Posts tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’


Analyst: Saudi Arabia Is Not Immune – Regime Will Collapse Also, And Fast

Fadel Gheit, a managing director at Oppenheimer & Co., explains why he believes that Saudi Arabia is not immune from the revolutionary forces sweeping the Arab world and points to rumors of a “massive demonstration in in major cities of Saudi Arabia” on March 11th.

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Obama Seeking New Mideast Approach

President Obama is challenging his administration to formulate a new Middle East policy that emphasizes political and economic reforms to bolster US allies now threatened by the protest movements sweeping the region.

Administration officials say Obama is urging beleaguered governments to enact reforms that would satisfy the popular craving for change while preserving valuable partnerships on crucial US interests, from oil security to counter-terrorism and containing Iran.

With those allied governments under pressure from their citizens, the US is confronting the likelihood of having diminished influence over whatever political order emerges. But a greater risk is that Washington could be seen as trying to prop up crumbling regimes and could alienate the rising pro-democracy leaders.

Diplomats say it would be difficult for the president to openly call for sweeping political change in such key countries as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan, which are run by royal families allied with the West. Direct criticism of longstanding, friendly monarchs could be seen as an abandonment and encourage even more protests.

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Saudi King Hopes To Feel The Love

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah today announced increased funds for housing, studying abroad and social security, according to state television. State employees will see their pay rise by 15%.

The king also ordered an increase of 10.7 billion dollar infusion for the country’s development fund. The fund provides interest-free loans to Saudis who want to build homes, get married or start small businesses.

Measures to support employment growth were previously announced. Unemployment in Saudi Arabia among 15- to 24-year olds is nearly 40%.

Frustrated young people played significant roles in the ousting of long-time rulers in Tunisia and Egypt.


Barhain Frees More Political Prisoners

Thousands of anti-government protesters marched to Manama’s Pearl Square on Wednesday after Bahrain’s king released a number of political prisoners, an acknowledgment by the Sunni ruler of the mounting pressure being placed on him by the Shiite opposition.

The inmates included 23 Shiite activists on trial since last year for plotting against the state. The release underlined how much the the Gulf kingdom, a close ally of Washington, want to get reform talks with protest leaders under way. Their release was one of the major demands of the emboldened political movement seeking constitutional reform. A popular Bahraini blogger, Ali Abduleman, was also among those freed by the authorities.

A lawyer for the 23 activists, Mohammed al-Tajer, said that about 250 prisoners had been released so far. Most had been held as part of the crackdown launched on some Shi’ite opposition groups last August and during subsequent protests.

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