Two Saudi guards were shot dead and three others injured on Saturday morning when a man drove up to the gate of the royal palace in Jeddah and began shooting, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by state news.
Royal Guards killed the gunman, who was identified in the statement as Mansour al-Amri, a 28-year-old Saudi national.
The attack occurred at a checkpoint outside the western gate to the Peace Palace in Jeddah, where the royal family conducts official business during the summer months.
Saudi King Salman is currently outside the kingdom on a state visit to Russia.
The statement did not elaborate on the whereabouts of his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, although recent state news reports have placed him in Jeddah.
Security forces seized Kalashnikov rifles and petrol bombs that had been in Amri’s possession.
Amri did not have a criminal record or any known connection to extremist groups, said Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki, speaking by phone to al-Arabiya television. DailyMail
It is about the economy.
Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that it would allow women to drive, overturning a longstanding policy that has become a global symbol of the repression of women in the ultraconservative kingdom.
The change, which will not happen immediately, was announced on state television and in a simultaneous media event in Washington. It highlights the damage that the policy has done to the kingdom’s international reputation and its hopes for a public relations benefit from the reform.
Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, is a Muslim monarchy ruled according to Shariah law. Saudi officials and clerics have provided numerous explanations for the ban over the years.
Some said that it was inappropriate in Saudi culture for women to drive, or that male drivers would not know how to handle women in cars next to them. Others argued that allowing women to drive would lead to promiscuity and the collapse of the Saudi family. One cleric claimed — with no evidence — that driving harmed women’s ovaries. NYTimes
Saudi cleric suspended for saying women can’t drive due to brain shrinkage
A Saudi cleric who said women should not drive because their brains shrink to a quarter the size of a man’s when they go shopping has been banned from preaching, state television said.
Saad al-Hijri was suspended from all religious activity after advising against allowing women to drive in a speech that contained comments “diminishing human value,” the broadcaster quoted a spokesman for the governor of Asir province as saying. JPost
A number of Arab nations cut ties with Qatar. The move escalates a dispute over Qatar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood and accusations it backs the agenda of Iran.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, and Maldives severed their ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting terrorism and opening up the worst rift in years among some of the most powerful states in the Arab world.
Iran — long at odds with Saudi Arabia and a behind-the-scenes target of the move — immediately blamed President Donald Trump for setting the stage during his recent trip to Riyadh.
Gulf Arab states and Egypt have long resented Qatar’s support for Islamists, especially the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood, which they regard as a dangerous political enemy.
The coordinated move, with the Maldives and Libya’s eastern-based government joining in later, created a dramatic rift among the Arab nations, many of which are in OPEC.
Announcing the closure of transport ties with Qatar, the three Gulf states gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave. Qatar was also expelled from the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.
Oil giant Saudi Arabia accused Qatar of backing militant groups — some backed by regional archrival Iran — and broadcasting their ideology, an apparent reference to Qatar’s influential state-owned satellite channel al Jazeera.
“(Qatar) embraces multiple terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at disturbing stability in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS (Islamic State) and al-Qaeda, and promotes the message and schemes of these groups through their media constantly,” Saudi state news agency SPA said.
It accused Qatar of supporting what it described as Iranian-backed militants in its restive and largely Shi’ite Muslim-populated eastern region of Qatif and in Bahrain…
Iran saw America pulling the strings.
“What is happening is the preliminary result of the sword dance,” Hamid Aboutalebi, deputy chief of staff of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, tweeted in a reference to Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia. CNBC
Jordan also downgrades ties with Qatar
Jordan will downgrade its diplomatic representation with Qatar, it said on Tuesday, standing with several Arab powers that have cut ties with the tiny Gulf state.
The decision was made after Amman examined the “cause of the crisis” between Doha and the other Arab states, government spokesman Mohammed al Momani said.
He added that Jordan also revoked the TV license for Al Jazeera, Qatar’s influential state-owned satellite channel. Haaretz
Struggle For Regional Dominance
The decision by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt to punish the Gulf Cooperation Council member over its support for Islamist groups — as well as their key rival, Iran — pits some of the world’s richest nations in a struggle for regional dominance. Qatar’s population is smaller than Houston’s, but it has a sovereign wealth fund with stakes in global companies from Barclays Plc to Credit Suisse Group. It’s also a home to the forward headquarters of the U.S. military’s central command in the region. Bloomsberg
FLASHBACK: Obama Sent Taliban Terrorists To Qatar
In May of 2014, then President Barack Obama released five Islamic terrorists from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility into Qatar’s custody in exchange for the Taliban’s return of Bowe Bergdahl; the Taliban partly operates its international diplomatic operations via representatives in Qatar…
Great speech and an important message!
Before President Trump delivered his first big international speech, an address in Saudi Arabia to dozens of Arab leaders, reports swirled that he would not utter the words “radical Islamic terror.”
Of course he said the words — repeatedly — and much more. He lectured the Saudis on human rights, including the nation’s long repression of women. And most of all, he laid out — in simple black and white terms — the real battle that is has been raging for two decades.
“This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations,” Trump told some 50 Muslim leaders gathered in an ornate conference center in Riyadh. “This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it. This is a battle between good and evil.”
And Trump said the Muslim world has an obligation — even a moral imperative — to squelch terror emanating from the Muslim faith. “Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person, and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith,” Trump said. “That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires.”
And Trump appeared to give the Muslim leaders a direct order about the terrorists who declare their Muslim faith demands they kill infidels.
“Drive them out!” Trump said. “Drive them out of your places of worship, drive them out of your communities, drive them out of your Holy Land, and drive them out of this Earth!”
Read full article at DailyWire
Full transcript President Trump’s speech on terrorism in Riyadh (The Washington Post)
President Trump on Saturday signed a $110 billion arms deal between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
The arms transaction is intended to bolster national security in Saudi Arabia as well as the country’s ability to combat terrorism. The White House says the agreement will provide fighter jets, tanks, radar, combat ships and anti-missile defense systems to Saudi Arabia and will create defense-related jobs in the U.S.
The defense cooperation agreements signed Saturday offer the Saudis $110 billion immediately, and ultimately worth $350 billion over the next decade. WashingtonExaminer
The agreement will provide fighter jets, tanks, combat ships and anti-missile defense systems and create defense-sector jobs in the U.S., according to the White House. The deal includes additional private-sector agreements and a joint vision statement with Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s largest oil producers.
“That was a tremendous day,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “Tremendous investments in the United States.”
“Hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs.” he continued.
The agreement signals a strengthening relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and distances the U.S. from Iran, Saudi Arabia’s adversary. KtVA
“If you’re not fully utilizing half the talent in the country, you’re not going to get too close to the top.”
-Bill Gates said of Saudi Arabia in 2007 World Economic Forum meeting
“The Saudi government’s denial of basic rights to women is not only wrong, it hurts Saudi Arabia’s economic development, modernization, and prosperity.”
It’s about the economy. A need for increased female labor participation and being attractive to Western investment.
Saudi Arabia can not remain a strictly oil-driven economy. Its “Vision 2030” plan seeks to increase Saudi Arabia’s non-oil revenue as it faces growing deficits and depletion of financial assets within five years.
On May 4, the King Salman of Saudi Arabia issued a decree concerning opportunities for women in his country.
This decree has two parts. The first part orders government agencies to list services that women can seek from the government without permission from a male guardian (usually a father or husband). Until now women could not obtain government services without the presence and permission of a male guardian. The second part of the decree directs organizations to provide transportation for female employees, in a country in which women are not permitted to drive…
These changes are not drastic liberalizations. However, they could present significant improvement in the lives of many women. It is not clear yet which government services will become available to women now, but there is a hope that this can lead to greater economic and even social autonomy. Some in the country believe that this decree means that women will no longer need a guardian’s consent to obtain a passport, work outside the home and receive medical care. Forbes
A growing Israeli-Saudi alliance that has been kept hidden is coming out into the daylight.
Shortly before al-Jubeir spoke, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called on the Arab world to help put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “The Palestinians do not have a capacity to sign a final status agreement with Israel,” he said. “It is possible only as a part of [an] all regional solution. We must sign simultaneously a regional solution with the Arab world and [the] Palestinians.” JOL
After Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called on the Arab world to help put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that he believes that the conflict will be resolved this year.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir spoke at the 53rd Munich Security Conference today about the option of achieving regional cooperation in order to put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “I believe that 2017 will be a year when a number of challenges in the Middle East will be resolved,” he said, adding that Saudi Araba is ready to do what is necessary in order to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. JOL
Al-Jubeir also sounded optimistic about the Trump administration, saying that the US president and Riyadh both want to destroy ISIS and stop Iran from gaining too much power. “Iran remains the single main sponsor of terrorism in the world,” al-Jubeir said. “It’s determined to upend the order in the Middle East.” JOL
Saudi Arabia and Israel both called on Sunday for a new push against Iran, signaling a growing alignment in their interests, while U.S. lawmakers promised to seek new sanctions on the Shi’ite Muslim power.
Turkey also joined the de facto united front against Tehran as Saudi and Israeli ministers rejected an appeal from Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for Sunni Gulf Arab states to work with Tehran to reduce violence across the region. Reuters
Nationalism and Transnationalism
President Trump’s nationalist sensibility, “America First”, has shattered the globalist elitist consensus.
Nationalists see patriotism as a virtue; they think their country and its culture are unique and worth preserving. This is a real moral commitment, not a pose to cover up racist bigotry. Some nationalists do believe that their country is better than all others, and some nationalisms are plainly illiberal and overtly racist.
But as many defenders of patriotism have pointed out, you love your spouse because she or he is yours, not because you think your spouse is superior to all others. Nationalists feel a bond with their country, and they believe that this bond imposes moral obligations both ways: Citizens have a duty to love and serve their country, and governments are duty bound to protect their own people. Governments should place their citizens interests above the interests of people in other countries. American-Interest
Nationalist strengthen allies to minimize U.S. overseas military deployments while still securing American interests.
The same economic forces that were transforming the world after the Cold War had salvaged “Palestine”. Arafat had lost his sponsors in Moscow, but his new sugar daddy’s name was “Globalism”.
The Cold War had been the focus of international affairs. What replaced it was the conviction that a new world tied together by international commerce, the internet and international law would be born.
The demands of a clan in Hebron used to be able to hijack the attention of the world because the scope of the clash between Capitalism and Communism could globalize any local conflict. Globalization was just as insistent on taking local conflicts and making them the world’s business through its insistence that every place was connected. The terrorist blowing up an Israeli pizzeria affected stock prices in New York, the expansion prospects of a company in China and the risk of another terrorist attack in Paris. And interconnectedness, from airplane hijacking to plugging into the international’s left alliance of global protest movements, had become the best weapon of Islamic terrorists.
But now globalization is dying. And its death may just take “Palestine” with it.
A new generation of leaders is rising who are actively hostile to globalization. Trump and Brexit were the most vocal rebukes to transnationalism. But polls suggest that they will not be the only ones. The US and the UK, once the vanguards of the international order, now have governments that are competitively seeking national advantages rather than relying on the ordered rules of the transnational safety net. Read full article at FrontPageMag
Saudi Abdullah Al-Sadoun, chairman of the security committee calls “for thoroughly scrutinizing the Pakistanis before they are recruited for work in the Kingdom.”
Saudi Arabia has deported a staggering 40,000 Pakistani migrant workers in the span of just four months, citing terrorism concerns.
The Saudi Gazette reported last week that “a number of Pakistanis were held in the crimes of drug trafficking, thefts, forgery and physical assault.” Authorities feared that some of the migrant workers were linked with ISIS, or as the Saudis call the terror group, Daesh. Other migrants were deported due to expired residency and work permits.
“Against this backdrop, Abdullah Al-Sadoun, chairman of the security committee of the Shoura Council, called for thoroughly scrutinizing the Pakistanis before they are recruited for work in the Kingdom,” added the Gazette. “He asked for more closer coordination with the concerned authorities in Pakistan to thoroughly check those coming to work in the Kingdom due to the involvement of a number of Pakistanis in security issues.”…
Is Saudi Arabia immune from the charge of Islamophobia because its leaders are Muslim? Or, better yet, is the Left’s entire hysterical crusade against Trump’s “Islamophobia” a red herring meant to delegitimize the political opposition DailyWire
Good for her! Islamic law applies only to Muslims, not to non-Muslims.
The German defense minister has caused outrage in Saudi Arabia after she refused to wear a hijab during an official visit.
Ursula von der Leyen and her team did not wear the traditional veil which is worn by women or the full length Abaya garment even though she has claimed to ‘respect’ the country’s customs.
Her decision not to wear a hijab during her meeting with the Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al Saud, was not met warmly by Saudi’s who took to Twitter to express their anger, the Express has reported.
One translated Tweet read: “The German Defence Minister: not wearing the hijab in Saudi was deliberate. This is an insult to Saudi Arabia.”
According to an Iranian newspaper, Von der Leyen said: “No woman in my delegation will be required to wear the abaya, as the right to choose one’s attire is the right shared by men and women equally.” The Sun
Souad al-Shammary, a feminist liberal muslim activist, was jailed after she tweeted pictures of men with beards and challenged the Islamic belief that beards distinguish believers from nonbelievers.
When Souad al-Shammary posted a series of tweets about the thick beards worn by Saudi clerics, she never imagined she would land in jail.
She put up images of several men with beards: An Orthodox Jew, a hipster, a communist, an Ottoman Caliph, a Sikh, and a Muslim. She wrote that having a beard was not what made a man holy or a Muslim. And she pointed out that one of Islam’s staunchest critics during the time of Prophet Muhammad had an even longer beard than him.
The frank comments are typical of this twice-divorced mother of six and graduate of Islamic law, who is in many ways a walking challenge to taboos in deeply conservative Saudi Arabia. Raised a devout girl in a large tribe where she tended sheep, al-Shammary is now a 42-year-old liberal feminist who roots her arguments in Islam, taking on Saudi Arabia’s powerful religious establishment.
She has paid a price for her opinions. She spent three months in prison without charge for “agitating public opinion.” She has been barred by the government from traveling abroad. Her co-founder of the online forum Free Saudi Liberals Network, blogger Raif Badawi, is serving a 10-year prison sentence and was publicly lashed 50 times. Her father disowned her in public.
None of it was enough to keep her quiet.
“I have rights that I don’t view as against my religion,” says al-Shammary. “I want to ask for these rights, and I want those who make decisions to hear me and act.” AP
Four Saudi security force members were killed Monday after a suicide bombing took place in Medina near one of Islam’s holiest sites.
Seems the Saudis may have a problem with the terrorist they have supported over the years or the suicide bombers could be Shiites supported by Iran. Or both.
A suicide bombing outside one of Islam’s holiest sites killed four Saudi security forces on Monday, and similar attacks outside a Shiite mosque and a U.S. Consulate in two other Saudi cities raised fears of a coordinated assault aimed at destabilizing the Western-allied kingdom.
The Interior Ministry said five others were wounded in the attack outside the sprawling mosque grounds where the Prophet Muhammad is buried in Medina. Millions of Muslims from around the world visit the mosque every year as part of their pilgrimage to Mecca.
The ministry said the attacker set off the bomb in a parking lot after security officers raised suspicions about him. Several cars caught fire and thick plumes of black smoke were seen rising from the site of the explosion as thousands of worshippers crowded the streets around the mosque.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for any of the attacks…
Also Monday evening, at least one suicide bomber and a car bomb exploded near a Shiite mosque in eastern Saudi Arabia, several hours after a suicide bomber carried out an attack near the U.S. Consulate in the western city of Jiddah. AP
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir stated in an interview with France 24 that Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad “must leave power”.
“The Syrian crisis will end and it will end without Bashar al-Assad. It will end with a country that is unified, that has a civil society government and that has equality. It could take six months, it could take three months or it could take three years”, he said.
The choice is Bashar al-Assad’s. He will be removed, either through a political process or through military force”. France24
“We will push as much as we can to ensure that the political process works. But if it doesn’t work, it will be because of the obstinance of the Syrian regime and that of its allies.”
“And should that prove to be the case, then it becomes clear that there is no option to remove Bashar al-Assad except by force.”CNN
Military Support For Opposition
He added that Saudi Arabia will continue to push for more military support to the opposition. “We should provide the opposition with more weapons and more lethal weapons, including surface to air missile and more sophisticated anti-tank weapons so that we can change the balance of power on the ground”, he explained.
“If the United States sends ground troops into Syria to fight Daech, Saudi Arabia would be prepared to send special forces alongside those troops, but we will not be sending troops unilaterally,” Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister told France 24.