“When we, as Saudis, heard last Friday the news of the hideous crime inside the Pensacola naval base in Florida, we were shocked…This work can only be done by a cowardly villain. He has betrayed his country, which trusted him and spent millions on his education. Instead, he stabbed her in the back and created a major political and cultural crisis.”

Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, Saudi political analyst and international relations scholar, writing in Arab News.


Pensacola Shooting Puts U.S.-Saudi Relations in Spotlight; Trump Speaks with King Salman and Crown Prince


A Saudi soldier in training in the United States opened fire on a naval base in Pensacola, Florida on Friday, killing three and wounding 12.

Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani was then killed by a sheriff’s deputy who responded to the attack. The attack shocked Saudis and Americans alike.  [more]



Saudi Aramco IPO proceeds rise to $29.4 billion after option exercised: TV

Via Marwa Rashad and Davide Barbuscia in reuters.com : “The final number of shares sold is 3.450 billion shares, and the final value of the deal is $29.4 billion,” Khatib said.

Saudi Arabia ends gender segregation in restaurants

in bbc.com : Saudi Arabia will no longer require restaurants to have separate entrances segregated by sex, the government says. Previously, it was mandatory to have one entrance for families and women, and another for men on their own. The restrictions had already been quietly eased in practice, with many restaurants, cafes and other meeting places no longer enforcing segregation.

Commentary: Florida shooting is the last thing Saudis want

Via Nic Robertson in cnn.com : On a Friday — the holiest day of the week in Saudi Arabia — when official responses to anything can be slow, King Salman has cut through every usual boundary to take charge, and to be seen to be in charge.



Green Buildings

Ministry of Housing, With the Support of Alpin, Develop Mostadam, New Green Building Rating System

Alpin Limited is proud to have been an integral part of the development of Mostadam, a new green building rating system developed by the Ministry of...[via yahoo.com]


Yemen Civil War

Saudi Arabia Strongly Condemns Houthi Terrorist Attack in Yemen’s Marib

Saudi Arabia strongly condemned on Monday the terrorist attack carried out by the Iran-backed Houthi militias against a mosque in the al-Estiqbal military training camp...[via aawsat.com]


Air Defense

France deploys radar system in Saudi Arabia to ‘reassure’ kingdom

France has deployed a radar system on the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia to beef up its ally’s defenses after missile attacks on the kingdom’s...[By John Irish and Tangi Salaun via reuters.com]


Air Cargo

SATS Saudi Arabia wins cargo concession in Riyadh

SATS operates 10 cargo terminals in Beijing, Dammam, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Oman and Singapore....[By William Hayes via caasint.com]


Desert X

Desert X AlUla—the inaugural sculpture biennial in a historic Saudi Arabian valley—announces participants

Fourteen artists including five Saudi nationals will take part in the inaugural Desert X exhibition launching in the vast AlUla region in northwest Saudi Arabia...[By Gareth Harris via theartnewspaper.com]


Copyright Court

Saudi courts to handle copyrights, patents cases

Saudi commercial courts and departments will handle copyrights and patents-related cases from February. The cases will be heard in commercial courts and in commercial departments...[via arabnews.com]



Saudi Arabia reiterates its commitment as top Sudan Donor

Saudi Arabia, the biggest aid provider to Sudan, has pledge continued commitment to the beleaguered state. The pledge was made a high-level roundtable on Humanitarian...[via reliefweb.int]


Invest Saudi

Saudi Arabia records a 51 per cent increase in FDI in 2019, Invest Saudi

In a report, Invest Saudi, the state entity in charge of promoting foreign investment, said that a total of 1,131 of foreign companies were created...[via cpifinancial.net]


Saudi Economy

Saudi Arabia’s 2020 growth forecast cut by IMF on OPEC+ cuts

Saudi Arabia's 2020 GDP will be 1.9%, down from 2.2% projected in October, the IMF said. The fund kept its 2021 forecast at 2.2%, compared...[By Dania Saadi via spglobal.com]



Saudi’s United Electronics to Evolve Online Platform, CEO Mohammed Galal Fahmi Says

Mohammed Galal Fahmi, chief executive officer of United Electronics Co., a consumer electronics retailer in Saudi Arabia, talks about its business strategy and outlook. United Electronics reported...[via bloomberg.com]



Saudi Religious Scholars Debate if Shops Should be Closed at Pray Time

Saudi Arabia has recently announced allowing commercial activities to function for 24 hours, in a new string of promised boosts of business and provide services...[via albawaba.com]



Russian, Syrian Regime Forces Step Up Attacks on Rebel Stronghold Idlib

A recent military escalation by Russian and Syrian government forces in the rebel-held northwestern Syrian province of Idlib is likely to continue in the coming...[By Sirwan Kajjo via voanews.com]



Main Lebanon PM candidate withdraws from consideration

Samir Khatib said the country’s top Sunni religious authority told him the community supports the re-appointment of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who resigned Oct....[By Omar Akour via apnews.com]



Qatar’s Emir Said Unlikely to Attend Gulf Summit in Riyadh

While Saudi Arabia and Qatar have made strides toward a possible reconciliation, Qatar’s prime minister is expected to represent his country at the meeting in...[By Fiona MacDonald, Samer Al-Atrush, and Simone Foxman via bloomberg.com]



Air Power Procurement in the Gulf: From Sparkling Mirages to Strategic Ambitions

Air power procurement in the Gulf is increasingly evolving in line with two key ambitions: power projection and economic diversification....[By Emma Soubrier via agsiw.org]


Defense Strategy

Pentagon chief plans to shift US focus to China and Russia

He focused instead on shifting the U.S. military’s focus toward China and Russia — “today’s revisionist powers.” He accused Moscow and Beijing of seeking “veto...[By Robert Burns via militarytimes.com]



Iran releases American graduate student in prisoner swap

The Trump administration on Saturday announced the release of Xiyue Wang, a Chinese American graduate student detained in Iran since 2016, as part of a...[By Jesse Byrnes via thehill.com]



Libya arms embargo being systematically violated by UN states

UN member states have systematically violated a Libyan arms embargo, according to a long-awaited UN report due to be published on Monday that will identify...[By Patrick Wintour via theguardian.com]


Taliban Talks

US peace envoy to Afghanistan opens first round of resurrected talks with Taliban

The talks will initially focus on getting a Taliban promise to reduce violence, with a permanent cease-fire being the eventual goal, said a U.S. statement....[By Kathy Gannon via militarytimes.com]



U.S. officials misled the public about the war in Afghanistan, confidential documents reveal

A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in...[By Craig Whitlock via washingtonpost.com]


Gulf Cup

Bahrain stun Saudi Arabia 1-0 to lift first title

Bahrain, who were runners-up in 2004, were finally able to breakthrough after finishing second four times....[By Saba Aziz via aljazeera.com]



How the Mueller Investigation Changed K Street

Beltway fixers dish on the illicit economy around foreign lobbying and how Washington’s influence industry is adapting in the post-Mueller age—for better and worse....[By Luke Mullins via washingtonian.com]


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