a war against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, unidentified defence officials said."

War-Wary Saudis Move to Increase Oil Market Clout  11/30/02 Washington Post: "Saudi Arabia has reclaimed its position as the number one foreign supplier of crude oil to the United States in recent months and offered to further increase sales in December, the Energy Department reported. To keep competitors from taking away customers, the Saudis have boosted production by an estimated 1 million barrels a day above the quota set by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, according to a New York industry analyst. At the same time, the Saudi government has amassed a foreign exchange war chest in the range of $90 billion to $100 billion, enabling its economy to weather a prolonged period of low oil prices if Iraq's production surges should Iraqi President Saddam Hussein be ousted in a U.S.-led military campaign."

Saudis react with fury to American accusations of funding al-Qaida  11/28/02 Guardian: "Who does it [Washington] think it is to administer such a slap in the face or make such imperious demands?" the paper asked. "Are we Iraq? Are we the Afghanistan of the Taliban? We are a close ally of the US." Other Saudi papers joined the fray. In language that could not have been used without official blessing, al-Watan accused the US of trying to blackmail the kingdom. A report in the Washington Post on Tuesday, citing an unnamed American official, said the US would ask the Saudis to act on intelligence about terrorist financing - with the threat of an ultimatum if they failed to do so. "We tell them the problem and leave it to them to solve, presuming they will act in good faith. But if they do not act in 90 days, we assume solving the problem is beyond their ken and the United States will solve it," the official was quoted as saying. Secretary of state Colin Powell said later there was no substance in reports of an ultimatum. But the US does have a list of wealthy individuals - mostly Saudis - who it believes are financing al-Qaida and it is seeking to freeze their assets."

Saudi clerics told to stop anti-U.S. sermons  11/26/02 World Tribune: "Saudi officials said the clerics have been warned not to use their posts to engage in politics. This includes railing against the United States or Riyad's Western allies. Those clerics who violate the ban could face dismissal, officials said. More than 50,000 clerics are responsible for mosques round the kingdom. Saudi Islamic Affairs Minister Saleh Al Sheik has relayed a message to clerics that also bans sermons by unauthorized people in mosques. Al Sheik said such speakers could exploit the opportunity to incitement Muslims. Mosques are meant only for prayers, guidance and other pious activities," the message to the clerics read. "They should not be misused as a political platform." Officials said the government has received reports of unauthorized Saudis giving sermons against the United States in several mosques in the kingdom. The reports included calls for the expulsion of U.S. military and other Western personnel from Saudi Arabia. The kingdom has arrested scores of people connected to the Al Qaida movement. At the same time, attacks against Westerners have been reported during the fast month of Ramadan."

Questioning Saudi Arabia  11/25/02 ABC News: "Amid new allegations that about a dozen prominent Saudi businessmen are financing al Qaeda through international accounts, U.S. lawmakers are calling for the Bush administration to investigate whether Saudi money made it into the hands of two of the Sept. 11 hijackers… ABCNEWS has learned that at least 12 Saudi businessmen were financing al Qaeda through accounts in Cyprus, Switzerland and Malaysia, among other countries. U.S. officials told ABCNEWS that a full investigation into the allegations was under way and that there may be criminal charges filed before the end of the year." Thereby furthering Al Qaeda's agenda. The US can overthrow the Saudi regime several times over and still people there will celebrate each Al Qaeda hit, as the 50,000 who gathered in Riyadh thanks to text messaging did on 9-11. "They hate us because we are free" To be imbeciles?

Kingdom orders probe into 9/11 money link  11/25/02 Arab News, Saudi Arabia: "Al-Jubeir said an investigation by Princess Haifa’s office had shown that the money appeared to have reached the students via another person, a woman who was on a list of recipients of charitable and other donations regularly made by the princess. He said it was not clear who the woman was or how her name had come to be on the list of recipients. Investigations were continuing, he said. “Princess Haifa is a very generous woman ... she donates large amounts of money to charities,” Al-Jubeir said."

OPTIONS ARE LIMITED  11/25/02 Islah: "As long as you remain convinced of the superiority of your values and Muslims maintain their immovable belief in what they have is divine, you have no alternative but to admit that you and Muslims are on a collision course. No one who aims at turning this confrontation into a peaceful dialogue shall succeed… Your response now is merely a magnification of the previous one. Therefore, commonsense tells that the coming strike against you will be of bigger magnitude proportionately just as the September strike was a multiple of the Kenya and Tanzania bombings. In short, you don’t seem to realise that this war is unique in the sense that the more you intensify the level of confrontation, the weaker and more exposed you render yourselves to be and the more daring and devastating your enemy becomes. We do not exaggerate if we assume that by this you will destroy yourselves eventually."

The Saudi American Relations In Context  11/25/02 Islah: This article, up to the usual high standards of the Arabian dissendent site, Islah, is well worth reading in the context of current US-Saudi relations - "There is a principle adopted by the American government and explained in an article written by a prominent American political scientist after the bombing in Al-Khobar in 1996. In it he reveals the principle of adopting secrecy in dealing with Saudi Arabia as the only method of shielding the US, a self-proclaimed promoter of democracy, liberty and transparency, from the embarrassment of dealing favourably with a corrupt dictatorship which tramples on all basic human rights and civil liberties. The first casualty in the impending legal action will be that shroud of secrecy - that cosy mantle which enveloped the American-Saudi relationship for decades. Yet the strain in relationship between the two is not a product of these developments. The strain was brought about by a plethora of factors which rendered the doctrine of secrecy unworkable. The strain is a product and a repercussion of the September events. The cord between the two governments was fatigued by the sheer pressure of Bin Laden and the magnitude of the jihadi current from the Saudi end and the pressure of public opinion and vociferous lobbies on the American side… The complications in the American-Saudi relationship should be carefully untangled in order to understand what has occurred and where this relationship is heading."

US-Saudi ties strained by hijacker money clain  11/24/02 Financial Times: "Saudi officials suggested the case of the princess was being promoted in Congress by the lawyers of a trillion-dollar lawsuit filed last August by relatives and survivors of the September 11 attacks against Saudi institutions and members of the royal family." This lawsuits risks bringing down House Saud, just as Al Qaeda wants.

Saudis hold 100 over al-Qaida ties  11/20/02 MSNBC: "THE AL-EQTISADIAH newspaper said Interior Minister Prince Nayef said the Saudis were detained after their return from Afghanistan. It was the first official estimate of the number of detainees on terrorism charges in the kingdom after last year’s Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers in those attacks were identified as Saudis. “The number of those questioned on this issue was around 700 Saudis,” said Prince Nayef, rejecting reports that the number was much higher."

Mujahideen in shootout in Riyadh  11/19/02 Ummah News: "Saad al-Faqih, spokesman for the London-based Movement for Islamic Reform (MIR), said the shooting broke out as police tried to arrest a group of around 50 "young mujahideen", armed sympathisers of al-Qaeda who were meeting in a house. Some of the eight policemen wounded were in serious condition, said Faqih, contacted by telephone in London. Police launched a manhunt for the remaining suspects who fled, he said. A witness, questioned by telephone from Dubai, said the clash took place around 1:00 pm (1000 GMT) Sunday. Some 15 Saudi veterans of fighting in Afghanistan were at the meeting when police launched the raid, said the witness, who described himself as an "Afghan Arab."

Editorial: Utterly reprehensible  11/7/02 Arab News: "Unfortunately in a civilized society, extra-judicial murders are not acceptable. Ali Qaed Senyan Al-Harthi may indeed have been a terrorist with blood on his hands, but it was not for the American CIA to act as judge, jury and executioner. Though it would undoubtedly have been far more difficult and might have caused the loss of further lives, the right thing to have done would have been to have apprehended Al-Harthi and brought him to trial. Butchering him and his body guards with a remotely fired missile was wrong. Hitler’s propaganda supremo, Josef Goebbels used to boast that the bigger the lie, the greater its chances of being believed. Twenty four hours after the attack, the US administration came up with what many in the Middle East will see as a lie worthy of the biggest Goebbels ever told. The United States declared that it continued to oppose the policy of assassination used by the Israelis against what they took to be Palestinian extremists. How, when Washington’s secret army, the CIA has just done the self-same thing, can anyone believe this American claim?"

Saudi Says Will Not Help Any U.S. Strike on Iraq  11/3/02 Reuters: "Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. regional ally, said on Sunday it would not allow the United States to use its facilities for any attack against neighboring Iraq even if a strike was sanctioned by the United Nations."

Bin Laden contact to become Saudi Arabia's man in London  10/18/02 Times, UK: "According to diplomatic sources, the Saudi authorities have selected as their new envoy Prince Turki al-Faisal, a leading member of the Saudi Royal Family and head of intelligence for nearly a quarter of a century. His appointment is expected to be confirmed within weeks and he is likely to take up his post as early as next month. The Oxford-educated prince, who is the brother of the Foreign Minister, is well-known and liked among a generation of British diplomats and spies. “He is a major player in Saudi Arabia,” one source said. “His appointment shows how seriously the Saudis value their relationship with Britain. He knows this country inside out. He is a regular visitor.” However, Prince Turki’s arrival is also likely to cause controversy. The prince, 57, was among several leading Saudi figures who were named in a $1 trillion (£643.5 billion) lawsuit filed by the families of the victims of the September 11 attacks, who claimed that he helped to fund bin Laden’s terror network." See AfroCubaWeb's Prince Turki page.

Saudis secretly crank up oil flow  10/12/02 Sydney Morning Herald: "Saudi Arabia is quietly raising oil production ahead of a possible United States assault on Iraq, apparently to help avert the threat of a crude price spike that could significantly slow world economic recovery."

Americans feel pinch as Arab boycott starts to bite  10/11/02 Times. UK: "What began two years ago as a low-key protest against US support for Israel has developed into a sustained campaign against America’s best known brands. Threats of a conflict in Iraq have given further impetus to the economic boycott. Fast food outlets, toy makers, drink and cosmetics companies, and even Disneyland, are feeling the squeeze. Muslim clerics call for a boycott during Friday prayers, religious and political leaders have gone on television in Saudi Arabia to support the anti-US protests. Leaflets are handed out listing brands to boycott, and there are thousands of protest calls on the internet. Trade between the US and Arab countries is said to be down by at least 25 per cent since last year. Some economists argue that this is mainly due to the price of oil and exchange rates, but the boycott is taking its toll. Leading soft drinks companies and fast food chains have reported a drop in business of 25 to 40 per cent in the Arab world."

Saudi Arabia faces blacklist  10/10/02 Washington Times: "The United States is debating whether to place Saudi Arabia on a blacklist of "countries of particular concern" for its restrictions on religious freedom, raising the prospect of sanctioning a potential ally in a war with Iraq."

Saudi Arabia may start fingerprinting Americans  10/7/02 The News, Pakistan: "Saudi Arabia is expected to start finger-printing Americans entering the kingdom in response to a similar measure introduced by the United States last week, the US embassy said on Sunday. "The embassy wishes to advise American citizens that in the near future the government of Saudi Arabia may start requiring American citizens to be fingerprinted as part of their visa or entry process," the embassy said in a new warden message."

Riyadh blast was no terror attack — Prince Nawaf  10/1/02 Arab News: "Expatriates are not the target of terrorist attacks, Intelligence Director Prince Nawaf said yesterday, a day after a German died in the latest of a series of mystery blasts to hit Westerners." De Nile has moved to Arabia.

Saudi Hints at Cooperation With U.S.  9/16/02 ABC: "Saudi Arabia has turned up the pressure on Baghdad, hinting that it might offer its desert installations as a jump-off base for any U.S. military campaign against Iraq as long as such an attack had U.N. sanction." Which dubya is not close to getting.

Saudi Arabia: Policy Shift Concerning Attack on Iraq?  9/12/02 Stratfor: "Saudi Arabia may be subtly shifting its stance concerning a U.S.-led attack on Iraq. If so, even tacit political backing by Riyadh would make U.S. military operations in the Persian Gulf considerably easier."

In Surprise Move, Saudis Bar Western Oil Firms From Key Natural Gas Fields  9/10/02 Dow Jones: this was widely viewed as a litmus test of Saudi - US relations - "In a move with implications both for U.S.-Saudi relations and the profits of Western oil companies, Saudi Arabia has said it won't open its most promising natural-gas fields to the companies, people close to talks on such an opening told The Wall Street Journal. ADVERTISEMENT The move appeared to all but end a yearlong plan by the companies to invest $ 25 billion in Saudi Arabia, in what was billed as a historic reopening of the kingdom's petroleum sector. Saudi Arabia has produced all of its own oil and gas since the 1970s, when it bought out four U.S. oil companies' interests in Aramco."

Saudis seek checks on extremism  9/10/02 The News, Pakistan: "The way America looks at Islamic activities has changed since the September 11 attacks. Saudi Arabia lies at the heart of all these activities and America wants to see the Saudi society and system modified," political analyst Dawood al-Shurayan said. He believes the Saudi regime will face major trouble, particularly in ties with the United States, unless the religious establishment accepts reform and silences its wayward elements."

Saudia to resume regular flights to Libya next month  9/5/02 Arab News: "Saudi Arabian Airlines will resume regular flights to Libya next month following a break of 10 years due to Lockerbie-linked sanctions, according to Dr. Khaled Bakr, the carrier’s director general."

The real goal is the seizure of Saudi oil  9/5/02 Guardian, UK: from a past member of Blair's cabinet - "The Americans know they cannot stop such a revolution. They must therefore hope that they can control the Saudi oil fields, if not the government. And what better way to do that than to have a large military force in the field at the time of such disruption. In the name of saving the west, these vital assets could be seized and controlled. No longer would the US have to depend on a corrupt and unpopular royal family to keep it supplied with cheap oil. If there is chaos in the region, the US armed forces could be seen as a global saviour. Under cover of the war on terrorism, the war to secure oil supplies could be waged."

Gas deal will show which way the Saudi wind blows  8/29/02 Times, UK: "THERE is one way to judge the White House’s unsteady attempts to repair the frayed relations with Saudi Arabia. But it is no wonder that the Bush Administration is quiet on its significance: the signs are that it may go against the United States. The test is whether the Saudis choose to press ahead with the Saudi Gas Initiative, four years in the planning."

Withdrawal of U.S. Holdings by Saudis Could Affect Lebanon  8/27/02 Stratfor: "Recent Saudi-U.S. tensions allegedly are leading to a withdrawal of as much as $200 billion in Saudi investments from the United States, according to news reports. If true, a large portion of this money could find itself in Lebanon, which would shift the balance of power toward the Sunnis and likely would alarm Syria."

U.S. - Saudi Ties Go From Bad To Worse  8/26/02 Black World Today: ''The Pentagon briefing leaks to the media were not a slip, but designed to warn the Saudis that they must act more effectively against terrorism,'' said Ali Jaber al Sabah, a political analyst in Kuwait, in an interview. In effect, the Saudis were also being warned ''to take part in the war on Iraq, which they have rejected so far, or risk seizure of its oil fields and its financial assets invested in the United States,'' he added. Saudi analyst Khaled al Maeena said, ''There is no empirical or factual evidence to substantiate any of the U.S. accusations (against the Saudis). No matter what U.S. leaders have had to say in defence, the damage will take a long while before being repaired.''

Saudi Arabia: The Sarajevo of the 21st Century  8/26/02 Center for Research on Globalization: "In his appearance on Australian television Dr. al-Fagih discussed the likelihood of a Balkanization of Saudi Arabia by dividing the kingdom into three separate states and separating the eastern oil provinces from the holy sites in the west. Such a shot-term solution might delay what seems to be an inevitable final conflict. But there is another telling factor that has not been discussed in the major media. There are signs that major financial power houses are looking into gold hedges, especially mining and actual possession of gold in anticipation of a large gold "bust-out." The head of the California Personnel Employee Retirement System (CALPERS), the largest pension fund in the country, recently announced his resignation to go into the gold sector of the financial markets. Recent reports starting in 1998 indicate that Saudi Arabia contains enormous quantities of gold. A 1997 Saudi embassy press announcement revealed 800 locations where gold had been discovered. A Nov. 8 report from Ohio State University -- based upon new Global Imaging System technologies, confirmed "2,100 known occurrences of gold, silver, copper, and other metals in the western third of the Saudi peninsula." Saudi Arabia appears to be sitting atop one of the largest gold stores on the planet."

U.S. rejects Saudi students, but bilateral defense ties maintained  8/26/02 World Tribune: "Western diplomatic sources said U.S. authorities refused entry to 60 Saudi students who were accepted in universities in the United States under a program by Saudi Aramco. The Kuwaiti Al Rai Al Aam daily reported on Monday that Aramco, responsible for the marketing of Saudi oil, is expected to seek alternatives to U.S. universities. They could include the American University in Cairo or the American University in Beirut."

Saudi trade fair set to open in Baghdad  8/25/02 Arab News, Saudi Arabia: "The first Saudi Arabian trade fair to be held in Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War will open here on Sept. 9 for five days, an official newspaper reported yesterday. “The biggest Saudi companies” will be represented at the event and offer foodstuffs, electrical and medical equipment and textiles,” Al-Ittihad weekly said, quoting an official source at the Iraqi Trade Ministry. A big Saudi trade delegation was also expected. The trade fair comes at a time when relations between Riyadh and Baghdad, cut since the war, have begun to warm. The process began at the Arab summit in Beirut last March and has been aided by Saudi Arabia’s refusal to countenance a US-led attack on Iraq from its soil."

Saudis '£200m Bin Laden Payout'  8/25/02 Sky, UK: "Members of the Saudi royal family reportedly paid millions of dollars in 'protection money' to the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden's terror network. Court documents reveal the senior royals outlayed up to £200m in return for the Taliban or al Qaeda not attacking Saudi targets. The money reportedly enabled bin Laden to fund training camps in Afghanistan, later attended by the September 11 hijackers, reports The Sunday Times."

Saudi Co. to Defend 9/11 Accusations  8/23/02 Newsday.com: "A Saudi corporation listed in a $1 trillion lawsuit filed by relatives of Sept. 11 victims said it would appear in a U.S. court to defend itself against accusations of funding terrorism. Dallah Al Baraka Group said in a statement late Thursday it had previously cooperated with international legal bodies and denied "haphazard accusations leveled after the Sept. 11 incidents." It did not elaborate. It said it was ready to appear in court, although it has not been officially notified of the lawsuit."

No Iraq War Leaves Regional Allies in a Spot  8/23/02 Stratfor: "A number of indicators -- including statements by senior Bush administration officials and the lack of support from coalition allies -- suggest that the United States may back off of its plan to launch a war against Iraq. Such a move would be an important victory for Saudi Arabia and Iran. The two Gulf giants had teamed up to persuade other Gulf countries not to support the U.S. war plans. Backing off the plans, however, could leave Middle Eastern states like Jordan and Qatar -- which had signaled support for the U.S. plans -- to face the wrath of their neighbors."

Dollar declines as Saudis withdraw billions from US  8/22/02 Arab News: "A high-ranking official of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency confirmed that $200 billion have been withdrawn by Saudi businessmen from the United States. But he denied that the money has been deposited in Saudi banks."

Trashing the Saudis  8/22/02 Robert Novak: "Senior Saudi officials had hoped that Rumsfeld would unequivocally reject and apologize for the briefing by Rand Corporation analyst Laurent Murawiec, which described longtime ally Saudi Arabia as a terrorist nation that is "the kernel of evil" and the U.S.'s "most dangerous opponent" in the Middle East. Instead, Rumsfeld separated himself from the affair, characteristically indicating what bothered him most was that contents of the briefing were leaked. Few accounts of the bizarre incident paid much attention to the centrality of former Assistant Defense Secretary Richard Perle, the Rumsfeld-appointed Policy Board chairman and a staunch friend of Israel. Perle's arrangement of the Murawiec briefing is seen in both Washington and Riyadh as part of a campaign to recast long-standing U.S. policies with strong, though certainly not unanimous, support in the White House and the Defense Department… As a step toward this grand design, Murawiec's briefing of July 10 lacked Perle's usual sophistication. Murawiec, a French national who was for many years associated with the extremist Lyndon LaRouche's organization, is no Middle Eastern specialist and has never visited Iraq. Yet, his identification of Saudi Arabia as the leading terrorist state drew criticism from only one Policy Board member present, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger."

Suits galore against US govt on the way  8/21/02 Arab News: "A Saudi lawyer is planning to file more than 15 lawsuits against the US government and other parties for causing physical and psychological damages to his clients, preventing them from completing their studies and damaging their reputation through the media."

Dollar falls as Saudi investors 'withdraw billions'  8/21/02 Guardian, UK: "Despite scepticism over a big Saudi shift out of dollar assets, Iran - described as part of an "axis of evil" by President George Bush - is reportedly considering switching crude oil sales from dollars into euros. A committee of experts is said to be pondering the move, with Iran's central bank yet to issue a final decision on whether to drop the dollar. Iran has earned at least $10bn so far this year from crude exports, with oil revenues providing 80% of its foreign income."

Saudis withdraw billions of dollars from US  8/20/02 Financial Times, London: "Disgruntled Saudis have pulled tens of billions of dollars out of the US, signalling a deep alienation from America. One analyst said the total funds withdrawn by individual investors amount to $200bn. Other bankers put the figure nearer to $100bn."

Saudi threat to withdraw billions in US investments  8/20/02 Telegraph, UK: "Saudi's richest investors are threatening to pull billions of dollars out of America in anger at suggestions they helped fund Osama bin Laden. A lawsuit filed by relatives of 900 people who were killed in the September 11 attacks is provoking fury among wealthy Saudis. The suit filed in a Washington court last week seeking damages of $100,000 billion names three embers of the Saudi royal family, including defence minister Prince Sultan bin abd al-Aziz al Saud… This threat comes as foreign investment in the US dries up because of business scandals, lower corporate earnings and the collapse of the technology boom. According to government figures, foreigners put $124 billion into the US last year, down from $301 billion in 2000. Economists say the reluctance of wealthy outsiders to expand their business interests in America is a major threat to the world's largest economy. Saudi investors have $750 billion in the US. A mass walkout would seriously impede the US's attempts to pull away from recession."

Making enemies of one’s friends  8/19/02 Arab News 

Saudis plan campaign against US interference  8/18/02 Islahi.net: from the important Saudi Arabia dissident site: ""Washington is applying pressure on Riyadh to make internal changes to Islamic groups and education and to soften its position on Iraq and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict," Saudi analyst Dawood al-Shurayan said. "There is a long list of American demands which Saudi Arabia has not responded to such as Pakistan or Yemen," on issues related to fighting "terrorism", said Shurayan, an outspoken columnist who runs Al-Hayat newspaper in the kingdom. "Riyadh is still counting on US-Saudi historical ties, but Washington is no longer looking to these ties as it did before Sept 11," he added. "The lawsuit is part of the US campaign against the kingdom. It is no coincidence and it is not far away from the US official eye."

Is US Arms Buildup In Response to Crisis in Saudi Arabia? (8/3/02)  8/17/02 Peter Dale Scott: "The current noise in Washington about invading Iraq seems so inane, ("somewhat ludicrous," in the trenchant words of Jordan's pro-Western King Abdullah II) and the Democratic challenge to it in Congress so feeble, that it is worth wondering whether some other factor, not openly discussed, underlies the current US mobilization in the Middle East. If there is such a hidden factor, it is probably the current political crisis in Saudi Arabia, amply reported in the British and Canadian press, but barely (if at all) in the American."

Saudis 'should reconsider US ties'  8/16/02 BBC: "According to French news agency AFP, only two out of nearly a dozen Saudi dailies carried details of the lawsuit filed in Washington on Thursday. Neither mentioned the naming in the suit of three Saudi royals: former intelligence chief Turki al-Faisal al-Saud, Defence Minister Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, and businessman Mohammed al Faisal al-Saud." Prince Turki has a long and interesting history.

GOING AFTER THE SAUDIS Big Oil joins up with the neocons – and a LaRouche 'defector'  8/9/02 Antiwar: "The fate of $25 billion in foreign investment into the Saudi gas sector depends on Riyadh increasing the production potential of the gas fields on offer to the eight companies vying to take part in the landmark deal."

Saudis in secret moves for new king  8/9/02 Guardian, UK: "Members of the inner circle of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia have held a series of secret meetings in Geneva to discuss the succession amid fears that the ailing king's health is fast deteriorating, it was reported yesterday."

Saudis lash US 'Christian extremists'  8/8/02 BBC: "One newspaper, al-Watan, said Christian fundamentalism was no less dangerous to international peace and security than other forms of religious extremism." Well, yes!

Taking Saudi Out of Arabia  8/7/02 MSN: former LaRouche researcher and now RAND analyst Laurent Murawiec's infamous slide show.

The PowerPoint That Rocked the Pentagon - The LaRouchie defector who's advising the defense establishment on Saudi Arabia.  8/7/02 MSN: "His only other Nexis-able byline is a dusty one from the Jan. 23, 1985, edition of the Financial Times, which describes Murawiec as "the European Economics Editor of the New York-based Executive Intelligence Review weekly magazine." Executive Intelligence Review, as scholars of parapolitics know, is a publication of the political fantasist, convicted felon, and perpetual presidential candidate Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr…. Now that Murawiec has assumed such a vocal place in the policy debate, the man who gave him the lectern owes us the complete back-story. Over to you, Richard Perle." Perle is a leader of the anti-Iraq hawks.

US revises plans as kingdom courts Iraq  8/7/02 Times, UK: "SAUDI ARABIA is in the process of concluding a special trade deal with Baghdad and is likely to deny the United States access to its military bases for any attack on Iraq, according to diplomatic sources."

The Coming Saudi Showdown  8/6/02 The Washington Institute for Near East Policy: the neocons persue their strategy of putting Saudi Arabia in the Axis of Evil.

Briefing Depicted Saudis as Enemies  8/6/02 Washington Post: "A briefing given last month to a top Pentagon advisory board described Saudi Arabia as an enemy of the United States, and recommended that U.S. officials give it an ultimatum to stop backing terrorism or face seizure of its oil fields and its financial assets invested in the United States. "The Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot-soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader," stated the explosive briefing. It was presented on July 10 to the Defense Policy Board, a group of prominent intellectuals and former senior officials that advises the Pentagon on defense policy. "Saudi Arabia supports our enemies and attacks our allies," said the briefing prepared by Laurent Murawiec, a Rand Corp. analyst. A talking point attached to the last of 24 briefing slides went even further, describing Saudi Arabia as "the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent" in the Middle East. The briefing did not represent the views of the board or official government policy, and in fact runs counter to the present stance of the U.S. government that Saudi Arabia is a major ally in the region. Yet it also represents a point of view that has growing currency within the Bush administration -- especially on the staff of Vice President Cheney and in the Pentagon's civilian leadership -- and among neoconservative writers and thinkers closely allied with administration policymakers."

Britons left in jail amid fears that Saudi Arabia could fall to al-Qaeda  7/28/02 Guardian: "Saudi Arabia is teetering on the brink of collapse, fuelling Foreign Office fears of an extremist takeover of one of the West's key allies in the war on terror. Anti-government demonstrations have swept the desert kingdom in the past months in protest at the pro-American stance of the de facto ruler, Prince Abdullah. At the same time, Whitehall officials are concerned that Abdullah could face a palace coup from elements within the royal family sympathetic to al-Qaeda. Saudi sources said the Pentagon had recently sponsored a secret conference to look at options if the royal family fell."

Saudis behind Russian blast plot  7/25/02 Times of India: "Unidentified plotters in Saudi Arabia were behind an attempted bombing in southern Russia which was averted by the police last week, security sources told the RIA Novosti news agency on Wednesday. A source from the Federal Security Service (FSB) was quoted as saying that "the order came from Saudi Arabia," and that those who were supposed to carry out the bombing were all based in Russia's separatist republic of Chechnya. Russian police said they had prevented a huge bomb attack Friday after discovering a truck in the southern region of Stavropol loaded with a plastic explosive that would have caused a blast equivalent to 800 kilograms (1,760 pounds) of TNT."

Congress signals interest in bills limiting U.S.-Saudi ties  7/18/02 World Tribune: "Rep. Tom Lantos, a California Democrat, said Congress would return to examine U.S.-Saudi relations and consider legislation to restrict weapons sales to the kingdom. Lantos said Riyad has prevented the U.S. Air Force from using Prince Sultan Air Base for Persian Gulf military operations." No more petrodollar recycling?

Banks to shut doors on Saudi royal cash  7/17/02 Guardian, UK: "Western banks may refuse deposits from members of the Saudi royal family under guidelines drawn up to identify "politically exposed" wealthy individuals whose assets could in future be confiscated."

Two Qaeda Suspects Are Captured at Sea  7/16/02 NYT: driving while Arab in the Arabian Sea in these times…

Bombs left under cars in Riyadh  7/1/02 Independent, UK: "A bomb was found under an American's car in Saudi Arabia and a "suspicious object" was attached to a Briton's vehicle, but both were removed without incident, the US embassy said yesterday. An embassy circular said Saudi authorities were investigating the devices, found yesterday and on Saturday. On 20 June a car bombing killed a 35-year-old British banker in a residential compound in Riyadh, the Saudi capital. Three Saudis linked to a suspected al-Qa'ida terror network cell were arrested in Morocco last month after allegedly plotting to attack US and British warships, and a missile was fired at an American plane at a Saudi air base in May."

Links 

The Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia critically important Saudi dissident site

Google directory on Saudi Arabia
directory.google.com/Top/Regional/Middle_East/Saudi_Arabia/

Bin Laden's dangerous Mideast links  10/5/01 Khathimerini, Greece: Bin Laden's group has managed to infiltrate the military, the secret services and even government circles of Arab states, including the two leading countries of the Arab world, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Supplying the torturers in Saudi Arabia - Amnesty International

Torture: Culture of Brutality- Amnesty International

A Secret State of Suffering: Saudi Arabia - Amnesty International

www.al-bab.com/arab/news/saudi.htm News feed on Saudi Arabia

www.arabia.com/saudi/english/ News feed on Saudi Arabia

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