Nick Turse
humanrightswatch:

On January 9, 2013, the Saudi Ministry of Interior announced the execution of Rizana Nafeek, a Sri Lankan domestic worker convicted of killing a baby in her care in 2005 when she was 17 years old.
Saudi Arabia is one of just three countries that executes people for crimes they committed as children. Rizana Nafeek is yet another victim of the deep flaws in Saudi Arabia’s judicial system.
Rizana was just a child herself at the time of the baby’s death, and she had no lawyer to defend her and no competent interpreter to translate her account.
Read more about the case here »

humanrightswatch:

On January 9, 2013, the Saudi Ministry of Interior announced the execution of Rizana Nafeek, a Sri Lankan domestic worker convicted of killing a baby in her care in 2005 when she was 17 years old.

Saudi Arabia is one of just three countries that executes people for crimes they committed as children. Rizana Nafeek is yet another victim of the deep flaws in Saudi Arabia’s judicial system.

Rizana was just a child herself at the time of the baby’s death, and she had no lawyer to defend her and no competent interpreter to translate her account.

Read more about the case here »

globalpost:

Saudi Arabia has found two female athletes to compete in the 2012 London Olympics. 
Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani will take part in the over-78kg judo competition, while Sarah Attar will run the 800 meters, theInternational Olympic Committee (IOC) announced today.
They will be the first women ever to represent Saudi Arabia at the Olympics.
Their participation, alongside first-time women’s teams from Qatar and Brunei, means that every country present will have at least one female entrant, according to IOC President Jacques Rogge.
He described the news as “an encouraging evolution” towards greater gender balance at the event.
More from GlobalPost: Saudi Arabia’s search for female athletes
There had been some doubt over whether Saudi Arabia would be able to keep its promise to send a female team this year.
With a ban on female Olympians lifted only last month, and strict restrictions on women and girls’ sporting activities still in place, few if any Saudi women are in a position to meet international standards. Showjumper Dalma Rushdi Malhas, a bronze medallist at the 2010 Youth Olympics, was considered the country’s best hope, but failed to qualify.
It’s possible that the IOC granted Shahrkhani and Attar wild-card status, meaning that they will be allowed to compete despite not reaching the usual requirements.
According to the BBC, Saudi officials have made certain provisos about what the athletes may wear when they compete, insisting that they “preserve their dignity.”
In a publicity shot, Attar is shown running in leggings, a loose-fitting sweatshirt and a headscarf – which one might expect to put her at a disadvantage against her Lycra-clad rivals.
More from GlobalPost: Saudi women allowed to compete for first time at 2012 Olympics 

globalpost:

Saudi Arabia has found two female athletes to compete in the 2012 London Olympics. 

Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani will take part in the over-78kg judo competition, while Sarah Attar will run the 800 meters, theInternational Olympic Committee (IOC) announced today.

They will be the first women ever to represent Saudi Arabia at the Olympics.

Their participation, alongside first-time women’s teams from Qatar and Brunei, means that every country present will have at least one female entrant, according to IOC President Jacques Rogge.

He described the news as “an encouraging evolution” towards greater gender balance at the event.

More from GlobalPost: Saudi Arabia’s search for female athletes

There had been some doubt over whether Saudi Arabia would be able to keep its promise to send a female team this year.

With a ban on female Olympians lifted only last month, and strict restrictions on women and girls’ sporting activities still in place, few if any Saudi women are in a position to meet international standards. Showjumper Dalma Rushdi Malhas, a bronze medallist at the 2010 Youth Olympics, was considered the country’s best hope, but failed to qualify.

It’s possible that the IOC granted Shahrkhani and Attar wild-card status, meaning that they will be allowed to compete despite not reaching the usual requirements.

According to the BBC, Saudi officials have made certain provisos about what the athletes may wear when they compete, insisting that they “preserve their dignity.”

In a publicity shot, Attar is shown running in leggings, a loose-fitting sweatshirt and a headscarf – which one might expect to put her at a disadvantage against her Lycra-clad rivals.

More from GlobalPost: Saudi women allowed to compete for first time at 2012 Olympics 

Semi naked activists from the Ukrainian female rights group 	      Femen protest in front of the Saudi Arabian embassy against a ban on driving 	      cars for women in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, June 16, 2011. (Sergei Chuzavkov)

Semi naked activists from the Ukrainian female rights group Femen protest in front of the Saudi Arabian embassy against a ban on driving cars for women in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, June 16, 2011. (Sergei Chuzavkov)

A foreign resident in Saudi Arabia was arrested by the country’s religious police on New Year’s Eve for displaying balloons to celebrate the new year, the daily news website Sabq reported.

This year, as protesters from Morocco to Saudi Arabia, Jordan to Kuwait were taking to the streets in the name of democracy, the security forces of those regimes struck back by threatening, jailing or attacking them. The Pentagon was there too — offering training in counterinsurgency, intelligence gathering and small unit tactics to those militaries and others around the Greater Middle East.

In “Making Repression Our Business, The Pentagon’s Secret Training Missions in the Middle East” at the Nation Institute’s TomDispatch.com, I pull back the curtain of Pentagon secrecy to reveal what Washington is really up to in the region and how it stands at odds with President Obama’s rhetoric.

Photos: (Above) U.S. Marines mentor Moroccan soldiers during a training exercise known as “African Lion 2011.”   (Below) U.S. soldiers and members of Royal Saudi Land Forces take part in “Friendship Two,” a joint training exercise between U.S. soldiers and R in Saudi Arabia earlier this year. DoD

This year, as protesters from Morocco to Saudi Arabia, Jordan to Kuwait were taking to the streets in the name of democracy, the security forces of those regimes struck back by threatening, jailing or attacking them. The Pentagon was there too — offering training in counterinsurgency, intelligence gathering and small unit tactics to those militaries and others around the Greater Middle East.

In “Making Repression Our Business, The Pentagon’s Secret Training Missions in the Middle East” at the Nation Institute’s TomDispatch.com, I pull back the curtain of Pentagon secrecy to reveal what Washington is really up to in the region and how it stands at odds with President Obama’s rhetoric.

Photos: (Above) U.S. Marines mentor Moroccan soldiers during a training exercise known as "African Lion 2011.”  (Below) U.S. soldiers and members of Royal Saudi Land Forces take part in “Friendship Two,” a joint training exercise between U.S. soldiers and R in Saudi Arabia earlier this year. DoD

This year, as protesters from Morocco to Saudi Arabia, Jordan to Kuwait were taking to the streets in the name of democracy, the security forces of those regimes struck back by threatening, jailing or attacking them. The Pentagon was there too — offering training in counterinsurgency, intelligence gathering and small unit tactics to those militaries and others around the Greater Middle East.
In “Making Repression Our Business, The Pentagon’s Secret Training Missions in the Middle East” at the Nation Institute’s TomDispatch.com, I pull back the curtain of Pentagon secrecy to reveal what Washington is really up to in the region and how it stands at odds with President Obama’s rhetoric.
Photo: Soldiers from the U.S. 1/118th Infantry Regiment clear a building with an “insurgent” hiding in  it as part of “Friendship Two,” a joint training exercise between U.S. soldiers and Royal Saudi Land Forces in Saudi Arabia earlier this year.  Credit: DoD

This year, as protesters from Morocco to Saudi Arabia, Jordan to Kuwait were taking to the streets in the name of democracy, the security forces of those regimes struck back by threatening, jailing or attacking them. The Pentagon was there too — offering training in counterinsurgency, intelligence gathering and small unit tactics to those militaries and others around the Greater Middle East.

In “Making Repression Our Business, The Pentagon’s Secret Training Missions in the Middle East” at the Nation Institute’s TomDispatch.com, I pull back the curtain of Pentagon secrecy to reveal what Washington is really up to in the region and how it stands at odds with President Obama’s rhetoric.

Photo: Soldiers from the U.S. 1/118th Infantry Regiment clear a building with an “insurgent” hiding in it as part of “Friendship Two,” a joint training exercise between U.S. soldiers and Royal Saudi Land Forces in Saudi Arabia earlier this year.  Credit: DoD

“If you follow the words, one Middle East comes into view; if you follow the weapons, quite another.” 
This week, President Obama is slated to give a major speech to “reset” his administration’s policies in the new Middle East of the Arab Spring.  However, I note in a new article for TomDispatch, “all signs indicate that the Pentagon will quietly maintain antithetical policies, just as it has throughout the Obama years.  Barring an unprecedented and almost inconceivable policy shift, it will continue to broker lucrative deals to send weapons systems and military equipment to Arab despots.  Nothing indicates that it will be deterred from its course, whatever the president says, which means that President Obama’s reset rhetoric is unlikely to translate into meaningful policy change in the region.”
To give just a single example of the policies that need to come to an end for a real “reset” to take place: “Saudi Arabia… has been cracking down on nonviolent activists at home with increasing vigor.  At the beginning of this month, for example, Human Rights Watch reported the arrest of ‘at least 20 peaceful protesters, including two bloggers.’  Within days, the Obama administration notified Congress of its intent to see the Saudi security forces receive $330 million worth of advanced night vision and thermal-imaging equipment.”
Read the full article here or click the pic of President Obama whispering to Sheikh  Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates’ armed forces.
Photo credit: President Barack Obama talks with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh  Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“If you follow the words, one Middle East comes into view; if you follow the weapons, quite another.” 

This week, President Obama is slated to give a major speech to “reset” his administration’s policies in the new Middle East of the Arab Spring.  However, I note in a new article for TomDispatch, “all signs indicate that the Pentagon will quietly maintain antithetical policies, just as it has throughout the Obama years.  Barring an unprecedented and almost inconceivable policy shift, it will continue to broker lucrative deals to send weapons systems and military equipment to Arab despots.  Nothing indicates that it will be deterred from its course, whatever the president says, which means that President Obama’s reset rhetoric is unlikely to translate into meaningful policy change in the region.”

To give just a single example of the policies that need to come to an end for a real “reset” to take place: “Saudi Arabia… has been cracking down on nonviolent activists at home with increasing vigor.  At the beginning of this month, for example, Human Rights Watch reported the arrest of ‘at least 20 peaceful protesters, including two bloggers.’  Within days, the Obama administration notified Congress of its intent to see the Saudi security forces receive $330 million worth of advanced night vision and thermal-imaging equipment.”

Read the full article here or click the pic of President Obama whispering to Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates’ armed forces.

Photo credit: President Barack Obama talks with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

(via Agence VU - Isabelle ESHRAGHI)
Caryle Murphy of GlobalPost reveals after eight years of fighting Al Qaeda, Saudi Arabia has detained almost 12,000 people, but only half have ever been charged with a crime.

(via Saudi Arabia | Al Qaeda | Terrorism)

Caryle Murphy of GlobalPost reveals after eight years of fighting Al Qaeda, Saudi Arabia has detained almost 12,000 people, but only half have ever been charged with a crime.

(via Saudi Arabia | Al Qaeda | Terrorism)