US says nearly $110 billion worth of military deals inked with Kingdom

A file photo taken on January 1, 2013 shows jet fighters of the Saudi Royal air force performing during the graduation ceremony of the 83rd batch of King Faisal Air Academy (KFAA) students at the Riyadh military airport, in the Saudi capital. (AFP)
Updated 21 May 2017
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US says nearly $110 billion worth of military deals inked with Kingdom

WASHINGTON: The US on Saturday announced military deals worth nearly $110 billion with Saudi Arabia, during a visit by President Donald Trump to Riyadh.
The move was billed as “a significant expansion of the more than seven-decade long security relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia,” according to a US State Department statement.
Trump and Secretary Tillerson attended a signing ceremony for almost $110 billion worth of defense capabilities to support Saudi Arabia’s defense needs.
“This package of defense equipment and services supports the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of malign Iranian influence and Iranian related threats,” the statement said.
“Additionally, it bolsters the Kingdom’s ability to provide for its own security and continue contributing to counterterrorism operations across the region, reducing the burden on US military forces.”
“This package demonstrates the United States’ commitment to our partnership with Saudi Arabia, while also expanding opportunities for American companies in the region, potentially supporting tens of thousands of new jobs in the United States.”
The intended sales fall broadly into five categories: border security and counterterrorism, maritime and coastal security, air force modernization, air and missile defense, and cybersecurity and communications upgrades. Included are offers of extensive training and support to strengthen our partnership and the Saudi armed forces.
“Collectively, they present the opportunity to significantly augment the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s capabilities to help deter regional threats and enhance its ability to protect its borders and contribute to coalition counterterrorism operations,” the statement said.

What’s in the deal
Border security and counterterrorism: Capabilities such as aerostats, tanks, artillery, counter-mortar radars, armored personnel carriers, helicopters and associated training that will enable Saudi Arabia to secure its borders against terrorist and other threats.
Maritime and coastal security: Capabilities that will enable Saudi Arabia to defend freedom of navigation and to deter and defend against maritime attacks or incursions. Systems include multi-mission surface combatant ships, helicopters, patrol boats, and associated weapons systems.
Air force modernization: Systems and training that will enable Saudi Arabia to maintain airborne surveillance, secure its airspace, and provide close air support with improved precision targeting capabilities and processes. Systems include transport, light close air support, intelligence-gathering aircraft, and continuing support for its existing platforms.
Air and missile defense: Systems such as Patriot and THAAD that will help Saudi Arabia protect itself and the region from missile or other airborne attacks.
Cybersecurity and communications: Equipment that will modernize Saudi Arabia’s command and control networks across its military to improve its overall cohesion and operational effectiveness.


Plans afoot to expand teaching of Chinese in Saudi Arabia

Updated 52 sec ago
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Plans afoot to expand teaching of Chinese in Saudi Arabia

  • Move to set up language learning in various stages of education in Saudi Arabia
RIYADH: The Ministry of Education launched the “Teaching Chinese Language in Education” workshop at the ministry’s headquarters in Riyadh on Saturday.
It was attended by the Chinese ambassador to the Kingdom, officials from the Chinese Embassy, presidents of Saudi universities and education officials in the Kingdom.
Saudi Education Minister Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh said that the inclusion of the Chinese language in the various stages of education in the Kingdom stemmed from the desire to diversify the language tools in education, based on the strategic and economic importance of the Chinese language now and in the future.
He also stressed the importance of having a clear plan to qualify a number of teachers in intensive programs for up to a year to teach Chinese for the target stages, which could include selected schools from the secondary level in different regions in the first three years.
“There is a plan for numerical expansion, based on the requirements and expansion of the intermediate educational stage,” he said. “This expansion should be accompanied by training a number of teachers in programs developed in cooperation with the Chinese side for a year and with the department of external education to qualify teachers to teach Chinese.”
King Saud University reviewed the experience of teaching the Chinese language in the workshop, indicating that it started to introduce Chinese in 2010, and has graduated 35 students so far. They are currently working in the ministries of foreign affairs, media and a number of military sectors. They were used in translation programs, accompanying Chinese delegations, and during the pilgrimage seasons.
“When we say China or the Chinese economy is expected to be the primary economy (in the world) in eight years, this means establishing a strong relationship with this economy based on the common interests of the two countries,” Al-Asheikh said.
He said that the overall strategic goal of teaching Chinese was to make it the third language parallel to English and with the same level of horizontal and vertical spread in the two education systems.
Al-Asheikh expressed his optimism about the strategic direction of increasing cooperation between the Kingdom and China as great economies and civilizations.