Archive | June, 2011

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John Brennan To Visit Sudan, Saudi Arabia and UAE

Posted on 02 June 2011 by hashimilion

John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s top counter-terrorism aide, is visiting Saudi Arabia, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates this week, the White House said Wednesday.

Brennan met Wednesday in Khartoum with Sudanese government officials to discuss the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended 22 years of civil war between the north and south.

He would then travel to Saudi Arabia and the UAE to discuss “the deteriorating situation in Yemen,” the White House said in a statement, adding the trip was part of consultations with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

“We strongly condemn the recent clashes in Sanaa and the deplorable use of violence by the government against peaceful demonstrators in Taiz,” it added.

Gunbattles raged Wednesday on the streets of the Yemeni capital, killing 39 people, witnesses said as a truce between security forces and tribesmen collapsed.

“These tragic events underscore the need for President Saleh to sign the GCC-brokered transition proposal and to begin the transfer of power immediately,” the White House said.

“That is the best way to avoid further bloodshed and for the Yemeni people to realize their aspirations for peace, reform, and prosperity.

 

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Report claims German police train Saudis in repression

Posted on 02 June 2011 by hashimilion

Dozens of officers in the German federal police have been involved in training Saudi Arabian security forces in how to search and occupy houses and deal with protests and uprisings, according to an investigative report by the television news magazine Fakt.

The report, aired Monday on public broadcaster ARD, quotes classified documents, unnamed German police officers and people involved in the training as saying their mission goes beyond the official description by the government to train in border security.

In March, Saudi forces entered neighboring Bahrain to support the Sunni-led regime, which was facing massive protests by majority Shiites. The troops violently suppressed the protests and dozens were killed.

“It was clear in March at the demonstrations that protesters were shot,” an unnamed German police trainer said in the report. “You don’t want to imagine what happens when these units trained by German police go ahead in their own country.”

In a statement e-mailed to Deutsche Welle, the Interior Ministry said it could not explicitly confirm the report and that training by German federal police in Saudi Arabia was for border observation and “leadership and decision-making processes.” It said the training courses do not serve to prepare police for protests, and that “human rights and the fundamentals of the rule of law” are included.

EADS defense contract

Fakt had previously reported in April that the German mission in Saudi Arabia was an essential part of a contract between the Saudis and the European defense firm EADS to improve border security.

EADS was hired to provide infrared cameras, laser sensors and ground radar along Saudi borders. The report said the Saudis had specifically requested German police trainers, and that EADS paid honorariums to the trainers, while their base salary came from the Interior Ministry.

The federal police union has confirmed that German police officers were cooperating with EADS at a training camp in Saudi Arabia. Missions of at least 25 German police officers have reportedly traveled to Saudi Arabia for three months at a time to take part in the training.

The Interior Ministry said in its statement that the federal police mission in Saudi Arabia was not on behalf of EADS, and that employees were paid through the German development organization GIZ.

Criticism from opposition

The involvement of German police in Saudi Arabia has from the beginning drawn heavy criticism from the political opposition and within the ranks of the German police force.

Green party politician Wolfgang Wieland said the German mission in Saudi Arabia should be abolished.

“Here, police are being trained in a dictatorship, in a backward regime,” he said. “That cannot be. A democracy like Germany is not allowed to do that.”

Jörg Radek, deputy chairman of the Trade Union of the Police, agreed. He said whether German police were training in border security or in dealing with protesters, they had no place in a country like Saudi Arabia.

“When this mission supports the unjust system in Saudi Arabia, that’s the point at which you have to say German police must withdraw,” he said.

Parliamentary review

The mission in Saudi Arabia has been reviewed by parliament, and is currently under another review requested by The Left party.

Reports last month said Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, who took over the position in March after his predecessor Thomas de Maiziere became defense minister, was surprised by the mission and was looking into it.

Armin Schuster, a parliamentarian in the ruling center-right Christian Democratic Union, defended the project in Saudi Arabia. He said while he understood objections to working there, Germany could not limit its cooperation exclusively to countries with identical values of law and justice.

“If you want to cooperate with a country on fighting terrorism, then you have to invest there,” he said. “For me it’s a principle of ‘You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.'”

By Andrew Bowen

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Saudi Woman Accuses Chauffeur of Rape Amid Row

Posted on 02 June 2011 by hashimilion

A Saudi businesswoman, forced by law to hire a male driver, has accused her chauffeur of raping her, a newspaper reported Wednesday amid a growing campaign to allow women to drive themselves.

The daily Okaz said the driver stopped the car in an industrial part of the holy western city of Medina and raped her while threatening to shoot her with his pistol.

The woman, who was not named, reported the attack and the driver, whose nationality was not given, was arrested.

The report coincides with an intensifying campaign to bring a change of law so that women can obtain a driving licence and drive legally. Activists have called on women to drive their cars in a protest rally on June 17.

Earlier this week, Saudi authorities decided to free on bail Manal al-Sharif who was detained for 10 days for breaking the ultra-conservative kingdom’s ban on women driving, her lawyer said.

“We were informed today of the decision to free Manal on bail. The procedural steps towards her release are under way,” Adnan al-Saleh told AFP, adding he hoped the case would now be closed.

Sharif had called upon King Abdullah to release her, Saleh told AFP on Sunday after meeting his client in prison.

The woman, a 32-year-old computer-security consultant, was arrested on May 22 after posting on YouTube a video of herself driving her car around the eastern Saudi city of Khobar.

The divorced mother of one explained in the video that getting around was often a headache. Women in Saudi Arabia without the means to hire a chauffeur must depend on the goodwill of male family members to drive them.

Her arrest sparked debate about women’s rights within the kingdom.

A Facebook page titled “We are all Manal al-Sharif: a call for solidarity with Saudi women’s rights,” on Sunday had more than 24,000 supporters.

However, another Facebook page called on men to use “iqals” — the cords used with traditional headdresses by many Gulf men — to beat Saudi women who drive their cars in the planned June 17 protest.

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Saudi Plans to Build 16 Nuclear Reactors by 2030

Posted on 02 June 2011 by hashimilion

Saudi Arabia plans to build 16 nuclear power reactors by 2030 which could costs more than $100 billion, a Saudi-based newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing a top official.

The world’s top crude exporter, Saudi is struggling to keep up with rapidly rising power demand. It has considered boosting its domestic energy capacity using nuclear reactors.

“After 10 years we will have the first two reactors,” Abdul Ghani bin Melaibari, coordinator of scientific collaboration at King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy told Arab News.

Many have backed away from atomic plans after the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant but oil-rich Gulf states are among the few countries looking to make major investments in nuclear power plants.

“After that, every year we will establish two, until we have 16 of them by 2030,” he said.

He estimated the cost of each reactor to be around $7 billion, adding that the Kingdom is in the process of planning for the nuclear project and coordination with specialized companies.

The kingdom plans to cover 20 percent of its electricity needs using nuclear energy, said Melaibari.

Power demand in the top oil exporter is estimated to grow 7-8 percent during the next 10 years.

Neighbouring United Arab Emirates in December 2009 awarded a South Korean consortium the contract to build four nuclear power plants worth $20.4 billion.

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Al-Ahmar: Jeopardising Yemen

Posted on 01 June 2011 by hashimilion

 

Yemen in all its history and glory belongs to one. It’s riches cannot be confined to any particular party, group or family.

The armed conflict today in Yemen is between two red (Ahmar) families. The President and his sons on one hand, and Hamid and his brothers on the other. The personal animosity between the two erupted after the death of Sheikh Abdullah Al-Ahmar. So why should the entire country involve itself in a conflict between these two families, who will mobilise thugs and armies?

Unfortunately, everyone in Yemen are held to ransom with regards to this struggle. The Political parties, trade unions, civil society organizations, and even ordinary citizens.

Today’s volatile clearly shows that both Al-Ahmar families(the Al Ahmar in opposition and Al Ahmar in power) would do anything to satisfy their rabid impulses and absurd dreams. They are both willing to push the whole country to war, which will ultimately lead to death, destruction, oppression, poverty, hatred and vengeance.

It is regrettable that the Yemeni elites and intellectuals embraced the Al-Ahmar devils and in the process put the country’s future at risk. They are the source of the country’s miseries and will stop at nothing till they turn Yemen into another Libya.

Yemenis should change their slogans from toppling the regime to toppling the Al-Ahmar families. They plundered the country’s wealth, killed its symbols (e.g. Lieutenant-Colonel Ibrahim al-Hamdi) and will not hesitate to kill thousands in order to preserve their wealth.

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The Yemeni Civil War

Posted on 01 June 2011 by hashimilion

A few years ago study was published under the title ” Sustaining civil war – Yemen as a case study.” The study concluded that Yemen had been in a state of civil war since 1962. One of the main objectives of the study was to defuse the threat of civil war, which was and is still being used by the regime in order to avert all efforts at changing the country. Hence, Yemen will remain in a state of civil war, as long as the current regime remains in place.

Ali Saleh’s regime was built on the bodies of innocent, which has incited cvil wars for over 50 years. But today’s revolutionaries will end any future prospect for civil war.

Those that claim that Yemen is a stable country and that any change will ultimately lead to civil war fail to realise that Yemenis have nothing to lose. If violence does erupt, the regime will be the biggest loser. The regime’s threat of civil war is empty.

Today’s revolution calls for regime change and not civil war. It’s the best way out of the destruction caused by Ali Saleh and his sons.

This is a historic moment for Yemen, it is a great opportunity to build an inclusive political system, which was brought about by the revolution. The spectre of civil war in Yemen has all but ended.

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