Women driving takes a new turn: Activists advised to undergo counseling

Updated 05 December 2014
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Women driving takes a new turn: Activists advised to undergo counseling

There has been mixed reaction to the attempt by a Saudi woman to drive home across the border from the UAE, with some urging a less confrontational manner to highlight the issue.
Lojane Al-Hadhlul has a driver's license issued in the UAE. Saudi border control officers stopped her from entering Saudi territory in her car on the Saudi-UAE border on Monday.
Al-Hadhlul had posted photographs and video clips of her driving on her Twitter account. In one of her tweets, she stated: “Now I'm 10 minutes drive from the Saudi border. While I have a Saudi passport, I carry a UAE driver's license that is valid in all GCC countries.”
Chief of the Hadhlul clan, Abdul Rahman Al-Hadhlul, deputy chairman of the Riyadh Charity Society for the Memorization of the Holy Qur'an, said the women's driving campaign is part of a Western anti-Saudi initiative.
“Any conservative society committed to its values will stand up against these Western attacks with the help of its wise sons especially when the campaigns violate the country's rules,” he said.
He said he supports counseling for women driving activists so that they change their attitude.
Their current behavior undermines the unity of the country and incites sedition, he said.
Several women have taken to Twitter to express their views on the incident but appear divided on the manner in which Al-Hadhlul raised the issue. Many support the idea of women driving.
Hana Al-Amri said Al-Hadhlul was making a bold attempt to highlight the issue, but said it would not work in the Kingdom where only the government could change the status quo.
Alya Saeeda, a university student, said: “Society's disapproval in the Kingdom is rooted in the fear of the undesirable consequences of having women driving freely.”
She said Saudi society must be prepared for such a change, and that the negative reaction was natural because this is how people react to change. She said women should drive because they have different roles to play compared to the past.
Salimah Ali said change cannot take place overnight and called on women not to adopt a confrontational approach. They should attempt to work with the authorities to bring about change.
The Interior Ministry has commented several times on the ban order issued in 1990, which clearly states that women are not permitted to drive in the Kingdom.


Saudi defense partnerships signed at Paris Air Show

Updated 20 June 2019
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Saudi defense partnerships signed at Paris Air Show

PARIS: Saudi defense chiefs signed a number of strategic partnerships with major global companies while taking part in the prestigious Paris Air Show.
The pavilion of the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) company received a succession of key aerospace-industry figures during the Kingdom’s first exhibition appearance at the world’s largest aviation event.
High-profile visitors welcomed by SAMI chief executive offer, Andreas Schwer, included chairman of the SAMI board of directors, Ahmad Al-Khatib, deputy chairman of the SAMI board of directors and chairman of the board of directors of the Local Content and Government Procurement Commission, Dr. Ghassan Al-Shibl, and president of the General Authority for Civil Aviation, Abdulhadi bin Ahmed Al-Mansouri.
The pavilion also received a senior delegation from the Saudi Presidency of State Security, along with the director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser.
During the second day of the air show, which runs until June 23 at Le Bourget airport in Paris, SAMI officials took part in meetings and signed strategic partnerships with global businesses involved in the four areas of the company’s work, namely air and ground systems, weapons, missiles and defense electronics.
At a signing ceremony in the SAMI pavilion, company chiefs also put pen to paper on a joint project agreement with US aerospace and defense company L3 Technologies for cooperation in the field of electro-optical and infra-red technology and special task systems inside Saudi Arabia. In February, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding establishing the joint project.