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Friday, November 10, 2017 • Safar 21, 1439 A.H. • 2 Riyals • Vol. XLII • No. 340 • 20 Pages •
Saudi women scaling new heights, says
Kingdom’s first female to climb Everest
SPECIAL TO ARAB NEWS
MARK LOMAS
DUBAI: The decision to allow
women into sports stadiums will
inspire a generation of Saudi
women, according to Raha
Moharrak, the youngest Arab and
first Saudi woman to conquer
Mount Everest.
The decree allowing females
across the Kingdom into sports
arenas was made last month,
meaning from the start of 2018
women will be able to watch their
sporting heroes live in action.
And 30-year-old Moharrak, who
reached the summit of the world’s
highest mountain in February
2013, told Arab News that the deci-
sion will further help break down
barriers and get more women
active and into sport.
“I get goosebumps when I see a
live sporting event and it’s some-
thing I have always wished my
fellow countrywomen could get to
experience,” she said.
“I’m so happy that they will be
able to taste the magic that is in
the air when you see sport live for
the first time. There is that vibe
you get, that feeling — it touches
you and it can often be what
inspires you to be an athlete.
“The fact that girls could never
previously go and watch sports
meant they lost that connection,
they lost that first moment of
inspiration.”
Full interview — Page 16
Raha Moharrak
PMU forces, not
Syrian regime,
liberated Bukamal,
says top monitor
arab news staff
SYED TAUSIEF AUSAF
JEDDAH: Daesh has been expelled
from the Syrian town of Bukamal,
the last significant town the ter-
ror group still held in its disinte-
grating “caliphate,” a top moni-
tor told Arab News on Thursday.
Rami Abdul Rahman, head of
the Syrian Observatory for Human
Rights, a Britain-based monitor of
the war, said Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi,
widely known as Popular
Mobilization Units (PMU), not the
Syrian regime forces, had taken
over the city.
The terrorists’ latest rout left
them with only the dregs of a self-
styled “state” that once spanned
huge territory in Iraq and Syria,
with surviving Daesh militants
melting away into desert hideouts.
Anti-Daesh forces stormed
into the town just across the
border from Iraq on Wednesday
and while fighting was initially
reported as fierce, the outcome
of one of Daesh’s last major
battles was never in doubt.
Abdul Rahman termed the lib-
eration of the city “the final scene
of a movie on the destruction of
Daesh in Syria.” The movie is
coming to an end now, he added.
He said Daesh fighters do not
have any arms now because they
have lost many battles recently.
Asked about the future of
US-backed Syrian Democratic
Forces (SDF), Abdul Rahman
said that 38 percent of the
Syrian territory is with the Assad
regime or the PMU, 32 percent
with the SDF or the US, and the
remaining is under Daesh.
The observatory head said the
country will ultimately be unit-
ed although it is currently divid-
ed between Russian-backed and
US-supported forces.
He said the future of Syria lies
with Moscow and Washington.
Asked how long he thinks the
war will continue, Abdul Rahman
said: “Only Allah knows.”
The Syrian regime’s army eari-
er said their armed forces units,
in cooperation with allied and
auxiliary forces, liberated the
town in Deir Ezzor province.
Abdel Rahman said that “Daesh
withdrew to desert areas in eastern
Deir Ezzor” province, where they
are likely to encounter
US-backed Kurdish-led fighters.
A senior Iraqi Army command-
er told AFP that his forces shot
dead four Daesh members who
had tried to cross into Iraq, where
the group holds the small town of
Rawa, near the border.
In a separate development, UN
humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland
told Reuters that the 400,000 civil-
ians besieged in the Syrian enclave
of Eastern Ghouta face “complete
catastrophe” because aid deliveries
are blocked and hundreds of people
need urgent medical evacuation.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait ask
citizens to leave Lebanon
Future Movement bloc vows to support any decision Al-Hariri takes
NAJIA HOUSSARI & SIRAJ WAHAB
BEIRUT/JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia on
Thursday urged its citizens to leave
Lebanon “as soon as possible.”
An official source at the Saudi Ministry of
Foreign Affairs was quoted by Saudi Press Agency
(SPA) as calling on Saudis not to travel to Lebanon.
“Due to the situation in the Republic of
Lebanon, the Kingdom asks its nationals visit-
ing or residing in Lebanon to leave as soon as
possible, and advises its citizens not to travel to
Lebanon from any other international destina-
tions,” the official source said.
Minutes later, Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry also
ordered its nationals to leave Lebanon immedi-
ately, according to a statement carried by
Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).
The Saudi and Kuwaiti positions come six
days after the sudden resignation of Prime
Minister Saad Al-Hariri. He announced his res-
ignation from Riyadh on Saturday.
Al-Hariri accused Iran and its Lebanese proxy,
Hezbollah, of “controlling the Lebanese state,” and
pointed out that he sensed that something was
being plotted covertly to target his life.
Bahrain already asked its citizens on
Sunday to avoid traveling to Lebanon and
advised those already in the country to leave
immediately for their safety.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir on
Thursday accused Hezbollah of “hijacking the
system” and putting “roadblocks in front of
Al-Hariri” at every opportunity.
In an interview to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble, he
said: “Hezbollah put roadblocks in front of every
initiative that Prime Minister Hariri tried to
implement. Hezbollah has pretty much hijacked
the Lebanese system. It has been the instrument
that Iran used to dominate Lebanon, the instru-
ment that Iran used to interfere with Syria, with
Hamas, and with the Houthis. We see Hezbollah’s
mischief all over the region. Hezbollah has been
responsible for smuggling weapons into Bahrain.
Hezbollah is involved in criminal activity, such as
drug dealing and money laundering.”
He urged the international community to take a
firm stand against Hezbollah. “We are saying that
the world has to make sure that we designate
Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. There can be
no difference between a political wing and a mili-
tant wing. The world needs to take action in terms
of curtailing Hezbollah’s activities, and the world
needs to push back against Hezbollahwherever they
operate. We cannot allow Lebanon to be a platform
from which harm comes to Saudi Arabia.”
Al-Jubeir described the Lebanese people as
innocent. “The Lebanese people have been
dominated by Hezbollah and we need to find a
way to help the Lebanese people come out
from under the thumb of Hezbollah,” he said.
“We cannot allow Lebanon to be a base from
which attacks against Saudi Arabia can take
place and we are urging the Lebanese govern-
ment in particular to take firm and resolute
action against Hezbollah.”
On possible Saudi measures against Hezbollah,
he said: “We are looking at various options and in
consultations with our friends and allies around
the world to see what is the most effective way of
dealing with the menace called Hezbollah.”
He said there was no difference in the positions
of Saudi Arabia and the US vis-a-vis Hezbollah.
“The US wants the Lebanese government to be
strong and independent; so do we. The US wants to
curtail Hezbollah’s influence in Lebanon; so do we.
TheUSwantstopushbackhardagainstHezbollah,
its terrorist activities, and its criminal activities,
and so do we. So I don’t see a difference between
the positions of our two governments,” he said.
In Riyadh, Al-Hariri met the French ambas-
sador to Saudi Arabia on Thursday, Al-Hariri’s
office said in a statement. Al-Hariri also met
diplomats from the EU, Britain and the US in
the past two days.
For detailed report, visit
SPECIAL TO ARAB NEWS
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir during an interview with American broadcaster CNBC on Thursday.
King Salman to launch 7
development and service
projects in Madinah
UK deploys rape
investigators after criticism
over Rohingya crisis
17
8
7
2
The many strands of Iran’s
antagonism to Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia out
to win against
Portugal tonight
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
writes in Opinion
Top Saudi scholar says Muslims may
pray in churches and synagogues
ARAB NEWS
JEDDAH: Abdullah bin Sulaiman Al-Manea, a
member of the Council of Senior Scholars, has
said that Islam is a religion of tolerance and
mercy, not of violence, intolerance, or terror-
ism. Al-Manea stressed that Muslims should
spread true Islam and follow the tradition of
the Prophet in his tolerant treatment of people
from different religions.
Al-Manea gave a fatwa (religious advisory
opinion), reported by Al-Anba’ Kuwaiti newspaper,
stating that Muslims may pray in Shiite or Sufi
mosques, churches or synagogues. He noted that
all lands belong to God, and cited the Prophet’s
words: “The earth has been made a place of pros-
tration and a means of purification for me.”
Al-Manea said that Islam is a religion of coex-
istence not of violence, and noted that Muslims
cannot have differences in the basic principles of
Aqidah (creed) of Islam, but they may differ in
the branches.
Concerning dealing with non-Muslims,
Al-Manea cited an occasion when the Prophet
received a delegation of Christians fromNajran in
his mosques, and he allowed them to perform
their own prayer facing Jerusalem. Al-Manea also
cited other sayings of the Prophet which reflected
his kindness and mercy with non-Muslims.
Al-Manea stressed that Islam spread in many
countries, such as Indonesia and Malaysia,
because of the good manners of Muslim mer-
chants, which attracted the citizens of these
countries to embrace Islam.
Al-Manea stated that the Prophet explained
all aspects of good and warned of everything evil.
Al-Manea called upon Muslims to be thankful to
God for the blessing of faith and warned against
rushing into giving fatwas.
The office of Al-Manea issued a statement 10
years ago stressing that Muslims are allowed to
enter churches to look around and gain more
knowledge about these places of worship. The
statement referred to the incident when Omar bin
Al-Khattab, the second Muslim Caliph, refused to
pray at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in
Jerusalem because he did not want Muslims to
bother Christians in their church. Instead, he
prayed in a nearby area, where a mosque was
built with the name Omar Mosque. Yet, Omar did
not say that Muslims cannot enter churches.
Al-Manea stressed that Muslims “may enter
churches to learn about them, and Christians are
allowed to enter mosques — except the Grand
Mosque in Makkah—and pray in them.”
KSA releases seven corruption suspects without charge
Attorney general says uncovered fraud estimated at $100 billion
ARAB NEWS
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has uncov-
ered corruption to the tune of $100
billion.
In a statement on Thursday,
Attorney General Saud Al-Mojeb said:
“The investigations of the Supreme
Anti-Corruption Committee are pro-
ceeding quickly ... The potential scale
of corrupt practices which have been
uncovered is very large.”
Based on the investigations over
the past three years, Al-Mojeb esti-
mated that “at least $100 billion
has been misused through system-
atic corruption and embezzlement
over several decades.”
He said a total of 208 individuals
have been called in for questioning
so far. Of them, “seven have been
released without charge.”
Al-Mojeb, who is also the mem-
ber of the anti-corruption commit-
tee, said the evidence for “this
wrongdoing is very strong and
confirms the original suspicions
which led the Saudi authorities to
begin the investigation into these
suspects in the first place.”
He said given the scale of the
allegations, the Saudi authorities,
under the direction of the Royal
Order issued on Nov. 4, had a clear
legal mandate to move to the next
phase of “our investigations, and
to take action to suspend personal
bank accounts.”
“On Tuesday, the governor of
the Saudi Arabian Monetary
Authority (SAMA) agreed to my
request to suspend the personal
bank accounts of persons of inter-
ests in the investigation,” he said.
Al-Mojeb admitted that there
has been a great deal of specula-
tion around the world regarding
the identities of the individuals
concerned and the details of the
charges against them.
“In order to ensure that the
individuals continue to enjoy the
full legal rights afforded to them
under Saudi law, we will not be
revealing any more personal
details at this time,” he said.
“We ask that their privacy is
respected while they continue to be
subject to our judicial process.”
He reiterated that it was impor-
tant to repeat, as all Saudi author-
ities have done over the past few
days, that normal commercial
activity in the Kingdom is not
affected by these investigations.
“Only personal bank accounts
have been suspended. Companies
and banks are free to continue with
transactions as usual,” he said.
Al-Mojeb said: “The Government
of Saudi Arabia, under the leader-
ship of King Salman and Crown
Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is
working within a clear legal and
institutional framework to main-
tain transparency and integrity in
the market.”
Abdullah bin Sulaiman Al-Manea
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