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Saudi Press Roundup

Countering cyberattacks

The potential damage on the Kingdom’s technical infrastructure is not less than the damage inflicted by any traditional weapon or aggression.
According to the Saudi National Center for Cyber Security (NCCS), last week the Kingdom was exposed to a fierce electronic attack from an unidentified foreign source. Two sectors were the major targets of the attack: Banks and information, the NCCS said.
Likewise, Elm Information Security Company, which is undertaking projects in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior, said it has foiled the technical attack against the Kingdom.
King Saud University sent text messages to its teaching staff warning them of taking cautions in dealing with their e-mails. The Kingdom has experienced many cyberattacks. The most dangerous were those targeting Saudi Aramco and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which disrupted 30,000 desktop computers in Saudi Aramco and stole hundreds of documents of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which were known at the time as “Saudi Wikileaks.”
The impact of cyberattacks on Saudi Arabia could go beyond the Kingdom and harm the interests of other countries. Therefore, cyberattacks should be dealt with in a political manner through the imposition of laws, measures and strict penalties against any entity proved to be the source of such attacks.
Despite the difficulty of placing effective checks and balances on the Internet, strict penalties and laws will help minimize cyberattacks.

— By Aiman Al-Hammad


Illegal businesses

In the past few years, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development and the concerned parties exerted enormous efforts to track down violators of work and residence regulations.
Similarly, the government issued many notices to illegal expatriate workers to correct their status to eliminate all forms of cover-up businesses, which has crippled the national economy. It has become clear that the cover-up businesses have adversely affected the economy and have created a variety of economic and security issues.
The illegal workers have managed to exploit citizens, circumvent the rules and regulations related to labor market and establish monopoly over key sectors that caused serious damage to owners of licensed stores that are compliant to applicable commercial laws and systems.
In this context, I would like to suggest the creation of an electronic platform to monitor any possible violations related to labor and residence regulations. Through this platform, certain government agencies may post violations while other government agencies will read them and act accordingly.
The inspection process could be jointly carried out by different government ministries and agencies such as the ministries of interior, labor, commerce, municipalities and passport department etc. Through the proposed platform, the above agencies and ministries could work in an orderly way and save time and efforts and, therefore, could cleanse markets of illegal workers and remove fake commercial registers, which were issued for illegal practices.

— By Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Shinaibir


Politicizing Haj

The Iranian leaders not only want to have Haj politicized but they also want it militarized. It is no longer secret that most of the Iranian pilgrims are members of the Iranian military or the Revolutionary Guard.
When the Iranian pilgrims visit the Kingdom to perform the Haj pilgrimage, they don’t observe what Almighty Allah has ordered them to do. This annual event is supposed to reflect the spirit of Muslim unity and brotherhood. Every Muslim is supposed to maintain peace and harmony in the holy land particularly during these days. Unfortunately, the Iranian pilgrims always create trouble during Haj.
During the annual Haj pilgrimage, Muslims vow to follow the orders of Allah and to refrain from anti-social and political activities. Sadly, Iranian pilgrims violate rules of Haj by organizing protest demonstrations, which sometimes hamper the smooth flow of pilgrims and create obstructions in their performing different rituals.
The Saudi foreign ministry has repeatedly said that Iranian pilgrims are most welcome and that any Muslim, whoever wants to perform Haj rituals, will not be banned from performing those rituals.
On the other hand, the Iranian officials plan to spread lies in the next few days saying that the Saudis have imposed a ban on Iranian pilgrims and are preventing them from visiting Makkah, in an attempt to mislead their people and to stoke sectarian unrest in the Muslim world.
The question here is: Why the Iranians started raising unnecessary hue and cry every year before Haj? Why is it only Iran that has problems with the pettiest of the issue and other countries like Pakistan, Indonesia and Egypt, which send huge number of pilgrims don’t raise any issue?
The answer is simple: Pilgrims of other Muslim countries are only interested in performing Haj rituals with peace of mind while the “militarized” Iranian pilgrims want to destabilize the annual event of great religious importance.

— By Ghanim Al-Hamar


Summer vacation

The upcoming summer vacation will be the longest (120 days) in the history of the Kingdom. A million-dollar question is: Has the education ministry made any arrangements to make these vacations productive for students?
I would like to suggest the following programs:
The Ministry of Education and other relevant agencies can organize scientific competitions between youths of different regions and provinces.
They may organize in-land tourist journeys so that the students get first-hand information on tourist destinations in the Kingdom.
On the other hand, school playgrounds within districts could be opened where students may practice sports instead of wandering in streets aimlessly.
The ministry officials may think about the organization of sports competitions between schools of different provinces and cities, or organization of Holy Qur’an memorization contests with token prizes.
They can also propose training of youths in voluntary works and serving of pilgrims. The ministry officials have also an option of organizing competitions of book reading, summarization and critique in the presence of a jury to assess their works. To promote their technical potentials, youths may have training on some technical works that will support their future careers.
In the same manner, some forums and meetings could be arranged with traders, businessmen and contractors to give youths an idea on how they could establish their businesses and careers.
The ministry officials may revive summer centers to provide youths with all activities in order to achieve their aspirations in a healthy and joyful environment.

— By Abdullah Mohammed Hariri


Traffic accident victims

We are witnessing a hike in the number of road accidents in the Kingdom, which is a matter of great concern. The traffic authorities have so far failed to address the issue effectively.
In a workshop that brought together heads of traffic accidents in traffic departments across the Kingdom, the discussion focused on the unification of traffic procedures, but the attendees did not talk about means to minimize accidents.
Only one point referred to fixing “black points” in streets where traffic accidents repeatedly occur. In reality, traffic departments and community are aware of the seriousness of traffic accidents, but traffic systems are still inactive to put an end to traffic problems while some government agencies seem indifferent to cooperate with traffic departments.
We need to prosecute those who violate traffic rules like jumping the red light or moving in the wrong direction. Such actions not only threaten the violators’ lives but also put other lives at risk. Such drivers should be punished and their cars should be confiscated immediately.
We need one full year not only to launch an awareness campaign but also to fight a fierce war against those who do not respect traffic laws.
If our brave security men have succeeded in eradicating terrorism, we are sure that our fight against reckless drivers will also yield results.
We have to understand that the number of traffic victims is on the rise in the Kingdom, which necessitates formation of a comprehensive strategy to tackle the situation and streamline our road traffic.

— By Khalid Al-Suhail


Twitter and decision-making

Saudi citizens are reportedly among the top users of Twitter globally, which is remarkably reflected in the Saudi decision-making process.
The Saudi government, represented by its service bodies, responds to complaints and remarks of citizens, especially to issues requiring urgent intervention such as treatment of patients or helping an abused child. The state, and not only the government, is also responsive to Twitter, which means it is close to the people and their concerns. One of the striking examples in this context is the assignment of an investigation team to verify circumstances of employment contract after early retirement and its impact on financial waste, corruption and nepotism.
We believe that Twitter is pushing the reality and not the opposite and the proof is that tweets in TV News bulletins or newspapers have become the major driving force behind various decisions. However, the public is more active in using Twitter whereas participation of government agencies is poor because media organs of government agencies are directed to serve activities of ministers and his men.
Media organs are supposed to spread information serving the interests of citizens.

—By Fatma Al-Otaibi