Bin Laden ‘deliberately’ wanted to tarnish Saudi-US relations: Western intelligence

Osama Bin Laden, the world’s former most wanted man for terrorism charges. (File photo: AP)
Updated 04 August 2018
0

Bin Laden ‘deliberately’ wanted to tarnish Saudi-US relations: Western intelligence

  • ‘There is no doubt that he deliberately chose Saudi citizens for the 9/11 plot’
  • Bin Laden developed a political attitude in 1990 when he wanted to evict communists from Yemen

DUBAI: Osama Bin Laden, the world’s former most wanted man for terrorism charges, was set on using Saudi citizens to destroy relations between the west and the east, according to officials in Riyadh, London and Washington DC.

“There is no doubt that he deliberately chose Saudi citizens for the 9/11 plot,” a British intelligence officer told British daily the Guardian.  

The intelligence officer said that Bin Laden “was convinced” that he was going to turn the west against Saudi Arabia.

The former head of Saudi intelligence between 1977 and September 1, 2001, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, also said his intelligence agency knew that something “spectacular” was about to happen to the Americans, British, French and Arabs just months before 9/11, the report said.

According to the prince, the Al-Qaeda leader had developed a political attitude in 1990 when he wanted to evict the communists from South Yemen. This happened after Bin Laden travelled to Afghanistan to fight the Soviet occupation.

However, according to Bin Laden’s mother, Alia Ghanem, he was a shy boy who was academically capable and only became radicalised in his early 20s while studying in university.

Speaking for the first time, she told the Guardian that he was brainwashed at university.

While at university, Bin Laden met Abdullah Azzam who was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Azzam became Bin Laden’s spiritual adviser after he exiled from Saudi Arabia.

Since the 9/11 attack in 2001, Bin Laden has been a major target of the US with a $25 million bounty on his head. He was killed in May, 2011, inside a private residential compound in Pakistan during a covert US operation.


Saudi Arabia’s up-and-coming energy park set to transform KSA into a global industrial powerhouse

Situated in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, between Dammam and Al-Ahsa, the project will be developed in three phases. (Supplied)
Updated 12 December 2018
0

Saudi Arabia’s up-and-coming energy park set to transform KSA into a global industrial powerhouse

  • The first phase is scheduled for completion by 2021
  • SPARK will localize more than 300 new industrial services and facilities and will have specialized training centers to cater to the huge influx of manpower

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is fast catching up with the world’s ever-growing energy and technology scene ahead of 2030. In fact, the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) may soon prove a global destination for energy industry investors.

The new energy city mega-project is being developed by Saudi Aramco, which received authoritization to embark on the initiative in the summer, and is operated, managed and maintained in partnership with the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones (MODON). 

With projections that the megacity will create more than 100,000 jobs, it is considered one of the most up-and-coming energy parks in the world.

SPARK will localize more than 300 new industrial services and facilities and will have specialized training centers to cater to the huge influx of manpower.

Situated in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, between Dammam and Al-Ahsa, the project will be developed in three phases. 

The first phase is scheduled for completion by 2021, while the final phase of the project is set for completion in 2035. With all this on track, the 50-square-kilometer project is poised to be a magnet for foreign and domestic investment. 

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) on Monday. (SPA)

What’s more, Aramco’s espousal of SPARK will also help businesses indulge in technological development, manufacturing and exports channels and build a world-class energy supply chain. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) on Monday.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Energy Minister and Aramco Chairman Khalid Al-Falih declared SPARK a special economic zone (SEZ) in which businesses can enjoy exclusive benefits. 

“We are looking forward to collaborating with our first anchor partners at SPARK,” said Saudi Aramco President and CEO, Amin Nasser.

SPARK has already attracted investment from foreign and local companies to produce and manufacture goods and services. The first phase of the project is expected to cost about $1.6 billion. 

The park is set to attract industrial investors in the water, power, petrochemical and wastewater sectors, among others. 

Facilities at SPARK will also help investors bridge gaps in local production back home, increasing competition in the long run. 

“This energy city is exciting because it brings together a multitude of businesses,” Mark McCollum, president and CEO of Weatherford Corp, told SPARK.

“We firmly believe that collaboration and cooperation among service companies and individual providers to the energy sector is vital in breaking new ground.”

The King Salman Energy Park is also set to promote small and medium-sized enterprises. With focus on energy production, it also provides opportunities for investment in residential and commercial real estate projects.

Nasser said that the “King Salman Energy Park will spur a new era of growth for one of the Kingdom’s already thriving sectors. What’s more, it will serve as a central gateway to the region’s economies since Aramco is at the heart of the global oil and gas industry.”