“This act (of sheltering Ben Ali) should not lead to any kind of activity in Tunisia from the kingdom… There are conditions, and no act in this regard will be allowed,” Faisal told Saudi television. Saudi Arabia has kept a total blackout on Ben Ali’s activities since he who landed early on Saturday in the Red Sea city of Jeddah with six members of his family….”
Emirates Sunday launched its second Airbus A-380 daily service to Saudi Arabia for business and leisure travellers.
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“JEDDAH: It is claimed that the rate of housemaids running away from their sponsors usually increases as the holy month of Ramadan approaches.” (thanks Fahd)
Saudi King Abdullah calls for prosecution of unstated number of officials and businessmen for Jeddah flood.
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JEDDAH: Police in Yanbu have arrested a youth for illegally possessing firearms on Monday. A patrol stopped his car when officers noticed something wrong with the vehicle. After they demanded his iden…
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LA Times, Babylon & Beyond, Man in sexually suggestive YouTube video is arrested, 10 Mar 2010 "Again, a controversial, sexually charged video has gone viral in Saudi Arabia. And, again, it appears to have ruffled the feathers of Saudi guardians of morality." [tip: Mona Eltahawy]
Also see al-Bab, Saudi jailed and flogged for gay video, 11 Mar 2010 "A 27-year-old Saudi man from Jeddah has been
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(MENAFN – Asia Pulse) On February 13, 2010, the following Russian companies participated in the work of the annual Jeddah Economic Forum for the first time, with the support of the St. Petersburg Inte…
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Bandar: in the brig?A few months ago I saw an Iranian report that claimed that Prince Bandar — known as “Bandar Bush” for his closeness to the Bush family — was under arrest after having tried to plot a coup. I was skeptical, and emailed a Saudi specialist about it, who dismissed it instantly. Bandar hasn’t been seen much since he left the US after being replaced as ambassador, and is probably unhappy with King Abdullah’s policies and the rise of Prince Nayef as the most likely successor to the throne. This much is known. The idea of a coup sounded pretty far-fetched.
Yesterday Hugh Miles wrote in the LRB blog that Saudi dissidents claim Bandar and four generals may be held in prison:
According to Saudi opposition sources, Bandar is now in Dhaban Prison, in north west Jeddah, a high security jail where terrorist suspects and political opposition figures are held. Bandar is said to be in a special wing where the other prisoners are four senior generals: one from the army, one from the royal guard, one from the national guard and one from internal security. Bandar’s lawyer in the US denies he is in prison and says he has been seen out and about recently, although he wouldn’t divulge when, where or even in which country.
The last official sighting of Bandar in public seems to have been on 10 December 2008, when he met the king in Jeddah. Since then he has missed a string of important events, and no one will say why. In September 2009, when his position as head of the Kingdom’s National Security Council was renewed for another four years, he didn’t appear in public to profess his allegiance to the king, as is customary. No official explanation was forthcoming. The same month, Bandar missed the Dallas Cowboys’ first home game against the New York Giants in their new stadium. Bandar has been a Cowboys fan since he flew as a fighter pilot instructor in Texas in the 1970s. He normally sits next to his friend Jerry Jones, the team’s owner. Then in October Bandar failed to show up as one of the official delegation accompanying King Abdullah on his landmark visit to Damascus, which ended the four-year estrangement between Saudi Arabia and Syria that began with the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri in 2005.
But the most significant event Bandar missed was in December 2009 when his ill father, Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, returned to the Kingdom after months convalescing in Morocco. As usual, the event was shown live on TV and Prince Sultan received many members of the Saudi royal family. Some senior figures – such as Princes Talal, Muteb and Abdulrahman – weren’t there for known reasons. But Bandar’s absence hasn’t been accounted for.
The lack of any official explanation of Bandar’s whereabouts is especially puzzling since he is supposed to head an important government agency. When he returned from Washington in 2005 after his 22-year stint as ambassador, his appointment as secretary-general of the newly formed National Security Council was meant to signal a return to the family fold and a higher domestic profile. In the months before his disappearance he travelled frequently to Moscow, both to negotiate arms deals and to try to persuade the Kremlin to halt its military co-operation with Iran. There’s been speculation that his activity in Russia could be connected to his disappearance: some blogs claim that Bandar’s supposed abortive coup was exposed by Russian intelligence.
That would be quite huge. Miles speculates that whatever the truth of the matter, Bandar’s era of influence is over. This also means one of the major advocates of a strong relationship with the US is now absent, at a time when the next king of Saudi Arabia is likely to be Prince Nayef, who is less sanguine about Amreeka. And so, little by little, US dominion over the Middle East is being eroded.
Susie's Big Adventure Highlights a Survey Comparing the Views and Attitudes of Arab Youth to Those of Western Youth
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire/ — A world renowned public relations firm published findings from a cross cultural survey which compared Arab youth to Western youth in areas such as religio…
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The Saudis regard Syria’s relations with Iran as a prime reason why Tehran has been able to project its power & influence into the Arab, Sunni world..
In the National/ here
“… As always, the Saudis will also be keen to see how much daylight Mr Assad is willing to put between his country and Iran. The Saudis regard Syria’s relations with the Shiite country as a prime reason why Iran has been able to project its power and influence into the Arab, mostly Sunni, world in recent years.Iran works closely with Hizbollah in Lebanon, Shiite factions in Iraq, and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It has also been accused of fomenting the Houthi rebellion in Yemen, which has spilled over into Saudi Arabia in recent months.
The Saudis do not expect Syria to break completely with Iran, but they want to see it give more priority to Arab affairs, observers say.
The two leaders will confer tonight in Riyadh and then Mr Assad will travel to Jeddah for a two-day personal visit during which he will perform Umrah in Mecca.Mr Assad’s visit comes as US and European officials are working behind the scenes to rescue the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. On Tuesday evening, the White House national security adviser, James Jones, held talks with King Abdullah in Riyadh as part of a brief Middle East tour that will also take Mr Jones to Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank. George Mitchell, the US special envoy to the Middle East, is in Europe.Prince Saud spoke during a news conference with the visiting Chinese foreign minister, Yang Jiechi. In their talks, the two men discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran’s perceived pursuit of nuclear weapons, Iraq’s internal stability and several other interests of mutual concern, “including reform of the UN Security Council”, the Saudi foreign minister said.
Mr Yang, who noted that this was “the 20th anniversary of relations between Saudi Arabia and China”, said his government believed that “the Iranian nuclear file should be solved through peaceful diplomatic negotiations”.China will be among the six major powers set to meet next weekend in New York to discuss what to do in response to Iran’s refusal to comply with United Nations’ demands that it cease its nuclear enrichment programme. China, which depends on Iran for much of its energy needs, opposes tighter sanctions on Iran, a course that Washington and several other countries are expected to propose at the meeting.”