Saudi Arabia’s counter-terrorism efforts commended

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Updated 01 February 2016

Saudi Arabia’s counter-terrorism efforts commended

RIYADH: A panel of Saudi intellectuals, businessmen and foreign diplomats commended the Kingdom’s vigorous measures to fight terrorism and its participation in the international counter-terrorism cooperation and training programs.
They were speaking after reports of detention of nine Americans along with 33 suspects on terrorism charges in the Kingdom over the past week were published Sunday.
At the very outset, they congratulated Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, minister of interior, for his unrelenting efforts to curb terrorism. In fact, the Kingdom’s efforts to counter extremism and terrorism is an exemplary model for the rest of the world, they observed. The plans and policies laid out by the crown prince for law enforcement agencies have shielded the country from major terror attacks.
Asked how Saudi Arabia has foiled several terror plots in the recent past, Fahd Al-Homoudi, president of the Riyadh-based Western Studies Institute, praised the role of the crown prince in combating terrorism locally and globally.
“Our institute has conducted a number of studies in collaboration with some US think-thanks on the role of the Kingdom in fighting terrorism … and these think-tanks highly acknowledged and appreciated the efforts made by Crown Prince Mohammed,” he added.
He said that “Crown Prince Mohammed’s approach of fighting terrorism with the help of counseling, rehabilitation, education, media awareness, in addition to taking strong stand with non-respondents has proved to be considerably effective in curbing terrorism activities in our country.”
“Without his relentless continuous efforts and effective approach, we would have seen much more of such heinous activities here,” added Al-Homoudi.
Abdulaziz Turkistani, former Saudi ambassador to Japan, called the crown prince “a prominent national hero in fighting terrorism.”
“To implement his soft approach to fight terrorism, he was behind the idea of establishing the Prince Mohammed Center for Counseling and Care,” said Turkistani, adding that the Kingdom was and still is one of the top nations in the world to fight terrorism not only because it was major victim of it but also because terrorism totally contradicts with principles of the religion of Islam.
He said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif has always been on the forefront of fighting terrorism in close cooperation with regional and international partners. “This is also evident from the fact that the crown prince himself has escaped four assassination attempts in the past,” said Saleh Al-Khail, a Saudi businessman.
In August 2009, a young Saudi militant with ties to Al-Qaeda sent word to Crown Prince Mohammed that he wanted to turn himself in. But once the militant got within a few feet of the crown prince, he detonated a bomb that he was carrying in a body cavity, recalled Al-Khail, while commending the counter-terrorism efforts of the crown prince. The explosion blew the attacker apart and lightly injured the crown prince.
Referring to the efforts of the crown prince, Bangladesh Ambassador Golam Moshi said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif has been doing an ‘excellent job’ in fighting terror. “Terrorism is a common enemy of both Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh,” he said, while pledging that his country would lend whatever assistance possible in the march to crush terror.
“But the Kingdom needs to stay vigilant and develop more comprehensive security plans to foil any attempt of terror attacks,” said a Western diplomat, who preferred not to be named. “Terrorism and violent extremism are a growing threat to the Kingdom, to the region and to the whole world,” said the diplomat, adding that the radicalization and recruitment of young men and women is a cause for great concern.


Riyadh Season Boulevard zone opens with spectacular parade

Updated 16 min 20 sec ago

Riyadh Season Boulevard zone opens with spectacular parade

  • The Riyadh parade is thought to be the biggest parade in Kingdom to date

RIYADH: More than 1,500 performers and 25 floats took part in a parade and carnival on Thursday night that officially launched Riyadh Season’s Boulevard zone. The crowds that gathered for the fun-packed event were also treated to motorcycle displays, fireworks and other surprises.

The Boulevard lit up at 9 p.m. for the start of the 90-minute event, which featured some of the international artists who will perform as part of Riyadh Season. Afterwards, the zone’s food and drink outlets, outdoor cinema and fountain shows officially opened.

The audience watched the parade, performances and displays from specially constructed stands. Food trucks offered a selection of tasty snacks, and organizers also provided prayer rooms, toilets, first-aid stations and other facilities.

 

GEA president Turki Al-Sheikh gave an opening speech: “Our dearest people, in the beginning of this season, we welcome you and our guests in Riyadh.

“I want to share a story with you all; once upon a time, I was from a middle-class family. My mother and father would gather both their salaries to have us travel to see the world, and then we would stay in Riyadh for a year. These were our capabilities (at the time) and there was nothing to do in Riyadh. Who would've thought that we’d see all of this in Riyadh, and in our beloved country?

“This wouldn't have been possible without -of course Allah first- a person who has the qualities and vision of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

He tweeted: “Riyadh traffic police estimated we have exceeded 600K which means ten times the capacity.”

In addition to the opening-night festivities, the Boulevard zone, which covers 400,000 square meters, will host a wide range of entertainment options and activities for all ages, including the outdoor cinema, restaurants, and sports, music and theatrical events. It has three main venues: The 22,000-seat Mohammed Abdu Theater, the 6,000-seat Abu Bakr Salem Theater, and the 2,000-seat Baker Al-Sheddi Theater.

The parade is just one of more than 100 events featuring local, regional and international performers taking place during the Riyadh Season festival, which continues until mid-December at 12 zones across the city: the Boulevard; the Front; Riyadh Car Show; Winter Wonderland; Riyadh Stadiums; the Diplomatic Quarter; Al-Muraba’a; Al-Malaz; Wadi Namar; Nabd Al-Riyadh; Riyadh Safari; and Riyadh Sahara. It has been organized with the support of Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority and president of Riyadh Season.

The ambitious 2019 Saudi Seasons initiative, the first of its kind in the region, was launched in February and includes 11 local seasons covering most parts of the Kingdom. Designed to promote the fledgling Saudi entertainment sector and boost tourism, it is attracting some of the biggest names in world entertainment.

The Riyadh parade is thought to be the biggest parade in Kingdom to date. It follows a folklore parade at the Mawtni (My Nation) cultural event in Yanbu to mark Saudi National Day this year, and a parade during the Jeddah Season festivities in the city’s Obhur district.

The parade had a special surprise; the appearance of DJ Carnage who took to the stage dressed in complete Saudi attire and performed his successful electronic show.

The musician also took to Twitter to celebrate the night and how he had had a hand in “making history,” tweeting: “A huge thank you to @Turki_alalshikh  ..... what you did for your country last night... was so special... thank you for having me... we made history.”