Riyadh weapons galore leaves visitors wanting more

The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
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The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
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The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
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The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
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The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
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The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
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Updated 10 November 2021

Riyadh weapons galore leaves visitors wanting more

The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
  • One of the shields on display was last worn by King Saud bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the first son of King Abdulaziz to become King of Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states.

From old wick rifles that were manually filled with gunpowder to swords made in Damascus, Persia, Yemen and India, these vintage tools all arrived in the Arabian Peninsula to be used in its wars. 

Located in Riyadh’s Janadriyah Cultural and Heritage Festival venue, the museum is hosting popular exhibits, including one titled “Baroud,” meaning gunpowder, where a cave gallery is displaying some of the first explosive weapons used to win battles in all three Saudi states.

The weapons on display were also used in Arabian battles fought in the Levant, Egypt and during the First and Second World Wars. 

Mohammaed Al-Kamaan, who founded the weapons museum in 1997, shared with Arab News why he decided to participate in this year’s Combat Field’s gun exhibition, one of the 14 zones in Riyadh Season 2021.

“Our message here at the museum is one that is national, cultural and historical in nature. We want to show people our history; in the guns, weapons and tools we used, the armor the knights wore in battle and the swords wielded by the founders of the first and second Saudi states’ and the founder of modern-day Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz.” 

As visitors stopped to take in the vast collection of original guns on display, Al-Kamaan took the time to explain their historical significance. As he gave his explanations, his joy in guiding the visitors was clear.

“Truly everyone who enters the museum is astounded,” he said. “From local Saudis to residents and visitors from abroad, they really appreciate the historical importance of these artifacts that led to the unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

He added: “My father was a companion of King Faisal, God rest their souls, and he inherited 18th, 19th and 20th century weapons passed down through generations. So when my father passed away, I inherited them and spent the last 30 years of my life collecting and recording their historical significance.”

Powerful figures like Saud bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Turki bin Abdullah Al-Saud and Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman — as he was known before unifying modern-day Saudi Arabia — were among those who used such weapons in battle.

“Many of the wick rifles and modern flintlocks used to unify the Kingdom were manufactured in these lands by local gunsmiths,” Al-Kamaan said, adding: “And this started as early as the first Saudi state in 1744, also known as the Emirate of Diriyah.”

These local gunsmiths were found all over the Arabian desert.

Places like Al-Ahsa, east of the Kingdom, and Najran to the south, Hijaz to the west and Hail in the north were “the most well-known places for manufacturing weapons and firearms during the three Saudi states.”

Although guns were available, King Abdulaziz preferred close-quarter combat using swords, according to the weapons collector. 

“The swords sourced from Damascus were slightly altered to fit our style of battle,” he said. “King Abdulaziz always picked the sword as his weapon of choice in battle.”

The founder of Saudi Arabia loved swords so much that he would name them, with some favourites being “Yaqoot,” meaning ruby, “Sweileh,” and “Raqban,” said Al-Kamaan.

“The ‘Shalfa’ you see here is different from the regular spear. While the spear comes as one piece, the Shalfa has three components to it: The head, body and ‘jub’ where the blade enters.” 

All of these tools and weapons were used at the same time.

One of the shields on display was last worn by King Saud bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the first son of King Abdulaziz to become King of Saudi Arabia. It protected him in battle from many of the weapons gathered in the gallery, such as the Shalfa and various foreign swords. 

“This is not our first time hosting a gallery of this kind, but we normally operate with the Kingdom’s cultural institutions. Soon we plan to open our own physical museum,” Al-Kamaan said.

Other than the museum, the Combat Field zone is also hosting stores selling air guns, gas guns with licenses from the interior ministry, and other gear that complement hunting in Saudi Arabia.

Operating from Oct. 23 until March 16, 2022, the minimum entry age for this zone is 12, with entry tickets costing 55 riyals ($14.66) on weekdays and 110 riyals on weekends.

Other attractions at the mega military expo include battle games, paintball, laser tag, and a tech zone with robot battles and virtual reality fights.


Saudi and US forces train in weapons of mass destruction crisis management

The Saudi Armed Forces and the US forces continue the Prevention Shield-3 exercise. (Saudi Ministry of Defense)
The Saudi Armed Forces and the US forces continue the Prevention Shield-3 exercise. (Saudi Ministry of Defense)
Updated 54 min 15 sec ago

Saudi and US forces train in weapons of mass destruction crisis management

The Saudi Armed Forces and the US forces continue the Prevention Shield-3 exercise. (Saudi Ministry of Defense)
  • Royal Saudi Naval Forces launched a mixed bilateral naval exercise with their Egyptian counterparts

RIYADH: The Saudi Armed Forces continued a joint exercise with US forces to train and plan for the management of crises resulting from weapons of mass destruction, the Kingdom’s defense ministry said on Sunday.
Several government agencies also participated in the “Prevention Shield-3” exercise, which began several days ago.
Col. Bader bin Saad Al-Theban, the spokesman for the exercise, said that the first phase of the drill was successfully carried out under the supervision of the general supervisor of the exercise, Maj. Gen. Khalid bin Saeed Abu Qais. 
He said several seminars, workshops and lectures were held on protection from weapons of mass destruction, and commanders and staff were trained in planning to manage crises.
Al-Theban added that the second phase of the exercise started on Sunday and a number of tasks and practical hypotheses have been implemented, such as warning, disinfection, reconnaissance, exposure to a ballistic missile attack loaded with a chemical agent, pollution of surrounding areas and casualties, which requires rapid intervention.
He thanked all the participants in the exercise from the US forces, branches of the Saudi armed forces, the Ministry of Health, Civil Defense and the Saudi Red Crescent for their efforts to make the exercise a success.
Meanwhile, the Royal Saudi Naval Forces launched a mixed bilateral naval exercise with their Egyptian counterparts at King Faisal Naval Base in the Western Fleet.
Rear Admiral Yahya bin Mohammed Al-Asiri, the commander of the Western Fleet, said that the “Morjan 17” exercise aims to strengthen relations and joint cooperation, and raise the level of combat readiness and preparedness between both countries’ naval forces.
It also aims to unify operational concepts between the two sides to confront regional threats, and exchange expertise in methods and ways of implementing naval missions. It also contributes to developing unit crews in naval wars and special forces missions to protect the maritime safety, regional and international waterways and freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, he added.
The exercise is an extension of a series of previous joint exercises between the two countries, and includes many maneuvers that enhance maritime security measures in the region.


International e-learning conference starts in Riyadh

International e-learning Center in Riyadh. (SPA)
International e-learning Center in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 24 January 2022

International e-learning conference starts in Riyadh

International e-learning Center in Riyadh. (SPA)
  • The minister said the conference contributed to achieving national objectives in human capability development in view of the support provided by the Saudi leadership to the e-learning and training sector

RIYADH: International experts are taking part in a four-day conference in Riyadh to discuss the future of e-learning and e-training in Saudi Arabia.

The event, which started on Monday and is called eLearning for Human Capability Development, has been organized by the National eLearning Center under the patronage of its CEO and Education Minister Hamad Al-Asheikh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

It will review the latest developments and opportunities in the field, and discuss ways to develop Saudis’ skills to enable them to compete in the global labor market.

Al-Asheikh said the conference represented a valuable opportunity to share knowledge and ideas and learn about best experiences and practices, and it was also in line with the rapid developments and evolving needs of the labor market.

The minister said the conference contributed to achieving national objectives in human capability development in view of the support provided by the Saudi leadership to the e-learning and training sector, contributing to empower national capabilities to compete locally and globally.

Delegates will review the experiences of bodies and blocs like the EU, UNESCO and the International Labour Organization, as well as those of individual countries such as India.

The event will look at how platforms like edX, Coursera, and FutureLearn can help to boost people’s skills, and discuss ways to use e-learning to harmonize educational output with the needs of the labor market.

It will have workshops presented by experts and practitioners in various disciplines from around the world.

The National eLearning Center said the conference aimed to review global experiences and expertise related to innovation in employing e-learning and training to develop human capability worldwide.

The conference will discuss the most important challenges to human capability development and e-learning and training opportunities, and ways to overcome them.

The center said the conference had four key themes: E-learning as an enabler and accelerator for human capability development, skill enhancement, learning platforms, and micro-credentials, all of which will be addressed in discussion sessions with the participation of over 20 speakers.

 


Residents injured in Houthi ballistic missile attack on Saudi industrial area

Residents injured in Houthi ballistic missile attack on Saudi industrial area
Updated 24 January 2022

Residents injured in Houthi ballistic missile attack on Saudi industrial area

Residents injured in Houthi ballistic missile attack on Saudi industrial area
  • Coalition said this was third Houthi attempt to target civilians of different nationalities in the industrial area
  • The “vicious and brutal attack” would be dealt with firmly, the coalition added

RIYADH: Two residents sustained minor injuries after the Houthis fired a ballistic missile that fell in the industrial area of Ahad Al-Masarihah, Jazan, the coalition said on Sunday.

The residents, of Sudanese and Bangladeshi origin, were wounded and workshops and civilian vehicles were damaged in the “vicious and brutal attack” that would be dealt with firmly, the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen said.

This was the third Houthi attempt to target civilians of different nationalities in the industrial area situated in the Kingdom’s south western region, the coalition said.

The coalition also said it had intercepted and destroyed two drones that were launched from Yemen’s Al-Jouf governorate.

Meanwhile, Yemen's defense ministry said it had received “shocking” information about the Houthi militia executing its fighters who had withdrawn from combat and refused to fight.

“We have given directions to our units to receive the retreating Houthi fighters,” the ministry said.

It promised safety and good treatment to withdrawing Houthi fighters “in accordance with international legitimacy, norms, and laws.”

“Those who have withdrawn are guests whom we will receive, and we will provide them with all help, support, and assistance to return to their areas when they wish,” the ministry said.


Niger hands over OIC presidency to Pakistan

Held at the OIC’s headquarters in Jeddah, the inaugural session saw the handover of the chair from Niger to Pakistan. (Supplied)
Held at the OIC’s headquarters in Jeddah, the inaugural session saw the handover of the chair from Niger to Pakistan. (Supplied)
Updated 24 January 2022

Niger hands over OIC presidency to Pakistan

Held at the OIC’s headquarters in Jeddah, the inaugural session saw the handover of the chair from Niger to Pakistan. (Supplied)
  • Taha underlined the need to overcome the challenges faced by member states to ensure peace, stability, and development and to achieve the aspirations of their people

JEDDAH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Sunday held a preparatory meeting for the 48th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, which is due to take place in Islamabad in March.
Held at the OIC’s headquarters in Jeddah, the inaugural session saw the handover of the chair from Niger to Pakistan.
OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha reviewed major developments that had taken place in some member states and also the meeting’s main agenda items.
He addressed the situation in Palestine, Afghanistan, Jammu and Kashmir, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Mali, the Sahel Region and Lake Chad Basin, and other African countries, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Muslim communities and minorities in nonmember states.
Taha underlined the need to overcome the challenges faced by member states to ensure peace, stability, and development and to achieve the aspirations of their people.
He also stressed the need to strengthen OIC capacities in the areas of peace, preventive diplomacy and mediation, counterterrorism and combating Islamophobia, along with response efforts to COVID-19 challenges.


Saudi statistics authority prepares for fifth national census

GASTAT recently started working on a 40-day electronic business statistics survey, which aims to provide accurate statistical data. (Twitter: @Stats_Saudi)
GASTAT recently started working on a 40-day electronic business statistics survey, which aims to provide accurate statistical data. (Twitter: @Stats_Saudi)
Updated 23 January 2022

Saudi statistics authority prepares for fifth national census

GASTAT recently started working on a 40-day electronic business statistics survey, which aims to provide accurate statistical data. (Twitter: @Stats_Saudi)
  • Satellite imagery to ensure comprehensive coverage of Kingdom’s regions

JEDDAH: The Saudi General Authority for Statistics is preparing to carry out the country’s fifth housing and population census, including the use of satellite imagery to help ensure more comprehensive coverage of the Kingdom’s regions.

The census plays a key role in achieving the goals for the country’s economic and social transformation, as outlined in Vision 2030.

A preliminary estimate of the Saudi population as of mid-2020 was 35,013,414. The previous census processes took place in 1974, 1992, 2004, and 2010.

The last survey showed that the country’s population was 27,136,977, with more than 6,915,000 people in the Makkah region, the highest of the country’s 13 administrative regions.

GASTAT said it had prepared a plan for its upcoming census after a comprehensive study of the requirements of its beneficiaries from government agencies, and based on global best practices and standards for population census models used in G20 countries as well as by members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

FASTFACT

35 million

A preliminary estimate of the Saudi population as of mid-2020 was 35,013,414.

The authority said that modern technology would be used for the first time in conducting its census operations, including the use of satellite imagery to help ensure more comprehensive coverage of the Kingdom’s regions, identifying unregistered dwellings at national addresses, and developing a data collection mechanism to include digital self-enumeration, a new method of collecting data through the authority’s publicly accessible portal, as well as updating the census form to assist decision-makers, according to international best practices.

GASTAT said it was fully committed to the highest levels of privacy, confidentiality, and protection for the data of those included in the census, and any personal information related to their identities. It also undertook not to share any collected information with or disclose it to any third party.

Last September, GASTAT carried out a pilot census covering seven Saudi cities in Tabuk, AlUla, Makkah, Asir, Diriyah, Riyadh, and the Eastern Province. It was meant to test the form along with the working tools to be used in the general population and housing census.

Self-enumeration, electronically filling out questionnaires, and other statistical methods were also applied before the final census work, which is expected to begin in a few months.

GASTAT recently started working on a 40-day electronic business statistics survey, which aims to provide accurate statistical data and indicators on establishments that carry out various economic activities in Saudi Arabia.

It said the survey was done in coordination with government bodies and that the questionnaires were based on specific statistical criteria to assure accurate statistical data and indicators.

The pilot census also included the numbering of buildings, along with their components of housing units and households, in addition to counting the population and individuals in labor camps and public housing, and identifying their demographic, social, and economic characteristics, to obtain accurate and timely results.

GASTAT said it was the only official statistical reference for statistical data and information in the Kingdom.

It added that it implemented all statistical work and technical supervision of the sector, which included an ecosystem of statistical centers and units established in the administrative structures of government agencies and several private sector institutions.

Most countries conduct a comprehensive census of their population, housing, and establishments every 10 years to provide accurate and detailed data about the population and its distribution according to their place of residence, their social and economic characteristics, such as the educational level and educational qualifications obtained, the economic status of individuals, the professions practiced by workers, the type of economic sector to which they belong, and the economic activity of the entities in which they work.