Rasanah spotlights Iran’s role in recruitment of child fighters

The book launch was attended by Yemeni Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Moammar Al-Eryani. (Supplied)
The book launch was attended by Yemeni Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Moammar Al-Eryani. (Supplied)
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Updated 31 July 2021

Rasanah spotlights Iran’s role in recruitment of child fighters

The book launch was attended by Yemeni Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Moammar Al-Eryani. (Supplied)

RIYADH: The International Institute for Iranian Studies (Rasanah) has released a book titled “Silent Victims … Iran and Recruitment of Child Fighters in the Middle East,” co-authored by the institute’s researchers Maj. Gen. (retired) Ahmed Al-Maimouni and Saad Al-Shahrani.

The book launch was attended by Yemeni Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Moammar Al-Eryani, Director of Civil Military Operations in the Joint Forces Command Major General Abdullah Al-Habbabi, Spokesman for the Arab Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen Brig. Gen. Turki Al-Maliki, and Chargé d’Affaires of Saudi Arabia to Yemen Abdullah Al-Ghunaim, in addition to officials, researchers and other interested parties.

Founder and President of Rasanah Dr. Mohammed S. Alsulami gave a speech in which he welcomed the attendees while talking about the book and how the idea to publish this book came about. Yemeni minister Al-Eryani addressed in his speech the violations committed by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia, and its recruitment of hundreds of thousands of children to threaten the security and stability of Yemen.

Al-Maimouni, who is the director of the studies and research center at the institute, spoke about the content of the book, which consists of six chapters, while Al-Shahrani gave a presentation on “The militarization of Iranian educational curricula.”

The 150-page book attempts to bring to focus the emergence of the phenomenon of child fighter recruitment in the Iranian strategy, the methods of recruiting children and the institutions embracing the idea of child fighter recruitment as one of the Iranian government’s tools since the beginning of the Iranian revolution to solidify the ideological tenets that serve its approach and support the continuation of its project.

The book focuses on the Iranian militias’ acts of embroiling child fighters in military conflicts that lead them to be killed and wounded, working against the interests of their homelands and destroying their future.

In the first chapter titled “Recruitment of Child Fighters in the Iranian Thought,” the book begins with casting light on the phenomenon of child fighter recruitment as an inhumane practice, discussing the genesis and motives of the militarization of Iranian Shiite young men, the methods and motives of recruitment and the psychological and social consequences endured by the recruited children.

Chapter Two, titled “Hezbollah and the Recruitment of Child Fighters in Lebanon,” is divided into “Hezbollah as a Tool for Disseminating the Tenets of the Iranian Revolution,” “Hezbollah’s Hidden Activities on the Recruitment of Child Fighters” and the “Impact of International Sanctions on Hezbollah and its Recruitment Operations.”

Chapter Three, “Iran Militias and the Recruitment of Child Fighters in Syria,” sheds light on the recruitment operations on the Syrian landscape and using foreign recruits from Pakistan and Afghanistan. It also discusses the Iranian militias and factions in Syria, the efforts of Iran and Hezbollah to advance child fighter recruitment in Syria and the Iranian soft policies to wrest control over Syrian society.

As for Chapter Four, titled “Shiite Militias and the Recruitment of Child Fighters in Iraq,” it touches on pushing Iraq into the spheres of Iran’s influence and the Iraqi-Iranian militias and child fighter recruitment. This reality was shaped by the Iraq-Iran war and what was known in the military corridors as “human waves” in order to make up for the superiority on the part of Iraq in weapons and military tactics. Most of these waves were made up of the youth and child fighters.

Chapter Five, titled “The Houthi Militia and Child Fighter Recruitment in Yemen,” spotlights the inception of the Houthi militia group, the influence of the Iranian approach on it and the Houthi methods of child recruitment. It then presents examples of cases of Houthi recruitment of children, outlining proposed mechanisms to address the phenomenon of child fighter recruitment in Yemen.
As for Chapter Six titled “Child Recruitment and Its Impacts in Light of International Law,” it surveys international legal resolutions criminalizing child recruitment, reveals the efforts of the international community aimed at protecting children and casts light on Iran being a focus of blame by the international community.

In the end, this book tracks the Iranian role in sponsoring militias that work actively in child recruitment on the battlefield and clarifies that this recruitment causes the children returning from the battlefield to experience psychological trauma and the inability to integrate back into civil society, which prompts them to embrace violence and resort to extremist methods.

Iran’s involvement has appeared unambiguously in supporting militias in the aforesaid countries ideologically, militarily, financially and politically, according to reports of media outlets and international organizations, in addition to accounts of those affected and their relatives on the tragedies they have suffered.

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Yas Island offers special packages for National Day

Yas Island offers special packages for National Day
Updated 19 September 2021

Yas Island offers special packages for National Day

Yas Island offers special packages for National Day

In partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi, Yas Island Abu Dhabi, one of the world’s leading leisure and entertainment hubs, will be covered in green in celebration of the 91st National Day of Saudi Arabia on Sept. 23. In addition, the destination is offering a 20 percent discount to travelers from Saudi Arabia when booking hotel stay with theme parks access, directly through www.yasisland.ae.

The spectacular array of fireworks will be open for public viewing from selected hotels and restaurants on the island. Enhanced hygiene and social distancing measures are in place at the selected destinations to guarantee an enjoyable experience for all guests while ensuring their health and safety. Festivities are due to kick off at 9 p.m. with the fireworks live streamed on Yas Island’s Instagram page @yasisland as public gatherings are prohibited.

Moreover, attractions around Yas Island, including Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, CLYMB Abu Dhabi, Yas Mall, Yas Plaza Hotels, W Abu Dhabi — Yas Island and Etihad Arena, will be washed with green light in recognition of 91 years since the foundation of Saudi Arabia in 1930.

Yas Island — situated just 20 minutes from downtown Abu Dhabi and 50 minutes from Dubai — offers holidaymakers a diverse mix of award-winning leisure and entertainment experiences, from one-of-a-kind theme parks, world-class shopping and dining, to a links golf course, exciting water and motor sports, and musical and family events, all within the 25-square-kilometer island.

It is home to Abu Dhabi’s largest mall, more than 160 dining experiences, seven hotels, and indoor and outdoor concert venues — all of which are complemented by a range of visitor services that connect all attractions to one another.


VFS Global launches services at Najran chamber

VFS Global launches services at Najran chamber
Updated 19 September 2021

VFS Global launches services at Najran chamber

VFS Global launches services at Najran chamber

VFS Global has announced that a memorandum of understanding has been signed with the Najran Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the city of Najran, to provide end-to-end visa and passport services. Moving forward, the chamber’s members and employees will benefit from the availability of these services on its premises, providing ease and convenience and ensuring they do not have to visit a visa application center.

Mohaimeed Saleh Al-Salem, chairman of the Najran Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Sumanth Kapoor, regional head — Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman, VFS Global, signed the MoU on Sept. 7 at the chamber’s headquarters. 

“We are proud to partner with VFS Global to provide unmatched convenience to our members and employees for their visa and passport requirements. Through this joint initiative, we offer Indian and Philippine residents an additional avenue to renew their passports. Furthermore, the revolutionary doorstep visa service will provide much relief to people living in Najran as they can now apply for a visa in comfort at a preferred location.” said Al-Salem.

“The need to receive services ‘at your doorstep,’ irrespective of location or time, is very crucial in today’s world. Our doorstep visa service offering is of immense benefit to those who reside in cities away from the existing centers and spend time traveling to the nearest center. Our partnership with Najran chamber will bring ease and convenience to customers living in the Najran province,” added Kapoor.

VFS Global services are expected to launch at the chamber’s premises by October. The following services will be available to customers from Sunday to Thursday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. 

1. Indian passport renewal — Application form filling assistance, form submission and collection of renewed passport.

2. Philippine passport renewal — Application form filling assistance, form submission and collection of renewed passport.

3. Doorstep visa services – Application form filling assistance, form submission and biometric enrollment. This service applies to Schengen and UK visa applicants and can be availed at the premises or other locations of choice, such as the employee’s residence. 

VFS Global also provides a range of optional services, including travel insurance, COVID-19 test booking and document scanning.


Dubai awards honor construction innovators

Photo/Supplied
Photo/Supplied
Updated 19 September 2021

Dubai awards honor construction innovators

Photo/Supplied
  • The Sustainable Initiative of the Year award was given for revised structural design guidelines for the Emirates, which seeks to drive down the consumption of material having a massive impact on sustainability

dmg events, organizers of the inaugural The Big 5 Construction Impact Awards, announced the winners of 15 categories last week during a glittering awards ceremony held at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
The awards, a platform to recognize sustainable development, technological and digital achievements in the construction industry, were judged by an independent panel of experts and thought leaders from the industry. They assessed hundreds of submissions and highlighted the winners who have shown innovation and project excellence through their success stories.
China State Construction Engineering Corporation Middle East LLC (CSCEC) and ACCIONA took home multiple awards on the night. Other winners included: HAS Engineering LLC, The Arab Contractors Company, AECOM, Turner and Townsend, OBMI, Expomobilia, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Authorities, Emaar, B3G Engineering Services FZ-LLC, Alpin Limited and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.
Koen Meert, group director structural design, Emaar, received the award on behalf of Dubai Municipality, Dubai Authorities, and Emaar. He said: “It’s a great recognition to receive this award at The Big 5, the biggest organization in terms of construction.”
The Sustainable Initiative of the Year award was given for revised structural design guidelines for the Emirates, which seeks to drive down the consumption of material having a massive impact on sustainability.

WINNERS ANDCATEGORIES

• Best Use of Technology of the Year: HAS Engineering LLC

• Community of the Future: The Arab Contractors Company

• Digital Transformation of the Year: AECOM

• Digital Twin Project of the Year: CSCEC

• Digitization Project of the Year: CSCEC

• Innovative Construction Organization of the Year: ACCIONA

• Off-site Project of the Year: CSCEC

• Partnership of the Year: Turner and Townsend

• Sustainability Champion of the Year: OBMI

• Sustainability Leader of the Year: Skidmore, Owings and Merrill

• Sustainable Construction Organization of the Year: ACCIONA

• Sustainable Construction Project of the Year: Expomobilia

• Sustainable Initiative of the Year: Dubai Municipality, Dubai Authorities, Emaar

•Technology Leader of the Year: B3G Engineering Services FZ-LLC

• Workforce of the Future Initiative: Alpin Limited

“Sustainability is such an important topic. We are therefore happy to be able to achieve this with the authorities as a joint effort for Dubai and the construction industry in general. The guideline submitted is now applicable for the whole industry, and every new building constructed in 2021 and later will be following it,” added Meert.
Yu Tao, president and CEO of CSCEC, said: “Over the years, The Big 5 keeps improving. It’s the first year for the award and it’s not an easy award. We have gone through six months with submission and verification and have won against very fierce competition; The Big 5 is keeping a very high quality with this award.”


Emirates NBD, Mastercard launch new card programs to power Expo 2020 experience

A customer uses an ATM machine at the Emirates NBD head office in Dubai, UAE. (REUTERS file photo)
A customer uses an ATM machine at the Emirates NBD head office in Dubai, UAE. (REUTERS file photo)
Updated 19 September 2021

Emirates NBD, Mastercard launch new card programs to power Expo 2020 experience

A customer uses an ATM machine at the Emirates NBD head office in Dubai, UAE. (REUTERS file photo)

As a premier partner and the official banking partner of Expo 2020 Dubai, Emirates NBD Group, a banking group in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey region, has joined hands with Mastercard, the official payment technology partner of Expo 2020 Dubai, to create two exclusive new card programs: Emirates NBD Expo Mastercard Prepaid Card and the Emirates Islamic Expo Mastercard Credit Card.
The limited-edition cards are designed to enhance the Expo 2020 Dubai experience for both residents and visitors from across the globe, while also elevating their time spent in the UAE with memorable possibilities to discover year-round.
Emirates NBD Expo Mastercard Prepaid Card
The Emirates NBD Expo Mastercard Prepaid Card is a digital-first offering, issued via a dedicated mobile app, Joyn from Emirates NBD. The product is available to both UAE residents and international visitors for use while in the UAE and provides a fully digital payments experience. The benefits will merge a specially curated selection of offers from Emirates NBD’s Bon Appétit, LiveWell and Good Times programs, as well as offers from Mastercard’s Priceless Platform.

FASTFACT

The limited-edition cards are designed to enhance the Expo 2020 Dubai experience for both residents and visitors from across the globe.

With 25 million visits expected at Expo 2020 Dubai, the card will provide access to privileges, deals and discounts of up to 50 percent at more than 2,000 shopping, dining, wellness, and entertainment touchpoints, as well as access to exclusive expo-related offers. The reloadable card will provide an enhanced customer experience with personalized offers, while also enabling international visitors to spend in the local UAE dirham currency.

Emirates Islamic Expo Mastercard Credit Card
 The Emirates Islamic Expo Mastercard Credit Card offers exceptional value with a wide range of benefits across key expo partners. Cardholders can earn up to three Emirates Islamic SmartMiles for every 1 dirham ($0.27) spent as well as gain U By Emaar Gold Tier Status, 50 percent cashback on their first Expo 2020 Dubai ticket transaction, and access to exclusive travel, hotels and lifestyle privileges offered by Mastercard.

Other benefits include 10 percent cashback on fuel, complimentary valet parking service at the Expo 2020 Dubai site, complimentary golf sessions, exclusive dining offers, and access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide. Customers can enjoy the flexibility to instantly redeem their Emirates Islamic SmartMiles for flights, hotels, and retail transactions anywhere in the world. Emirates Islamic SmartMiles can also be exchanged with multiple partner loyalty programs.


Calling all entrepreneurs: MITEF Startup Competition launches

The MITEF Pan Arab and MITEF Saudi Arabia startup competitions have succeeded in establishing more than 550 startups and providing more than 15,600 job opportunities. (Supplied)
The MITEF Pan Arab and MITEF Saudi Arabia startup competitions have succeeded in establishing more than 550 startups and providing more than 15,600 job opportunities. (Supplied)
Updated 16 September 2021

Calling all entrepreneurs: MITEF Startup Competition launches

The MITEF Pan Arab and MITEF Saudi Arabia startup competitions have succeeded in establishing more than 550 startups and providing more than 15,600 job opportunities. (Supplied)
  • The competition aims to enable entrepreneurs and promote an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world, with a special focus this year on Madinah.

RIYADH: MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) Pan Arab and MITEF Saudi Arabia have announced the launch of the MITEF Startup Competition 2021-2022. This year’s competition will provide the opportunity for the participants from Arab Startup Competition and Saudi Startup Competition to compete under a single competition, organized and supported by Bab Rizq Jameel and Community Jameel Saudi and under the patronage of the governorate of Madinah.

The MITEF Startup Competition 2021-2022 pits entrepreneurs in three different tracks: Ideas, Startups and Social Entrepreneurship. The competition aims to enable entrepreneurs and promote an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world, with a special focus this year on Madinah. This year’s edition launches with the slogan “Empowering Today. Transforming Tomorrow” and takes participants through a seven-month journey, filled with exciting activities like top-tier training, mentorship, media exposure, and networking opportunities. Moreover, the winning teams benefit from equity free-fund cash prizes.

The MITEF Startup Competition 2021-2022 will conclude with a final conference and awards ceremony that will take place during the Start Smart Conference in March 2022 in Madinah, during which this year’s Startup Investment Forum will also take place.

Applications are open for submissions until Dec. 6. Entrepreneurs and innovators from Saudi Arabia and the Arab world of all ages and industries can apply to one of the competition’s three tracks through the competition’s website: www.mitarabcompetition.com or www.mitefsaudi.org. The competition’s organizers will be conducting several roadshows and informative sessions throughout several Arab countries and Saudi Arabia, introducing the competition’s criteria and application process and helping candidates perfect their applications.

Mohammed Sanad Al-Yousif, CEO of the Economic Development Center in the Madinah governorate, said: “Community Jameel Saudi’s MITEF Startup Competition contributes to the enhancement of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the success of the region’s startups, and the support given to ideas and investment projects. This is the role that serves the expansion and support of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

He added: “We are pleased to host the forum in Madinah as a global destination for launching businesses and attracting qualitative investments to achieve sustainable development.”

Hala Fadel, founder and chair of MITEF Pan Arab, said: “After running the Arab Startup Competition for 15 successful editions in different Arab cities, we realize the importance of empowering our entrepreneurs by providing them with the proper training and mentorship and the effect that they have on transforming the entrepreneurship ecosystem. According to the 2020 Arab Entrepreneurship Maturity Index: Insights and Forecasts report that we published, ASC startups’ customer base grew by 43 percent over the previous two years and 45 percent of startups expanded into new geographic markets, notably the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa and East Asia.”

Hassan Jameel, vice chairman of Community Jameel, said: “We are proud to be a partner and to take part in this exceptional edition of the 2021-2022 MITEF Startup Competition welcoming entrepreneurs across the Arab world. The MITEF Pan Arab and MITEF Saudi Arabia startup competitions have succeeded in establishing more than 550 startups and providing more than 15,600 job opportunities.”