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What strengthening Saudi-Iraq relations means to the region
by Caline Malek

May 07, 2019
  • A recent agreement between the two countries could help counter Iran’s actions
  • Co-operation between the two will bring more stability, experts say
DUBAI: Stronger relations between Saudi Arabia and Iraq will mean more stability in the region, particularly when it comes to stemming the influence of Iran, according to experts who commented on a recent agreement promoting co-operation between the two countries.

Exerting more influence in Iraq will prove crucial for the Kingdom, they explained, as Iran’s close relationship with the former causes concern among many neighboring countries. Security and intelligence are some of the areas in which Iraq and Saudi Arabia will cooperate in the near future, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim was reported as saying.

The announcement came during a state visit last month by an Iraqi delegation to Saudi Arabia led by Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, who met King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The leaders signed 13 agreements in areas such as trade, energy and political cooperation.

According to experts, Saudi Arabia may have the best chance of bringing stability and security to Iraq. “These actions are based on an economic and security approach, having intelligence as a key element to project all potential scenarios, including countering Iran’s possible actions to alter this relation,” said Johan Obdola, president of the International Organization for Security and Intelligence.
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“Iran will be facing, from the United States and Europe, the hardest actions, including additional sanctions. On the other hand, there is a momentum in Iraq, with an increasing interest from a vast majority of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, to stop the influence of Iran in Iraq.”

Obdola said this will create an important opportunity for Saudi Arabia to establish a strong security and intelligence strategy with Iraq, along with economic investments, to stabilize it against the actions of Daesh.

“This toxic influence from Iran has reached a level of rejection within the Iraqi population,” he said. “With this announced security and intelligence cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Iraq, there is very much an opportunity to stabilize and reconstruct Iraq, strengthen military and intelligence capabilities, and get a better capacity to counter any actions from Iran in the region, and even abroad.”
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Obdola expressed concern about Iran implementing new low-intensity actions against the Arab Gulf states, with even more serious security implications for the rest of the region and abroad.

“The Iranian regime’s actions in Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq show its confidence regarding a lack of direct retaliation from the international community,” he said. “This will change if Iran keeps (up) this disruptive behavior. Iran is still building military and terrorist capabilities, and networks in other regions around the world to create conditions which will impact the US and European forces established in Africa, including Central Africa.”

On Yemen, he said, the Houthis had frequently stated their tactics were modelled on those of the Viet Cong and resistance movements in Latin America, as well as Lebanon’s Shia Hezbollah, with which they have obvious kinship.

“Both Hezbollah and Iran have increased their provision of guns, missiles, military training and funds for the Houthi war effort since 2014, (pleased) to see their Saudi enemies expend soldiers and money on the Yemeni stalemate,” he said. “We must also be aware that there are old and new alliances in this scenario, including Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Iran, among other actors, who must be closely watched.”

Obdola spoke of Saudi Arabia’s strong military capacity and intelligence, supported by its allies in the GCC, and military cooperation with other nations. “However, Iran has global intelligence and terrorist networks which must be analyzed and approached by traditional and non-traditional intelligence strategies,” he said. “Iran’s military apparatus will not be used against Saudi Arabia — it is not projected, at least — and it could be a huge mistake if there is any intention to. Its actions are and will continue to be based on a more low-level, low-intensity, and irregular warfare, and as such, the intelligence strategy of Riyadh must be developed and implemented accordingly.”

According to Dr. Albadr Al-Shateri, politics professor at the National Defense College in Abu Dhabi, the Saudi Arabia-Iraq rapprochement was born out of domestic change within Iraq. He mentioned the demonstrations by the Shiite majority region of Basra, which have shown the extent of general Iraqi discontent with Iran’s hegemony over their country. “The assertiveness of Kurds, especially the uncompromised new president Barham Salih, and determination not to be a pawn (of) any geopolitical competition, led to Iraq’s willingness to get closer to the Saudi-led order,” he said.

“Finally, Iran’s gradual weakening as a result of the US pressure and sanctions may have contributed to Baghdad’s hedging its bets.”

He said both Saudi Arabia and Iraq stood to benefit from cooperation in many fields, especially security in the post-Daesh Middle East. “As the terrorist group is splintering into smaller cells, monitoring and coordination by all countries are necessary to avoid a repetition of the Al-Qaeda post-Afghanistan situation,” he said. “Another issue of the smuggling of narcotics between the two countries is of increasing demand. The security cooperation between Saddam’s Iraq and Saudi Arabia, prior to the former’s invasion of Kuwait, could serve as a model of security cooperation between the two countries.”

Funding is also a key element of the cooperation. Raffaello Pantucci, director of International Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies in London, foresees much financial support from the Kingdom for Iraq. “There could also be capacity-building and worrying about the regional threat — Saudis are worrying about groups emanating from Iraq, and about managing their relationship with Iran, as Iraq has a strong relationship with Iran.”

He said it would be complicated, with militias involved in the Iraqi government. “But Saudi Arabia has money, and they can use that to get themselves access and influence,” he said. “Saudis are trying to make sure they are buying themselves an influence in a neighboring country where Iran has a lot of influence — there is a big push happening in Iran, and a part of that is for Saudi Arabia to have an influence in Baghdad.”

Iraq is of great geostrategic importance for Iran, Obdola said. “So a multi-dimensional intelligence component, along with a strong military cooperation, are the most fundamentally important elements for any security cooperation to be effective,” he said.

“This is truly the key component here, having the facts of not only regional players in any scenario to be considered, but potentially more global actors who could, in any particular situation, be used against Saudi Arabia. If all intelligence and security scenarios are projected in a local, regional and even international arena, then Saudi Arabia will be successful in this needed security cooperation with Iraq.”

 

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Int’l Conference on Makkah Declaration Kicks Off
Monday, 27 May, 2019

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Makkah- Asharq Al-Awsat

Under the patronage of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Muslim World League (MWL) is hosting today an international conference on the values of moderation and the declaration of "Makkah Document".

The conference, titled “Moderation and Indications,” will be attended by dignitaries, scholars, senior officials and leading thinkers from the Muslim world.

MWL Secretary-General Mohammed al-Issa said that the conference will discuss several topics, including “Moderation in Islamic History and Jurisprudence Heritage” and “Neutral Speeches and the Contemporary Age” under the theme of “Moderation Between Authenticity and Modernity".

Issa added that the second theme of the conference will be “the Prophetic Approach of Moderation,” in addition to topics of “Moral and Human Values Under the Guidance of the Prophet” and “Dealing with Violations in the Light of the Prophet’s biography".

Other topics will include “Differences and the Culture of Moderation” and “Practical Programs to Promote Moderation Among Youth.” The fifth session of the conference will focus on “Moderation and the Message of Civilized Communication.”

Participants will discuss religious pluralism and cultural communication, along with the common values in contemporary international relations. The conference will also witness a historic meeting to issue Makkah Declaration.

MWL Secretary-General lauded the royal patronage of this event, affirming that it comes within the framework of the joint Islamic action that deepens the harmony and cooperation among Islamic scholars.

 

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Qatar says invited to emergency Arab summits in Makkah by Saudi King
Reuters
May 27, 2019

  • Last week Qatar said it had not been invited to the two summits Saudi is planning in Islam’s holiest site
CAIRO: Qatar has been invited by Saudi Arabia to attend two emergency Arab summits being convened in the Saudi city of Makkah on May 30, Qatar’s foreign ministry said on Sunday, after previously saying it had not been.

Last week Qatar said it had not been invited to the two summits Saudi Arabia is planning in Islam’s holiest site to discuss the implications of drone strikes on oil installations in the kingdom and attacks on four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, off the UAE coast earlier this month.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed an economic and diplomatic boycott on Qatar since June 2017 over allegations that Doha supports terrorism and is cosying up to regional foe Iran. Qatar denies the charges.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani received an invitation from Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to attend the summit of Gulf
Arab rulers and a wider meeting of Arab leaders, the Qatari Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The invitation and a letter was passed to Qatar by the head of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the statement said, without saying whether Qatar would accept it.


 

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King Salman tells moderate Islam conference that Saudi Arabia has fought ‘extremism, violence and terrorism’

May 27, 2019
  • At a Muslim World League conference in Makkah, king calls for an end to racist and xenophobic speech
  • Saudi Arabia is committed to 'spreading peace and co-existence'
MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia has fought against extremism with “determination and decisiveness,” King Salman told a Muslim World League conference on Monday.

In an address to the League’s conference in Makkah on moderate Islam, the king called for an end to racist and xenophobic speech.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has strongly condemned and fought all forms of extremism, violence and terrorism, with ideology, determination and decisiveness, and has opposed any identification with them,” the King said in a speech delivered on his behalf by Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, the Makkah governor.

Saudi Arabia is committed to “spreading peace and co-existence and has established international intellectual platforms and centers to promote these principles,” the king said.

“We reiterate our invitation to stop the racist and xenophobic speech from whatever source and under any pretext whatsoever,” he added.

The king said the world today is in serious need of a role model and that Muslims can help spread the good values in the world.

The Muslim World League, an international non-governmental Islamic organization, based in Makkah, is holding the “Moderation and Indications” conference fo four days. The event will be attended by dignitaries, scholars, senior officials and leading thinkers from the Muslim world.

The conference marks the start of several major regional summits in the Kingdom this week. They include emergency meetings of the GCC and the Arab League convened by Saudi Arabia to discuss the heightened tensions in the region with Iran.

 

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Britain's INEOS to invest $2 bln in Saudi petrochemical complex
June 3, 2019

(Reuters) - Billionaire Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS said on Monday it would invest $2 billion to build three plants that would form part of petrochemical complex being developed in Saudi Arabia by state-owned Saudi Aramco and France’s Total.

INEOS’ plants would be part of a $5 billion complex called Project Amiral that aimed to supply more than $4 billion of derivatives and speciality chemicals, the company said.

“We are bringing advanced downstream technology which will add value and create further jobs in the kingdom,” Ratcliffe, INEOS’ chairman, said in a statement to announce the deal with Aramco and Total.

The energy and chemicals firm said the plants would have access to competitive raw materials and energy, as well as infrastructure to serve customers in the region and Asia.

INEOS is one of the largest producers of acrylonitrile, a toxic liquid used to make artificial fibers and other polymers. One of the three plants would be a acrylonitrile plant, the company said.

Paul Overment, chief executive of INEOS Nitriles, said demand for acrylonitrile was outpacing economic growth.

INEOS said this year it was investing 3 billion euros ($3.35 billion) in Belgium to build an ethane gas cracker to produce the chemicals needed for plastics and synthetic products and a propane dehydrogenation unit. That investment was the firm’s biggest to date.

Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; editing by Gopakumar Warrier

 

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KAUST researchers in Saudi Arabia make a surprising discovery in the depths of the Red Sea
by Caline Malek
June 02, 2019
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The movements of the mineral-rich waters at the bottom of the Red Sea carry oxygen and important nutrients that support ecosystems and sea life. (Shutterstock image)

  • Researchers say that water near the seabed is replenished far faster than was thought, which is good news for sea life
  • Waters occupying depths from 300 to 2,000 meters in the Red Sea are recognized as the warmest and saltiest deep-water environments in the world
DUBAI: Earth scientists and oceanographers at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) have discovered that deep water in the Red Sea is replenished much faster than previously thought.

Its deep circulation was also found to be directly affected by major climatic events, including volcanic eruptions, around the world.

Understanding the deep-water ocean currents of the Red Sea enables researchers to better gauge its health, since organic matter from surface waters falls into the ocean
depths, where it decomposes into its basic mineral components. The movements of these mineral-rich waters carry oxygen and important nutrients that support ecosystems and sea life.

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“Using temperature and salinity data gathered by six cruises from along the central axis of the Red Sea and an ocean circulation simulator, we have been able to gain further insight into the circulation of the Red Sea’s deep waters,” said Dr. Ibrahim Hoteit, professor of earth science and engineering at KAUST. “We found that the depths of the Red Sea have experienced rather rapid — around 10-year — water renewals, which is against the conventional idea that it is mostly stagnant.”

Waters occupying depths from 300 to 2,000 meters in the Red Sea are recognized as the warmest and saltiest deep-water environments in the world.

To date, research suggested that the Red Sea’s deep water is relatively stagnant, taking about 36 to 90 years to renew, and that its main source of renewal is water flowing from the northern gulfs of Suez and Aqaba into the sea’s main basin.

FASTFACT

• Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast is about 1,760 km in length.
• Coral reefs are known for harboring some of the highest biodiversity of benthic fauna and flora.
• The Red Sea is a narrow, semi-confined sea that combines high temperatures of around 21C, a deep basin with a maximum depth of about 2,300 meters and high salinity.
• The Red Sea hosts a deep marine environment unique among the world’s oceans.

“The model simulation convincingly linked the Red Sea deep-water renewals to the global climate variability associated with remote volcanic eruptions and the North Atlantic oscillation, an inherent atmospheric variability mostly affecting Europe,” Hoteit explained. “Volcanic eruptions tend to warm the middle atmosphere of the tropics by releasing large amounts of sulfate aerosols, which absorb the sun’s rays for periods of up to two years. The westerly jet across the Atlantic Ocean becomes stronger as the atmospheric circulation adjusts to this warming.”

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This, in turn, increases dry, cold northwesterly winds above the Red Sea: Heat is lost from the sea’s waters to the air, and the surface temperature becomes cold enough to trigger surface colder waters to sink. This is known as open-ocean deep convection.

In contrast with previous studies, the KAUST scientists found that it was this open-ocean deep convection caused by volcanic eruptions that formed the primary source of the replenishment of the Red Sea’s deep water, while the flows of water originating in the gulfs of Suez and Aqaba represented secondary sources.

The project started when KAUST researchers sought to understand the deep circulation in the Red Sea. “Unusual cold water was clearly observed in the bottom of the Red Sea in the past, but researchers did not have enough data to build a full picture of the origins of these waters that drive the basin deep circulation,” Hoteit noted. “The KAUST models accurately reproduced the observed deep-water formation events in the northern Red Sea and allowed, for the first time, to link them to cool periods that relate to atmospheric systems originating in the North Atlantic or to the global cooling effect of remote volcanic activity.”

Findings revealed that two volcanic eruptions in the Philippines and Mexico, in 1983 and 1992, respectively, led to cooler waters in the northern Red Sea, which then dropped to its depths. “There is something unique in the Red Sea because the deep water is warm — around 21C — while in the open ocean it should be around 2C,” Hoteit said. “Once the water becomes heavy, it abruptly sinks to the bottom. So this suggests that remote volcanoes across the globe might be able to ventilate the Red Sea faster than had been reported.”

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As a result, the heavy water from the surface brings with it oxygen to the depths of the sea, revitalizing its deep-sea ecosystem.

Another beneficial finding revealed that, once the heavy water drops to the Red Sea’s depths, it flows southward toward the Gulf of Aden through the Bab-El-Mandeb Strait, contributing to the mixing of the water column, which is also favorable for making nutrients available for the ecosystem.

“We are demonstrating an unusual physical mechanism that can improve the ecosystem in the depths of the sea,” Hoteit explained. “In 2017, we analyzed 30 years’ worth of satellite data of water temperatures and showed that the northern Red Sea temperatures are increasing at an alarming rate, higher than has been reported for the global oceans.”

A hike in seawater temperatures is considered detrimental for the ecosystem and marine life as deep-water formation — and the ventilation it causes — may be weakened. “There are concerns about the rise in temperature of the Red Sea, which will eventually reduce its ventilation,” he warned.

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KAUST scientists are working on unraveling the southward deep pathway of these water masses that sporadically form at the surface of the northern Red Sea, understanding their impact on the basin ecosystem and assessing the fate of these highly salty waters as they ultimately flow out into the Indian Ocean.

The researchers are also interested in studying the impact of climate change on the water renewal of the Red Sea, as increasing climate temperatures might weaken the deep-water formation events in the future and may slow down the basin ventilation.

“There is also an indication that once the water reaches the Gulf of Aden and mixes with the waters of the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, it might affect the salinity in these basins which, in turn, may be linked to the formation of hurricanes,” Hoteit concluded. “It would be very interesting to monitor the impact of the deep-water formation events on the environment and the ecosystem, but this will require considerable long-term efforts to observe the movements of these waters along the Red Sea basin out to the Indian Ocean.”

 

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Saudi Aid Worth $86 Billion Reaches 81 Countries Around the World
14 June, 2019

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Saudi aid to Yemen exceeded $12 billion since 2015. (AFP/ File Photo)

Riyadh - Asharq Al-Awsat

Over the past three decades, Saudi Arabia has provided humanitarian assistance to 81 countries around the world, while hosting about 12 million people of various nationalities, according to Dr. Abdullah Al Rabeeah, Advisor to the Royal Court and General Supervisor of the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid (KSRelief).

“The Kingdom's efforts in foreign aid have always been on the rise until they reached a record in the last few years,” he said during a seminar held on Thursday, titled “Saudi Humanitarian Aid between the Past and the Present” on the sidelines of the Warsaw International Humanitarian Expo.

“Saudi aid, since 1996 and until 2018, has reached more than 86 billion dollars,” he added.

“Since its inception, KSRelief has implemented 1,011 projects in 44 countries worth $3.4 billion with 225 projects worth $389 million targeting women and 234 projects worth over $529 million targeting children,” he said.

Al-Rabeeah added: “Saudi Arabia hosts 12 million immigrants of different nationalities representing 37 percent of its population, making it rank second in the world in the number of immigrants, preceded only by the United States.”

He noted that 561,911 of these immigrants were Yemenis, 262,573 were Syrians and 249,669 were from Myanmar.

He said that Saudi aid to Yemen exceeded $12 billion since 2015, including aid provided through KSRelief, aid provided to Yemeni refugees inside the Kingdom, development and government assistance, and support allocated to the Central Bank of Yemen.

Al-Rabeeah added that KSRelief supported 78 projects worth $352.9 million in Palestine, 191 projects worth $267 million in Syria, and 11 projects worth $6 million in Djibouti.

 

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New Saudi energy minister: a royal with decades of experience in OPEC cuts
September 8, 2019
Rania El Gamal, Dmitry Zhdannikov


DUBAI (Reuters) - When former Saudi oil minister Ali al Naimi crushed oil prices in 2014 by adding to global oversupply, one man in the kingdom stood firmly against this strategy.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, King Salman’s son and a veteran oil official, who on Sunday was named as new Saudi energy minister, is known in the industry for decades of work helping to foster OPEC production cuts.

As he takes the reins at the world’s largest oil exporter from Khaled al-Falih, Prince Abdulaziz faces intensifying demands from Saudi royals to prop up oil prices to help ease budget constraints and push through plans to get maximum value from a partial privatization of state oil giant Aramco.

Known in the industry as a good negotiator, Prince Abdulaziz has long experience in cutting deals within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and respect among fellow OPEC members can help him implement that drive.

In 2016, when OPEC agreed to cut oil output, Prince Abdulaziz worked behind the scenes to bring fellow OPEC ministers into an agreement, OPEC sources said.

OPEC and non-OPEC producers later inked their first deal since 2001 to curtail oil output jointly and ease a global glut after more than two years of low prices that overstretched many state budgets.

And when sanctions-hit Iran resisted a push by Saudi Arabia and Russia to increase oil output two years later to meet calls from U.S. President Donald Trump to cool prices, it was Prince Abdulaziz, then minister of state for energy affairs, who helped convince Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh to agree to the deal, OPEC sources said.

The prince’s appointment caps 10 days of a series of swift changes that stripped Falih of his sprawling authority.

Falih was once seen in the industry and by foreign diplomats as the third most powerful man in Saudi Arabia after the king and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, overseeing more than half the Saudi economy through a super energy and industry ministry.

His loss of power was swift. On Aug. 30, he was stripped of the industry portfolio, removed as chairman of Aramco on Sept. 2 before being replaced as energy minister on Sept. 8.

But Prince Abdulaziz, an older half brother of the Crown Prince, is not expected to change the kingdom’s oil and OPEC policies, Saudi officials and analysts say.
“He will focus on enhancing the relationship within OPEC and with non-OPEC producers to strengthen the stability of the international oil market,” a Saudi official told Reuters.

Bassam Fattouh, head of Oxford Institute for Energy Studies and a regular attendee of OPEC meetings, said he believed that the prince’s appointment represents “a continuation of existing policy”.

“The Prince has been a key shaper of Saudi oil and OPEC policy for many years,” said Fattouh, adding that he has also been a key player in domestic oil policy such as the kingdom’s energy pricing reforms, renewables and energy efficiency.

Gary Ross, a veteran OPEC watcher and founder of Black Gold Investors, said he first met Prince Abdulaziz in early 1980s.
“There is no one in the kingdom who knows more about oil than Prince Abdulaziz,” said Ross who said he believed the new minister will stick to production cuts to maximize revenues for Saudi Arabia.

“I expect no policy change - the objective is to deliver higher prices and the IPO for Aramco,” said Amrita Sen, co-founder of Energy Aspects think tank, which closely follows OPEC policies.

FIRST ROYAL
The prince’s appointment broke with long-held tradition that saw oil technocrats and non-royals overseeing the energy portfolio in the world’s top oil exporter.

Saudi Arabia has had five oil ministers since 1960, and none of them has been a royal.

Conventional thinking has been that the ruling Al Saud family has viewed the oil portfolio as so important that giving it to a prince might upset the dynasty’s delicate balance of power and risk making oil policy hostage to princely politicking, Saudi sources and diplomats say.

Some industry insiders say the prince’s lengthy experience has overcome what has always been seen as the impossibility of appointing a royal to the post.

Former U.S. ambassador Chas Freeman said the prince represents a new phenomenon he called “a royal technocrat”.
“Bright, cosmopolitan, expert on the work of the ministry in which he made his career,” said Freeman. “Abdulaziz bin Salman can finally attain the position for which he has been preparing himself for so long.”

Prince Abdulaziz, 59, joined the oil ministry in 1987 and worked closely with previous oil ministers Hisham Nazer and later with Naimi as his deputy for years.

Besides delivering extra budget revenue via higher oil prices, the new minister will also have to foster relations with non-OPEC member Russia, which was instrumental in shaping a deal with non-OPEC producers.

Ties between OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and Russia have developed since 2016 after the producer group and a number of non-member countries formed the so-called OPEC+ alliance.

Two Russian energy sources said they didn’t expect cooperation to change because both sides are benefiting.

Prince Abdulaziz was also instrumental in formalizing a long-term charter of cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC exporters which was signed by the countries in June, OPEC sources said. He has also been directly involved in talks with the United States to bring nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.

Additional reporting by Stephen Kalin in Riyadh and Olesya Astakhova in Moscow; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise
 

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Saudi Arabia launches military industrial licensing program
September 8, 2019

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FILE PHOTO: Members of Saudi security forces take part in a military parade in preparation for the annual Haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia August 4, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it had begun accepting license applications for firms in the military industrial sector, a major target under plans to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from oil exports.

The General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) will license companies to manufacture firearms, ammunition, military explosives, military equipment, individual military equipment, and military electronics, state news agency SPA reported.

GAMI Governor Ahmed al-Ohali said the move would open the door for foreign and local investment in the sector.

Investment is needed to meet reforms announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who wants Riyadh to produce or assemble half its defense equipment locally in order to create 40,000 jobs for Saudis by 2030.

Saudi Arabia is among the top five defense spenders in the world.

Reporting by Tuqa Khalid; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise
 

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Oil gets boost as new Saudi minister commits to output cuts
September 9, 2019
Shadia Nasralla

View attachment 9766
LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Monday after the new Saudi energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, confirmed expectations that there would be no radical change in his country’s oil policy.

Oil pump jacks work at sunset near Midland, Texas, U.S., August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jessica Lutz
Prince Abdulaziz, son of Saudi King Salman and a long-time member of the Saudi delegation to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, replaced Khalid al-Falih on Sunday.

Global benchmark Brent LCOc1 crude futures were up 69 cents at $62.23 a barrel by 1343 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate CLc1 gained 95 cents to $57.47.

Speaking on Monday, Prince Abdulaziz said the pillars of Saudi Arabia’s policy would not change and that a global deal to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day would survive.

He added that the so-called OPEC+ alliance between OPEC and non-member countries including Russia, a partnership he helped cement, was staying for the long term. He declined to comment on oil prices.

Russia’s oil output in August exceeded its quota under the OPEC+ agreements.

OPEC oil output in August rose for the first month this year as higher supply from Iraq and Nigeria outweighed restraint by Saudi Arabia and losses caused by U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Abdulaziz also said the kingdom’s aim was for an Initial Public Offering of Saudi Aramco to happen “as soon as possible”.

“I expect no deviation from Saudi policy. If anything, maybe more of a push in the direction of getting inventories down and getting the market into shape for the (Aramco) IPO,” said Robert Ryan, Chief Energy Strategist at BCA research.

The United Arab Emirates’ energy minister, Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui, said on Sunday that OPEC and non-OPEC producers were “committed” to achieving oil market balance.

The OPEC+ deal’s joint ministerial monitoring committee meets on Thursday in Abu Dhabi.

Trade and geopolitical tensions are affecting the market, Mazrouei said, but he was quick to rule out hasty steps influenced by the trade war between the United States and China.

“The fear of slower (oil) demand is only going to happen if that tension is escalating and I am personally hopeful that is not the case,” Mazrouei told Reuters.

Prices on Monday were also supported by a rise in oil imports in China in August, with shipments to the world’s biggest importer up 3% from July and nearly 10% higher in the first eight months of 2019 from a year earlier.

S&P Global Platts (SPGI.N) said it would launch new price assessments for U.S. crude for Asn buyers from Oct. 1, as the United States exports more oil to the East.

In the United States, drilling companies cut the number of operating oil rigs for a third week.

Additional reporting by Aaron Sheldrick in TOKYO; Editing by Dale Hudson/Mark Heinrich
SOURCE
 

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Drones spark fires at two Saudi Aramco oil facilities

Drones spark fires at two Saudi Aramco oil facilities
AFPSeptember 14, 2019
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In this file photo taken on February 25, 2006 Saudi security guard the entrance of the oil processing plant of the Saudi state oil giant Aramco in Abqaiq in the oil-rich Eastern Province. — AFP

In this file photo taken on February 25, 2006 Saudi security guard the entrance of the oil processing plant of the Saudi state oil giant Aramco in Abqaiq in the oil-rich Eastern Province. — AFP
Fires broke out at two Saudi Aramco oil facilities after they were struck by drones early on Saturday, the kingdom's interior ministry said.
"At 4:00 am (0100 GMT) the industrial security teams of Aramco started dealing with fires at two of its facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais as a result of [...] drones," the ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
"The two fires have been controlled."
The statement added that an investigation had been launched after the attack in the kingdom's Eastern Province but did not specify the source of the drones.

Last month, an attack claimed by Yemen's Houthi rebels sparked a fire at Aramco's Shaybah natural gas liquefaction facility but no casualties were reported by the company.
In recent months, the Houthi rebels have carried out a spate of cross-border missile and drone attacks targeting Saudi air bases and other facilities in what it says is retaliation for a Saudi-led air war on rebel-held areas of Yemen.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility from the rebels for Saturday's attacks.
Tensions in the Gulf have soared since May, with US President Donald Trump calling off air strikes against Iran at the last minute in June after it downed a US drone.
The United States and Saudi Arabia have also blamed Iran for multiple attacks on tankers in the Gulf.
 

Scorpion

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Drones spark fires at two Saudi Aramco oil facilities

Drones spark fires at two Saudi Aramco oil facilities
AFPSeptember 14, 2019
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In this file photo taken on February 25, 2006 Saudi security guard the entrance of the oil processing plant of the Saudi state oil giant Aramco in Abqaiq in the oil-rich Eastern Province. — AFP

In this file photo taken on February 25, 2006 Saudi security guard the entrance of the oil processing plant of the Saudi state oil giant Aramco in Abqaiq in the oil-rich Eastern Province. — AFP
Fires broke out at two Saudi Aramco oil facilities after they were struck by drones early on Saturday, the kingdom's interior ministry said.
"At 4:00 am (0100 GMT) the industrial security teams of Aramco started dealing with fires at two of its facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais as a result of [...] drones," the ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
"The two fires have been controlled."
The statement added that an investigation had been launched after the attack in the kingdom's Eastern Province but did not specify the source of the drones.

Last month, an attack claimed by Yemen's Houthi rebels sparked a fire at Aramco's Shaybah natural gas liquefaction facility but no casualties were reported by the company.
In recent months, the Houthi rebels have carried out a spate of cross-border missile and drone attacks targeting Saudi air bases and other facilities in what it says is retaliation for a Saudi-led air war on rebel-held areas of Yemen.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility from the rebels for Saturday's attacks.
Tensions in the Gulf have soared since May, with US President Donald Trump calling off air strikes against Iran at the last minute in June after it downed a US drone.
The United States and Saudi Arabia have also blamed Iran for multiple attacks on tankers in the Gulf.

This seems to be originated from Iraq. Shia terror militants are doing it on behalf of the Mullah. They think they can disturb oil supplies or it would create a regional conflict to ease pressure on Iran they are wrong. Saudi Aramco stores about two years of supply inside and outside of the country to keep the oil market stable.
 

TsAr

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This seems to be originated from Iraq. Shia terror militants are doing it on behalf of the Mullah. They think they can disturb oil supplies or it would create a regional conflict to ease pressure on Iran they are wrong. Saudi Aramco stores about two years of supply inside and outside of the country to keep the oil market stable.
How did the air defenses miss the drone that to near an important oil installation
 

Scorpion

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How did the air defenses miss the drone that to near an important oil installation

Small drones fly at low altitude are not detectable by radar. Not the Patriot radar of course. Not to mention they are not Patriot stationed around the oil facilities in that location. It could be identified by patriot radars that are located outside of the firing range. Skyguard radars have been stationed In Makkah and in Abha city. The drones bypassed Kuwait air space without getting identified neither by the US radars (located in Kuwait) nor by the Kuwaiti air defense radars. Few shepherd men captured the moment, video circulating over the internet.

Here is an update:

SAAB AWACS headed north as we speak.

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