“After turning down opportunities to go to the Middle East for many years, I’m excited to go play and see a place in the world I’ve never been…I understand those who are upset or disappointed. You’ll be OK. I’m excited to experience this for the first time.”

Phil Mickelson, professional golfer, on his decision to play in the upcoming Saudi International golf tournament. The tournament will run from 30th January – 2nd February at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, King Abdullah Economic City. [GolfDigest.com]



Qatar, Saudi National Teams Set to Face Off in Semifinals of Gulf Cup in Doha


Qatar defeated the United Arab Emirates, 4-2, in the quarterfinals of the Gulf Cup being played in Doha, Qatar on Monday. The win advances the host country’s team to a semifinal match against Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

The match between the two teams has extra intrigue as the two nations play each other for the first time since several Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, have boycotted Qatar over disagreements on several issues.

However, evidence that the diplomatic standoff is thawing continues to mount.  [more]



Saudi Arabia’s top defense industry regulator talks manufacturing expansion

Via Jill Aitoro in defensenews.com : GAMI Governor Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al-Ohali spoke to Defense News about efforts to enable domestic manufacturing in the near term, which will be the foundation for Saudi Arabia’s long-term goals to ramp up export capabilities and co-development of military systems with global partners.

Foreign Investments in Saudi Stock Market Reach New Record High

In aawsat.com :  “The level of foreign investment stood at 9.25 percent after foreign investors pumped $338.6 million into the Kingdom. The new record coincided with forecasts that foreign investment averages in Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) would leap to 10 percent during the coming weeks.”

Oil Trading in Sweet Spot Adds to Improving Economic Signals

Via Amrith Ramkumar in wsj.com : U.S. crude has generally stayed between $50 and $60 a barrel in the past six months and is on pace for its best year since 2016 following a sharp selloff late in 2018. Brent, the global gauge of prices, has also been steady and traded between $55 and $65.



Saudi Aramco IPO

Interview at Davos: Aramco International Listing ‘Still on the Cards,’ Saudi Arabia Finance Minister Says

Saudi Arabian Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan discusses the recent $5 billion debt issuance, the state of the Saudi economy, and the prospect of an international...[via bloomberg.com]



More efforts needed to bridge gender, generation gaps in labor market: Saudi conference

The two-day T20 Inception Conference brought together experts from all over the world to discuss a range of essential issues covering climate, energy, migration, youth,...[By Rashid Hassan via arabnews.com]


Saudi Bonds

Saudi Arabia Issues $5 Billion of Bonds as Gulf Tensions Ease

The kingdom issued $5 billion of debt, taking advantage of low borrowing costs globally. It’s seeking to plug part of its growing budget deficit by...[By Archana Narayanan and Matthew Martin via bloomberg.com]


Saudi Youth Development Survey of 2019

Youth make up over two-thirds of Saudi Arabia: Survey

Youth, categorized as individuals aged 0-34 years, make up 67.02 percent of the total population of Saudi Arabia, according to a report released by the...[By Matthew Amlôt via alarabiya.net]


Pensacola Shooting

At Florida base, a mix of relief, anxiety in Saudi shooting aftermath

With an FBI investigation underway, Navy security officer David Link still is not allowed to talk about what he saw when a Saudi gunman killed...[By Phil Stewart via reuters.com]



Saudi Arabia to Screen Travelers From China After Virus Outbreak

Saudi Arabia will start screening passengers arriving from China and take other preventive measures following the outbreak of the new coronavirus in China, the kingdom's...[via nytimes.com]


Women in the Workforce

First military section for women introduced in Saudi Arabia

Under the initiative to incorporate more women into the field, previously announced in October 2019, women can now join the military as lance corporals, corporals,...[via thenews.com]


Study Abroad

From the field: The new student recruitment landscape in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi government began to wind down the KASP scholarship programme in 2016, and Saudi numbers in all major receiving countries began to drop off...[via icef.com]


Saudi Projects

Fifteen of the top projects currently shaping Saudi Arabia

The kingdom is pouring billions into a suite of gigaprojects, transport and mobility schemes, such as Riyadh Metro, designed to wean the country off its...[By Gavin Gibbon via arabianbusiness.com]



Teneo Signs Up to Manage PR Unit of Saudi Mega-City

The New York-based firm’s duties include leading and staffing Neom’s PR unit to ensure that the development’s corporate messages and positioning are effectively communicated. It also...[By Kevin McCauley via odwyerpr.com]



Saudi Arabia’s taxis go green

The green vehicles will be monitored and tracked to document quality of service and driver efficiency, equipped with screens that support both Arabic and English...[By Aseel Bashraheel via arabnews.com]



Small Earthquake hits Saudi Arabia, Iran

In Saudi Arabia, the earthquake was recorded at 10:27 pm local time. The magnitude of the quake was 3.9 on Richter scale....[via siasat.com]



Saudi Arabia renews call for Sudan to be removed from US terror blacklist

Bashir was toppled by the military last year, but the country remains on the list along with Syria, Iran and North Korea. In recent months, Saudi...[via middleeasteye.net]



Tunisia’s police and demonstrators clash in third night of protests

Clashes erupted on Monday between protesters and Tunisian police who fired tear gas to disperse them in the southern town of Jelma, the third consecutive...[via reuters.com]



Egypt and Sudan in talks to defuse tensions over Ethiopian dam

A new round of high-level talks has started in Cairo between three Nile basin countries aimed at resolving disputes over Ethiopia’s controversial Grand Renaissance dam,...[By Saeed Kamali Dehghan via theguardian.com]


Yemen Civil War

Oman expresses confidence in settling Yemen crisis

''Regarding the situation in Yemen, all parties agree that it is time to resolve this conflict and end violence and destruction. There is a real...[via timesofoman.com]


Russia in the Region

Russia Is Testing The Resilience Of American F-35s In Syria

Israeli sources “are increasingly convinced” that three weeks of GPS disruptions for civilian flights are a side effect of Russian jamming and spoofing in Syria,...[By David Axe via nationalinterest.org]



What comes after Iraqi PM’s resignation?

In a statement, protesters in 10 Iraqi provinces made seven demands following Abdul Mahdi’s resignation announcement, including “ongoing protests until parties disappear and the quota system ends, constitutional...[By Adnan Abu Zeed via al-monitor.com]



Trump administration approves over $100M for Lebanon military

The Trump administration has quietly released more than $100 million in military assistance to Lebanon after months of unexplained delay that led some lawmakers to...[By Matthew Lee via defensenews.com]


Global Oil Markets

Oil Trading in Sweet Spot Adds to Improving Economic Signals

U.S. crude has generally stayed between $50 and $60 a barrel in the past six months and is on pace for its best year since...[By Amrith Ramkumar via wsj.com]



Trump says China-US trade deal could wait until after 2020 election

Donald Trump has warned that a trade deal with China could be more than a year away in comments that sent shares in Britain’s top...[By Phillip Inman via theguardian.com]


Gulf Cup

Qatar sets up Saudi Arabia Gulf Cup semifinal clash

The win has set up an intriguing semifinal clash between the host Qatar and Saudi Arabia, one of the three West Asian countries which has...[via thehindu.com]



Commentary: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Ankara?

“Turkey does what’s good for Turkey, period. Full stop,” said a U.S. official with subject matter expertise. For the United States, that official said, the...[By Katie Bo Williams via defenseone.com]



Trump blasts Macron over ‘brain dead’ Nato remarks

At a news conference alongside the Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, the US president also accused Macron of trying to break away from Nato, as...[By Dan Sabbagh via theguardian.com]


Arab Individualism

Ties that Bind: Family, Tribe, Nation, and the Rise of Arab Individualism

Social changes around the world are having a disproportionate im­pact on Arab societies. Loyalty and obligation have played a particu­larly strong role in how Arabs...[By Jon B. Alterman via csis.org]



Israeli occupation costs Palestinian economy $2.5 bln a year: UN

Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories has cost the economy of the Palestinians more than $2.5 billion a year for the past two decades, a...[via alarabiya.net]


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