Saturday, June 30, 2007

Old and new anchors for General Musharraf

from the Daily Times

President Musharraf seems to be “diversifying” his reliance on the US — worth billions in handouts for military incursions into Waziristan alone — by reviving old links in the Gulf. He has been indulging in shuttle diplomacy on behalf of Saudi Arabia, and his prime minister, Shaukat Aziz, has been issuing statements of “cooperation” with the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) ... Even as the news from America is becoming negative, the UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan was in Islamabad recently, calling Musharraf’s Pakistan “an anchor of peace in the region” and promising more investment because of Pakistan’s “unique geo-strategic location”. Before him, Pakistan was host to the Imam of Kaaba from Saudi Arabia who stayed in Pakistan for a significantly long period because of the crowds he drew to his “buttressing” pro-government speeches.

Saudi economy loses $16b in investments

by Habib Shaikh from Khaleej Times Online

Recently a Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) delegation visited the United States offering investment opportunities worth more than $500 billion to American investors. Saudi Arabia has launched four mega-economic cities in Rabigh, Hail, Madinah and Jizan during the past two years and the four are expected to attract SR300 billion in domestic and foreign investments and also to create more than a million jobs ... Business performance reports 2006-07 issued by the World Bank show Saudi Arabia occupying fifth position regarding taxes and fourth in property registration costs. According to a study published by Forbes Arabia magazine assessing the performance of 1,616 joint stock companies in the Arab world last year, the first three positions were held by Saudi companies and among the top 50 companies, 22 were Saudi. Saudi Arabia has made rapid strides in banking services and Saudi banks figure on the list of the world's biggest 1,000 banks. The three biggest banks in the Arab world are Saudi.

Kosovo conundrum

by Michael Djordjevich from The Washington Times

Kosovo is rather far from the democratic and multicultural model that the U.S. foreign policy establishment professes to support. Obviously these are not credentials for independence. Equally serious is the undeniable rise of the puritanical strain of Wahabbi Islam and real potential for increased interacting between heroin trafficking and crime with terrorists in Kosovo, Southern Serbia, Bosnia and Northern Macedonia. Where is the quid pro quo for rendering such significant aid to the Islamist agenda in the Balkans? ... Among terrorists directly involved in the September 11 attack on America and on terrorist attacks in Spain and the UK were jihadists who had come from the Balkans. Al Qaeda's links and dormant cells in the region are indisputable. Hopefully, the United States will pragmatically consider and reassess the impact of Kosovo independence on her long-term geostrategic interests.