Saudi: ‘Antithesis of justice’: Khashoggi verdict roundly condemned

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF AL JAZEERA NEWS)

 

‘Antithesis of justice’: Khashoggi verdict roundly condemned

Global condemnation as Saudi exonerates crown prince’s aides over journalist’s murder, but US welcomes ‘important step’.

'Antithesis of justice': Khashoggi verdict roundly condemned
Jamal Khashoggi was a US resident and a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [File: Hasan Jamali/AP Photo]

The United Nations extrajudicial executions investigator Agnes Callamard, Turkey and international rights groups have roundly condemned a Saudi court verdict over the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying it failed to deliver justice.

But despite global condemnation, a US State Department official hailed the verdict as “an important step” in holding the perpetrators accountable.

Five people were sentenced to death on Monday over the brutal killing of the writer by a team of Saudi agents inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul last October, but two top aides to powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) – the de facto Saudi leader – were exonerated.

The Saudi prosecutor’s office said a total of 31 people were investigated in connection with the killing, and that 11 people were charged. Three were handed jail terms totalling 24 years and the rest were acquitted. None of the defendants’ names was immediately released.

“The investigation showed that the killing was not premeditated … The decision was taken at the spur of the moment,” Saudi Deputy Public Prosecutor Shalaan al-Shalaan said, a position contradicting the findings of a United Nations-led investigation.

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In a series of tweets, Callamard explained that the verdict contravened international law.

“The execution of Jamal Khashoggi demanded an investigation into the chain of command to identify the masterminds, as well as those who incited, allowed or turned a blind eye to the murder, such as the crown prince. This was not investigated,” she said. 

“The hitmen are guilty, sentenced to death. The masterminds not only walk free. They have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial. That is the antithesis of justice. It is a mockery.”

Ahmed Benchemsi, a spokesman for Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera that the trial was “all but satisfactory”.

The case was “shrouded in secrecy since the beginning, and it’s still … until now … We do not know the identities of those masked perpetrators, we don’t know the specific charge levelled against who exactly,” Benchemsi said.

“Saudi prosecutors did not even attempt to investigate the upper levels of this crime, and whether they played a role in ordering the killing, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” he added.

Khashoggi, a critic of MBS, was living in self-imposed exile in the United States, where he had been granted residency status.

After weeks of repeated denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance, the kingdom eventually acknowledged that its officials were behind the gruesome murder.

Turkish intelligence agencies concluded that he was killed in a premeditated murder, while the CIA has reportedly concluded that MBS likely ordered the killing. But Riyadh has consistently denied that the crown prince was involved.

Here are the reactions to the Saudi verdict:

Turkey

Turkey described the verdict as “scandalous” and said those responsible for the murder had been granted immunity.

“Those who dispatched a death squad to Istanbul on a private jet … and sought to sweep this murder under the rug have been granted immunity,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s top press aide, Fahrettin Altun, wrote on Twitter.

The foreign ministry said in a statement that the decision “is far from meeting the expectations of both our country and the international community to shed light on the murder with all its dimensions, and deliver justice”.

Ankara said there was no clarity on key aspects of the murder including the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body, labelling it a “fundamental deficiency” in terms of accountability.

UN rapporteur

Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on summary executions, who has previously directly linked MBS to the killing, said the sentence “is anything but justice”.

“Under international human rights law, the killing of Khashoggi was an extrajudicial execution for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible,” she wrote on Twitter.

Agnes Callamard

@AgnesCallamard

g) According to my sources, the prosecutor had argued that the killing of Mr. Khashoggi had been premeditated. The Crown Prince had argued that this was an accident against the evidence. Guess who the Judge followed?

Agnes Callamard

@AgnesCallamard

h) The defendants had repeatedly stated they were obeying orders. The prosecutor had publicly stated that Saud al-Qahtani, Crown Prince personal adviser, had demanded the abduction of Jamal Khashoggi (on the grounds he was a threat to national security.) And yet, he remains free

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“Bottom line: the hit men are guilty, sentenced to death. The masterminds not only walk free. They have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial. That is the antithesis of justice. It is a mockery,” said Callamard, who does not speak for the UN but reports her findings to it.

United States

The US also welcomed the sentences, calling the ruling an “important step”.

“Today’s verdicts were an important step in holding those responsible for this terrible crime accountable,” a US Department of State official told reporters after the ruling.

The US “encouraged Saudi Arabia to undertake a fair and transparent judicial process”, the official added.

“We’re pressing them for more transparency and for holding everybody accountable.”

Reporters Without Borders

Paris-based media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders said that justice was “trampled on” with the death sentences meted out after a trial that did not respect international standards of justice.

The group’s secretary-general Christophe Deloire tweeted that the sentences “can be interpreted as a means to permanently silence the suspects, a way to prevent them from speaking to better cover up the truth”.

“The opacity of the procedure and the concealment of evidence does not allow us to get an idea” of why several others were convicted or acquitted, said Deloire, adding: “We still expect a full accounting.”

Amnesty International

Amnesty International criticized the verdict as a “whitewash which brings neither justice nor the truth for Jamal Khashoggi and his loved ones”.

“Given the lack of transparency from the Saudi authorities, and in the absence of an independent judiciary, only an international, independent and impartial investigation can serve justice for Jamal Khashoggi,” said Middle East research director Lynn Maalouf.

“The verdict fails to address the Saudi authorities’ involvement in this devastating crime or clarify the location of Jamal Khashoggi’s remains,” she said in a statement.

Hatice Cengiz

The verdict left Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz unsatisfied, with her saying on Twitter that the “Saudi announcement not acceptable”.

Hatice Cengiz / خديجة

@mercan_resifi

Saudi announcement not acceptable ..!

View image on Twitter
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United Kingdom

The UK’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned “the use of the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle”.

“The killing of Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible crime,” Raab said in a statement. “Mr Khashoggi’s family deserve to see justice done for his brutal murder. Saudi Arabia must ensure all of those responsible are held to account and that such an atrocity can never happen again.”

Salah Khashoggi

The slain journalist’s son, Salah Khashoggi, said his family had achieved justice, thanks to the verdict of Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor.

“Today we have been granted justice as the children of the deceased, God willing, Jamal Khashoggi. We affirm our confidence in the Saudi judiciary at all levels, that it has been fair to us and that justice has been achieved,” he said in a Twitter post.

Karen Attiah

Khashoggi’s friend and editor at the Washington Post, Karen Attiah, said the trial was “a complete sham”.

“Justice for Jamal Khashoggi’s senseless, horrific death is not more senseless death,” she said. “More anonymous bloodshed is not closure. The ‘trials’ were in secret. For all we know, these five men who have been sentenced to death may not deserve the ultimate penalty.”

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

Saudi-Chinese Talks to Discuss Linking Arabian Gulf with Red Sea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Saudi-Chinese Talks to Discuss Linking Arabian Gulf with Red Sea

Friday, 13 December, 2019 – 11:15
Riyadh – Asharq Al-Awsat
The Saudi Ministry of Transport has revealed that talks are underway with a company owned by the Chinese government to discuss linking the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea through Saudi lands.

It is part of a giant project the Kingdom seeks implementing as part of its strategic plans in transport and logistics.

Saudi Arabia plans to launch public-private partnership (PPP) transport projects worth tens of billions of dollars in 2020, under an ambitious strategy to diversify the economy and create jobs, the newly appointed transport minister told Reuters.

To reduce dependence on oil revenues, Riyadh aims to have the private sector operate much of its transport infrastructure, including airports and sea ports, with the government keeping a role as regulator.

The government expects real economic growth of 2.3 percent next year, supported by non-oil sectors.

“Saudi Arabia has an impressive transportation and logistics infrastructure, where about SAR400 billion ($106.7 billion) have been invested in the last 10 years only,” Minister Saleh bin Nasser al-Jasser noted.

He explained that the plan is to continue investing while increasing private sector participation.

The ministry is also planning a railway project linking Dammam in the Eastern Province to the Red Sea city of Jeddah through the capital, he was quoted as saying.

“The funding will come through the private sector, either through PPP or government-to-government…these are big projects worth tens of billions of riyals.”

Riyadh has set a goal of generating SAR35 billion to 40 billion ($9.3 billion to $10.0 billion) of non-oil state revenues from its privatization program by 2020.

Some of that money would come from asset sales, while the rest would come from public-private partnerships.

The transportation sector is one of the National Industrial Development and Logistics Vision Realization Program’s (NIDLP) pillars.

This program aims to transform the Kingdom into a leading industrial hub and an international logistic platform in a number of promising areas.

This would contribute to generating ample job opportunities for Saudi cadres, enhancing the trade balance and maximizing local content.

It focuses on four main sectors, namely industry, mining, energy and logistics.

In March, a Saudi official told Reuters that six public-private partnership deals worth around $3.5 billion were sealed in Q1 2019 and at least 23 more are expected by 2022.

Saudi Aramco Tops $2 Trillion Value in Day 2 of Trading

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Saudi Aramco Tops $2 Trillion Value in Day 2 of Trading

Thursday, 12 December, 2019 – 11:30
Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company Saudi Armco and stock market officials celebrate during the official ceremony marking the debut of Aramco’s initial public offering (IPO) on the Riyadh’s stock market in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Riyadh- Asharq Al-Awsat
Saudi Aramco achieved the $2 trillion valuation sought by Saudi leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday as the newly-listed state-owned oil company’s shares rose sharply on their second day of trading.

Shares jumped in trading to reach up to 38.60 Saudi riyals, or $10.29 before noon, three hours before trading closes.

Aramco has sold a 1.5% share to mostly Saudi investors and local Saudi and Gulf-based funds.

With gains made from just two days of trading, Aramco sits comfortably ahead of the world’s largest companies, including Apple, the second-largest company in the world valued at $1.19 trillion.

MbS is the architect of the effort to list Aramco, touting it as a way to raise capital for the kingdom´s sovereign wealth fund, which would then develop new cities and lucrative projects across the country that create jobs for young Saudis.

He had sought a $2 trillion valuation for Aramco when he first announced in 2015 plans to sell a sliver of the state-owned company.

International investors, however, thought the price was too high, given the relatively lower price of oil, climate change concerns and geopolitical risks associated with Aramco. The company’s main crude oil processing facility and another site were targeted by missiles and drones in September, knocking out more than half of Saudi production for some time. The kingdom and the US have blamed the attack on rival Iran, which denies involvement.

In the lead-up to the flotation, there had been a strong push for Saudis, including princes and businessmen, to contribute to what´s seen locally as a moment of national pride, and even duty. Gulf-based funds from allied countries also contributed to the IPO, though it has largely been propelled by Saudi capital.

At a ceremony Wednesday for the start of trading, Aramco Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan, described the sale as “a proud and historic moment for Saudi Aramco and our majority shareholder, the kingdom.”

Houthi Projectiles Land on Hospital in Jazan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Houthi Projectiles Land on Hospital in Jazan

Wednesday, 11 December, 2019 – 12:45
Al-Harath General Hospital. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Saudi civil defense teams received on Tuesday several complaints that projectiles, fired by the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen, had landed on a hospital in Jazan.

General Directorate of Civil Defense spokesman in Jazan, Yehya al-Qahtani, said the projectiles hit the al-Harath General Hospital and civilian infrastructure near the facility.

No one was injured.

The outer fence surrounding the hospital was damaged in the incident, Qahtani added.

How Wealthy Countries Can Step Up Their Contribution to Fight Global Poverty

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

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How Wealthy Countries Can Step Up Their Contribution to Fight Global Poverty

Wednesday, 4 December, 2019 – 12:30
Impoverished girl | Photo: REUTERS
Ferid Belhaj
How can the wealthiest nations around the globe continue to help the world’s poorest countries? This is a question that delegates will look to address during a meeting organized by the International Development Association, or IDA, in Stockholm next week.
IDA
The role of IDA, a financial institution and a member of the World Bank Group, is to offer loans, grants and debt relief to poor countries unable to borrow on the terms offered by another arm of the World Bank, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Its member states will gather in the Swedish capital on December 12 and 13 to set the agenda for assistance to these countries for the three-year period starting in July 2020. While countries in the Mena region, including Saudi Arabia, had contributed funds to the previous cycle, it is critical that they – and potentially others – sustain and increase their participation in this forum and support a global public good.

Many people are unaware that countries such as China, India, and South Korea were beneficiaries of IDA assistance in the past but now they have become donors giving back to the international community

This upcoming replenishment, as it is called, is indeed an opportunity for the region as a whole to make its presence felt. Beginning next year, it will be the epicenter of several global events. Saudi Arabia will host members of the G20, Egypt is the chair of the African Union and the UAE is preparing to host the region’s first World Expo. The World Bank-IMF annual meetings will take place in Marrakech in 2021. While these events are significant in their own right, a substantially higher financial contribution from Mena countries to IDA will demonstrate the region’s capacity to lead on long-term challenges such as poverty reduction, inclusive growth, and climate change.

Since its creation in 1960, IDA has become one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 poorest countries and the foremost instrument to channel multilateral funding where it is needed the most and in the quickest and most efficient way possible. Over six decades, it has provided almost $400 billion for investments in over 100 countries, its support paving the way towards equality, economic growth, job creation, higher incomes and better living conditions. IDA’s work covers primary education, basic health services, clean water and sanitation, agriculture, business climate improvements, infrastructure, and institutional reforms. More recently, it has intervened to bring hope to people affected by conflict and violence.

Since 2000, it has provided more than $88 billion in financial assistance to Arab and Muslim countries. In the previous replenishment, more than 50 percent of the resources were allocated to 28 members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, including Djibouti, Syria, and Yemen.

In Yemen, IDA has played a critical role in providing relief and mitigating the lasting impacts of conflict. It has helped Yemenis fight diseases and famine, helped train nearly 12,000 health personnel and immunize 6.9 million children. Through an emergency program, it has helped ensure around nine million vulnerable Yemenis have access to food and other basic necessities.

Meanwhile, the conflict in Syria continues to take a heavy toll. More than 5.6 million people are registered as refugees, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. In Lebanon, where many of them live, IDA is helping the country enroll 200,000 children in public schools. In Jordan, IDA assistance is creating 100,000 jobs for Jordanian nationals and Syrian refugees.

Beyond the Mena region, IDA is a development partner for the poorest countries.

International institutions remain important for some of the most lagging regions and communities in the world. Independent assessments have documented the tremendous benefits of IDA’s support for the development of poor countries. Many people are unaware that countries such as China, India, and South Korea were beneficiaries of IDA assistance in the past but now they have become donors giving back to the international community.

Multilateral institutions deserve our utmost support because when misfortune strikes countries, the knowledge and financial resources of these institutions can save, protect and nurture lives. They can provide ideas for development strategies and funds for critical infrastructure. To eliminate extreme poverty and shared growth, they are a valuable ally for governments and citizens.

The World Bank Group is grateful for generous financial contributions from the international donor community to IDA. However, I believe that the more fortunate Mena countries can and must enhance their contribution to this agency. Its economic heft presents an opportunity for the region to take on a leadership role in this forum. It is also a wonderful opportunity to help those in need, which is fully in line with the region’s rich history of generosity towards the less fortunate.

Ferid Belhaj is World Bank regional vice president for Mena

Saudi Arabia Underlines Harmony with UAE for Interests of their People, Region

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Saudi Arabia Underlines Harmony with UAE for Interests of their People, Region

Tuesday, 3 December, 2019 – 12:15
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz presides over a cabinet meeting in Riyadh. (SPA)
Asharq Al-Awsat

The Saudi cabinet hailed on Tuesday the visit paid to the United Arab Emirates last week by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz chaired the cabinet meeting that was held in Riyadh.

The ministers stressed that the Crown Prince’s visit underscored the harmony between Saudi Arabia and the UAE in achieving the interests of their people and bolstering development in the region.

They hailed the meeting of the Saudi-UAE coordination council, which was held in Abu Dhabi during the Saudi royal’s visit.

Crown Prince Mohammed had met during his trip with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The Saudi cabinet also welcomed the Kingdom’s assuming of the presidency of the G20 as it prepares to host next year’s summit in November. It welcomed the launch of Saudi Arabia’s preparations to host the global event at the directives of King Salman and the follow-up of Crown Prince Mohammed.

Saudi Arabia is committed to continuing the work that kicked off during the 2019 summit in Osaka as it seeks to achieve tangible accomplishments and benefit from Saudi Arabia’s unique location between three continents.

Moreover, the cabinet welcomed Gulf rulers and royals as Riyadh prepares to host next week the 40th Gulf Cooperation Council summit.

Discussions will focus on bolstering Gulf relations in all fields and tackling political and security regional and international developments.

The cabinet then reviewed a number of regional and international developments, underlining that the Palestinian cause will remain the Kingdom’s priority until the Palestinian people achieve all of their rights, starting with the establishment of an independent state.

Riyadh rejected any measures aimed at undermining the historic and legal status of the holy city of Jerusalem and attempts to Judaize it by Israel. It called on the international community to assume its responsibilities in protecting the Palestinian people against Israeli practices.

Saudi Ministry of Justice Launches 2nd Phase of Alimony Fund

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Saudi Ministry of Justice Launches 2nd Phase of Alimony Fund

Monday, 2 December, 2019 – 12:45
View shows the King Abdullah Financial District, north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 1, 2017. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser
Riyadh- Asharq Al-Awsat
The Saudi Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has launched the second phase of the Alimony Fund initiative, a stage covering “temporary maintenance” for those with a ruling in their favor but not yet enforced for a reason other than insolvency.

With this phase, the ministry wants to ensure financial coverage for beneficiaries during a transitional period in order to create stability.

The ministry completed the pilot phase of the fund, which cover “permanent maintenance,” and plans for a third phase covering “urgent maintenance” in cases still being heard.

“The fund aims at the prompt disbursement of maintenance and the financial stability of families,” the ministry said.

“In order to fast-track applications, we opened direct communication with clients through an online platform.”

The first phase of alimony fund was launched in April 2019; it financially covers applicants with alimony rulings to their favor but that were not implemented.

Algeria´s Presidential Campaign Marred by,Protests, Apathy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Algeria´s Presidential Campaign Marred by,Protests, Apathy

Sunday, 1 December, 2019 – 12:45
In this Oct. 18, 2019, file photo, Algerians take part in a protest against the government in Algiers. Algeria’s presidential campaign is in trouble. Candidates are struggling to fill rally venues, two campaign chiefs have quit, voters have pelted candidates’ headquarters with tomatoes and eggs, and a 9-month-old pro-democracy movement calls the whole thing a sham. Poster reads “An illegitimate Government that decides the Future of the Country.” (AP Photo/Toutik Doudou, File)
Algiers- Asharq Al-Awsat
Algeria´s presidential campaign is in trouble. Candidates are struggling to fill rally venues, campaign managers have quit, voters have pelted campaign headquarters with tomatoes and eggs, and the country´s 9-month-old pro-democracy movement calls the whole thing a sham.

The five candidates seeking to replace President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in the Dec. 12 election have failed to captivate a disillusioned public. Bouteflika was pushed out in April after 20 years in power amid an exceptional, peaceful protest movement, and now demonstrators want a wholesale change of political leadership.

Instead, the election is managed by the long-serving power structure of this oil- and gas-rich country with a strategic role in the Mediterranean region. Instead of new faces, two of the candidates are former prime ministers and one is a loyalist of Algeria´s influential army chief.

The Hirak protest movement held their 41st weekly demonstrations Friday, denouncing the presidential election. But for the first time, thousands of pro-government supporters held their own rally Saturday.

The candidates have tried to convince voters that taking part in the election is the only alternative to chaos, an allusion to the civil war that ravaged Algeria in the 1990s. But that argument falls flat among the protesters, who have been overwhelmingly peaceful, with demonstrators calming each other down and ensuring that no one provokes police. It´s a sharp contrast to the sometimes deadly protests and security crackdowns shaking Iraq, Lebanon, and other countries in recent weeks.

Former Prime Minister Ali Benflis, considered a leading candidate, was heckled in Tlemcen, Guelma, Oued Souf, Annaba, while he had to cancel a meeting altogether in Maghnia on Algeria´s western edge.

His campaign director in the important region of Kabylie resigned, citing pressure from his family. Many in Kabylie oppose holding the election at all.

Candidate Abdelamdjid Tebboune, considered the candidate of army chief Gen. Ahmed Gaid Salah, had to cancel his first rally in Algiers because not enough people signed up.

His campaign manager also resigned, without explanation. And then one of his leading campaign funders was jailed on corruption charges.

Another candidate, Abdelakder Bengrina, began his campaign on the esplanade of the central post office in Algiers – the emblematic site of the protest movement. He had to interrupt his speech to dive into his car under police cover to escape a crowd of angry demonstrators. The portrait on the balcony of his campaign headquarters has been bombarded with eggs and tomatoes.

Many poster boards around Algiers meant to hold candidates´ portraits remain empty. In other sites, Algerians have covered the portraits with garbage bags and signs reading “candidates of shame.”

In some towns of the Kabylie region, protesters have blocked access to campaign offices by piling the entrances with bricks.

Tensions mounted last week when Algerians started holding evening marches to denounce the elections. Several demonstrators were arrested, and some have already been convicted to prison terms for disturbing election campaigns or destruction of public property, according to protest organizers.

Given troubles in the capital and Kabylie, the candidates are focusing on small campaign events in areas where the protest movement is less active.

The president of the body overseeing the election, Moahamed Charfi, has minimized the campaign troubles, saying the candidates are “accepted by the population.”

Army chief Gaid Salah has yet to publicly acknowledge the problems either, instead praising Algerians in a recent speech for “the adherence of the people around their army, chanting, with one voice, patriotic slogans expressing their collective the will to head massively to the polls on December 12, in order to make the presidential election succeed and thus contribute to build a promising future.”

If no candidate wins more than 50 percent in the first round, the election goes to a second round in the ensuing weeks.

IRGC, Muslim Brotherhood Held Secret Summit to Join Forces Against Saudi Arabia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Report: IRGC, Muslim Brotherhood Held Secret Summit to Join Forces Against Saudi Arabia

Monday, 18 November, 2019 – 13:00
Former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meet in Tehran in 2012. AFP file photo
Asharq Al-Awsat
The Intercept revealed on Monday that the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) held a summit with the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey in 2014 in an attempt to join forces against Saudi Arabia.

The disclosure that two sides held a summit is included in a leaked archive of secret Iranian intelligence reports obtained by the American news organization.

One of the most important things the two sides shared was considering Saudi Arabia “the common enemy” of the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran, said The Intercept.

The Muslim Brotherhood was represented in the meeting by three of its most prominent leaders in exile: Ibrahim Munir Mustafa, Mahmoud El-Abiary, and Youssef Moustafa Nada, according to the document.

What neither side knew was that there was a spy in the summit. Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, MOIS, a rival of the Revolutionary Guards within the Iranian national security apparatus, secretly had an agent in the meeting who reported everything that was discussed.

The Muslim Brotherhood delegation opened the meeting with a boast, pointing out that the outfit “has organizations in 85 countries in the world.”

“Differences between Iran as a symbol and representative of the Shiite world and the Muslim Brotherhood as a representative of the Sunni world are indisputable,” the Brotherhood members noted, according to the MOIS cable. But they emphasized that there “should be a focus on joint grounds for cooperation.”

Perhaps, the Brotherhood delegation said, the two sides could join forces against the Saudis. The best place to do that was in Yemen.

“In Yemen, with the influence of Iran on Houthis and the influence of the Brotherhood on the armed tribal Sunni factions, there should be a joint effort to decrease the conflict between Houthis and Sunni tribes to be able to use their strength against Saudi Arabia,” the Brotherhood delegation argued.

There were public meetings and contacts between Iranian and Egyptian officials while Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mohammed Morsi was president of Egypt from 2012 to 2013, said The Intercept.

The Iranian intelligence cable about the 2014 meeting provides an intriguing glimpse at a secret effort by the Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian officials to maintain contact — and determine whether they could still work together — after Morsi was removed from power.

Saudi Arabia Slams Iran’s Ongoing Deception over Nuclear Program

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Saudi Arabia Slams Iran’s Ongoing Deception over Nuclear Program

Tuesday, 12 November, 2019 – 12:45
King Salman bin Abdulaziz chairs a cabinet meeting in Riyadh. (SPA)
Asharq Al-Awsat
The Saudi government slammed on Tuesday Iran’s ongoing deception related to its nuclear program.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz chaired the cabinet meeting that was held in Riyadh.

The cabinet hailed the efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in monitoring the program, condemning Tehran for its stalling and maneuvering in providing necessary information to the watchdog.

Iran must cooperate fully with the agency and respect IAEA inspectors, stressed the cabinet.

Turning to Yemen, it praised the signing of the Riyadh agreement last week between the legitimate government and Southern Transitional Council. King Salman sponsored the deal and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, presided over the signing ceremony that was held in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia continues to support all efforts to achieve the security and stability of Yemen, lauding the parties for prioritizing their nation’s and people’s interests.

The cabinet highlighted Crown Prince Mohammed’s remarks at the signing ceremony in which he said the Kingdom has been keen on aiding the Yemeni people since the eruption of their country’s crisis.

It continues to seek a political solution to the conflict according to the three references and it seeks an end to foreign meddling in its internal affairs and an end to the Iran-backed Houthi coup.

The Riyadh agreement is a major step forward in resolving the conflict, Information Minister Turki al-Shabanah said after the cabinet meeting.

King Salman also briefed the ministers on the telephone call he held with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and the message he received from Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah.

The cabinet hailed the signing of an agreement between Saudi Arabia and the World Economic Forum to establish a Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the Kingdom.

“The center will provide space for the development of the mechanisms, plans and applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the Kingdom and will contribute to the adoption of technology and best practices in the region and the world,” read a statement after the inking of the deal.