Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Athel, deputy governor of the Saudi General Authority for Military Industries

Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Athel
Updated 13 November 2019

Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Athel, deputy governor of the Saudi General Authority for Military Industries

Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Athel has been the deputy governor of the Saudi General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) since May 2019.
He was the secretary-general of the GAMI board of directors from November 2017 to October 2018 and was secretary-general and a member of the armaments contracts review committee at the Saudi Ministry of Defense, in Riyadh, between 2017 and 2019.
For more than four years, Al-Athel worked as a project director at both Saudi Arabian Military Industries and the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund.
He has also been a board member at several institutions in Bahrain including Malath Cooperative Insurance Co., the Filing and Packing Materials Manufacturing Co., and Venture Capital Bank.
Al-Athel obtained a bachelor’s degree in finance from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, in Dhahran, and a master’s degree from Smith School of Business at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada.
On Monday, GAMI confirmed that the Kingdom will increase support for scientific research from its military budget to 4 percent during the next 10 years, in order to convey technology, weapons industry and military industries in general.
Talking to Arab News, Al-Athel said that the Kingdom had the world’s third-largest budget allocated to weapons, after the US and China, and was the largest importer of arms.


US court orders Iran to pay $879 million to 1996 Khobar bombing survivors

Updated 26 min 42 sec ago

US court orders Iran to pay $879 million to 1996 Khobar bombing survivors

  • The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material for the attack
  • The Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia were housing US forces when it was bombed in 1996

DUBAI: A United States federal court held Iran responsible for the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia where US forces were housed, and ordered Tehran to pay $879 million to survivors. 

The Khobar Towers was a housing complex in the eastern city of Khobar, near the Abdulaziz Air Base and Saudi Aramco’s headquarters in Dhahran, that housed American servicemen working on Operation Southern Watch.

A truck bomb was detonated on June 25, 1996, near an eight-story building of the housing complex, which killed 19 US Air Force personnel and a Saudi national and wounded 498 others.

The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material support to Hezbollah who detonated the 5,000-pound truck bomb, a Chicago law firm press release said. The attackers reportedly smuggled the explosives used in the attack from Lebanon. 


The lawsuit was brought under the terrorism exception of the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act by the 14 injured US airmen and 21 of their immediate family members.

The defendants in the case were listed as the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

“We will continue to seek to hold the Government of Iran accountable for this terrorist attack as long as is necessary,” said Adora Sauer, the lead attorney of MM LAW LLC.

US District Judge Beryl A. Howell found the defendants liable and awarded the plaintiffs $132 million for pain and suffering, as well as prejudgment interest, for a total compensatory damage award of $747 million and $132 million for punitive damages.


The court also said the plaintiffs are eligible for partial payments from the US Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, which compensates American victims of acts of international terrorism with funds obtained from fines and forfeitures levied against companies caught illegally laundering money for sanctioned countries and persons. 

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READ MORE: 45 Moments that changed the Middle East - The bombing of Khobar Towers

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The attorneys also intend to pursue enforcement of the judgments through litigation intended to seize Iranian assets.

“The physical and psychological toll on our families has been extremely high, but this judgment is welcome news. More than 20 years on, we want the world to remember the evil that Iran did at the Khobar Towers. Through the work of our attorneys, we intend to do just that,” said Glenn Christie, a retired Air Force staff sergeant crew chief who was severely injured in the bombing.


“The massive explosion took so much from their minds and bodies on the day of the attack in 1996 and every day and night since then. They can now live with that balance justice provides,” according to John Urquhart of the Urquhart Law Firm, who also represents the bombing victims.