Jerry Jackson

Posts Tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

Saudis ask U.S. for price quotes for warships with air and missile defenses

In Activism, Economics, Human Rights, Military, Society, World Government, World News on April 9, 2011 at 5:07 am


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Emirates of Saudi Arabia

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Last month a Saudi Web site reported that a popular cleric has issued a fatwa urging Muslims to target Israeli interests everywhere, to avenge the attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Saudi Arabia has asked the United States for prices for surface warships with integrated air and missile defenses, helicopters, patrol craft and shore infrastructure, the U.S. Navy said on Friday.

The Navy is preparing a rough cost estimate that would be delivered possibly as soon as May, Navy spokeswoman Captain Cate Mueller told Reuters.

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Saudi Arabia is the biggest U.S. arms buyer and is expected to remain so despite political upheaval in the Middle East.

The request for medium surface combat ships and the rest of the hardware was received by the Navy in July through the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation, Mueller said.

Earlier on Friday, Lockheed Martin Corp executives said the first phase of the so-called Saudi Naval Expansion Program-II could be worth e20 billion, attributing the estimate to U.S. Navy officials. The company would likely vie for any such orders.

Other likely competitors would be Australia’s Austal Ltd and General Dynamics Corp, which teamed up to build a Littoral Combat Ship for the U.S. Navy, as is Lockheed.

Paul Lemmo, a Lockheed vice president for business development, said the company would pitch a multi-mission version of its fast new coastal combat ship, perhaps fitted with Lockheed’s Aegis weapon system.

In October, the Obama administration notified Congress of a proposed arms sale to Saudi Arabia potentially worth as much as e60 billion over 15 to 20 years. It would be the largest arms deal on record if all purchases are made, including 84 Boeing F-15 fighter jets and upgrades to 70 more F-15s that the Saudis already have.

Last month a Saudi Web site reported that a popular cleric has issued a fatwa urging Muslims to target Israeli interests everywhere, to avenge the attacks on the Gaza Strip.

The site, Rasid, posts news about Saudi Arabia’s Shiite community and on Sunday said that Sheik Awadh al-Garni has issued a religious edict urging Muslims to strike anything that has a link to Israel, calling it a legitimate target for Muslims everywhere.

Al-Garni, whose is popular in the kingdom, is not a member of the official religious establishment.

Fatwas are not legally binding, and it is up to the individual Muslim to follow them.

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Why is Hillary Not Defending the Rights of Saudis to Protest?

In Activism, Human Rights, Society, World News on March 9, 2011 at 12:23 am


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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had been exhaustively in front of cameras promoting the right for people to protest in Egypt, Bahrain, Iran, and Libya.  She’s been touting the freedom to use social networking sites as a way for Arab people to organize against their oppressive regimes.  Now, the Administration is even considering arming the opposition in Libya.

Clinton’s perpetual propaganda efforts exposed her blatant hypocrisy when a silent peaceful protester was violently removed from one of her recent speeches on the very subject. However, the hypocrisy now seems to go much deeper in her deafening silence over the prospect for protests in Saudi Arabia.

After Human Rights Watch revealed that a nationwide “Day of Rage” protest had been planned in Saudi Arabia for this week, March 11th, Bloomberg reported that the Saudi government claims that demonstrations and marches are “strictly” prohibited by law.  A Saudi Interior Ministry official said protests “contradict Islamic values” and “They harm public interest, infringe on the rights of others, spread chaos and lead to bloodshed.”

This prohibition of popular dissent proves beyond a shadow of doubt that Saudi Arabia is indeed the most tyrannical authoritarian regime in the Arab world.  Yet, U.S. Administration officials have been strangely silent about supporting the people’s uprising there.

Perhaps they think the protests won’t be large enough to warrant a response.  Well, that certainly did stop their best propaganda push to stoke the puny protests in Iran, so the size or ferocity of unrest shouldn’t matter to their exploits of supposedly backing human freedom.  And one would think that given what has happened to oil prices due to the unrest in Libya and Egypt, even a minor protest in the largest oil-producing dictatorship in the world would draw more public response from the White House.

Or perhaps the Administration believes that the hastily-crafted $35 billion social aid package ordered by King Abdullah will be enough to tamp down escalating tensions in Saudi Arabia.  So far, there have only been reports of small Shiite protests in Saudi Arabia, mostly demanding the release of political prisoners held by the Sunni monarchy.

These protests would seem to be very minor in comparison to the sea of people revolting in Cairo. However, the revolutionary whispers must clearly be getting louder as the Saudi stock market plummeted 11% in just two days of wild trading to its 7-year low on fears of civil unrest.  It’s noteworthy that the plunge was reportedly led by large banks and insurers.

If Clinton is to stand by her new-found rhetoric, certainly she’ll call for restraint on the part of the Saudi government should a protest erupt, right?  And surely she’ll demand that the kings of Internet censorship in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia, will open communication channels so the people can freely unite, right?  And if push comes to shove in Saudi Arabia, she’ll definitely support arming the people’s opposition to the royal family, right?  Eh hum . . . don’t count on it.

Regardless, many analysts believe the Saudi regime is the next to fall with or without the prodding of the U.S.

 


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Oil wealth ‘must be shared’ with citizens says Soros

In Activism, Economics, Human Rights, Libya, Society, World News on March 7, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Oil wealth ‘must be shared’ with citizens says Soros

Citizens of oil producing nations must see more benefit from their country’s national resources, billionaire investor George Soros has told the BBC.

Revolts in Libya were partly the result of “revulsion against a corruption” fed by the misuse of oil money, he added.

More “transparency and accountability” was needed from other producers such as Russia and Saudi Arabia he said.

Mr Soros also predicted the Iranian regime would be overthrown in the “bloodiest of the revolutions”.

‘Rebelled’Libya produces 1.6 million barrels of oil per day and is the 17th largest producer in the world.

And Colonel Gaddafi‘s hold on power has been dependent on the billions of dollars in oil revenue that pour into the country.

Talking of the wave of governments being challenged in North Africa and the Middle East, Mr Soros said: “What has caused the revolutions is a revulsion against a corruption that is fed by the misuse of natural resources like for instance in Libya.

“Transparency and even more importantly accountability in the use of natural resources is what you need for people living in those countries to get the benefit of those national resources.

“Libya produced enormous wealth which Gaddafi took as his own and now the people rebelled against it.”

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‘Tremendous improvement’Asked whether there should be more transparency with what happened to oil incomes, Mr Soros said: “Very much so.”

And he said the US and Europe needed to more actively support the revolutions in Libya and elsewhere so that the new regimes will co-operate with the West.

“What is happening today in the Middle East is very similar to what happened in the former Soviet Union in 1989-91. But then it was a regime hostile to the West that was destroyed by the revolution,” he said.

“Now it is regimes supported by the West, so the West has to regain the allegiance of the people in those countries by actually supporting the transition to democracy.

“It’s very important that Europe and the US should be in front of the revolution rather than behind it because if they are behind it, they are going to lose the allegiance of the new regimes that are emerging and if they are properly supported they will be democratic regimes and it will be a tremendous improvement.”

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Saudi Arabia contagion triggers Gulf rout

In Economics, World News on March 7, 2011 at 1:35 am


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Fears of sectarian uprisings in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have set off the first serious wave of investor flight from the Gulf, compounding market turmoil as civil war in Libya pushes Brent crude over $116 a barrel.

Saudi Stock Tumbles

Saudi Stock Tumbles

Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul stock index has tumbled 11pc in wild trading over the past two days, led by banks and insurers. Dubai’s bourse has hit a 7-year low.
The latest sell-off was triggered by the arrest of a Shi’ite cleric in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province after he called for democratic reforms and a constitutional monarchy. The province is home to Saudi Arabia’s aggrieved Shi’ite minority and also holds the country’s vast Ghawar oilfield, placing it at the epicentre of global crude supply.
“Unrest in this region can have fatal consequences for the world,” said JBC Energy. “The plunge on the Saudi stock exchange can be interpreted as a sign of waning trust.”
In Bahrain, the island nation’s Sunni elite holds sway over a Shi’ite majority that is denied key jobs and has a token political voice, making it a trial run for Saudi Arabia’s near-identical tensions in the Eastern Province.
Bahraini dissidents have so far been much bolder, prompting a bloody crackdown last month when at least seven people were shot by the military. The ruling family – under intense pressure from Washington to stop the killings – has since held out an olive branch to protesters and let the radical Haq leader Hassan Mushaima return from exile, yet the crisis is far from contained.
My Mushaima said on Wednesday that protesters have “the right to appeal for help from Iran” if Saudi military units interfere in the struggle. Tanks were seen crossing the 17-mile causeway from Saudi Arabia to Bahrain on Tuesday.
“These were supposed to be Bahrain’s tanks returning from Kuwait: that is not a credible story,” said Firas Abi Ali, a Gulf expert at the risk group Exclusive Analysis.
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He said the outcome in Bahrain will set the template for events across the border. “There is no good outcome from this for Saudi Arabia. If Bahrain offers concessions, the Saudi Shia will demand similar concessions. If they crack down, they risk an uprising. These people do not want to live under the House of Saud,” he said.
Saudi activists have called on Facebook for a “Day of Rage” on March 11, despite the penalty of lashing for street protest. A similar call to arms in Syria fizzled because people were frightened, and the security forces nipped it in the bud. “We will be watching closely to see how many people turn up, and how far their demands go,” said Mr Abi Ali.
Saudi King Abdullah has scant leeway. His own legitimacy stems from Wahabi clerics, who refuse any compromise with the Shia. He is 87 and in poor health, raising the prospect of an imminent succession struggle that favours the hard-line interior minister Prince Nayef. He would undoubtedly crush any protests. The monarchy has sought to gain time by spending an extra $36bn (£22bn) on welfare and salaries, but patronage politics may strike the wrong note at this stage.
Whatever the hopes in the West, Mr Abi Ali said the Mid-East is now in the vortex of multiple uprisings that will create turmoil for years and destabilise oil supply for a long time. “The Arab world is not going to start behaving like the Swiss,” he said.
Libya’s slide into civil war has already cut oil shipments by 1m barrels per day (bpd), slicing into the world’s safety margin. The International Energy Agency (IEA) said the Saudis had covered the short-fall, though Saudi heavy oil is a poor substitute for Libya’s “sweet” crude. Read the rest of this entry »

People Of Earth: Prepare For Economic Disaster

In Economics, Society, World News on March 6, 2011 at 4:10 am


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Graph of annual average crude oil prices, as p...

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It is not just the United States that is headed for an economic collapse. The truth is that the entire world is heading for a massive economic meltdown and the people of earth need to be warned about the coming economic disaster that is going to sweep the globe. The current world financial system is based on debt, and there are alarming signs that the gigantic global debt bubble is getting ready to burst. In addition, global prices for the key resources that the major economies of the planet depend on are rising very rapidly. Despite all of our advanced technology, the truth is that human civilization simply cannot function without oil and food. But now the price of oil and the price of food are both increasing dramatically. So how is the current global economy supposed to keep functioning properly if it soon costs much more to ship products between continents? How are the billions of people that are just barely surviving today supposed to feed themselves if the price of food goes up another 30 or 40 percent? For decades, most of the major economies around the globe have been able to take for granted that massive amounts of cheap oil and massive amounts of cheap food will always be there. So what happens when that paradigm changes?
At last check, the price of U.S. crude was over 104 dollars a barrel and the price of Brent crude was over 115 dollars a barrel. Many analysts fear that if the crisis in Libya escalates or if the chaos in the Middle East spreads that we could see the all-time record of 147 dollars a barrel broken by the end of the year. That would be absolutely disastrous for the global economy.
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But it isn’t just the chaos in the Middle East that is driving oil prices. The truth is that oil prices have been moving upwards for months. The recent revolutions in the Middle East have only accelerated the trend.
Let’s just hope that the “day of rage” being called for in Saudi Arabia later this month does not turn into a full-blown revolution like we have seen in other Middle Eastern countries. The Saudis keep a pretty tight grip on their people, but at this point anything is possible. A true revolution in Saudi Arabia would send oil prices into unprecedented territory very quickly.
But even without all of the trouble in the Middle East the world was already heading for an oil crunch. The global demand for oil is rising at a very vigorous pace. For example, last year Chinese demand for oil increased by almost 1 million barrels per day. That is absolutely staggering. The Chinese are now buying more new cars every year than Americans are, and so Chinese demand for oil is only going to continue to increase.Much could be done to increase the global supply of oil, but so far our politicians and the major oil company executives are sitting on their hands. They seem to like the increasing oil prices.
So for now it looks like oil prices will continue to rise and this is going to result in much higher prices at the gas pump.
Already, ABC News is reporting that regular unleaded gasoline is going for $5.29 a gallon at one gas station in Orlando, Florida.
The U.S. economy in particular is vulnerable to rising oil prices because our entire economic system is designed around cheap gasoline. If the price of gas goes up to 5 or 6 dollars a gallon and it stays there it is going to have a catastrophic effect on the U.S. economy.
Just remember what happened back in 2008. The price of oil hit an all-time high of $147 a barrel and then a few months later the entire financial system had a major meltdown.
Well, as the price of oil rises it is going to create a whole lot of imbalances in the global financial system once again.
This is definitely a situation that we should all be watching.
But it is not just the price of oil that could cause a global economic disaster.
The global price of food could potentially be even more concerning. As you read this, there are about 3 billion people around the globe that live on the equivalent of 2 dollars a day or less. Those people cannot afford for food prices to go up much. Read the rest of this entry »

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