RIYADH: US President Joe Biden and his administration may be seeking a recalibration of its relationship with Saudi Arabia, but is adamant not to rupture the relationship with the Kingdom, a senior US official said.
Speaking to Politico, the official said that there are “important interests” the US shares with Saudi Arabia. The administration views the Kingdom as an important partner in the Middle East, and it has promised to keep supporting the country as it defends itself against attacks blamed on Iran.
The official’s comments came after a classified CIA report was released on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, who was killed by a group of rogue Saudi agents in Istanbul in 2018.
Despite a lot of hype that preceded the release of the report, many observers have described it as too analytical and lacking evidence.
“No smoking gun,” CNN’s International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson said.
Israeli journalist and commentator Barak Ravid wrote on Twitter: “US intelligence report on Khashoggi, which is 100% analysis and 0% information, raises real concerns about the quality of access US intelligence agencies have in Saudi Arabia.”
U.S. intelligence report on Khashoggi which is 100% analysis and 0% information raises real concerns about the quality of access U.S. intelligence agencies have in Saudi Arabia
Meanwhile, in the Kingdom, Saudis took to social media to show support for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who underwent a successful surgical procedure on Wednesday morning to treat appendicitis.
Saudi journalist Abdulrahman Al-Rashed tweeted there was nothing new in the declassified CIA report. He described those who were betting on Biden to damage the relationship with Saudi Arabia as “ignorant of how the world operates.”
بعد 48 ساعة من الدراما المسبقة صدر تقرير الاستخبارات الموعود عن #خاشقجي،
ما كتب فيه كلام مكرر اما الجديد هو:
- ما قاله مراسل CNN التقرير ليس عن ادلة بل تقييم استخباراتي. قال لا يوجد smoking gun
- وورد في التقرير: ليس مؤكداً حتى الفريق المتهم كان في رحلة للتخلص من خاشقجي pic.twitter.com/XvKbgUIdIV
Saudi columnist Salman Al-Dossari tweeted that the Biden administration should be praised for publishing the CIA report, saying that the findings support Saudi court rulings.
تستحق إدارة بايدن الشكر والتقدير من السعوديين على نشر تقرير CIA بشأن خاشقجي… وضعت النقاط على الحروف… وانهت مزايدات رخيصة واتهامات طائلة بلا دليل واحد… وصادقت على نفس حكم القضاء السعودي بشأن … واغلقت باباً يسترزق منه الخصوم الواضحين والمتسترين!
Last September, Saudi Arabia’s Public Prosecution announced the final sentences for the eight people convicted of the Khashoggi murder.
Five of them received 20-year jail sentences for their involvement in the killing. Another was sentenced to 10 years while two others received seven years. Commenting on the verdict, the Khashoggi family called the judgment “fair and dissuasive.”
Saudi family of crescent sighters carrying on 100-year-old tradition
Kingdom attaches great importance to scientific process, skill of moon sighting
Updated 12 min 47 sec ago
MAKKAH: When it comes to sighting the new crescent moon, one Saudi family is light years ahead of most.
For more than 100 years, members of the hawk-eyed Al-Barghash family have been spotting the moon each month without the use of telescopes or other modern devices.
The tradition has been passed down through generations of the family from the central Saudi city of Tumair, 140 km northwest of Riyadh.
“This is a gift from God that we enjoy and seek to teach to our children after we have inherited it from our parents and ancestors,” Mutaib Al-Barghash told Arab News.
He said his father and friends used to stand on a watchtower to sight the crescent of Ramadan, Eid Al-Fitr, and the month of Dhu Al-Hijjah.
“My father trained me and my brothers on crescent sighting until it became a passion for us. We endeavored to develop the site until it became an observatory that now receives people wishing to train on crescent sighting,” he added.
He noted that the purpose of training and education in the “art of crescent sighting” was to abide by the words of Prophet Muhammad who instructed Muslims to start fasting on seeing the crescent of Ramadan and stop fasting on seeing the crescent of Shawwal.
• For more than 100 years, members of the hawk-eyed Al-Barghash family have been spotting the moon each month without the use of telescopes or other modern devices.
•The tradition has been passed down through generations of the family from the central Saudi city of Tumair, 140 km northwest of Riyadh.
Al-Barghash’s grandfather, Ibrahim, was a cleric well-known for his 20/20 vision. “My father Abdulrahman inherited this talent from him. All the family was renowned for its sharp sight.”
He pointed out that he and his brothers were all expert crescent sighters who were only ever hindered by cloudy skies, with climatic conditions sometimes differing between observatories in Tumair, Hautat Sudair, and Shaqra.
Located on mountain plateaus, he said these were the three best places to spot the crescent moon because of their clear skies. “We have been climbing that plateau monthly for 16 years to sight the crescent of each month,” he added.
On the prospect of technology making the role of crescent sighters redundant, Al-Barghash said that the old and new ways complemented each other.
“Our sons accompany us each month to understand the science and comprehend it properly. We are also training more than five people at Tumair observatory to be the sighters of the future,” he added.
Saudi Arabia attaches great importance to the process of crescent sighting and its Supreme Court ensures the reliability of sighters using several criteria, most notably a comprehensive medical examination and eye tests. Results are then submitted to a special committee affiliated to the Ministry of Justice and accredited by royal decree.
Minister of Justice Dr. Walid Al-Samaani follows up on the work of the committee.
Judges are assigned to accompany sighters at observatories throughout the Kingdom and are supervised by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) with the participation of specialists in crescent sighting and astronomy, along with representatives of government agencies.
Astronomers are now using computers in crescent sighting to accurately determine variables.
Zaki bin Abdulrahman Al-Mustafa, KACST professor
Suitable observatory sites are selected according to geographic, scientific, and astronomic criteria. KACST’s astronomical observatories are equipped with state-of-the-art instruments, telescopes, binoculars, and thermal cameras to sight the crescents and are linked to the Supreme Court via live video broadcasts.
The Supreme Court closely follows the process of crescent sighting, examining the astronomical and mathematical reports issued by government agencies on the moon’s movements, and weather conditions in each monitoring area.
Sighters are interrogated by the committee to verify the validity of their sighting before an announcement is made.
Zaki bin Abdulrahman Al-Mustafa, professor of astronomy at KACST’s National Center for Astronomy and Navigation, said astronomers were now using computers in crescent sighting to accurately determine variables such as sunrise, sunset, moonset, sunrise and sunset positions, angles between the sun, the intensity of its illumination, and the crescent path in the sky.
The center is a world leader in the field of crescent sighting and has published many scientific papers in trade magazines while annually producing a booklet of related data. Al-Mustafa and his team were able to sight the crescent several times in broad daylight with high-sensitivity cameras and tracked the moon until sunset.
The team obtained two patents for the scientific milestone, and work is underway to develop the technique for sighting in difficult climatic conditions, such as clouds and dust, by designing special filters.
The donor program is part of the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation
Updated 48 min 47 sec ago
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have registered in an organ donor program as a humanitarian gesture, Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.
“This unsurprising gesture comes within the framework of the great care that patients with final organ failure receive from the king and the crown prince, and as encouragement from the leadership for all citizens and residents to register in the organ donation program,” the statement said.
The donor program, part of the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation, is of “great importance because it gives hope to patients whose lives depend on new organ transplants.”
King Salman worked to establish the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation — formerly known as the National Center for Kidney Transplantation — to ease the suffering of the increasing number of patients with kidney failure.
The circle of organ donation was then expanded to include all patients with final organ failure, and to bring hope to patients on waiting lists, whose recovery depends on new organs, such as hearts, livers, kidneys, lungs and others.
“The king and crown prince’s initiative to register in the organ donor program constitutes a caring, patriarchal gesture toward patients in the end stages of organ failure, as well as one of the most important forms of solidarity known to Saudi society,” the statement said.
It also comes as support for enhancing public health levels, increasing the efficiency of the medical sector in conducting these complex operations, and contributing In raising its success rates in the future.
Saudi Arabia launches Eid aid projects in various countries
The project will benefit 294,000 people and help them join in the celebrations of Eid Al-Fitr
Updated 50 min 4 sec ago
JEDDAH: As the Eid Al-Fitr celebrations are about to begin all across the world, the Kingdom is expediting its efforts to ensure that all Muslims join their brethren in the festivities by launching special aid programs.
The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) distributed Eid clothes among orphans of Syrian and Palestinian refugees living in different parts of Lebanon. The program benefited 6,548 children, which also included members of the host community.
The aid packages to the cities of Tripoli, Zahle, and Dbayeh, east of the Lebanese capital Beirut, form part of the center’s project to provide Eid clothes for children.
KSrelief on Tuesday launched a project to distribute 6,876 cartons of dates weighing 55 tons to support Jordanians, Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Jordan.
Saud bin Abdul Aziz Al-Hazim, KSrelief director in Jordan, said the center distributes the aid in cooperation with the Jordanian Hashemite Charitable Organization.
In Yemen, KSrelief launched its special Eid aid program in Al-Mahrah governorate. It is part of the center’s project to benefit 42,000 families in nine governorates including Aden, Abyan, Lahj, Al-Dhale’e, Hadramout, Shabwah, Marib, and Taiz.
The project will benefit 294,000 people and help them join in the celebrations of Eid Al-Fitr.
• KSrelief distributed Eid clothes among 6,548 children in Lebanon.
• The center’s Eid program will benefit 294,000 people in Yemen.
• The center distributed 14,351 bags of rice weighing 21 kg each among 86,106 individuals in different parts of Pakistan.
• KSrelief launched a project to distribute 6,876 cartons of dates in Jordan.
The center distributed 14,351 bags of rice weighing 21 kg each among 86,106 individuals in different parts of Pakistan including Islamabad, Lahore, Faisalabad, Khanewal, Sahiwal, Dera Ismail Khan, and Lower Dir.
Pakistan’s Communications Minister Murad Saeed thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the humanitarian support extended to the Pakistani people and other countries.
He praised the work of the center and lauded its “dedication” in selecting beneficiaries and the overall distribution process.
KSrelief has implemented 1,556 projects worth more than $5 billion in 59 countries. The initiatives have been carried out in cooperation with 144 local, regional and international partners since the inception of the center in May 2015.
According to a recent KSrelief report, the countries and territories that benefited the most from the center’s various projects were Yemen ($3.53 billion), Palestine ($363 million), Syria ($305 million), and Somalia ($203 million).
Saudi Arabia confirms 13 COVID-19 deaths, 999 new cases
The Kingdom said 1,286 patients recovered in past 24 hours
8 mosques temporarily closed after some people tested positive for coronavirus
Updated 12 May 2021
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded 13 new COVID-19 related deaths on Tuesday, raising the total number of fatalities to 7,098.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 999 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 428,369 people have now contracted the disease.
Of the total number of cases, 9,169 remain active and 1,358 in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 352, followed by Makkah with 260, the Eastern Province with 120, Madinah recorded 54 and Asir confirmed 50 cases.
The health ministry also announced that 1,286 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 412,102.
#الصحة تعلن عن تسجيل (999) حالة إصابة جديدة بفيروس كورونا (كوفيد-19)، وتسجيل (13) حالات وفيات رحمهم الله، وتسجيل (1286) حالة تعافي ليصبح إجمالي عدد الحالات المتعافية (412,102) حالة ولله الحمد. pic.twitter.com/bn0Ywb1Tvi
The ministry renewed its call on the public to register to receive the vaccine, and adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs temporary closed eight mosques in four regions after some people tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of mosques closed to 1,129 within 94 days, 1,114 of which have reopened after being sterilized.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 160 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 3.32 million.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman receives call from Bahraini counterpart, Omani sultan for Eid Al-Fitr
Updated 12 May 2021
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman received a phone call on Tuesday from Bahrain’s King Hamad to extend greetings on the advent of the Muslim Eid Al-Fitr holiday.
King Salman also received a phone call from Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq, congratulating him on Eid Al-Fitr.
King Salman also received a similar call from head of Chad’s Transitional Military Council Mahamat ibn Idriss.
The king reciprocated the sentiments, Saudi Press Agency reported.
Eid Al-Fitr, or Festival of Breaking the Fast, is celebrated by Muslims all over the world following the fasting month of Ramadan. It was announced earlier on Tuesday that Eid will start on Thursday.