Saudi Civil Defense faces many challenges, says top official

The challenges and technical difficulties facing Civil Defense personnel and ways to overcome them were identified. (SPA)
Updated 04 April 2019

Saudi Civil Defense faces many challenges, says top official

  • The challenges required the development of a strategic plan for digital transformation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Civil Defense faces many challenges including the country’s cultural and economic growth, a top government official said Wednesday.

Lt. Gen. Sulaiman bin Abdullah Al-Amro, director general of the Kingdom’s Civil Defense, was addressing a forum in Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The event, which focused on the digital transformation of Civil Defense operations, was inaugurated by Assistant Minister of Interior for Technology Affairs Prince Bandar bin Abdullah Al-Mishari.

“The Directorate General of Civil Defense faces many challenges, including the cultural and economic growth witnessed by the Kingdom in light of its ambitious Vision 2030 (reform plan),” Al-Amro told the forum.

“To cope with the constant and rapid modernization of IT, it is necessary to implement initiatives and technical projects to provide services, systems and electronic applications to serve the administrative, financial and field work in all regions of the Kingdom.”

The challenges required the development of a strategic plan for digital transformation in line with international standards to establish a “knowledge and technology community,” he added.

The conference began with the presentation of specialized research papers tackling various IT-related topics including cybersecurity, data analysis, forecasting and infrastructure.

Brig. Gen. Mohammed bin Aed Al-Omari, director general of the IT department at Civil Defense, said the forum was part of an ambitious strategic plan to enhance and upgrade the quality of Civil Defense services through IT, and in implementing technical projects.

He said the objective of the forum was to inform delegates about the latest IT innovations in the civil defense field. He identified the challenges and technical difficulties facing Civil Defense personnel and ways to overcome them, in addition to identifying ways to coordinate between departments and ministries in the Kingdom and universities.


Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

Updated 15 sec ago

Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

  • The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen
  • ‘Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors’

BAGHDAD: Baghdad on Sunday denied any link to drone attacks on Saudi oil plants, after media speculation that the strikes were launched from Iraq despite being claimed by Yemeni rebels.
The attacks early Saturday targeted two key oil installations, causing massive fires and taking out half of the kingdom’s vast oil output.
The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war.
But the Wall Street Journal has reported that officials were investigating the possibility the attacks involved missiles launched from Iraq or Iran.
Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi on Sunday denied reports Iraqi territory “was used for drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities.”
“Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors,” he said in a statement.
“The Iraqi government will be extremely firm with whomever tries to violate the constitution.”
Iraq is home to several Iran-backed militias and paramilitary factions, placing it in an awkward situation amid rising tensions between its two main sponsors, Tehran and Washington.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo squarely accused Tehran of being behind Saturday’s operation, saying there was no evidence the “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” was launched from Yemen.
Iraq has called for its territory to be spared any spillover in the standoff between the US and Iran, which has included a series of attacks on shipping in sensitive Gulf waters.
Recent raids on bases belonging to Iraqi Shiite paramilitary groups linked with Iran, attributed to Israel, sparked fears of an escalation.
There have been no military consequences so far, but the strikes have heightened divisions between pro-Tehran and pro-Washington factions in Iraq’s political class.
Baghdad has recently moved to repair ties with Saudi Arabia, a key US ally — much to Iran’s chagrin.
Riyadh recently announced a major border post on the Iraqi frontier would reopen mid-October, after being closed for almost three decades.