Recent developments in the region are shaping up the relationship between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Russia. The fluid geopolitical situation has led to a breakthrough in the shape and depth of the GCC-Russia ties that have remained inactive for a considerable period.
Moscow had distanced itself from the Gulf region for some reasons. Following the fall of the former Soviet Union, Moscow recoiled from the region and had adopted a policy of isolation. Perhaps it saw the Gulf region falling in the US engagement zones.
On the other hand, the Gulf region was out of the Moscow’s geostrategic importance as its favorite classic locations were in the Balkans and the Caucasus region that has Russian ethnic and cultural extensions.
The new developments in the region, including the so-called Arab Spring, US-Iran nuclear deal, Washington’s gradual withdrawal from the Middle East and the Russian involvement in Syria gave some assurances to the GCC officials that Moscow could play a key role in the resolution of the Syrian crisis.
In fact, the bloody Syrian issue has overshadowed the flexibility of GCC-Russian relations, as the Russians want to protect their interests in Syria from Iranian interests.
Russia is, undoubtedly, responsible for Assad’s survival because they see him as a guarantor of its interests. Had Russia not propped up Syrian regime, Assad would have been history by now.
For Russia, Syria represents a frontier line of the NATO countries where Turkey is there and, at the same time, it considers it a chance to curb activities of the armed Islamic movements before they expand into the Central Asian Muslim countries.
Moscow seeks guarantees for the protection of its interests in Syria.
— By Aiman Al-Hammad
Localization of telecom sector
Four ministries are set to launch Kingdom-wide inspections to ensure localization of mobile sales and maintenance by 50 percent by the first of Ramadan, and 100 percent in the following three months.
The major objective of the campaign is to find job opportunities for male and female Saudis in the telecom sector. The campaign is also meant to safeguard this profession for its security, social and economic importance and, additionally, to curb business cover-up practices.
Young Saudis have the right to find appropriate environment to work. The positive factor in this context is that there is coordination between relevant ministries to implement the decision. However, there is a doubt that the decision will realize the objectives.
Based on a survey conducted by the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC), 58 percent of the interviewees said they were not planning to launch projects in mobile maintenance after their graduation while 42 percent said they planned to launch their own business in this area.
It seems that there is a tremendous disparity between the rampant desire of the concerned ministries for localization and trends among the youth.
— By Abu Lujain Ibrahim Al Dahman
The video on social media showing a Saudi dentist burning his certificate in front of the Ministry of Civil Services should be taken very seriously. This problem should be dealt with effectively before it snowballs into a crisis.
The scenario of unemployed doctors and scarcity of jobs in the health sector is not new. We have read many reports about unemployed doctors who are forced to take up different profession like cab driving etc. to make their ends meet.
We believe that the solution of this problem hinges on three ministries: Health, Labor and Education.
At the level of the Ministry of Health, the dentistry sector is suffering from negligence in terms of provision of dentistry clinics or centers in tandem with the needs of growing population or provision of dentists and technicians to serve citizens and, therefore, to employ the biggest number of job seekers.
For its part, the Ministry of Labor could oblige private hospitals and clinics employ Saudi dentists as it did with private schools in employing Saudi male and female teachers. Here, the Ministry of Labor may stop issuance of new work visa for foreign dentists unless the required Saudization goal is met, which should not be less than 50 percent.
On the other hand, the Ministry of Education has a key role to play in planning and supervising the educational outputs. There are more than 20 dentistry colleges in the Kingdom, which are exceeding needs of the country. Therefore, their number has to be reconsidered.
But the most important thing in this context is the poor quality of graduates of some dentistry colleges, which is to be redressed before it develops into an uncontrolled situation.
— By Firras Alim
Sewerage network in Jeddah
It seems that there is no solution in sight for the problem of sewage in Jeddah and no one exactly knows the volume of accomplished works on sewerage projects or that part which has been faltered.
Every official gives conflicting statements and promises but reality on the ground presents an entirely different picture.
The yellow suction trucks are still roaming the city day and night. Jeddah streets are inundated with sewage. We desperately need a proper sewerage network before the situation gets out of control.
According to estimates, the existing sewerage network only covers 26 percent of Jeddah’s urban area.
A number of promises at different dates were made by different officials related to water and sewage issues to cover the whole city none of them have so far been materialized.
Two years ago, an environment expert warned that 85 percent of environmental problems in Jeddah originated from the sewage problem.
— By Bakheet Tali Al-Zahrani
The spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Maj-Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, has announced a decline of crime rates in the Kingdom by 0.6 percent last year.
According to figures provided by the ministry’s spokesman, assaults on people topped other crimes, followed by financial frauds and cyber crimes.
The highest rates of criminals fall within the age group of 19-36 years. On the other hand, the number of cybercrimes exceeded 3,000 that included sales of weapons and munitions electronically, child pornography, human trafficking, insults and slandering.
Every day, many messages are sent to us through e-mails or mobile phones telling that the account holder has won a prize or a financial reward. These methods are forms of deceit, impersonation, spying, sending viruses, or promotion of banned products or services which should be reported immediately.
In this context, a senior officer at the Public Security said the disclosure of the above data on crimes in the Kingdom was aimed at protecting any person residing in the Kingdom against any abuse and, same time, any person within the Kingdom will be liable to law if he (she) misuses the Internet in non-permissible way.
— By Ibrahim Mohammed Badawood
Traffic department spokesman Lt.Col. Tariq Al-Ribaian said that traffic corps managed to detect 3,597 traffic violations using mobile phones through the “Bashir” application.
In fact, we need to activate mechanisms to contain traffic violations because there is a widespread indifference among different categories of motorists, be they citizens or residents.
At Riyadh Traffic Department, there is a command and control center, which can monitor vehicles with their plates in most roads of Riyadh city.
The center is, undoubtedly, a big project, which can firmly contain traffic chaos and irregularities occurring in our streets. Now, we are in a position to be optimistic more than ever for two reasons: There is an effective step to track down traffic violations electronically and, secondly, the center has become more prepared to expand its missions more efficiently.
We hope that the command and control center will activate its role in detecting traffic violations and not limit its role in monitoring traffic accidents.
In this context, citizens could be called to join hands with traffic authorities in tracking traffic offences through the application of “all of us are security men” program.
We hope all of men and women install the program in our mobile phones and use it to help traffic cops make our roads become safe.
— By Khalid Al-Suhail