Category Archives: Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia: Ready to join ground operation in Syria

Saudi Arabia military spokesman says nation is ready to join ground troops in any operation by U.S.- led coalition in Syria. ( AP)

The spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s military said on Thursday the kingdom was ready to join any ground operation in Syria if required by the U.S.-led coalition.

“The kingdom is ready to participate in any ground operations that the coalition (against ISIS) may agree to carry out in Syria,” said military spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed al-Asiri during an interview with Al Arabiya News Channel.

“If there was a consensus from the leadership of the coalition, the kingdom is willing to participate in these efforts because we believe that aerial operations are not the ideal solution and there must be a twin mix of aerial and ground operations,” Asiri said.

Since late 2014 Saudi Arabia has been part of a U.S.-led coalition which officially has 65 members and has been bombing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group which seized large parts of Syria and Iraq.

Asiri is spokesman for a separate Saudi-led Arab coalition which, since March, has conducted air strikes and ground operations in Yemen.

That coalition supports the government there in its fight against Houthi rebels who seized much of the country and are backed by Iran.

Iran is also one of the main allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose regime has been fighting an insurgency for about five years.

Saudi Arabia supports more moderate rebels against Assad’s forces.

U.S. welcomes Saudi news

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter welcomed on Thursday a Saudi offer to participate in any ground operations in Syria launched by the U.S.-led coalition.

Carter said increased activity by other countries would make it easier for the United States to accelerate its fight against ISIS.

“That kind of news is very welcome,” he told reporters while on a visit to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

Carter said he looked forward to discussing the offer of ground troops with the Saudi defense minister in Brussels next week.

Click here to watch Al Arabiya’s full interview with Saudi military spokesman Ahmed al-Asiri

(with AFP and Reuters)

STARBUCKS BANS WOMEN FROM STORE IN SAUDI ARABIA

“Please no entry for ladies”

I keep hearing that Islam is diverse and tolerant. Also Mohammed, when he wasn’t raping captured women and little girls, was the original feminist. But this is what life in the holy land of Islam looks like.

A sign typed in both Arabic and English on the door of a Starbucks branch in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia informed customers that women were banned from the store and would not be served, the Independent reported on Thursday, citing the Arabic language daily Al Weaam.

“Please no entry for ladies only send your [male] driver to order,” read the green sign taped to the door of the international coffee chain store.

Saudi Arabia’s religious police, the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, banned female patrons from the coffee shop after it found during an inspection that a gender partition wall inside the store had collapsed.

A spokeswoman for the Starbucks franchise explained that the company adheres to local customs and was working to refurbish the store to meet the needs of the region.

“Starbucks in Saudi Arabia adheres to the local customs by providing separate entrances for families as well as single people,” said the company in a statement. “We are working as quickly as possible as we refurbish our Jarir store, so that we may again welcome all customers in accordance with local customs.”

Now Starbucks didn’t invent these rules. Islam did. But Starbucks chooses to operate under them and to enforce them. And there’s little to no outrage over it.

Starbucks has already gone pretty far in pandering to Muslim anti-Semitism. Its website has a FAQ that reassures Muslims that Starbucks has nothing to do with Israel.

Though our roots are in the United States, we are a global company with stores in 65 countries, including nearly 600 stores in 12 Middle Eastern and North African countries employing more than 10,000 partners (employees).

… though not Israel. Also Starbucks would like Muslims to know it doesn’t support the Jewish State.

Is it true that Starbucks or Howard Schultz provides financial support to Israel?

No. This is absolutely untrue. Rumors that Starbucks or Howard provides financial support to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army are unequivocally false.

Good to know. I wouldn’t want that $30 pumpkin goat cheese artisanal organic free range cranberry latte to in any way be subsidizing the Little Satan.

But it is interesting how liberal values, which would normally be outraged at banning women from stores, shut down when it comes to Islam. The most progressive companies will go a long way to pandering to Muslim bigotry, whether it’s against women or Jews.

Saudi Arabia: Police arrest 9 American ‘terror’ suspects

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Riyadh (AFP) – Saudi authorities have arrested nine American citizens among 33 “terror” suspects rounded up over the past week, the Saudi Gazette newspaper reported Sunday.

Four Americans were arrested last Monday and five others over the past four days, the paper reported, citing an unidentified source.

Washington, a strong ally of Riyadh, confirmed it was aware of the report but declined to elaborate.

A US State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP: “We are aware of reports alleging that several US citizens were detained in Saudi Arabia.

“The Department of State takes its obligation to assist US citizens abroad seriously. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment.”

The Saudi Gazette said the arrests also included 14 Saudis, three Yemenis, two Syrians, an Indonesian, a Filipino, an Emirati, a Kazakhstan national and a Palestinian.

It did not say if any of the “terror suspects” was linked to the Islamic State jihadist group, which has claimed several deadly attacks against security forces and Shiites in the kingdom since last year.

On Friday, a suicide bomber attacked a Shiite mosque in Eastern Province, killing four people before worshippers disarmed and tied up his accomplice who had fired on them.

IS, a radical Sunni group that considers Shiites heretics, did not claim that attack.

The Saudi Gazette said some 532 IS suspects accused of plotting attacks in the kingdom are being questioned ahead of their trial at the criminal court in Riyadh.

They are members of six cells arrested in “pre-emptive” raids across the kingdom and include a Saudi woman and a Filipina, the paper said.

Also on Sunday, the interior ministry said they were searching for nine suspects allegedly involved in an August suicide bombing that targeted a mosque inside a police headquarters, killing 15 people.

IS had claimed the attack in the southern city of Abha.

The ministry said in a statement that three other suspects, including a member of the kingdom’s special forces, had been arrested in connection with the Abha mosque bombing.

The oil-rich kingdom offered rewards of between one million riyals ($276,000) and seven million riyals ($1.87 million) for anyone who helps in the arrest of a suspect or thwarts an attack.