QUOTED

“That Saudi officials want de-escalation in the Gulf is new evidence of an evolving strategy for a more pragmatic management of regional challenges. In the aftermath of the September 14, 2019, attacks on Aramco, the crown prince expressed a similar de-escalatory tone in a TV interview. Yet this new pragmatism seems not to have factored into the U.S. calculus, as the assassination of Solemaini has put the kingdom in Iran’s crosshairs.”

Yasmine Farouk, commenting in an article for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, assessing Riyadh’s take on the Soleimani killing. [carnegieendowment.org/]

TOP STORY

CYBERSECURITY

With Tensions Soaring, Saudi Arabia Keeps Eyes on Cyber Threat from Iran

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Khalid Al Falih announced on Tuesday plans to develop the country's gas resources and extending a grid to UAE, Oman and Kuwait.

As tensions soar between the United States and Iran, Saudi officials are keeping close tabs on emerging cybersecurity threats that may be emanating from the Islamic Republic, according to a report. [more]

 

MORE TOP STORYLINES

In CNN interview Turki Al-Faisal affirms Saudi Arabia is not looking for war

in cnn.com: Former Saudi Ambassador to the United States and current Chairman, King Faisal Foundation Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Turki Al-Faisal, speaks with Christiane Amanpour regarding the Kingdom’s perspective on current tensions with Iran. Prince Turki, who always clarifies that he is not in the Saudi government, indicates that the Kingdom would like to see ‘wisdom’ displayed and avoid escalation of the crisis.

Saudi consumer spending rises by $11bln in 11 months

in zawya.com : Consumer spending in Saudi Arabia rose during the first eleven months of last year by 4.5% or $10.64 billion, on the back of the increased point of sales (POS) operations. Saudi consumer spending reached $249 billion in the eleven-month period, compared with $238.4 billion for the same period last year.

Nitaqat Program to eliminate Yellow Band this month

in fragomen.com : The Ministry of Labor and Social Development (MLSD) will cancel the yellow band of the Nitaqat program on January 26, 2020. Yellow-rated companies will automatically be moved to the red band and will be considered noncompliant with required Saudization levels until their ratings improve.

 

MORE ON THE KINGDOM AND BEYOND

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]

 

T20

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]

 

Security

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]

 

NEOM

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]

 

Taxis

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]

 

Earthquake

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]

 

Iran

Iran Fires on U.S. Forces at 2 Bases in Iraq, Calling It ‘Fierce Revenge’

Iraqi officials say the Iranian strikes, involving at least a dozen ballistic missiles, caused no American or Iraqi casualties. President Trump issued an upbeat appraisal....[via nytimes.com]

 

Iran

Iran attacks: Which bases were targeted?

The base is used to train local forces. Last month, the US Central Command reported that the first female military instructors in the region had...[via bbc.com]

 

Iran Missile Strike

Iran’s supreme leader says missile strikes insufficient retribution for Soleimani killing

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said overnight missile strikes on military bases housing American forces in Iraq were a "slap in the face" to...[By Patrick Smith, Ali Arouzi and Amin Hossein Khodadadi via nbcnews.com]

 

Iran

Iranian weaponry has experienced a ‘quantum change’ over the past decade

When a swarm of drones and cruise missiles attacked Saudi Arabia's biggest oil facility on 14 September, an outraged Trump administration quickly blamed Iran for...[By Joby Warrick via independent.co]

 

Iran

Ukrainian airliner crashes in Iran, killing 176

Debris and smouldering engine parts from the Boeing 737, which carrier Ukraine International Airlines said was last serviced two days ago, were strewn across a...[By Babak Dehghanpisheh via reuters.com]

 

U.S. Military

Report: B-52s deploy to Diego Garcia amid Iran tensions

In a Tuesday interview, retired Gen. Hawk Carlisle — former head of Air Combat Command and head of the National Defense Industrial Association — said...[By Stephen Losey via airforcetimes.com]

 

Afghanistan

As Iran and U.S. Trade Blows, Afghanistan Sweats Between the 2 Powers

In the days after a United States drone strike killed Iran’s top intelligence and military operative, President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan scrambled to keep his...[By Mujib Mashal via nytimes.com]

 

Russia in the Region

Putin meets with Syria’s Assad with the Middle East on edge

Putin’s trip — which was not announced in advance — marked his first visit since 2017 to Syria, Moscow’s main Middle East ally. Syria also...[By Isabelle Khurshudyan and Sarah Dadouch via washingtonpost.com]

 

Trump Administration

White House skewered for failing to disclose meeting Trump had with Saudi crown prince

The White House faced sharp criticism from journalists on Tuesday after they learned that an Oval Office meeting between President Trump and Saudi Vice Minister...[By Oliver Darcy via cnn.com]

 

Sports

American golfers remain committed to events in Middle East despite rising tensions with Iran

The United States issued a security alert last week to all Americans living in Iran to leave the country following the death of Qasem Soleimani,...[By Joel Beall via golfdigest.com]

 
 

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