“Some people wouldn’t talk to me and other people were absolutely shocked that I would do it. When Christopher Knight wrote that article I felt very pressured and for three days I decided not to do it. I was so depressed and then I said, ‘Wait a minute, I can’t let that kind of [critique] stop me from being part of a historic moment.’”

-Lita Albuquerque, artist, speaking with Artnet News about her decision to participate in Desert X AlUla. 14 art structures were put in place including Albuquerque’s NAJMA which “could be the first time in over 1,000 years that a figurative female sculpture has been displayed in Saudi Arabia.” [artnet.com]



In Detailed Report, CBRE Highlights ‘Game Changer’ Saudi Entertainment Industry

saudi tourism

American commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group, Inc., the largest commercial real estate services company in the world, recently released a graphic-filled and detailed report on Saudi Arabia’s bourgeoning entertainment industry, which it calls a “game changer.” [more]



Saudi Arabia Continues with Cautious Path on Coronavirus; King Salman, Xi Jinping Speak by Phone


Saudi Arabia continued to take precautionary measures to prevent the arrival and spread of Coronavirus in the Kingdom as King Salman and China’s Xi Jinping spoke by phone today to discuss the outbreak, according to reports. [more]




Jadwa Investment: Saudi Inflation Set to Rise Slightly in 2020; Non-Oil Private Sector to Pick Up

Saudi Arabia may spend SAR 100 billion ($26.6 billion) more than originally planned in 2019.

A recently-released report by Jadwa Investment notes that the Kingdom will see a slight increase in inflation in 2020 on expectations of a continued pick-up in non-oil activities and an elevated level of consumer spending. [more]




Saudi Arabia’s 2018 CO2 Emissions Fall Faster Than Expected


Latest data for the year of 2018 show that emissions in Saudi Arabia have fallen significantly for the first time, down 4.4% or 26 million tons, according to researchers at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC). [more]




Report: Saudi Arabia Pushing for a ‘Major, Short-Term Oil Production Cut’

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries along with Russia and its allies will curb oil output by a collective 1.2 million barrels a day.

OPEC and its allies are “considering cutting their oil output by a further 500,000 barrels per day (bpd)” with eyes on mitigating the impact on oil demand from the coronavirus, Reuters and the WSJ report. [more]



Saudi Aramco sees increase in attempted cyber attacks

Via Marwa Rashad in reuters.com : Saudi Aramco has seen an increase in attempted cyber attacks since the final quarter of 2019, which the company has so far successfully countered, the state oil giant’s chief information security officer told Reuters on Thursday.

While Some Saudis Embrace Rapid Changes, Others Fear Moral Erosion

Via Dale Gavlak in voanews.com : “Before there were limitations. Everything was ‘haram,’ ‘haram,’ meaning forbidden. But now men and women have the freedom to become whatever they want.  Of course, respect of our community must go hand in hand, so that things don’t go the wrong way,” Saleh said.

Middle East’s $2 Trillion Wealth Could Be Gone by 2034, IMF Says

Via Anthony Dipaola in bloomberg.com : The Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf face a budget reckoning and risk squandering their $2 trillion in financial wealth within 15 years as oil demand nears peak levels, according to the International Monetary Fund. Without decisive economic reforms, the richest Middle Eastern states could exhaust their net financial wealth by 2034 as the region becomes a net debtor, the fund projects. Within another decade, their total non-oil wealth would also be exhausted, the IMF said in the report prepared by a team of its Middle East and Central Asia specialists as well as the research department.



Netflix screening ‘big boost’ to Saudi filmmakers

“Six Windows in the Desert,” a series of short films created by Saudis, will make its Netflix debut on Thursday, streaming in 190 countries. After buying...[via arabnews.com]


Saudi Officials Hold Talks with US Special Envoy for Syria

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah has met with US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Levant Affairs and Special Envoy for Syria Joel...[via aawsat.com]


More Than A Dozen Saudi Oil Firms Book Hefty Losses In 2019

A total of 14 Saudi companies in the energy sector booked hefty losses last year, Middle East Monitor reported on Wednesday, quoting analysts who had...[By Tsvetana Paraskova via oilprice.com]


Trekking to the Most Beautiful Wadi in the Middle East

Wadi Lejab is this magical spot somewhere on the map of the Al-Raith mountains in Saudi Arabia. After driving for 2 days from Riyadh, we...[By Eva zu Beck via youtube.com]


Inaugural Saudi Cup To Be Televised On FS1

Live coverage of the inaugural Saudi Cup airs Saturday, Feb. 29 at noon Eastern on FS1. The field for the Saudi Cup, the world's richest...[via paulickreport.com]


Can I Fly to Riyadh? Emirates Air to Limit Access to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia suspended entry for nationalities holding tourist visas and coming from: Greater China, Iran, Italy, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Philippines, Singapore,...[By Layan Odeh via bloomberg.com]


Sports minister launches Saudi Games, Kingdom’s largest sporting event

The event will feature 40 games with the participation of 35 sports federations in 18 venues within Riyadh....[via arabnews.com]


Aramco Is Said to Start Early Preparations for Overseas Listing

The world’s largest publicly traded company is in discussions with Wall Street banks to draw up scenarios for a second listing overseas, according to the...[By Matthew Martin, Dinesh Nair, and Ishika Mookerjee via bloomberg.com]



Oil falls as Russia needs time on more OPEC+ cuts

Oil prices slipped on Friday as Russia said it would need more time before committing to output cuts along with OPEC and other producers amid...[By Noah Browning via reuters.com]


Yemen Civil War

White House Confirms Killing of Terrorist Leader in Yemen

The United States killed the leader of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, the White House confirmed on Thursday. The confirmation came about a week after The...[By Julian E. Barnes via nytimes.com]



Syrian Government troops seize part of key Idlib town Saraqeb

Syrian government troops have retaken parts of the strategic town of Saraqeb in the last rebel-held province, Idlib. Syrian army units besieged the town for two...[via bbc.com]



Virus reveals China as global oil’s swing consumer

China had been expected to consume 13.7 million bpd of crude in the first three months of 2020, according to Jefferies estimates. That’s second only...[By George Hay via reuters.com]



Abandoned and attacked, some Iraq protesters look to an ayatollah

Abdul Zahra and many others have high hopes: it was Sistani’s final word that forced outgoing premier Adel Abdul Mahdi to quit amid popular unrest...[By John Davison via reuters.com]



Massive Gas Find Spurs UAE’s Pursuit of Self-Sufficiency

Over a decade ago, Dubai’s domestic gas production dwindled effectively to zero, leading to total dependence on imports for its large demand and a major...[By Robin Mills via agsiw.org]



US taxpayers have spent over $2 trillion for the Iraq war, report says

According to their estimates, the cost of the Iraq War to date would be $1,922 billion in current dollars — this figure includes funding appropriated...[By Paulina Cachero via businessinsider.com]


Contract Soldiers

Foreign Contract Soldiers in the Gulf

Not surprisingly, the highest proportion of foreign contract soldiers serve in the Gulf’s three richest states, Qatar, the UAE, and Kuwait, where few young men...[By Zoltan Barany via carnegie-mec.org]


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