Saudi Arabia worked hard to help protect US interests in the region, former Middle East envoy, Jason D. Greenblatt writes in Newsweek

Saudi Arabia worked hard to help protect US interests in the region, former Middle East envoy, Jason D. Greenblatt writes in Newsweek
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Updated 14 March 2021

Saudi Arabia worked hard to help protect US interests in the region, former Middle East envoy, Jason D. Greenblatt writes in Newsweek

Saudi Arabia worked hard to help protect US interests in the region, former Middle East envoy, Jason D. Greenblatt writes in Newsweek
  • Jason D. Greenblatt: Critical voices regarding the Iranian threat are those in the Middle East itself

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has worked hard to help protect American interests in the region, contrary to what has been portrayed, Jason D. Greenblatt, former President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy, said in an opinion piece for news magazine Newsweek.

Greenblatt was reacting to an earlier The Washington Post commentary which claimed that the Kingdom’s interests “often run counter” to the US and “have often complicated them, especially in recent years.”

“This is surprising, since one of the greatest threats faced by the United States today is Iran’s nuclear and hegemonic ambition. On that front, the Kingdom worked hard with the Trump administration to assist us in protecting US national security interests and the interests of our allies,” Greenblatt wrote.

“The Biden administration appears to be taking a different, misguided and unfortunate approach with the Iranian regime, which might cause the Kingdom and others most at risk to seek alliances elsewhere.”

Another Trump-era senior official, former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, earlier scolded the new US administration for refusing to put America first, especially with its softened approach with Iran’s nuclear program.

“This connotes weakness and, I promise you, the Iranian leadership understands how to drive a truck through American weakness,” Pompeo told Arab News.

Greenblatt emphasized that the “critical voices regarding the Iranian threat are those in the Middle East itself.”

“Instead, the US is now placing some European nations on the highest pedestal of influence when it comes to Iran,” he wrote.

“These European nations are not at risk from Iran in the same way our Middle East allies are. Some of these European nations act purely out of naked economic self-interest, irrespective of the security concerns of the United States and our allies. That is their right, but let’s at least candidly acknowledge that.”

The former envoy said that the Kingdom and its leadership, particularly Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have been ally, friend and partner to America’s regional interests.

“Based on my extensive experience with the crown prince and those who work closely with him, the crown prince serving in that leadership role would greatly benefit the people of Saudi Arabia, the United States and our other allies in the region – including our most important regional ally, Israel,” Greenblatt wrote, dispelling the Washington Post commentary’s criticism that the relationship with Saudi Arabia was bigger than any one individual.

“Politics, diplomacy and so much else in life is not just black and white. Unless we behave and speak in a nuanced manner and recognize the differences we may have with our friends, partners and allies, while also understanding that we will only move our societies forward if we work together where we can and respect each other, we will fail to achieve the progress we strive for,” Greenblatt wrote.

Soleimani’s shadow
Qassem Soleimani left a trail of death and destruction in his wake as head of Iran’s Quds Force … until his assassination on Jan. 3, 2020. Yet still, his legacy of murderous interference continues to haunt the region

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KSRelief performs dozens of heart surgeries in Mauritania

KSRelief performs dozens of heart surgeries in Mauritania
Updated 18 min 9 sec ago

KSRelief performs dozens of heart surgeries in Mauritania

KSRelief performs dozens of heart surgeries in Mauritania

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) has performed 33 open heart surgeries and 50 cardiac catheterization procedures  in Mauritania since the start of the year. 

The operations were carried out by KSRelief volunteers as part of a project with the Muslim World League (MWL). 

The project helped low-income patients by diagnosing and treating cardiovascular conditions. 

KSRelief currently has 14 food security and health initiatives in Mauritania including leading first aid training and providing food baskets.


Saudi crown prince extends condolences to Kuwaiti counterpart for death of Sheikh Mansour

Saudi crown prince extends condolences to Kuwaiti counterpart for death of Sheikh Mansour
Updated 13 June 2021

Saudi crown prince extends condolences to Kuwaiti counterpart for death of Sheikh Mansour

Saudi crown prince extends condolences to Kuwaiti counterpart for death of Sheikh Mansour

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed his “sincere condolences” and sympathy to his highness Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah Crown Prince of the State of Kuwait, after the passing of Sheikh Mansour Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah.

In a phone call on Sunday the crown prince of Saudi Arabia said he prayed for  forgiveness and mercy on behalf of the deceased. 

On Friday, King Salman and the crown prince extended their condolences in a phone call to the emir of Kuwait.


Saudi Arabia announces 19 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 19 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 13 June 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 19 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 19 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 448,093
  • A total of 7,572 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 19 deaths from COVID-19 and 1,017 new infections on Sunday.
Of the new cases, 344 were recorded in Makkah, 198 in Riyadh, 155 in the Eastern Province, 84 in Asir, 68 in Madinah, 60 in Jazan, 23 in Najran, 18 in Hail, 10 in Tabuk, 10 in Al-Baha, five in the Northern Borders region and two in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 448,093 after 1,133 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 7,572 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 15.6 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


Saudi Arabia’s Tawakkalna app operating in 75 countries worldwide

Saudi Arabia’s Tawakkalna app operating in 75 countries worldwide
A man displays his details on his mobile phone using the Tawakkalna app as he enters a mall in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (REUTERS)
Updated 13 June 2021

Saudi Arabia’s Tawakkalna app operating in 75 countries worldwide

Saudi Arabia’s Tawakkalna app operating in 75 countries worldwide
  • An app launched last year by Saudi authorities to help track coronavirus infections is available in 75 countries worldwide
  • The Tawakkalna app was recently updated to show someone’s COVID-19 health status, showing them to be vaccinated or infected, and now functions as a “passport”

JEDDAH: Countries in the first phase of the app’s international availability include: Kuwait, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Algeria, Sudan, Somalia, Morocco, Tunisia, Djibouti, Libya, Egypt, Mauritania, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, South Africa, Lebanon, Nigeria, India, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Bangladesh, Portugal, Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, the UK, Norway, Austria, the US, Japan, Greece, Spain, Estonia, Italy, Ireland, Iceland, Brunei, Belgium, Poland, Germany, Singapore, Switzerland, France, Finland, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, Croatia, Canada, Latvia, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Malta, Malaysia, Monaco, New Zealand, Netherlands, Maldives, and Azerbaijan.

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs office in Jazan temporarily closed the Budaiya Mosque in Abu Arish governorate after it was confirmed that the imam had COVID-19.

Field teams undertook preventive and precautionary measures, including sterilization operations and comprehensive maintenance, in preparation for reopening the mosque and receiving worshippers at a later date.

The ministry noted the keenness of worshippers and their active role in reporting mosques that did not comply with health and safety instructions and failed to implement preventive measures.

FASTFACTS

464,780 Total cases

446,960 Recoveries

It asked everyone to report future similar incidents by calling 1933.

Saudi Arabia on Saturday reported 16 more coronavirus-related fatalities, taking the overall death toll to 7,553.

There were 1,077 new cases, bringing the total number of infections 464,780. There are 10,267 active cases, of which 1,562 are in a critical condition.

Of the newly recorded cases, 348 were in Makkah, 225 were in Riyadh, 149 were in the Eastern Province, and 69 were in Madinah.

Authorities said a further 906 patients had recovered from the disease, increasing the total number of recoveries to 446,960.

The country has so far carried out more than 20.27 million PCR tests, with 75,059 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 onset of the pandemic.

Taakad 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 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.

Saudi Arabia has vaccinated 15,633,787 people to date.


Makkah governor inaugurates prototype of new public transport system

Makkah governor inaugurates prototype of new public transport system
Updated 12 June 2021

Makkah governor inaugurates prototype of new public transport system

Makkah governor inaugurates prototype of new public transport system

 

JEDDAH: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal on Saturday inaugurated the prototype of a public transport bus in Makkah.

This will serve citizens as well as pilgrims and visitors of the holy city by introducing an integrated service system in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

On the sidelines of the Digital Region Projects Exhibition, Prince Khaled was briefed on the operational mechanism of the new transport system, which aims to accommodate needs resulting from the expected growth in the population in Makkah and in the number of visitors to the Grand Mosque and the holy sites.

The new transport system aims to support economic development in Makkah and provide easy access to the Grand Mosque and other mosques in the city as well as educational and health facilities, commercial and recreational areas, and contribute to reducing pollution and protecting the environment by reducing dependence on small cars.

The bus network consists of two stages. The first phase will consist of 12 lines and about 83 stops in which medium-sized buses are used, while the other five lines will be express lines with dedicated tracks, a length of 172 km and about 342 stops, in which buses of greater capacity and frequency are used.

The project also includes operating more than 400 buses, including 240 regular buses that can accommodate up to 85 seats, and 160 buses with a capacity of 125 seats. This is in addition to the construction of a bus accommodation station, which includes a control building, drivers’ management building, gas station, light maintenance workshop, bus washing and maintenance station, heavy maintenance workshop, bus stops and drivers’ housing facilities.

The buses are equipped with environment protection systems that reduce Euro-4 carbon emissions, include protection systems through surveillance cameras inside and outside the bus, a collision-avoidance system, electronic screens showing the destination to be reached, as well as a hydraulic system to help people with special needs, and places for strollers and people with special needs.

The vehicles will also have Internet service (Wi-Fi) and an audio-visual system displaying trip information to passengers. Buses will operate for an average of 22 hours a day.