Perpetrator of Sharurah Attack Used Mosques to Manufacture Bombs, Hide in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Riyadh

Riyadh- One of al-Qaeda’s militants, who moved from one mosque to another in Saudi Arabia to hide in and manufacture explosives inside the room of the Muezzin in Khalil Moaque in Riyadh, was captured in a Mosque in Sharurah Governorate, south of the Kingdom.

The criminal waited till it was the time of Friday prayers in Ramadan Holy month in 2014 to cross al-Wadia border from Yemen along with five others to carry out a terrorist attack, targeting security personnel.

The Riyadh Specialized Criminal Court opened Monday the case to issue sentences against the accused along with 11 others, and the representative of the Public Prosecution requested the banditry of the first defendant, the execution of the second defendant and the imprisonment of the rest of the elements in the case.

The Public Prosecution charged them with attacking security posts, blowing up facilities, embracing the “takfiri” extremist ideology and disloyalty to Saudi rulers and government.

The defendants killed on-duty policemen Mohammed bin Mubarak al-Briki, Said bin Ali al-Qahtani, Fahd bin Haza al-Dosary and Said bin Hadi al-Qahtani.

They were also accused of attacking the headquarters of the Saudi General Investigation and Intelligence, killing policemen and blowing up two buildings.

The attack was carried out by the first defendant in the case along with his partners: Ayub al-Suwaid, aka Shakim, Faraj al-Say’ari, aka Okasha, Abdulaziz al-Rushudi, aka Hassan, Saleh al-Omari, aka Abu Rami and Moussa al-Shihri, aka Abu al-Baraa.

They carried out the terrorist operation and blew up the Yemeni port after booby-trapping a jeep, which was used in the intrusion and detonation with four barrels of explosives weighing 1,000 kg.
The perpetrators then opened fire to intimidate civilians, and they targeted the Saudi Customs office to open the fence and allow the entrance of two jeeps, one carrying a fake UAE plateau and a number of security personnel.

Kremlin Says Implementation Talks of S400 Missile Deal with Saudi Arabia ‘Positive’


Moscow- Russia’s Kremlin stressed the positive nature of cooperation between Moscow and Riyadh concerning the implementation of military-technical agreements announced by the two sides at a press conference following talks between King Salman bin Abdulaziz during his historic visit to Moscow last week with President Vladimir Putin.

The Kremlin had announced early Monday that it is in the middle of serious talks with Saudi Arabia over Russia supplying Saudi Arabia with advanced S-400 air defense missile systems.

Russia and Saudi Arabia have agreed on supplies of S-400 missile systems, the press service of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation told the largest Russian news agency, and the fourth largest worldwide, TASS reported.

“We confirm that an agreement was reached with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the supplies of S-400 air defense systems, Kornet-EM anti-tank guided missiles, TOS-1A systems, AGS-30 automatic grenade launchers and AK-103 Kalashnikov rifles,” the press service said.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin earlier said commenting on the visit of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz to Russia that Riyadh was interested in buying Russia’s S-400 systems.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, on a conference call with reporters, was responding to a question about whether a decision by the US State Department to approve the possible sale of a THAAD anti-missile defense system to Saudi Arabia might affect the Russian deal.

Peskov said the Kremlin could only offer its own assessment of how talks were progressing but said preliminary negotiations on the deal had gone well.

Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Saudi Arabia’s King Salman for talks at the Kremlin last week, cementing a relationship that is pivotal for world oil prices and could decide the outcome of the conflict in Syria.

Peskov said Russia’s decision to offer the missiles to Riyadh was not aimed at any third party.

Saudi Aid to Yemen Exceeded $8 Billion in Two Years


Riyadh — Saudi Arabia announced that the amount of aid it has provided to Yemen over the last two years exceeded $8 billion, including humanitarian, relief, development and governmental assistance, as well as support to the Central Bank of Yemen.

The Kingdom, through the King Salman Relief Center (KSRELIEF), said it was targeting the rehabilitation of 2,000 Yemeni children per year, who were recruited by Houthi militias and forces loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The first batch of children had already graduated last week.

KSRELIEF Official Spokesman Dr. Samer al-Jetaily presented an overview of the assistance provided by Saudi Arabia to Yemen over the past two years, pointing out that there were 9.8 million people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, while the number of internally displaced persons reached 3.11 million according to the UN 2017 report.

He added: “The total request for funding from the United Nations for humanitarian work in Yemen was $2.3 billion, of which Saudi Arabia covered $967 million, or 42 percent. It has provided assistance to more than 3.4 million people out of a total number of 11.9 million, while 2.5 million people were receiving monthly assistance from the World Food Program.”

Al-Jetaily was speaking during a news conference at the organization’s headquarters, alongside Abdullah Al-Rwaily, the organization’s director of community support services.

According to the spokesman, there are 128 humanitarian organizations operating in Yemen, including 86 local non-governmental organizations, 34 international non-governmental organizations and 8 United Nations organizations.

“The Kingdom’s total assistance to Yemen from April 2015 to August 2017 amounted to $8.27 billion, of which $911 million was dedicated to humanitarian and relief assistance through the King Salman Center, $1.1 billion was provided to Yemeni visitors in the Kingdom, $2.9 billion in development assistance, $2.7 billion in government aid, and $1 billion to the Central Bank of Yemen,” the official added.

He also noted that Saudi Arabia has provided health services to more than 478,000 patients and educational services to more than 289,000 students in Yemen since May 2015.

“We provided 68 projects worth more than $118 million dedicated to empowering women, as well as 80 projects for children at a cost exceeding $227 million, covering education, protection, food security, shelter, health, water, sanitation, and hygiene,” Jetaily said.

He also stressed that KSRELIEF has organized rehabilitation for approximately 20,000 child soldiers in Yemen.

International Organizations, States Condemn Attack on Salam Palace in Saudi Arabia

International Organizations, States Condemn Attack on Salam Palace in Saudi Arabia

Jeddah- A number of countries and international organizations have condemned the attack on a checkpoint belonging to the Saudi Royal Guard at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Sunday which resulted in the death of two security men and the injury of other security personnel.

Bahrain, for its part, strongly condemned the attack. The Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded.

“The Kingdom of Bahrain stands by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in its fight against all forms of terrorism and all those who support and fund it. It also stresses its support to all measures taken by Saudi Arabia to preserve its security and stability,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The ministry reiterates Bahrain’s firm stance that rejects violence, extremism and terrorism, and calls for collective international efforts to eliminate this phenomenon.”

Kuwait strongly condemned the terrorist attack that targeted a checkpoint of the Saudi Royal Guard, reaffirmed full solidarity with Saudi Arabia, and backed all measures undertaken by Riyadh authorities to defend national security and stability.

It renewed its principled stand against all forms of terrorism, calling for concerted international efforts to combat terrorism.

The Sultanate of Oman also condemned the terrorist attack, and a statement issued by Oman’s Foreign Ministry stressed its solidarity with Saudi Arabia to protect its security from the scourge of violence and terrorism.

In this context, Egypt has strongly condemned the terrorist attack on Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah.

A statement released by the Foreign Ministry on Sunday expressed Egypt’s deep condolences to the families of the victims and wishes of a speedy recovery to the injured.

The statement stressed Egypt’s full solidarity with Saudi Arabia in terms of the steps taken to abort terrorist schemes and protect citizens.

The United Arab Emirates and Turkey also condemned the attack, and their foreign ministries stressed, in the statements they have issued, their full support for Riyadh in its fight against terrorism in all its forms.

The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) condemned the terrorist attack on an external security outpost at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah.

OIC Secretary-General Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed al-Othaimeen offered his sincere condolences to the families of the martyrs, wishing a speedy recovery to the injured.

Othaimeen affirmed the OIC’s solidarity with Saudi Arabia in the face of terrorism aimed at destabilizing the Kingdom’s security and stability.

He also expressed support for all measures taken by the Kingdom to confront the schemes of terrorist organizations and groups, in order to safeguard its security and stability and the safety of its citizens.

Lockheed Martin Says ‘Looks Forward’ to Defense Industry Localization in Saudi Arabia

Lockheed Martin Saudi Arabia’s Chief Executive Alan Chinoda

Dubai- Lockheed Martin Saudi Arabia’s Chief Executive Alan Chinoda said that the arms deal brokered during the US President’s visit last May encompasses the settings of a Saudi-US partnership and encourages the exchange of intelligence.

Lockheed Martin has partnered with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) to provide on-the-job training in advanced manufacturing.

Chinoda added that modern defense contracts go beyond the traditional arms-oriented deals.

The defense industry is wide-ranging, involving everything from launchpads, advanced software, specialized technologies, complex supply chain management, all the way to many other defense partnership aspects, said Chinoda.

The US State Department has approved the possible sale of 44 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile launchers to Saudi Arabia, worth up to $15 billion.

The sale is part of the $110 billion mega arms deal with Saudi Arabia that President Trump announced during his trip in May. Lockheed Martin’s share of this partnership is estimated at $28 billion covering air and missile defense systems, warships, tactical aircraft, and Rotary.

The THAAD sale would further enhance US national security and foreign policy interests and support the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of Iranian and other regional threats.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Chinoda said that the Kingdom’s next approach is based on the efforts of localization in the context of Vision 2030, which seeks to cover 50 percent of the country’s defense investments by 2030.

Chinoda described the move as ‘intelligent,’ saying that the Saudi leadership approach is positive in terms of developing a more mature defense industry, with specialized and highly skilled jobs.

One of the key elements of the May 20 deal is to localize products and develop skills. Companies looking to work in Saudi Arabia are encouraged to incorporate knowledge transfer into their operations.

Commenting on the US-Saudi arms deal pledging to assemble 150 Lockheed Martin Blackhawk helicopters in Saudi Arabia, Chinoda said that the group was working to deliver on that deal.

Initially, parts of the helicopters will be transferred mostly from the United States and delivered to Saudi military forces, while the final assembly will take place within the joint venture in Saudi Arabia.

The $6 billion deal for Blackhawks is expected to result in about 450 jobs in Saudi Arabia, the statement said.

A number of experienced employees from Lockheed Martin will provide practical training to Saudis so that they can eventually build a successful aviation and defense industry in the Kingdom.

He reiterated that Lockheed Martin looks forward to continuing its historical relationship with Saudi Arabia, a relationship that dates back more than half a century when in 1965 the company delivered the first C-130 Hercules military air transport to the kingdom.

Saudi King Salman Returns to Riyadh after Successful Russia Trip


Moscow, Riyadh – Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz returned to Saudi Arabia on Sunday, concluding a successful trip to Russia where he met President Vladimir Putin and senior officials.

He stressed the importance of the talks with the Russian president, sending him a cable on Sunday in which he thanked him for the warm reception.

“I leave your friendly country by offering my greatest gratitude for the reception the accompanying delegation and I received.”

“The joint talks we held confirm the determination to go ahead and bolster ties between our countries in all fields,” added King Salman.

It confirms a determination to continue coordination and consultations on issues of joint interest in a manner that serves the interest of both friendly nations and peoples and international security and peace, stressed the monarch in his cable.

He also hoped that the Russian people will witness continued prosperity and growth.

Talks between King Salman and Russian officials addressed bilateral ties and strengthening cooperation between Riyadh and Moscow.

The historic trip was crowned with the signing of agreements and Memorandums of Understanding worth billions of dollars. The deals cover the technology, military cooperation, space, trade, communication, investment and cultural sectors.

Saudi King Salman Departs Russia, Thanks Putin for Warm Welcome


Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz concluded on Sunday his official visit to Russia, thanking in a cable President Vladimir Putin for the warm reception, reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

He said: “I leave your friendly country by offering my greatest gratitude for the reception the accompanying delegation and I received.”

“The joint talks we held confirm the determination to go ahead and bolster ties between our countries in all fields,” he added.

It confirms a determination to continue coordination and consultations on issues of joint interest in a manner that serves the interest of both friendly nations and peoples and international security and peace, stressed the monarch in his cable.

He also hoped that the Russian people will witness continued prosperity and growth.

King Salman: Science, Knowledge Contribute to Promoting Tolerance, Coexistence


Moscow – Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz stressed that science and knowledge are the basis for the renaissance of nations.

Tthey factor in through the formation of educated generations leading communities, promotion of tolerance and coexistence among peoples, and preservation of achievements of civilization.

In a speech delivered after receiving an honorary doctorate from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), King Salman said that education and knowledge are the key promoting tolerance and coexistence.

“I am honored today to be with the scientists and scholars of the Russian Federation and I would like to express appreciation to the institute for granting me this doctorate,” he said.

“We proudly commend the efforts of our Islamic nation in different scientific fields. In the Kingdom, we give a lot of importance toward raising new generations capable of facing today’s challenges. I call on universities and scientific institutes in the two countries to communicate and cooperate in order to serve the Russian and Saudi people, and the whole world.”

MGIMO granted the king the doctorate in honor of his role in promoting peace and stability, and strengthening Saudi-Russian relations.

The celebration was attended by the king’s Saudi delegation, and Russian academics and officials presided over by the institute’s rector, Anatoly Torkunov, and Russian Minister of Education Olga Vasileva.

The institute is one of the most important educational institutes in Russia, and is internationally known in the diplomatic and international relations fields. In 1944, it was founded on the basis of the recently established School of International Relations of the Lomonosov Moscow State University.

In 2016, MGIMO signed a cooperation agreement with the Prince Saud Al-Faisal Institute for Diplomatic Studies at the Saudi Foreign Ministry.

The Guinness Book of World Records acknowledged MGIMO for the number of languages it teaches — 53.

Since its establishment, the institute has graduated more than 40,000 students in all fields, including 5,500 foreign students and some well-known politicians and journalists.

The institute was dubbed the “Harvard of Russia” by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger because it educates so many of Russia’s political, economic and intellectual elite. It has the lowest acceptance rate and highest test scores of any university in Russia.

Saudi Arabia: Shootout on Western Gate of Al-Salam Palace Leaves Perpetrator Dead


Jeddah – Saudi security authorities announced on Saturday the death of two security officers on duty and the injury of three others during a shootout at the outer western gate of Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah.

The perpetrator, Saudi national Mansour al-Amiri, 28, was killed after he drove up to the gates and shot at security.

Major General Mansour al-Turki, security spokesman at the Saudi Interior Ministry, said that the incident took place at about 03:25 AM (00:25 GMT).

A guard post outside at the western gate of Al-Salam Palace came under fire by a person who stepped out of a Honda vehicle, and was immediately dealt with by the Royal Guard resulting in the offender’s immediate death, sated Turki.

He explained that the “cowardly action resulted in the martyrdom of Sergeant Hammad Bin Shallah Al-Mutairi and Private First Class Abdullah Bin Faisal Al-Sibei.”

Meanwhile, the injured royal guard personnel included Corporal Waleed Bin Ali Shaami, Private First Class Ahmed Saleh Al-Qarni and Private First Class Abdullah Hindi Al-Sibei.

Al-Amri had in his possession three Molotov cocktails in addition to a Kalashnikov machinegun.

Turki explained that security authorities are still conducting their investigations, the results of which will be announced later.

The offender has no recorded precedents and no intelligence suggested his involvement with any extremist or terrorist groups, indicating that he may be a “lone wolf.”

The US consulate in Jeddah, west of Saudi Arabia, called on US citizens to exercise caution in the vicinity of the Al-Salam palace.

“Several news outlets are reporting an attack against Al-Salam Palace Saturday in Jeddah,” the consulate said on its website.

“Due to the possibility of ongoing police activity, American citizens are advised to exercise caution when traveling through the area.”

Military Deals with Russia: Long-Term Saudi Strategy


Riyadh – Military and political experts described the military deals signed between Saudi Arabia and Russia as “strategic” agreements that will help transfer Russian technology and techniques to the kingdom. This will transform Riyadh into a military producer and exporter, which will enable it to possess advanced military technology.

Military expert and strategic analyst Hassan al-Shahri told Asharq Al-Awsat that major powers, including Russia, have realized that Saudi Arabia represents a guarantee for security in the Middle East because it is a guiding force for Muslims and is member of the G20.

He noted that the faith that the Russian leadership has in the kingdom led it to request that Saudi Arabia become its partner in this strategic military deal.

Saudi-Russian ties will rise to become strategic ones that will bolster the economy and transfer Russian technology to the kingdom, he continued.

The military deals may be small, but they are significant in their connotations, said Shahri.

Saudi Arabia is a semi-continent that needs to protect is land, air and marine borders through possessing air defense capabilities and other weapons that will enable it to lead tactical military work, he explained.

The addition of the advanced military technologies to the Saudi forces will lead to stability and security that will not be limited to the regional scene, but the international one as well, he stressed.

Saudi academic and political analyst Dr. Khalil bin Abdullah al-Khalil told Asharq Al-Awsat described as “historic” Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz’s visit to Russia due to the outcomes it achieved in regards to regional and international policy.

The former Shura council member hailed the visit and the comprehensive agreements that were signed, especially the military ones.

The deals ensured that advanced military equipment and Russian expertise will reach Saudi Arabia to prepare strong armies that possess the best weapons in the world, he added.