King Salman approves hosting of US troops in Saudi Arabia to enhance regional security

King Salman approves hosting of US troops in Saudi Arabia to enhance regional security
King Salman. (SPA photo)
Updated 20 July 2019

King Salman approves hosting of US troops in Saudi Arabia to enhance regional security

King Salman approves hosting of US troops in Saudi Arabia to enhance regional security
  • US Defense Department says it would deploy troops and resources to Saudi Arabia to “provide an additional deterrent” in the face of “emergent, credible threats”
  • The gesture comes amid rising tensions between Washington and Tehran in the Gulf that have impacted global oil markets

JEDDAH/WASHINGTON: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman approved hosting US forces in the Kingdom to boost regional security and stability, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday.

The ministry tweeted that Saudi Arabia and the United States are "strengthen(ing) their longstanding partnership in (the) face of regional threats."

 

In Washington, the US Defense Department confirmed the move in a statement, saying it would deploy troops and resources to Saudi Arabia to “provide an additional deterrent” in the face of “emergent, credible threats.”

The gesture comes amid rising tensions between Washington and Tehran in the Gulf that have impacted global oil markets.

With Iranian military threats in mind, the US is sending American forces, including fighter aircraft, air defense missiles and likely more than 500 troops, to a Saudi air base that became a hub of American air power in the Middle East in the 1990s.

Senior American defense officials said some US troops and Patriot air defense missile systems have already arrived at Prince Sultan Air Base, south of Riyadh, where the troops have been preparing for the arrival of aircraft later this summer as well as additional troops. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to provide details not publicly announced.

The agreement has been in the works for many weeks and is not a response specifically to Friday’s seizure by Iran of a British tanker in the Arabian Gulf.

Tensions with Iran have spiked since May when the Trump administration said it had detected increased Iranian preparations for possible attacks on US forces and interests in the Gulf area.

In a written statement Friday evening, US Central Command said the deployments to Saudi Arabia had been approved by the Pentagon.

“This movement of forces provides an additional deterrent, and ensures our ability to defend our forces and interests in the region from emergent, credible threats,” Central Command said. “This movement creates improvement of operational depth and logistical networks. US Central Command continually assesses force posture in the region and is working with Kingdom of Saudi Arabia authorities to base US assets at the appropriate locations.”

Putting US combat forces back in Saudi Arabia, after an absence of more than a decade, adds depth to the regional alignment of US military power, which is mostly in locations on the Arabian Gulf that are more vulnerable to Iranian missile attack.

In June, the Pentagon said it would deploy 1,000 troops to the Middle East but did not say where they were going.

(With AP & Reuters)


Who’s Who: Hatem Samman, head of public policy for Amazon Saudi Arabia

Who’s Who: Hatem Samman, head of public policy for Amazon Saudi Arabia
Updated 57 min 8 sec ago

Who’s Who: Hatem Samman, head of public policy for Amazon Saudi Arabia

Who’s Who: Hatem Samman, head of public policy for Amazon Saudi Arabia

Hatem Samman joined Amazon in January 2021 as head of public policy for Saudi Arabia.

His work with Saudi government agencies and key officials aims at building strong strategic socioeconomic and business relationships in the Kingdom in line with Vision 2030.

Samman previously served as a senior policy adviser at the G20 Saudi Secretariat and as chief economist and strategy adviser at the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, now the Ministry of Investment.

In an earlier role, he was director and lead economist of the Ideation Center at Booz & Company’s (now Strategy &) think tank in the Middle East.

He was also vice president of credit administration at Riyad Bank, and director of regulatory affairs and strategic planning at the Saudi Telecommunications Co.

Among several other positions he has held over the years, Samman served as a fellow at the University of Minnesota and consultant at the World Bank.

He has published several academic articles in prestigious journals including the International Journal of Applied Economics and the Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, and has written commentary for several newspapers, including the Financial Times.

He is also the co-author of numerous publications, including “How to Succeed at Education Reform: The Case for Saudi Arabia” and “the Broader GCC Region” (2008), and “Meeting the Employment Challenge in the GCC: The Need for a Holistic Strategy” (2010). Samman holds a bachelor’s degree in social science and mathematics from the University of California, San Diego, and a Ph.D. in political economy and public policy from the University of Southern California.


Arab experts discuss media handling of extremism and terrorist acts

Arab experts discuss media handling of extremism and terrorist acts
Updated 17 June 2021

Arab experts discuss media handling of extremism and terrorist acts

Arab experts discuss media handling of extremism and terrorist acts

Representatives from a variety of media sectors met on Thursday to draft a code of conduct for the media’s handling of terrorist incidents and to formulate a strategy for the reporting of issues related to extremism and terrorism.

The meeting — held at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Council of Arab Interior Ministers in Tunisia — was attended by members of information ministries and heads of the security media agencies of interior ministries from across the Arab world, as well as representatives from the Arab League, the Arab Radio and Broadcasting Union, Naif Arab University for Security Sciences, and the Saudi Broadcasting Authority.

In his opening speech, Khalid Hilal Al-Maamari, the assistant secretary-general of the Arab Interior Ministers’ Council, said the meeting highlighted the importance of the media and its role in security awareness and crime prevention. He also stressed the need to establish an effective partnership between the media arms of the security services and the news media to ensure unified efforts to protect Arab countries from any possible threats, not only in terms of security, but also at cultural, social, health and economic levels.

He added that joint cooperation between the security media and representatives of the ministries of information is the best way to achieve that goal.

 

 


Saudi Arabia’s crown prince receives message from head of Chad’s Transitional Military Council

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince receives message from head of Chad’s Transitional Military Council
Updated 17 June 2021

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince receives message from head of Chad’s Transitional Military Council

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince receives message from head of Chad’s Transitional Military Council
  • The letter dealt with relations between the two countries and ways to support and enhance them in various fields

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday received a written message from the Chairman of Chad’s Transitional Military Council, Gen. Mahamat Idriss Deby, regarding relations between the two countries and ways to support and enhance them in various fields.
The message was received on behalf of Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, by Minister of State for African Affairs Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz Kattan during a meeting with his Chadian counterpart Mahamat Zene Cherif in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
Kattan welcomed the Chadian foreign minister and his accompanying delegation, and they discussed bilateral relations and ways to enhance them in various fields, in addition to exchanging views on regional and international issues of common interest, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.


Saudi Arabia reports high rates of coronavirus immunization among elderly

Saudi Arabia reports high rates of coronavirus immunization among elderly
Updated 17 June 2021

Saudi Arabia reports high rates of coronavirus immunization among elderly

Saudi Arabia reports high rates of coronavirus immunization among elderly
  • The Kingdom recorded 14 COVID-19 deaths and 1,309 new cases in past 24 hours
  • 8 mosques reopened in 4 regions after temporarily evacuating and sterilizing them after 8 people tested positive for coronavirus

RIYADH: The Ministry of Health announced on Thursday that a high COVID immunization rate had been achieved among the elderly Saudi population (60 years and above).
Immunization rates reached 98 percent in Hafr Al-Batin, 93 percent in Al-Ahsa, 93 percent in Qurayyat, 86 percent in Bisha, 83 percent in Riyadh, 80 percent in the Eastern Province, and 80 percent in Taif.
The ministry said that these percentages were achieved after vaccinating this group with at least one dose.
Since Saudi Arabia began its nationwide vaccination campaign on Dec. 17, the Ministry of Health has targeted the elderly as one of its priority groups, launching a Priority service for Saudis and expats over the age of 75 without registration, appointment or waiting.
This has been available at vaccination centers in all regions of the Kingdom.
The ministry called on everyone to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine by registering on the “Sehhaty” application, stressing that the approved vaccines in the Kingdom are effective and safe.
Meanwhile, the ministry said that three polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests can be conducted per month, according to the new protocol for COVID-19 tests in the Kingdom.
“If you have a respiratory disease, go to Tetamman clinics without booking an appointment and the doctor will assess your condition and conduct an examination for you,” the Ministry explained. “If you have recovered from the virus, you do not need an examination to prove your recovery. If you come in direct contact with a confirmed case after taking the COVID-19 vaccine, you don’t need a test.”
The Kingdom recorded 14 new COVID-19 related deaths on Thursday, raising the total number of fatalities to 7,635.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 1,309 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 470,723 people have now contracted the disease. 
Of the total number of cases, 10,879 remain active and 1,533 in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in Makkah with 388, followed by the capital Riyadh with 265, the Eastern Province with 235, Asir recorded 115, and Jazan confirmed 95 cases.
The health ministry also announced that 1,022 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 452,209.

The ministry renewed its call on the public to register to receive the vaccine, and adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
Saudi Arabia had so far conducted 20,712,598 PCR tests, with 94,921 carried out in the past 24 hours.
Testing hubs and treatment centers set up throughout the country have dealt with hundreds of thousands of people since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
Among them, Taakad (make sure) centers provide COVID-19 testing for those who show no or only mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual. Tetamman (rest assured) clinics offer treatment and advice to those with virus symptoms such as fever, loss of taste and smell, and breathing difficulties.
Appointments for both services can be made via the ministry’s Sehhaty app.
Meanwhile, 16,275,155 people in the country have received a jab against COVID-19.
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs reopened eight mosques in four regions after temporarily evacuating and sterilizing them after eight people tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of mosques closed and reopened after being sterilized to 1,596 within 131 days.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 177 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 3.85 million.


Arab coalition destroys Houthi drone launched toward southern Saudi Arabia

Arab coalition destroys Houthi drone launched toward southern Saudi Arabia
Updated 17 June 2021

Arab coalition destroys Houthi drone launched toward southern Saudi Arabia

Arab coalition destroys Houthi drone launched toward southern Saudi Arabia
  • The coalition said it destroyed a drone launched by the Iran-backed Houthis against civilians and civilian objects in Khamis Mushait

RIYADH: The Arab coalition said on Thursday it thwarted an attack launched by the Houthi militia in Yemen toward southern Saudi Arabia.
The coalition said it destroyed a “booby-trapped” drone launched by the Iran-backed group against civilians and civilian objects in Khamis Mushait, state TV reported.
“We are taking operational measures to protect civilians and from hostile attacks,” the coalition said, adding that it would continue to thwart “all hostile attempts of the Houthi militia against civilians and civilian objects.”