Monday, December 3, 2007

Trafficked children tell their stories

by Saddam Al-Ashmori from Yemen Times (Yemen)

Every day, hundreds of Yemeni children between the ages of 9 and 18 find their way to the vast frontiers leading to Saudi Arabia, some accompanied by smugglers or relatives. They go there seeking work or to beg due to their miserable living situations and extreme poverty. Smugglers pay Yemeni parents to take their children to Saudi Arabia; however, such parents don’t think about the dire consequences caused by their actions ... A Yemen Times reporter contacted the smuggler, saying that he wanted to get into this type of work and that he has a large number of children to smuggle. The smuggler knew the smuggling routes, but the reporter, pretending to be an aspiring smuggler, didn’t know how the current labor market is or to whom to smuggle the children. The smuggler informed him that the secure areas for child trafficking are Al-Malaheet, Al-Managrah, Al-Mazariq and Al-A’redha, Al-Khubah and Al-Mashnaq in Saudi territory. He noted that these areas are empty, while others are used to smuggle qat, shammah and fireworks. Additionally, he said Saudi Arabia’s Subia area is a famous market for child trafficking.

Sleepwalking Into a Nightmare

by Newt Gingrich from Family Security Matters (US: New Jersey)

Let's be honest: What's the primary source of money for al Qaeda? It's you, re-circulated through Saudi Arabia. Because we have no national energy strategy, when clearly if you really cared about liberating the United States from the Middle East and if you really cared about the survival of Israel, one of your highest goals would be to move to a hydrogen economy and to eliminate petroleum as a primary source of energy ... So then you look at Saudi Arabia. The fact that we tolerate a country saying no Christian and no Jew can go to Mecca, and we start with the presumption that that's true while they attack Israel for being a religious state is a sign of our timidity, our confusion, our cowardice that is stunning. It's not complicated. We're inviting Saudi Arabia to come to Annapolis to talk about rights for Palestinians when nobody is saying, "Let's talk about rights for Christians and Jews in Saudi Arabia. Let's talk about rights for women in Saudi Arabia."

Bombs away?

by Curt Guyette and W. Kim Heron from Metro Times (US: Michigan)

Scott Ritter: The Iranians want a normalization of relations with the United States that would be inclusive of peaceful coexistence with Israel ... We should be engaging them diplomatically. We should be terminating economic sanctions and seeking to exploit the leverage that comes with having American businesses working inside Iran to try and change them from within ... We keep putting our hopes on allies like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Saudi Arabia, which produced 14 of the hijackers who slaughtered Americans on 9/11. Pakistan, which was the political sponsor of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and continues to have ties to radical Islamic terror organizations. These are our allies? And we call Iran the enemy? We've got it backward. The Iranians are actually the ones we should be working with to oppose dictatorships like Pakistan and irresponsible governments like Saudi Arabia's.

Saudi newspaper: Chinese-made missiles smuggled into kingdom

from The Associated Press

The daily Okaz, which is deemed close to the government, quoting unnamed officials as saying militants wanted to use the missiles to allegedly target hotels and other buildings in the kingdom. The Saudi Interior Ministry did not say what kind of missiles or what the targets were. Okaz reported Sunday that the missiles were already inside Saudi Arabia ... Last week, the Interior Ministry said authorities arrested 112 alleged members of that cell during the terror sweep. The ministry said the cell was trying to smuggle men to Iraq and Afghanistan for training, after which they would be brought back to Saudi Arabia to try to carry out attacks in the kingdom.

U.S. government debt soars

from The Associated Press

"The government is in the same predicament as the average homeowner who took out an adjustable mortgage," said Stanley Collender, a former congressional budget analyst and now managing director at Qorvis Communications, a business consulting firm ... For now, large U.S. trade deficits with much of the rest of the world work in favor of continued foreign investment in Treasuries and dollar-denominated securities. After all, the vast sums Americans pay -- in dollars -- for imported goods has to go somewhere. But that dynamic could change. "The first day the Chinese or the Japanese or the Saudis say, 'We've bought enough of your paper,' then the debt -- whatever level it is at that point -- becomes unmanageable," said Collender.

Gulf construction projects expected to reach 3 trillion dollars

from Deutsche Presse-Agentur (Germany)

The region's largest construction project currently in progress is Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), which is valued at 120 billion dollars ... Saudi Arabia spearheads the construction drive with projects worth in excess of 1.1 trillion dollars. The UAE ranks second with developments valued at 700 billion dollars, followed by Kuwait in third place at 300 billion dollars. However, in terms of total number of projects, the UAE has an edge over Saudi Arabia with 1,539 projects compared to the Kingdom's 1,033 projects ... 'This boom can be credited to the GCC governments' policy of investing their huge financial resources into the construction of premium residential, leisure and entertainment facilities for the residents as well as tourists,' said Proleads director Emil Rademeyer. Driven by the escalating cost of oil, currently hovering at just under 100 dollars a barrel, governments in the Gulf aim to diminish dependence on oil exports and invest their profits into developing the financial, industrial and tourism sectors.