Ships of the desert take center stage in Riyadh

Participants are paraded on Wednesday in the third edition of the King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival. (SPA)
Updated 15 March 2019

Ships of the desert take center stage in Riyadh

  • Some 10,762 camels are participating in the camel beauty contest, the main feature of the festival
  • To guard against cheats, a medical committee of veterinarians and administrators is constantly checking up on the camels

JEDDAH: The third edition of the King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival is underway until March 20, organized by the Saudi Camel Club in Al-Sayahid, an area outside Riyadh. 

The festival has been attracting people nationally and internationally, including Omani Ambassador Dr. Ahmed bin Hilal Al-Busaidi and Danish Ambassador Ole Moesby.

The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has recorded 10,762 camels as participating.

For the first time at the festival, the Original Camel Beauty Contest will be held on Friday. Most of the contestants are from Saudi Arabia (314 out of 472), with 143 from the UAE, six from Kuwait and three from Bahrain. 

A medical committee of nine veterinarians and administrators is constantly checking up on the camels. 

Twenty cases of cheating have been identified, 18 of which involved injecting them to widen their lower lip.

The festival includes the Saudi Camel Village, which has organized the “World of Nomads” event, showcasing the histories and cultures of nomadic peoples from more than 75 countries.


Nomadic culture

The “Cinema Stan” hall will screen more than 90 short films highlighting man’s relationship with nature, and mythological figures associated with nomadic culture.

The hall, which seats more than 300 people, will provide Arabic subtitles. Visitors can watch 20 short films every day from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The festival also includes a commercial area, a desert park, and a village center where activities, entertainment, cultural events, traditional food and handicrafts are available. 

The village is receiving large numbers of visitors, welcoming them from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

On the sidelines of the festival, the Camel Museum is exhibiting the animal’s history in Islamic and Arab countries.

The museum includes an overview of camel breeds, as well as paintings and drawings made of the animal’s hair

“We’re receiving 4,000-5,000 visitors on weekdays and 7,000-8,000 on weekends, so there are many people coming,” Bandar Al-Rashid, head of media and communication at the festival, told Arab News. “We’re taking measures to ensure that the camels at the festival are the best of their kind.”

Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco facilities act of terror: Japanese defense minister

Updated 16 September 2019

Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco facilities act of terror: Japanese defense minister

TOKYO: Taro Kono, the defense minister of Japan, said that threats to his country’s oil supply was the “most worrying scenario” he could imagine in international relations, in the wake of attacks on Saudi Arabian oil production facilities. 

“The most pessimistic scenario right now is that something happens in the Straits of Hormuz and the oil supply gets cut down, and that would send a shock wave through the global economy. I think the price of oil is already rising after this attack on Saudi facilities, so that’s the most worrying scenario right now,” he told a conference in Tokyo, Japan.

However, speaking on the sidelines to Arab News, he insisted that Saudi Arabia would remain a reliable partner of Japan - which imports around 40 per cent of its crude from the Kingdom - and downplayed concerns about long-term supply problems.

“Saudi has been and will be an important source of our energy supply. We have international co-ordination, and we have reserves, so we are not really worried about that,” he said. 

Kono, who was until recently Japan’s foreign minister, said that his country would be seeking to promote diplomatic solutions to the latest Middle East conflagration. "We definitely need to ease the tension between those countries. As Foreign Minister, the last thing I was doing was calling the Iranian Foreign Minister and the French Foreign Minister to ease the tension the region through diplomatic actions, and I think it's important to continue doing it.

“This Houthi attack on Saudi is a little different, because it's a terrorist attack. I think we may require some kind of military operation against those drone attacks, and that's something out of Japan's constitutional boundary. I think Japan will be focusing on diplomatic efforts in easing tension in the region.”

He raised concerns about the apparent lack of sophistication in the recent attacks. “If it is really drones, that is a lot cheaper than any form of conventional missile,” he said.