SBRIS Daily News – Excerpts from International Media Reports
/Provided as a service from the Saudi-US Trade Group, Washington, DC/
Saudi Arabia Forecasts $3.2B Surplus in 2012: BLOOMBERG
Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, forecast a budget surplus of 12 billion riyals ($3.2 billion) next year as the kingdom boosts planned spending while investing to create jobs. PLANNING FOR A CUTBACK?: Saudi Arabia’s budget plan, announced December 26, is counter to trend in one important way – it is the first time in the last decade the Kingdom plans to spend less in the coming year than in the previous year, Economonitor writes.
Gulf Ministers Avoid Talk of a Blockade: WALL STREET JOURNAL
Summer Said | 12/25/11
Gulf oil ministers met Sunday but avoided discussing options to reroute oil as a precautionary measure against any blockade of the Strait of Hormuz. IRAN’S THREAT: A senior Iranian official on Tuesday delivered a sharp threat in response to economic sanctions being readied by the United States, saying his country would retaliate against any crackdown by blocking all oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a vital artery for transporting about one-fifth of the world’s oil supply, NYT reports.
Strength Of Saudi Growth Surprising, Says Minister: KHALEEJ TIMES
Saudi Arabia’s strong economic growth this year was a positive surprise, Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf said on Tuesday, adding that the government’s plans to build hundreds of thousands of homes aimed to limit future inflationary pressures.
Saudi Women Make Best Use of Atlanta Forum: ARAB NEWS
Samar Fatany | 12/25/11
The participation by highly competent and professional Saudi women certainly contributed to the success of the “US Saudi Business Opportunities Forum” held in Atlanta from Dec. 5 to 7, 2011. The forum was organized by the Saudi Committee for International Trade (CIT), US-Saudi Arabian Business Council and Saudi-US Trade Group in collaboration with the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Industry and US Commercial Service.
Saudi Land Prices Send Housing Costs Soaring: THE NATIONAL
Kevin Brass | 12/28/11
Land prices in Jeddah jumped as much as 30 per cent in the past year, pushing home prices up to record levels.
Saudi Says To Open up Domestic Skies To Intl Carriers: WALL STREET JOURNAL
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation, or GACA, said Sunday it will allow foreign and local investors to operate domestic and international flights in the kingdom to meet growing demand. GACA is currently working with advisors on the technical procedures of the bid, which is expected to be announced in late January, it said in an emailed statement. Earlier this year, the authority said it was considering a plan to open up the kingdom’s skies to Gulf carriers but didn’t specify when it might reach a decision.
Oil Price Falls As Saudis Trump Iran Threat: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Oil prices fell on Wednesday, as Saudi Arabia said it will offset any loss of oil from a threatened Iranian blockade of a crucial tanker route.
We’ve all spent time deleting those annoying spam emails that clog our inboxes, and wondered where it’s all coming from. Well, at least for the GCC, most of it is coming from Saudi Arabia. Kaspersky Lab’s spam report for the GCC in the third quarter of 2011 reveals that the country is a local leader as a source of spam.
State-controlled Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) plans to launch a transmission subsidiary in January as it splits up into six companies to encourage competition, state news agency SPA reported on Tuesday.
Bahrain To Host Saudi Prince’s News Network: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Bahrain has been picked to host the headquarters for Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s new international Arabic news network despite months of unrest, according to the tiny Gulf kingdom’s media oversight authority.
Two Saudi athletes have qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
SYRIA: ‘NOTHING FRIGHTENING’ SEEN IN PROTEST HOTBED
The chief Arab League monitor in Syria said he saw “nothing frightening” on a first visit to the battered protest hotbed of Homs but France called his remarks premature and urged Syria to guarantee his team free movement, Reuters reports.
YEMEN: PATH CLEARED FOR LEADER TO GET CARE IN US
The Obama administration has decided in principle to allow the embattled president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to enter the United States for medical treatment, subject to certain assurances, two administration officials said Monday, NYT reports. WORKERS RALLY AGAINST CORRUPTION: Labor strikes spread through Yemen Wednesday as workers demanded reforms and dismissal of managers over alleged corruption linked to the country’s outgoing president, AP reports.
UNITED STATES: OBAMA’S GLOBAL APPARATUS FOR DRONE KILLING
The Obama administration’s counterterrorism accomplishments are most apparent in what it has been able to dismantle, including CIA prisons and entire tiers of al-Qaeda’s leadership. But what the administration has assembled, hidden from public view, may be equally consequential, Greg Miller (Washington Post) reports.
ISRAEL: ‘SIGNIFICANT GAZA OFFENSIVE’ SOONER OR LATER
A new Israeli military offensive against Gaza will be launched “sooner or later” and will be “swift and painful”, Israel’s most senior military officer has warned, The Guardian reports.
IRAQ: ALLAWI SAYS HEADED FOR “SECTARIAN AUTOCRACY”
The head of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya political bloc said Iraq “stands on the brink of disaster” and issued a list of demands on Wednesday in a political crisis triggered by charges against a Sunni leader, Reuters reports.
OPINION: THE WORST CASE FOR WAR WITH IRAN
“There is a simple and time-honored formula for making the case for war, especially preventive war. First, you portray the supposed threat as dire and growing, and then try to convince people that if we don’t act now, horrible things will happen down the road. (Remember Condi Rice’s infamous warnings about Saddam’s “mushroom cloud”?) All this step requires is a bit of imagination and a willingness to assume the worst. Second, you have to persuade readers that the costs and risks of going to war aren’t that great. If you want to sound sophisticated and balanced, you acknowledge that there are counterarguments and risks involved. But then you do your best to shoot down the objections and emphasize all the ways that those risks can be minimized. In short: In Step 1 you adopt a relentlessly gloomy view of the consequences of inaction; in Step 2 you switch to bulletproof optimism about how the war will play out.
/The daily news is provided as a service of the Saudi-US Trade Group, Washington, DC. Visit www.SUSTG.org for more information and to get a free email subscription to the News Review./</h4></div>