Friday, May 18, 2007

Saudis buy GE plastics arm in $11bn deal

From David Litterick of The Telegraph (UK)

The division is being bought by Basic Industries of Saudi Arabia, one of the world's largest chemicals companies, which is 70% owned by the Saudi government ... GE Plastics posted a profit of $674m on sales of $6.65bn last year. It specialises in polycarbonates - easily-worked plastics used in applications ranging from riot shields to compact-disc cases. GE's proprietary Lexan plastic is used in roofs, lighting, walkways, windows and domes. It operates in 21 countries around the world, including the fast-growing markets of China, India and Brazil ... The late King Khalid bin Abdulaziz established Sabic in 1976 with the aim making Saudi Arabia less dependent on oil. It has grown to employ 17,000 people.

Saudi Press Reactions to the Arrest of Seven Terrorist Cells in Saudi Arabia

From Y. Admon and M. Feki of MEMRI

In an interview, Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif bin Abd Al-'Aziz told the London daily Al-Hayat that the ideology behind the country's handling of the problem of terrorism was still "weak," and "not comparable to the efforts on the security level." Similar criticism was voiced by columnist Mamdouh Al-Muhaini: "The Saudi Interior Ministry's recent announcement of the exposure of seven cells that planned to carry out extensive violent operations exposed another aspect of the lax handling of extremism and terrorism on the ideological level. From the outset, it was clear that the perception underlying the program for fighting terrorism and extremism was flawed, that [the program's] steps were confused, and that it was operating without goals."

It's OK If Ron Paul Is Right

From Gregory Scoblete at TCS Daily

In a now famous November 6, 2003 address, President Bush explicitly linked U.S. policy with the rise of Islamic terrorism: "Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe -- because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty. As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment, and violence ready for export." This "accommodation" takes many forms, from the generous subsidies to the Mubarak regime in Egypt to the protection of the Saudi "royal" family and other Gulf potentates, first from Saddam Hussein and now from Iran.

Soft Targets

From Olivier Guitta at The Weekly Standard

Since 2003, Saudi authorities have drastically increased security around public buildings and vital infrastructure making it much more difficult for al Qaeda to attack government targets ... Still, al Qaeda remains popular among Saudis. Even Prince Nayef, the minister responsible for fighting terrorism, recently acknowledged: "We are facing 10,000 people potentially ready to commit a terrorist act and behind them one million sympathizers ready to help them." The Saudi military, too, seems to be at the very least sympathetic to al Qaeda's hatred of foreigners. According to Le Figaro, the military will exempt from training with U.S. instructors those officers who are unable to bear the presence of "infidels."

India: Kashmiri Militants, Communal Tensions and the Mosque Bombing

From Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting Inc.)

While Hindu extremists in the area could easily be blamed for the attack on the Mecca Mosque in Hyderabad, the bombing could well be the work of Kashmiri Islamist groups expanding their presence in southern India ... Indians have largely become inured to militant [Islamist] attacks and have failed to provide the wide-scale, violent response the Islamist groups hope for. The lack of a Hindu response could have led to a shift in thinking among the Kashmiri Islamist groups operating in India, who might have decided to risk alienating local support by staging attacks against Muslims in hopes of reigniting Hindu-Muslim tensions in locations that have a history of deadly communal violence. (It is important to note that these groups are rooted in Wahhabi doctrine, which justifies attacking mainstream Barelvi and secular Muslims.)

Islamism, not Islam is the Problem

From M. Zuhdi Jasser at The Family Security Foundation

Most should understand that strategically, identifying ‘Islam as the problem,’ immediately alienates upwards of one quarter of the world’s population and dismisses our most powerful weapon against the militant Islamists—the mantle of religion and the pulpit of moderate Muslims who can retake our faith from the Islamists. ... Political Islam has a viral recurrence in the form of an infection which needs a Muslim counter-jihad in order to purge it. Thus, we cannot win this ideological war without the leadership of Muslim anti-Islamists. The radical and political ideologies of Islamism, Wahhabism, Salafism, Al Qaedism, Jihadism, and Caliphism, to name a few, cannot be defeated without anti-Islamist, anti-Wahhabi, anti-Salafist, anti-Al Qaedist, anti-Jihadist, and anti-Caliphist devout Muslims.

Question Period: War of the Worlds

From Walid Phares at The Family Security Foundation

As of the end of the 1970s, oil producing powers with a Wahhabi and authoritarian background--and later on the Khomeinists will follow suit--have invested tremendously in western academic institutions. They targeted the Middle East studies and related programs so that the classroom would be taught narrowly or even selectively about the region ... Indeed, the initial strategic planning of the mainstream jihadis (backed by oil dividends and influence) aimed at decades of infiltration, penetration of the systems and eventually a slow crumbling from the inside. The initial strategies devised by the Salafists, such as the Ikhwan, the Muslim Brotherhood, wanted an insertion of layers of jihadis inside the various levels of society and government.

Some advice for Ron Paul

From Ilana Mercer of World Net Daily

Defending and preserving the homeland, the conservative base believes, begins with beefing up the borders and reforming immigration policy. This excludes the amnesty program touted by the presidential front-runners. Paul would do well to remind Americans that Bush's recipe for minute-made Americans will legalize the status of an estimated 300,000 individuals from Wahhabi-worshiping lands,
whose customs do not preclude killing their hosts.