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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Saudi Arabia cannot pay its workers or bills – yet continues to fund a war in Yemen


In Saudi Arabia itself, the government seems unable to cope with the crisis. The 'Arab News' says that 31,000 Saudi and other foreign workers have lodged complaints with the government’s labour ministry over unpaid wages. On one occasion, the Indian consulate and expatriates brought food to the workers so that their people should not starve


Almost exactly a year after Salman bin Albdulaziz Al Saud, king of Saudi Arabia, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and head of the House of Saud, hurriedly left his millionaire’s mansion near Cannes with his 1,000 servants to continue his vacation in Morocco, the kingdom’s cash is not flowing so smoothly for the tens of thousands of sub-continental expatriates sweating away on his great building sites.

Almost unreported outside the Kingdom, the country’s big construction magnates – including that of the Binladen group – have not been paid by the Saudi government for major construction projects and a portion of the army of Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and other workers have received no wages, some of them for up to seven months.
Indian and Pakistani embassies approached the Saudi government, pleading that their workers should be paid. Economists who adopt the same lickspittle attitude towards the Saudi monarchy as the British Government, constantly point out that the authorities have been overwhelmed by the collapse of oil prices. They usually prefer not to mention something at which the rest of the world remains aghast: deputy crown prince and defence minister Mohamed bin Salman’s wasteful and hopeless war in Yemen. Since the king’s favorite son launched this preposterous campaign against the Houthis last year, supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni president against Shia Muslim rebels, aircraft flown by Saudi and Emirati pilots (aided by British technical “experts” on the ground) have bombed even more hospitals, clinics and medical warehouses than America has destroyed in Serbia and Afghanistan combined since 1999.
The result? A country with 16 per cent of the world’s proven oil reserves, whose Aramco oil company makes more than $1bn a day and now records a budget deficit of $100bn, cannot pay its bills. At first, the Yemen fiasco was called “Operation Decisive Storm”, which – once it proved the longest and least decisive Arab “storm” in the Middle East’s recent history – was changed to “Operation Restore Hope”. And the bombing went on, just as it did in the pre-“hope” “storm”, along with the help of the UK’s “experts”. No wonder the very same deputy crown prince Mohamed announced this year that state spending on salaries would be lowered, yet individual earnings would rise.
In Pakistan, whose soldiers make up a large number of the “Saudi” armed forces, there has been outrage, parliamentarians are asking why three Saudi companies have not paid salaries for eight months, refusing even to provide food for their employees. In some cases, the Pakistanis have paid their own nationals for food supplies.
In Saudi Arabia itself, the government seems unable to cope with the crisis. The Arab News says that 31,000 Saudi and other foreign workers have lodged complaints with the government’s labour ministry over unpaid wages. On one occasion, the Indian consulate and local Indian expatriates brought food to the workers so that their people should not starve. The overall figure that the government owes the construction companies owed may be billions of dollars.
Overtly xenophobic comments have emerged in the Saudi press. Writing in the Saudi Gazette, Abdulrtahman Saad Al-Araabi said: “Many expats hate us and are angry because we are a rich country. Some of them go so far as to say that we, Saudis, do not deserve these blessings and the money we have. That is the reason why some of them become violent when they do not get paid on time.”
Well, I suppose some people are paying a lot of cash to the Jabhat al-Nusra (recently re-named Jabhat Fateh al-Shamal-Nusrah) or Al-Qaeda or Isis lads out there in the line of fire in Syria.
Embassy staff from the Philippines, France and many countries in the Middle East, have raised the problems with the Saudi government. Typical of their responses has been that of Saudi Oger which said it had been “affected by current circumstances [sic] which resulted in some delays in delays in fulfilling our commitments to our employees”.
The Saudi government insisted the company paid its employees. Many of them, it should be added, are Lebanese whose Sunni Muslims come from the Sunni areas of Lebanon who traditionally vote for the Sunni leader’s son Saad.
An official of the company made the extraordinary statement that “the company’s situation is unstable due to the scrapping [sic] of many of its projects it was to execute,” Meanwhile, workers at United Seemac construction company are complaining they have not been paid for months – or even granted permission to leave the country. Some had apparently not been paid for more than a year and a half. Unlike the big companies such as Binladen and Oger, these men – and they are indeed mostly men – are consumed into the smaller employees. “All the attention is on the big companies – it’s easy to ignore us because we are not so many people.”
All in all, a dodgy scenario in our beloved monarchy-dictatorship, whose war against the Shia Houthis – and the Shia Hezbollah, the Shia/Alawite regime in Damascus and Iran – is unending. Wasn’t there an equally dodgy Al-Yamamah arms deal with the Saudis a few years ago? No cash flow problems then. And what does “yamamah” mean in Arabic? “Dove”? Let us go no further.
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Saudi Arabia ignores existence of 9/11 victims, ‘very afraid’ of them – survivor





Am American flag flies near the base of the destroyed World Trade
Center in New York, September 11, 2001. © Peter Morgan
Saudi Arabia is ignoring the victims of the 9/11 attacks, but is also “very afraid” of them, a survivor told RT on the eve of the 15th anniversary of the tragedy, adding that the US is more concerned about diplomatic ties than the needs of its people.
A new law will finally allow the 9/11 victims to move forward in their struggle to bring the people involved in the attacks to justice, William Rodriguez, a 9/11 survivor, told RT in an interview the day the House of Representatives passed a bill allowing US citizens to sue foreign countries for terrorism that kills Americans on US soil.

Known as House Resolution 3815, the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,”or JASTA, which was already approved by the Senate in May, seeks to create an exception to sovereign immunity created by a 1976 law that has previously been invoked to shield Saudi Arabia from 9/11 lawsuits.

At the same time, Rodriguez said that Saudi Arabia still “totally ignores” the 9/11 victims, despite the fact that the release of 28 pages of a 2002 congressional report on the attacks in July proved that “the government of Saudi Arabia was indeed involved, because 17 out of the 19 hijackers were Saudi Arabians and they received money from [officials] at some levels.”

“Saudi Arabia has never accepted anything. What I have seen in the last six months of fighting with the kingdom, with the king himself, with the foreign minister, the minister of trade and the [Saudi] embassy here is that they try to ignore that we exist,” Rodriguez told RT, adding that the Saudis “tried to make us look as if we have no value.”

He also accused the Saudi government of hypocrisy, saying that its officials not only tried to ignore the 9/11 victims, but also “tried to spin the news in the way that they are supporting the fight against terrorism.”
“But if you fight you need to face the victims and the allegations. It would not take long for them to do that and to talk about what happened and to conduct their own investigation but that did not happen,” he stressed.

He also assumed that Saudi officials would subject the 9/11 victims to persecution to dodge the issue of its involvement in 9/11 attacks. “I will never visit Saudi Arabia, because I believe that they will try to make an example out of me. I even asked King Salman if I will be arrested when I visit Saudi Arabia and he totally ignored me,”the survivor said.

At the same time, he stressed that the Saudi officials’ behavior is “a clear indication that they are very, very afraid of us” and vowed to continue working at bringing all those involved in the attacks to justice.

“Saudi officials at certain levels of the government were sponsoring financially some of the hijackers and were indirectly involved in terrorist activities, so they are liable under any law in any part of the world,” he said, adding that he and other 9/11 victims will try to “get to the bottom of the issue” and find out “if any other high-level officials of the Saudi government were involved.”

Lawsuit against Saudi Arabia ‘could set precedent’ for similar suits against US


Rodriguez also said that US President Barack Obama is “very worried that it will set a precedent and other countries then can do the same thing to the US,” referring to recent signals from the White House indicating that the president may veto the recently adopted legislation.

He also sharply criticized US authorities for being “more worried about damaging international diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia than [about] the [9/11] victims’ needs.” He also condemned Obama for placing good relations with the Saudis above the suffering of his own people.
“We feel that the president is playing politics with the pain and suffering of the victims of 9/11. It has been proved once the 28 pages were released four weeks ago,” he told RT, adding that one “has to take care of the people inside [the country] first before [one] conducts international policy that bypasses the needs of the community.”

He also stressed that he and other 9/11 victims “want to show that one has to be morally correct.”

“And what is morally correct is not in the interests of the nation when it comes to the diplomatic ties,” he added.

Rodriguez also vowed to “continue to put pressure on the president until he signs it [JASTA].”

He also stressed that he and other 9/11 victims will continue to put pressure on the government to make information about the 9/11 attacks available to the victims and all those affected by the tragedy, adding that “the US government still has the documents that are secret, confidential and not available to the lawyers to look through because under the Secrecy Act they are not allowed to see that information.”

“We going to continue and we are going to do it with [the] next president,” he stressed, while expressing hope that “in [his] lifetime, [he] will be able to see all the information about 9/11 to be publicly available.”

7 comments:

  1. 15 years after 9/11, Philly airport workers remember

    http://www.phillyvoice.com/15-years-after-911-philly-airport-workers-remember/

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  2. The Saudis have donated too much money to The Clinton Foundation, leaving them a little short to pay some less pressing bills.

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    Replies
    1. Both Lady Deplorable and The Donald are expected to be at the same memorial service today, I think in NYC.

      Neither is expected to speak.

      Delete
  3. All in all, a dodgy scenario in our beloved monarchy-dictatorship, whose war against the Shia Houthis – and the Shia Hezbollah, the Shia/Alawite regime in Damascus and Iran – is unending. Wasn’t there an equally dodgy Al-Yamamah arms deal with the Saudis a few years ago? No cash flow problems then. And what does “yamamah” mean in Arabic? “Dove”? Let us go no further. ROBERT FISK

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  4. We really waltzed the putrid with Saudi Arabia. As disgusting the relationship in the past and present, can we imagine what happens when it breaks?

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  5. .

    Indian and Pakistani embassies approached the Saudi government, pleading that their workers should be paid. Economists who adopt the same lickspittle attitude towards the Saudi monarchy as the British Government, constantly point out that the authorities have been overwhelmed by the collapse of oil prices.

    That's like the guy who killed his parents begging for mercy because he is now an orphan.

    The Saudis single-handedly caused the drop in oil prices and they are the main reason they stay low.

    And the main reason they did it was to screw the US and other Western nations and cut competition. They would rather go broke than give up even a piece of their dominance in the industry.

    They are the biggest promoter of terror in the world. They have been spreading their Salafi brand of extreme Islamism throughout the world for decades. Spending tens of billions annually building masques and madrasses and providing millions of copies of edited and annotated copies of the Koran stressing the extreme views of Wahabism and jihad.

    Despite the fact that SA has been running deficits for a couple years, they pledged $200 million in aid to the EU countries taking in ME refugees, not for food or medical supplies but for building mosques and madrasses like the 200 mosques they indicated they would be building in Germany.

    They also use their money as a hammer. A UN human rights organization was going to cite SA for human rights violations this year and put them on a list of violators. SA threatened to pull all funding for the UN group if it went through with it's plan. The UN caved and SA wasn't added to the list. The US backed the Saudis.

    Our support for Saudi Arabia is another reason the US is disliked in the ME.

    Not only won't the Saudis pay or feed the tens of thousands of foreign workers they won't let them leave the country. Basically, they treat them like slaves. The reason is simple. The Saudis need them. SA is a giant welfare state. That's how they control their population. The problem is that the their programs aren't keeping up. Poverty is a growing problem. Unemployment is spreading especially among the young. In 1970, the were 6 million Saudis. Today there are 28 million with only 16 million of them Saudi citizens. The rest are foreign workers. Saudi Arabia is a powder keg ready to explode.

    The Sauds are dicks.

    And one of our 'key' allies.

    What more can you say?

    .

    ReplyDelete