UN takes charity founder off Al-Qaeda list

Updated 13 February 2013
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UN takes charity founder off Al-Qaeda list

GRANTS PASS, Oregon: A Saudi Arabian government official who started an Islamic charity in the state of Oregon has been taken off a United Nations list of people subject to sanctions for ties to Al-Qaeda but remains on a similar US list.
The UN Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against Al-Qaeda removed Soliman Al-Buthe, who now is a consultant to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Municipalities, from the list Monday.
Al-Buthe still faces arrest if he returns to the United States. A federal indictment alleges he smuggled $150,000 in cash collected by Al Haramain Islamic Foundation in Ashland to Saudi Arabia in 2000 to help terrorists in Chechnya. His co-defendant, Iranian-American tree surgeon Pete Seda, is serving 33 months in prison after being convicted of conspiracy and tax fraud.
Al-Buthe’s attorney Tom Nelson said the UN action is some vindication for his client, but Al-Buthe is still trying to get off the US terrorism list.
“It all goes back to the days immediately after 9/11, when the government embarked on a crusade to find terrorists under every bed,” Nelson said. “A lot of innocent people got sucked in and harmed very significantly as a result. More and more of those cases are coming out all the time.”
Al-Buthe said in a statement that all he ever wanted was a fair chance to clear his name.
“While the Americans still refuse to disclose reasons behind their actions, the United Nations now prohibits unfair practices. It was this change that allowed me to clear my name.”
He and Al Haramain remain on the Treasury Department’s Al-Qaeda sanctions list. The foundation disbanded after the department froze its assets in 2004 for allegedly aiding terrorists in Chechnya and Albania. A federal appeals court upheld the listing, but not the assets freeze.
Nelson said Treasury has not responded to his application to be taken off the list since he filed it two years ago.
Treasury spokesman John Sullivan said people are taken off the list, but he did immediately respond to questions about whether Al-Buthe’s request to be removed had been received or why Nelson has received no response.
The reasons Al-Buthe was taken off the UN list were not given by the committee, which said in a statement only that it considered a request submitted through the committee’s ombudsperson, and the ombudsperson’s comprehensive report.
Kimberly Prost, ombudsperson for the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee, said Al-Buthe was the 21st applicant to be taken off the list, made up of more than 350 people and organizations. Two others whose cases have been reviewed were not. She said her report was confidential and she could not disclose its contents.


Italy pledges electronic warfare support to Saudi Arabia

Updated 20 April 2018
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Italy pledges electronic warfare support to Saudi Arabia

  • Saudi-Italian collaboration to develop electronic defense solutions pushed in workshop organized by the Italian Embassy, KACST and Elettronica SpA
  • Italy's Elettronica specializes in the designing and manufacturing electronic warfare equipment

RIYADH: Italy has pledged to support the Kingdom with electronic warfare and defense electronics, offering a range of state-of-the-art solutions to counter threats. 

The call for Saudi-Italian collaboration was made on Thursday at a workshop organized jointly by the Italian Embassy, the King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and Italian-based Elettronica SpA, a world leader in electronic warfare.

Italian Ambassador to the Kingdom Luca Ferrari welcomed the workshop initiative, and said: “We are working to develop a strategic partnership between our two countries, building on decades of excellent political and economic collaboration.

“Such initiatives increase mutual understanding and knowledge between Italian and Saudi counterparts and foster further opportunities for collaboration.” 

Ferrari added that the workshop is a proof of Italian industries’ and institutes’ willingness to strengthen the relationship between the two countries through working with local high-tech university centers and industries in Saudi Arabia.

He added: “The move on the part of the Italian government and our companies comes within the framework of Saudi Vision 2030, which calls for foreign partnerships to diversify the economy, cut reliance on oil and build a robust Saudi defense sector.”

The workshop, entitled “The Digital Revolution: Impacts on defense electronics, security and life,” looked at electronic warfare, cyber intelligence, the future of autonomous vehicles and implications of the digital revolution for the defense industry. 

Enzo Benigni, Elettronica’s chairman and chief executive officer, said: “Italian institutes and companies are keen to embrace the Saudi Vision 2030, and to support the growth of the defense industry and overall defense sector of the Kingdom. 

“We work in Saudi Arabia to create high-value cooperation with the Saudi armed forces and local partners with an aim to build a world-class defense sector of the Kingdom.”

Benigni said Elettronica specializes in the designing and manufacturing electronic warfare, from single stand-alone equipment to complete integrated systems, for naval, airborne and ground applications as well as for space and homeland security.