Saudi oil – Atlanti Gaz Thu, 16 Sep 2021 13:24:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Saudi oil – Atlanti Gaz 32 32 Largest Saudi IPO Since Aramco Has Investors Scrambling For More Thu, 16 Sep 2021 12:41:08 +0000

(Bloomberg) – Investment bankers have set aside a few weeks to generate interest in Saudi Arabia’s $ 1 billion initial public offering from Aramco. They only needed hours before they had excess orders.

ACWA Power International’s $ 1.2 billion IPO, priced later this month, sparks great interest among investors looking for exposure to companies deemed essential to the kingdom’s plans to diversify its economy away from oil. The listing had initial demand in the billions of dollars and advisers must limit allocations to institutional investors, according to people with direct knowledge of the transaction.

As Aramco’s record-breaking 2019 IPO offered investors a share of Saudi Arabia’s oil wealth, ACWA is suspending access to renewable energy and hydrogen projects the nation sees as its to come up. ACWA, half-owned by the Saudi PIF fund, is expected to complete at least 70% of the kingdom’s renewable projects by 2030 and is expected to meet its own goal of net zero emissions ahead of an existing 2050 target.

The IPO is expected to be “significantly oversubscribed,” said Naveed Naz, financial controller of AlJammaz Group, a Riyadh-based family-owned agriculture and technology company that participated in the bidding process. “We expect the company to be able to deliver on its growth plans and triple in size over the next 7-10 years. “

PIF, which increased its stake in the Riyadh-based power producer late last year, is not looking to sell any of its shares, people said, asking not to be identified while speaking beforehand. the end of the offer.

“The company will be heavily oversubscribed due to the nature of the offering, which depends on raising capital and not exiting or selling,” said Thamer Al Saeed, chief investment officer of Mad’a Investment Co.

The offer comes at a time when Saudi firms backed by the kingdom’s $ 430 billion fortune fund are leading new offerings on the Middle East’s largest stock exchange, where IPOs in the region are rare. . Aramco’s record offering, which raised around $ 30 billion in 2019, paved the way for more Saudi firms.

The kingdom also plans to rule the $ 700 billion hydrogen market. It is building a $ 5 billion plant powered entirely by the sun and wind that will be one of the largest manufacturers of green hydrogen in the world when it opens in the planned mega-city of Neom in 2025, as part of its first steps in shaping a global hydrogen market. ACWA is a third party partner of the project.

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United States withdraws missile defenses in Saudi Arabia after Afghan withdrawal Sat, 11 Sep 2021 11:52:46 +0000

A satellite photo provided by Planet Labs Inc. shows an area of ​​Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia that has previously seen Patriot missile batteries stationed with a forward high altitude air defense unit at the empty terminal on September 10. 2021. / AP

A satellite photo provided by Planet Labs Inc. shows an area of ​​Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia that has previously seen Patriot missile batteries stationed with a forward high altitude air defense unit at the empty terminal on September 10. 2021. / AP

The United States withdrew its most advanced missile defense system and Patriot batteries from Saudi Arabia in recent weeks, Al Jazeera reported on Saturday.

Satellite photos analyzed by the Associated Press also drew the same conclusion. According to the image seen in late August, some of the batteries have been removed from the area, although the activity and vehicles can still be seen there. But a high-resolution satellite image from Planet Lab taken on Friday showed the battery pads at the site were empty, with no visible activity.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby acknowledged “the redeployment of some air defense means” after receiving questions from the PA. He said the United States maintains a “broad and deep” commitment to its Middle Eastern allies.

“The Department of Defense continues to maintain tens of thousands of forces and a robust position of strength in the Middle East representing some of our most advanced air and sea capabilities, in support of US national interests and regional partnerships. “Kirby said.

In a statement to the PA, the Saudi Defense Ministry called the kingdom’s relations with the United States “strong, long-standing and historic,” while acknowledging the withdrawal of American missile defense systems.

He said the Saudi army “is capable of defending its lands, seas and airspace, and of protecting its people.”

“The redeployment of some of the defense capabilities of the region friendly United States of America is accomplished through a common understanding and realignment of defense strategies as an attribute of operational deployment and readiness,” said the press release.

The redeployment of defenses from Prince Sultan Air Force Base outside Riyadh came as U.S. Gulf Arab allies nervously watched the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, including their last-minute evacuations from the besieged Kabul international airport.

As tens of thousands of US forces remain in the Arabian Peninsula as a counterweight to Iran, Arab Gulf countries worry about America’s future plans as its military perceives a growing threat in Asia that requires these defenses. anti-missiles.

Tensions remain high as negotiations appear to be stalled in Vienna over the failure of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, increasing the risk of future confrontations in the region.

Prince Sultan Air Base, some 115 kilometers southeast of Riyadh, has hosted several thousand US troops since a 2019 missile and drone attack at the heart of the kingdom’s oil production.

(With the contribution of the agencies)

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Two decades after 9/11, Saudi Arabia wants a softer image, Middle East News & Top Stories Thu, 09 Sep 2021 05:08:20 +0000

RIYAD (AFP) – Two decades after Saudi activists organized and carried out the 9/11 attacks, the desert kingdom is striving for change as part of a reform campaign to update its ultra-conservative image .

Women can drive, and cinemas have reopened in the “new” Saudi Arabia under Crown Prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman, among many modernizing reforms that some say may be linked to the trauma of 9/11.

These initiatives are “one of the long-term consequences” of the worst terrorist attack on American soil, Ms. Yasmine Farouk of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace told AFP.

Fifteen Saudis were among 19 hijackers in the airstrikes on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, which left nearly 3,000 dead and were planned by Saudi-born al-Qaeda leader Osama ben Laden.

The kingdom, a longtime US ally, has denied any involvement but faced harsh US rhetoric over its social and educational systems that critics say encouraged extremism.

More pressure could follow in the coming months after US President Joe Biden ordered the declassification of secret documents from a US investigation into the attacks.

Mr Biden was responding to pressure from the families of some of those killed on 9/11 who have long argued that the classified documents may contain evidence that the Saudi government had links to the hijackers.

In a statement released Wednesday (September 8) by its embassy in Washington, Saudi Arabia said it “welcomed” Mr. Biden’s decision.

He said he “can only reiterate his long-standing support for the full declassification” of all documents in the hope that they “will end the baseless allegations against the kingdom once and for all.”

Saudi Arabia’s austere image was rooted in the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam, a Puritan doctrine it was accused of exporting around the world.

The country, home to Islam’s holiest sites and the world’s largest oil exporter, initially resisted pressure for reform.

But the rise of Prince Mohammed, or “MBS,” who was appointed crown prince in 2017, and the need to diversify as demand for oil cools has resulted in a series of economic, social and religious changes.

Prince Mohammed has sought to position himself as a champion of “moderate” Islam, even as his international reputation was affected by the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The kingdom’s heavily criticized driving ban was lifted in 2018, mixed music concerts are now allowed, and businesses can remain open during the five daily prayers.

Newly fired Saudi motorist Hala Hussein Alireza drives a car in the Red Sea coastal town of Jeddah in 2018. PHOTO: AFP

Saudi Arabia has also sterilized its once feared religious police, which hunted people out of malls to pray and berated anyone mingling with the opposite sex.

The Gulf country, a destination for millions of Muslim pilgrims every year, has also opened its doors to non-religious tourism.

The kingdom “is a profoundly different and better place,” Saudi government adviser Ali Shihabi told AFP.

“The (reforms) have dismantled the structures and networks of radical Islam inside the country.

“Terrorists who plan an outrage similar to 9/11 will have to go elsewhere than the kingdom to fish for recruits, as the pool of young Saudis indoctrinated into reactionary Islam is shrinking rapidly.”

But some Saudis warn that swift and sweeping reforms carry the risk of backlash, with popular sentiment hard to gauge when authorities continue to crack down on any opposition or activist.

“Huge task”

In 2019, a Yemeni resident engaged in a series of stabbing during a live musical in Riyadh and, in another incident that year, a Saudi man shot dead three people at a naval base. from Florida.

Ms Farouk said it was in many ways a “new Saudi Arabia”, but warned that the reforms are “not enough” to eradicate extremism.

“They do not involve a dialogue with society that would address extremist arguments,” she said. “Dialogue is very important to achieve goals and not just to force changes on people.”

Saudi women sitting in a cafe in a shopping center in the Saudi capital Riyadh, June 4, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

Reform must focus on the education system that has long been associated with Wahhabism, said Kristin Diwan of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.

“Reforming an entire education system – programs, instructors, institutions – is a huge task akin to remaking society itself,” she told AFP.

The kingdom is currently revising textbooks that label non-Muslims as “kuffar” or non-believers, while the education ministry has announced that it is working on a new curriculum that promotes “the values ​​of freedom of thought and of tolerance ”.

In 2018, Prince Mohammed told CBS television that he aimed to remove all “extremist” elements from the education system, in which die-hard Islamists were widely employed.

“There is no doubt that the intention is there, but effective execution will take time,” Ms. Diwan said.

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Missile attack on Saudi oil region foiled – Saudi-led coalition Sun, 05 Sep 2021 01:56:00 +0000

DUBAI, Sept. 4 (Reuters) – A ballistic missile attack targeting the oil-rich eastern region of Saudi Arabia was intercepted on Saturday, the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthi group in Yemen said in a statement disseminated by Saudi state media.

The missile was intercepted over the town of Dammam, according to a source familiar with the matter who declined to be named and social media reports.

Shrapnel from the missile dispersed in the suburb of Dammam, injuring two Saudi children, while 14 residential houses suffered slight damage, the official Saudi news agency SPA said, citing a ministry statement. of the defense.

The coalition blamed the attack on Houthi forces aligned with Iran. There was no immediate claim of responsibility in the Houthi-run media.

The coalition also said it had intercepted and destroyed ballistic missiles heading towards Jazan and Najran, both located in the south of the country.

The coalition had also earlier reported the interception of three drones loaded with explosives heading towards the Kingdom.

Eastern Saudi Arabia is home to significant oil infrastructure that has already been targeted and affected by airstrikes. A September 2019 attack on two Aramco factories in the east temporarily canceled half of the country’s oil production.

Yemen’s Houthis, who regularly launch drones and missiles into the kingdom, have claimed responsibility for several attacks on Saudi oil facilities in the past.

A source familiar with the matter said there had been no impact at facilities owned by state-controlled oil giant Saudi Aramco and that the attack occurred outside of Aramco’s facilities.

“The Defense Ministry will take necessary and dissuasive measures to protect its lands and capabilities, and will stop these hostile and cross-border attacks to protect civilians, in accordance with international humanitarian law,” the ministry said in a statement to SPA.

The Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, supporting the forces of the ousted government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who are fighting the Houthis.

Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli and Saeed Azhar; Additional reporting by Nayera Abdallah in Cairo, written by Lisa Barrington Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Alistair Bell

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Saudi Arabia begins locating education jobs Thu, 02 Sep 2021 09:56:50 +0000

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday began the first phase of locating educational jobs in private schools and international schools for boys and girls.

This corresponds to the decision of Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Ahmed Al-Rajhi last May.

According to Al-Rajhi’s decision, the Kingdom aims to Saudi Arabia a specific percentage of jobs and create 28,000 jobs for Saudis in a number of subjects in various phases of public education.

Saudization will be implemented in specific proportions over several phases over the next three years.

The first phase of Saudiization in international schools covers specializations such as Arabic language, national identity, Islamic studies, social studies, arts education and physical education.

The decision also aims to increase Saudiization rates in private schools in all disciplines, including mathematics, physics, biology, science and computer science.

The ministerial decision stipulated a grace period from the date of its issuance until the date of implementation of the decision in each phase. During the grace period, the institution can work to achieve its target Saudization rates.

A set of incentives and support will be provided to these establishments as part of the support to private sector establishments in employing Saudis.

According to the procedure guide for the Saudiization of private education, the percentage of Saudiization of a teacher will be calculated if his monthly salary registered with the General Social Insurance Organization (GOSI) is not less than 5,000 SAR for a holder of a license or its equivalent diploma.

Teachers receiving a salary of less than 5,000 SAR will not be taken into account in the Saudization percentage.

The decision aims to create 28,000 educational jobs for the country’s sons and daughters in private schools and international schools over the next three years.

The move is part of the ministry’s plan to bring Saudi Arabia and increase the opportunities available to Saudi men and women participating in the labor market and thereby contributing to gross domestic product (GDP).

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Book Review: “Oil Money” | Sun, 29 Aug 2021 05:00:00 +0000

“Oil Money: Middle Eastern Petrodollars and the Transformation of the American Empire, 1967-1988” by David M. Wight. Cornell. 347 pages. $ 49.95. Review provided by the Washington Post.

The history of modern international relations is inextricably linked with that of oil, the main post-war energy resource. Oil has been at the center of multiple struggles – for its control, its price, its flows, its profits – and has made a decisive contribution to global integration over the past century. For its part, the United States has gradually taken center stage in this integration, with the contemporary world order being in many ways centered and dominated by the United States. Washington has thus developed a specific role in the treatment of the oil question, mainly by ensuring unhindered access to it, and in relations with producing countries, in particular some of the countries extraordinarily endowed with oil in the Middle East. and North Africa (MENA).

In this beautiful book, “Oil Money: Middle East Petrodollars and the Transformation of US Empire, 1967-1988,” David M. Wight discusses the key breakthrough of the late 1960s and 1970s when, he writes, “The interdependence of petrodollars” replaced the previous very unequal relationship between the United States and the oil-producing countries. While the latter relied on cheap and abundant oil to fuel the economic growth of modern industrial societies, which in return provided aid and protection to oil-producing countries, this new form of interdependence was based on high oil prices, skyrocketing incomes and an immense pool of liquidity – the “petrodollars” – to be injected into increasingly deregulated financial markets.

During this period, Wight shows, the terms of trade between the United States and relevant actors in the MENA region (primarily Iran and Saudi Arabia) have changed dramatically. Instead of supplying cheap oil, oil-producing countries now offered plentiful petrodollars. Washington has had to accept higher oil prices and more unruly partners, willing to use oil as a political and diplomatic weapon, but eager to preserve American protection and obtain high-tech weapons. In return, the United States has preserved its hegemony, seized profitable opportunities to export its goods and services to these immensely wealthy but still underdeveloped partners and, more importantly, found a seemingly limitless source of funding for its banks. , their financial companies and their public debt. In the early 1980s, for example, the Saudi share of US Treasury securities held abroad approached $ 40 billion, or nearly 30% of the total, and Riyadh was instrumental in financing US deficits through to its $ 20 billion petrodollar deposits in the United States.

Iran and Saudi Arabia used their wealth to purchase increasingly sophisticated weapon systems primarily, but not exclusively, from the United States (from fiscal year 1973 to 1979, U.S. military deliveries totaled 10 billion dollars to Iran and 4 billion dollars to Saudi Arabia, 31% and 13%, respectively, of the world total, writes Wight). They have joined the bandwagon of financial globalization, bringing in their petrodollars to promote and accelerate it. They have bought durable goods and services, with many US engineering and construction companies profiting from the windfall of the grandiose – and sometimes unrealistic – development plans of Riyadh and Tehran. Finally, they were charged with a specific geopolitical function that a prostrate post-Vietnamese America was too keen to outsource: to contribute to the containment of the Soviet Union and its allies in North Africa and the Middle East. .

The interdependence of petrodollars was both a driver and a key product of post-1960s US-led global integration: a defining feature of contemporary globalized capitalism. However, many contradictions and short circuits ensued. The United States transferred sophisticated and expensive weapons to countries that were fiercely hostile to Israel, which had become a special, if not unique, ally of Washington. To compensate for this and counter growing criticism from many American supporters of Israel, various American administrations had to significantly expand military aid to Tel Aviv, thus contributing to a regional arms race that was in danger of spiraling out of control. In line with its growing activism on foreign policy issues, Congress has often questioned the very foundations of petrodollar interdependence, denouncing the authoritarian character of partners like Iran and Saudi Arabia, the threat that ‘they stood up for Israel’s security and their violations of basic human rights. .

More importantly, the United States has come to hold accountable countries whose fundamental policies could take a dramatic turn in the event of regime change. Spurred on by the shah’s harsh political repression and a growing anti-Americanism that the interdependence of petrodollars helped to worsen, Iran experienced the most extreme regime change with the 1979 revolution and the birth of an Islamic republic. radically opposed to the United States and its allies. The Iranian revolution shocked the world and shook the very foundations of the interdependence of petrodollars. Despite the predictions, it did not come to an end – on the contrary, it reinforced some of its basic premises, making the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia even more fundamental. It has also exacerbated its contradictions, with the United States increasingly involved in supporting, defending and arming authoritarian partners such as Saudi Arabia, and petrodollars funding a range of problematic foreign policies – from l Iran to anti-Soviet Afghan resistance – which would often backfire in the years that followed.

“Oil Money” offers a rich, in-depth and sophisticated description of how the interdependence of petrodollars has shaped and transformed modern international relations, global capitalism and American hegemony. The narrative often overlooks the role and agency of Washington’s European partners, who have played their own important role in the story. But the book admirably blends the many facets of the post-1960s petrodollar universe, from geopolitics to political economy, from diplomacy to culture. In doing so, it provides us with a fundamental introduction to one of the driving forces of today’s world and its many contradictions.

– Review by Mario Del Pero, professor of international history at Sciences Po in Paris.

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Iraq seeks counterterrorism role at Baghdad summit with Iran and Arab Gulf states Wed, 25 Aug 2021 21:25:00 +0000

Iraq has taken steps to unite the Muslim world, inviting Shia Islamic Iran to join its next summit in Baghdad which it hopes will include Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Gulf allies. The move could represent a major shift in a relationship that has bordered on open conflict in recent years.

By inviting both Iran and Saudi Arabia, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi could turn the page on an ongoing war-fueled conflict in Yemen, where the two powers support dueling factions, this which ultimately led them to sever ties in 2016.

“Even if we bring foreign ministers together at the same table, it could be seen as a step forward to end tensions between Iranians and Gulf Arabs,” an official close to Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al told Reuters. Khadimi. In this photo, Khadimi (left) meets with President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on July 26, 2021.
SAUL LOEB / AFP / Getty Images

Tensions reached new highs in 2019, when Saudi Arabia accused Iran of a 2019 assault on Saudi oil factories that briefly destroyed half of the country’s oil production.

Reuters reported that in addition to efforts to ease tensions, the summit will focus on Afghanistan, the war in Yemen, the collapse of Lebanon and a regional water crisis. In addition to the aforementioned powers, the event will include the Muslim majority countries of Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, with France also expected to play a role in easing tensions.

“Even if we bring the foreign ministers together at the same table, it could be seen as a step forward to end tensions between the Iranians and the Arabs in the Gulf,” an official close to Kadhimi told Reuters.

Witnessing the tumultuous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Reuters reports that the Saudis have become concerned about the amount of support they can expect from Washington in the future, especially as the Biden administration seeks a way to return to the Iran nuclear deal, which raises security concerns among the Arabs. Gulf States.

The International Crisis Group writes that perceptions of an unreliable Washington have prompted Gulf states to consider a new diplomatic path focused on de-escalation with Iran. Such efforts could play a vital role in maintaining stability in the region, as the power vacuum left in Afghanistan could lead to the proliferation of terror.

Ahmad Massoud, son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, launches
This summit could strengthen the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan by helping it fight terrorism in the country. The image above shows group leader Ahmad Massoud at the Massoud Foundation on September 15, 2019 in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Photo by Reza / Getty Images

“The countries participating in this summit all perceive international terrorism as a threat to their national security interests,” said Ali Nazary, head of foreign relations for the Afghanistan National Resistance Front. News week. “I believe that the unity between these countries, which criticize the support that terrorism receives, and in particular that the Taliban receives in Afghanistan, is crucial for the Resistance to endure.”

The Afghanistan National Resistance Front represents a group of Afghan individuals based in the Panjshir Valley who are allies against the Taliban regime. Protected by the Hindu Kush mountain range, the region is one of the last places in the country to be free from Taliban rule.

Acting Afghan President Amrullah Saleh has ties to the group, led by Ahmad Massoud, whose father led previous military efforts against the Taliban and the Soviet Union. Together, Saleh and Massoud seek a power-sharing deal with the Taliban.

Nazary said any agreement between the countries invited to the Baghdad summit that focuses on combating terrorism would be beneficial for the Resistance. While Iran has provided aid to the Taliban in the past, the country has said the two groups do not share “affinities” for each other.

The US withdrawal from Afghanistan has raised concerns from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states about whether they can trust the United States to move forward. Here, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a meeting with the US Secretary of State in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, September 18, 2019.
Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN / AFP via Getty Images

If the Taliban harbored ISIS militants, Iran could face threats against its Shia population, given the history of attacks by the radical Sunni terror group against Shia Muslims. Likewise, despite Saudi Arabia’s Sunni roots, ISIS has called for the overthrow of its government for “trying to secularize its people.”

“The idea that these countries are against terrorism is beneficial to us because they will need resistance in Afghanistan to challenge any radical extremist regime,” Nazary said. News week.

He said that there is currently an active terrorist threat in Afghanistan.

“Right now we have foreign fighters in Afghanistan who are aligned with the Taliban,” he said. “We have Arabs from the Middle East, we have North Africans and we have Central Asians. These fighters are not in Afghanistan to stay there. They are going to plan, and they are going to plot against their own country, using it. ‘Afghanistan as a haven of peace. “

In addition to the uncertainty caused by the conflict in Afghanistan, Anthony H. Cordesman, an expert on Middle Eastern affairs and holder of the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said these countries face additional pressures brought on by COVID-19 and uncertainties over the future of the oil market.

Iran's President-elect Ebrahim Raisi holds press conference
With Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi taking office, the summit could shape his administration’s foreign policy for years to come. Above, he holds a press conference in the Shahid Beheshti Conference Hall on June 21, 2021 in Tehran, Iran.
Photo by Majid Saeedi / Getty Images

Taking these unknowns into account, Cordesman said the Gulf states face additional tensions over whether Iraq will emerge as an individual power or as part of Iran’s area of ​​influence. These concerns intensified after meetings on Iraq’s partnership with the United States produced unclear results. Iraq being a barrier between Iran and the Arabian Gulf, its future remains a major concern regarding the future balance of geopolitical power in the region.

“Iraq has certainly suffered from conflicting pressures from Iran, other Arab states and the United States,” Cordesman said. News week. “In many ways, of course, it is a logical mediator, simply by geography and by the fact that Saudi Arabia and Iran have shown signs that they would like to at least moderate the tensions between them.”

As Iraq heads into election season, al-Kadhimi is looking for ways to limit Iranian influence and restrict the power of state militias. A successful summit that produces clearer positions on the issues facing the region could elevate Iraq’s status. An unsuccessful summit could further complicate Iraq’s position by balancing its alliances with its neighbors to the west and east.

However, Iraq might get lucky. Cordesman said the new Iranian government led by newly elected President Ebrahim Raisi might appreciate the meeting as a way to reduce tensions with his neighbors and lift some of the existing sanctions he finds himself in.

The summit could shape the way neighboring states deal with the Taliban presence in Afghanistan. Above, the head of the Taliban negotiating team, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, attends the final declaration of the peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, presented in Doha, the capital of Qatar, on July 18 2021.
Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP via Getty Images

What exactly this summit can bring remains an unknown. Cordesman stressed that statements of good intentions mean little when not backed up by action, especially when it comes to the Gulf.

“You have very real tensions in the Gulf affecting transport missiles and the potential future of nuclear weapons in the region,” Cordesman said. News week. “Reassuring words, if they come out and have some content, can be a good start to something, but it’s going to be very, very difficult, unless this summit produces a much clearer position than it seems. likely right now, to say that’s going to change a lot. “

Updated 8/25/2021 6:36 PM ET: This story has been updated with statements from Anthony H. Cordesman.

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More than 900 companies join the “Made in Saudi” program with more than 2,000 products Sun, 22 Aug 2021 20:36:34 +0000

Saudi Gazette report

RIYAD – The Saudi Export Development Authority (SEDA) has revealed that the number of companies that have joined the “Made in Saudi” program has reached over 900, with more than 2,000 products registered to date, since its launch in March this year. year.

There are 16 diverse sectors that prioritize the “Made in Saudi” agenda, such as chemicals, polymers, building materials, electronics and packaging, the authority said while noting that other sectors will soon be joined.

The program, which was launched under the auspices of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman on March 28, aims to support national products and services locally and globally.

The program also increases domestic consumption and the market share of local goods and services, in addition to improving Saudi non-oil exports in priority export markets, and helping to enhance the attractiveness of the Saudi industrial sector for consumers. local and foreign investments.

The “Made in Saudi” program will provide important opportunities for companies to expand their reach and promote their products nationally and globally.

The program plays a major role in realizing the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 by supporting local content and directing purchasing power towards local products and services, and increasing the private sector’s contribution to GDP to 65 percent and the proportion of non-oil exports to non-oil countries. of oil GDP to about 50% by 2030.

The authority said it was now working to increase the number of members and products registered in the program after building a special identity for domestic industries.

This is in addition to the intensification of the marketing of national goods and services locally and internationally, and the effort through the program to promote high quality national products and build pride in them by organizing activities. promotional activities and by organizing local and international events and exhibitions.

According to SEDA, the launch of the program was the result of the Crown Prince’s interest and concern for the domestic industry, and his unlimited support for domestic products.

It is also about strengthening their role in light of the high quality and competitiveness of national products at regional and global levels, in addition to the emphasis on awareness and confidence in national products and local industry to different levels.

The program will provide a wide range of benefits and opportunities for member companies, with the aim of broadening the scope of their work and promoting their products locally and globally, where they can use the logo of the “Saudi Industry” program. On their products that meet program standards to ensure commitment to recognized quality.

The program will also strengthen the spirit of national solidarity to support national businesses for the benefit of the people of the country.

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MIDEAST STOCKS Saudi Arabia Extends Losses on Weak Oil, Other Major Gulf Stock Exchanges Rise Sun, 22 Aug 2021 13:44:00 +0000

Aug.22 (Reuters) – Most of the major Gulf stock markets ended higher on Sunday, as lower oil prices continued to put pressure on the Saudi index, extending losses for a second session.

In Abu Dhabi, the index (.ADI) rose 0.8%, with the country’s largest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB.AD) up 1.1% and Emirates Telecommunications Group (ETISALAT.AD ) up 1.3%.

Among other winners, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company for Distribution (ADNOCDIST.AD) finished up 1.8% after its inclusion in the FTSE Emerging Markets Index.

The changes will take effect at the close of business on September 17.

Abu Dhabi, the second most populous in the United Arab Emirates, on Thursday ended a partial lockdown imposed last month as part of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 variants. Read more

The benchmark index (.TASI) in Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, slipped another 1.1%, weighed down by a 1.8% drop from Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE) and a 3.1% drop by Riyad Bank (1010.SE), as weakening crude prices dampened interest in Saudi stocks.

Elsewhere, Saudi mall operator Arabian Centers (4321.SE) fell 0.7% after posting a decline in quarterly net profit.

Oil prices closed their biggest losing week in more than nine months with another drop on Friday, as investors sold futures in anticipation of weakening global fuel demand due to ‘an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Dubai’s main stock index (.DFMGI) rose 1.1%, supported by a 1.1% gain from leading developer Emaar Properties (EMAR.DU).

The Qatari index (.QSI) rose 0.4%, the Commercial Bank (COMB.QA) rose 2.6% and the Qatar Islamic Bank (QISB.QA) rose 1.1%.

The Gulf State Cabinet approved the increase to 100% of the percentage of non-Qatari stake in the capital of Qatar National Bank (QNBK.QA), Qatar Islamic Bank, Commercial Bank and Al Rayan Bank (MARK.QA ), which could attract more liquidity. stock Exchange.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index (.EGX30) lost 1.1%, with most stocks in the index in negative territory, including Fawry for Banking Technology and Electronic (FWRY.CA), which lost 4.8%.

Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bangalore; Editing by Jan Harvey

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Asia buys less Saudi crude as COVID restrictions return Wed, 11 Aug 2021 20:30:00 +0000

Some Asian refiners named lower than normal crude oil volumes from Saudi Arabia in September, as authorities in China and the rest of Asia reimposed restrictions to combat the Delta variant push, have officials from four refineries said. Bloomberg.

Aramco informed those four refineries – one in Southeast Asia and three in Northeast Asia – that it would ship the crude they requested, officials told Bloomberg.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, or Sinopec, is set to cut production rates at refineries at some of its facilities by up to 10% amid renewed travel restrictions in China to tackle a wave of COVID, an analyst said. research on raw materials. Bloomberg in an interview on Tuesday.

Shanghai-based commodity researcher Jean Zou, analyst at ICIS-China, China’s largest refiner Sinopec is expected to cut production rates at some refineries by 5-10% in August, compared to previous plans for this month’s flow.

China has imposed widespread travel restrictions in major cities, including Beijing, over the past two weeks to contain a resurgence of Delta variant COVID cases. As in the previous outbreak, which China quelled with a complete lockdown, the increase in infections is affecting movement and, therefore, fuel consumption.

China’s 20 largest airports have seen flight departures fall to just 40% of 2019 levels in the past week, BloombergNEF noted earlier this week.

“The sharp drop in traffic will weigh heavily on road fuel consumption, forcing producers like Sinopec and PetroChina to cut refining rates,” said Luxi Hong, Beijing-based analyst at BNEF, in a note released by Bloomberg. .

Refiners in Asia are also grappling with below-average margins, especially after Saudi Aramco last week raised its official selling prices for loading crude oil for Asia in September to the highest premiums by compared to references since February 2020.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for OilUSD

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