Edge in e-warfare gives lead on adversaries: Saudi top brass

KACST President Prince Dr. Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed Al-Saud takes a tour of the exhibition following the inauguration of the Fifth Electronic Warfare Conference in Riyadh on Tuesday. (AN photo)
Updated 13 December 2017

Edge in e-warfare gives lead on adversaries: Saudi top brass

RIYADH: Experts discussed the latest trends in electronic warfare and ways to counter those threats at the Fifth Electronic Warfare Conference at the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) in Riyadh on Tuesday.
The two-day conference, jointly organized by the KACST and the Ministry of Defense, was inaugurated by KACST President Prince Dr. Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed Al-Saudi. The inaugural ceremony was attended by the head of the general staff, Gen. Abdul Rahman Al-Bunyan, and other prominent civilian and security officials.
Air Marshal Philip Sturley, a former senior commander in the Royal Air Force, chaired the first session of the event.
He said Saudi Arabia has a proud history in electronic warfare and radar technology.
Sturley said that it is important to localize the capabilities and human resources to keep up the pace with the advancements in the field of electronic warfare. In this regard, he added, Saudi Arabia is taking all necessary measures.
Sturley, who has held a wide range of staff posts including joint combined and NATO appointments, said that developing indigenous capabilities with foreign expertise will go a long way in achieving the Kingdom’s targets as set in the Vision 2030 plan.
The KACST president pointed out that rapid technological advances in protecting military systems, communications and information led to the emergence of extraordinary threats to radar and electronic warfare systems. In this context, he said the conference is being held to enable professionals to learn about the latest developments in this field.
Following the inauguration of the conference, Prince Dr. Turki also opened an exhibition to showcase the features and products of electronic warfare.
He said that at the exhibition, visitors witnessed the inauguration of the Saudi Defense Electronics Co. (SADEC), which was established in accordance with the agreement signed in 2015 between the Defense and Security Technology (DST), subsidiary of the Saudi Technology Development and Investment Co. (TAQNIA), which is owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Turkish company Aselsan.
Gen. Al-Bunyan said that the ever-increasing use of electronic warfare in contemporary warfare is a strong indicator of the important role it will play in any future conflict.
“Possessing advanced technologies in the field of e-war deliver advantages and lead on adversaries,” he said.
Dr. Sultan Almorqi, director of the National Center for Sensors and Defense Systems Technologies, said the conference will run on two themes: The first deals with future trends in electronic warfare and radar technology, while the second one is about current military and civilian operations and application of electronic warfare and radar technology.


New Saudi rules on hookah leave businesses, consumers confused

Arab News visited different restaurants in the town and found a few serving hookahs. (AP/File)
Updated 17 min 50 sec ago

New Saudi rules on hookah leave businesses, consumers confused

  • Manal Jafar: Everywhere in our city is polluted with smoke, you can hardly find a restaurant where you can safely take your kids

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Rural and Municipal Affairs has imposed new regulations on restaurants and cafes serving hookah. Although many were disappointed following the announcement to allow hookah inside cities, businesses were shocked to know about the fees imposed on them. Nonsmokers have also raised their concerns after they realized that bills will rise by 100 percent if they visit a restaurant that serves hookah.
Arab News visited different restaurants in the town and found a few serving hookahs. Some said that they will still serve it, but will not charge customers any extra fees.
Meanwhile, a trending hashtag in Saudi Arabia addressed the issue of fees on tobacco, with some customers sharing their bills online.
Michel Abou Assaly, director of operations at Shababik Restaurant in Jeddah, said that when they first found out about the new law they were surprised: “We were obliged to stop serving hookah and we had to send all our employees at the shisha department on a short leave until things became clearer.” He added they did not want their customers to pay double the price for the same product. He anticipates a 40 percent drop in sales.
“Thousands of restaurants and cafes will close down and at least 100,000 families will be affected,” Assaly said. He added that investors should ask the ministry to reconsider this law.
Halima Muthaffar, a writer, said that although she hates the smell of tobacco, she still sees this as an unfair decision. She added that it is not the right time, especially as Saudi Arabia is opening up for tourists.

FASTFACT

• The use of tobacco is expected to cost the Saudi economy SR480 billion ($128 billion) for the period 2018-2030.

• Authorities hope to reduce tobacco consumption in the Kingdom to 5 percent by 2030.

• The annual fee for the license to serve tobacco ranges from SR5,000 to SR100,000.

• Fees for licensing tobacco during events range from SR600 to SR3,000.

• 100 percent of fees are imposed on all bills of restaurants and cafes serving tobacco.

Columnist Gassan Badkook said that the authorities will reconsider the way these fees are being calculated. He said that three groups will be negatively affected: Nonsmokers, who will have to pay fees for a product they do not use, investors who might close their businesses and employees who might lose their jobs.
Manal Jafar said she agrees with the fees: “A restaurant should serve food only. Everywhere in our city is polluted with smoke, you can hardly find a restaurant where you can safely take your kids.”
Mohammad bin Hamad said he rarely goes to a restaurant with his family, but they never ask for hookah. “Why should I pay 100 percent fees on top of my bill? We should wait for a few months, many restaurants will stop offering hookah because they will lose so many customers.”