Saudi Arabia Deports 40,000 Muslim Pakistanis, Citing Terrorism Concerns

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

German Minister Refuses To Wear A Hijab During Saudi Arabia Visit

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

Saudi Activist Souad al-Shammary Jailed For Outspoken Tweets

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

Suicide Bombers Attack Medina, Jeddah, Qatif In Saudi Arabia

Medina bombing
Medina bombing

Four Saudi security force members were killed Monday after a suicide bombing took place in Medina near one of Islam’s holiest sites.

There was also on Monday a suicide bombing near the US Consulate in Jeddah and a suicide bombings in Qaif struck near a Shiite mosque.

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: ‘Assad Will Be Removed’

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir

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.

Saudi Arabia’s Vision for 2030 Plan Challenges

vision2030

We intend to provide better opportunities for partnerships with the private sector through the three pillars: Our position as the heart of the Arab and Islamic worlds, our leading investment capabilities, and our strategic geographical position. We will improve the business environment, so that our economy grows and flourishes, driving healthier employment opportunities for citizens and long-term prosperity for all. This promise is built on cooperation and on mutual responsibility. Vision 2030

The Gulf kingdon “Vision 2030” plan seek to increase Saudi Arabia’s non-oil revenue as it faces growing deficits and depletion of financial assets within five years.  The plan offers few specific details on this will be achieved, Reuters observed.

How feasible are some of the ideas?

Arms Industry

Defense Minister and Prince Muhammad Bin Salman discussed the kingdom’s plans to develop its own arms industry, allowing the Saudi military to become fully independent from America weapons sales.

“We’re about to establish a holding company in the weapons industry that will be owned 100% by the government, and will eventually be registered on the stock market.” INN

Tourism

Saudi Arabia has plans to issue select visas to welcome tens of thousands of tourists a year as part of a sweeping national reform plan aimed at showcasing the country’s rich heritage, including pre-Islamic sites, and encouraging Saudis to spend some of their tourist money at home. TimesOfIsrael

Permanent Residency Program

The Green Card-like program and a plan to allow employers to hire more foreign workers above their official quotas for a fee could generate $10 billion a year each,” the deputy crown prince told Bloomberg in an exclusive interview.  SaudiGazette

Foreign expertise and manpower are the core of Saudi labor and management. The plan includes changes that would alter the social structure of the Gulf kingdom by offering improved status to resident expatriates and pushing for women to have a bigger economic role.

Continue reading “Saudi Arabia’s Vision for 2030 Plan Challenges”

Saudi Arabia And Egypt Planning To Build A Bridge Over The Red Sea

“I agreed with my brother his excellency President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to build a bridge connecting the two countries,” Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said. “This historic step to connect the two continents, Africa and Asia, is a qualitative transformation that will increase trade between the two continents to unprecedented levels.”

egypt_arabia-red-seaThis is not the first time a plan to build a bridge linking the Arab states has been proposed, but none have come to fruition.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia announced Friday that a bridge will be built linking Saudi Arabia to Egypt to boost commerce between the allied nations.

The King made the announcement during the second day of a five-day visit to Egypt, where he is expected to announce more trade agreements. Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said the bridge will be named after King Salman, according to the BBC.

There have been several other proposals for a bridge linking the Arab states, but none have come to fruition. The most recent proposal, for a 20-mile bridge in 2011, was expected to cost roughly $5 billion, which planners said would be easily offset by the tolls paid by pilgrims traveling to Saudi Arabia’s holy sites. No cost or distance estimates have yet been released for the current plan. Time

Tumbling Oil Prices Squeeze Saudi Arabia’s Budget, Growing Deficit

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

The recent plunge in oil prices has been felt around the world, it has been felt heavily in Saudi Arabia with record budget deficits. Saudi Arabia projected a $39 billion deficit in 2015, the reality was a a record $98 billion budget deficit in 2015 due to falling oil prices.

Austerity Plans

The Saudi government austerity plans proposals are the biggest economic shake-up since the founding of Saudi Arabia.

Levies on expats, energy, luxury goods, sugary drinks seen.

Plan is to boost non-oil revenue to balance budget by 2020. Continue reading “Tumbling Oil Prices Squeeze Saudi Arabia’s Budget, Growing Deficit”

Saudis Halt Aid And Bar Its Citizens From Lebanon

Flag of Lebanon
Flag of Lebanon

Saudis decision to stop payment of $4 billion for military aid and other security services and has banning its citizens from travelling to Lebanon is another step in the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.  Following the Saudis the United Arab Emirates also issued a travel ban on Emiratis travelling to Lebanon.

Lebanon has long been a battleground for the two regional powers, Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia.  Saudi influence has waned in recent years in Lebanon, as its supported political parties and figures have lost influence and Hezbollah has emerged as the country’s most powerful military force.

The Lebanese should be losing sleep over the dramatic developments in the last 48 hours in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with regard to Lebanon. The decision by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to bar their citizens from visiting Lebanon is expected to cause considerable economic damage to Beirut. If you add to that the Saudi decision to halt its $4 billion annual aid to the Lebanese government and the Lebanese army, this makes for a devastating economic blow imposed by Riyadh on Beirut…

The bottom line seems to be that Saudi Arabia — one of the most important allies of the former Lebanon, the moderate, modern, advanced Lebanon that for decades was controlled by a Christian Maronite-Sunni alliance — has decided to pull away, to wash its hands.

It is giving up on its allies and leaving Lebanon in the control of Iran, Hezbollah and the new alliance that has taken shape there between various Christian Maronites (Michel Aoun and his men) and the Shiites, who today constitute the country’s largest community.

In many respects, the Saudi decision represents a recognition of defeat: Lebanon is now controlled by Iran and Hezbollah, and therefore every dollar transferred there as military or government aid simply strengthens Hezbollah at the expense of the remaining moderate Sunnis and anti-Syrian Christians.

Underlining the point, Iran has moved quickly to fill the vacuum left by Riyadh. A Foreign Ministry spokesman in Tehran announced Tuesday that Iran is ready to discuss providing military help to the Lebanese Army “if an official request for such assistance is made.” TimesOfIsrael

Saudi Arabia’s Religious Police Cadets Taking Course To Combate Wizards, Witches, And Leprechauns

Yes, Leprechauns!

saudi-religous-policeSaudi Arabia’s new religious police recruits are now being trained in more than enforcing modesty standards. According to various reports across Arab media, cadets are taking a five-day course in combating wizards, witches and as-of-yet unconfirmed plague of leprechauns blighting the Kingdom.

Saudi media reported that 30 members of the religious police, formally named the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPV), completed the course in February. Classes educated the officers in how to identify and safely apprehend the dangerous suspects who may be travailing the Arabian desert, such as Sharia-desecrating elves.

This is by no means the first time Saudi Arabia has attempted to get to grips with the occult, with the “anti-witchcraft unit”  formed back in May 2009 for this very purpose…

Unfortunately, sorcery is no laughing matter for those accused of the crime, with Saudi Arabia carrying out the death penalty for those convicted. Amina bint Abdul Halim bin Salem Nasser was executed in 2011, having been convicted on charges of “sorcery and witchcraft.” JPost

Saudi Arabia Launches Massive Military Exercise With 20 Nations

Screen captor CNN video
Screen captor CNN video

Saudi Arabia and 20 countries are gathering in northern Saudi Arabia for large-scale military exercises that includes air, sea and land forces.  The 18 day military exercise is called “Northern Thunder”.

This is the largest military exercise in the history of the region and comes two months after  the announcement that Saudi Arabia will form a coalition of 34 nations to fight terrorism.

Saudi Arabia is the best funded military forces in the Middle East.  In 2014 the countries defense budget was $80.8 billion, that is the third largest military budget in the world.  Its military is made up of 440,000 active members. It has the largest military forces with 225,000 troops. Saudi Arabia also has 125,000 National Guards. It has 30,000 person navy and 30,000 person air force with 300 fighter planes.  Plus helicopters, tanks, missiles, and anti-tank missiles.

In addition to Saudi Arabia, other participating nations include Jordan, Bahrain, Senegal, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Kuwait, the Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Chad, Tunisia, Comoro Islands, Djibouti, Malaysia, Egypt, Mauritania and Mauritius.

“North Thunder drills represent a clear message that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its brothers and friends of the participating countries stand united to confront all challenges and maintain peace and stability in the region,” the Saudi Press Agency said.  CNN

Saudi Arabia Executes 47 Including Prominent Shiite Cleric, Causing Uproar In Middle East

Update:

Saudi Arabia has cut diplomatic ties with Iran over the storming of its embassy in Tehran on Saturday.Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir demanded that the Iranian diplomatic mission and related entities leave the country within 48 hours.

He said Riyadh would not allow the Islamic Republic to undermine the Sunni kingdom’s security. rt

47 people were executed in Saudi Arabia including a leading Shiite cleric on terror charges.  Across the Gulf region Shiite Muslims have reacted with condemnation.

A prominent Shiite cleric was among the 47 prisoners executed in Saudi Arabia Saturday after they were convicted of terrorism charges.

Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was a central figure in the 2011 Arab Spring-inspired protests in Saudi Arabia. The execution has sparked condemnation from several Muslim leaders in the Middle East and could kick off new unrest among the kingdom’s Shiite minority.

Iran had already warned that the execution of al-Nimir would deepen the rift between Tehran and Riyadh. Iran said last year that al-Namir’s execution would “cost Saudi Arabia dearly,” according to Reuters.

Iranian cleric Ahmad Khatami called on the Muslim world to denounce the execution of al-Namir. He also said the Saudi ruling family would be “wiped from the pages of history.”FoxNews

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said, suppressing voices and executing opponents “would lead to nothing but more destruction,” he said in a statement expressing “intense shock” at the news.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has tweeted a tribute to al-Nimr.

iran-k