The most common question I receive from people is if the Haj season is becoming a cumbersome responsibility for the Kingdom. Inside Saudi Arabia however, the question might not be of any interest to Saudis or expatriates.
Ironically, before 1979, the Iranian pilgrims coming to Saudi Arabia for Haj or Umrah were law abiding visitors and respected by Saudis. Sadly, all that has changed now. Tehran is busy politicizing the Haj, which is a sacred religious duty and which has nothing to do with politics.
A Saudi female graduate of a prestigious American university told me that on a visit to the United States last month, she sent a note to the president of the university expressing her intent to visit him. A prompt reply came back and added were the suggested names of other senior administrators of the university whom she could meet.
A few weeks ago, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited the western hemisphere to hold talks with political and business leaders of the most influential countries in the world — the United States and France.
The state of affairs in the subcontinent is alarming. The high-pitched frenzy of hatred and toxic words by established and wannabe public figures has affected a large segment of the population, especially in India where the Defense Minister in an irresponsible and totally undiplomatic manner said that going to Pakistan was “akin to a visit to Hell.”
It is almost impossible to talk about an armed conflict without the fear of the unseen and unwanted consequences. In such a situation, nobody could rule out the possibility of civilian casualties.
The horribly sad images of the Syrian boy pulled from the rubble of a building destroyed in an airstrike in Aleppo are still fresh in our minds. We should not forget that there are tens of thousands like him and many of them were not as lucky as Omran.
The moment of truth for Americans and the world will be decided on November 8. In the coming weeks, the frenzy of the election campaign between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will reach an all-time high. Of all the US presidential campaigns, this one stands out as the most vicious.
The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio has come to an end. Many countries around the world are celebrating their athletes’ achievements in the tournament. Unfortunately, we are left to rejoice only one Olympics-related accomplishment i.e. sending female athletes from the Kingdom to participate in different events for the first time in the history of Olympics.
The Saudi Vision 2030 transformation plan has come under great public scrutiny. It has also aroused the interest of many outside the country. For the first time in Saudi history, a well-crafted plan has been displayed publicly.
Just a few days ago, Vice Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prince Mohammed bin Naif chaired the meeting of the Council of Ministers in Jeddah. The meeting took much-needed decisions on several important issues concerning Saudis and expatriates living in the Kingdom.
Every day the media focuses on the deteriorating political and economic situation in the Arab world. In the Gulf states, the challenge is how to overcome terrorism.
During the past few weeks, some human rights groups have apparently waged a campaign against Saudi Arabia by releasing misleading and politically motivated reports about the humanitarian situation in Yemen.
Once again Kashmir is in the headlines. The killing of over 50 protesters, the blinding of youngsters and arrests en masse have occurred. The usually volatile Indian media has been silent except for those who occupy television networks howling and barking in a comical way about ISIS or Daesh, Taliban and ISI!
Graduating from high school is considered a great achievement not only in Saudi Arabia but also across the world. It marks a big change in an individual’s behavior, as he started pondering over ways to become a productive part of the work force and to contribute to his or her respective society.
In every period of history there are characters or issues that seem to disturb people and cause anxiety or fear. They are referred to as “bogeymen”. There have been many such bogeymen in history as a result of threats that people perceived to be real and dangerous.
Amid all the heated political events in the region and around the world, Saudis now are becoming more concerned about the weather. This year summer days seem to be endless and the mercury keeps rising not only in the Kingdom but also around the globe.
Political winds in the Middle East change fast and in a violent manner with unpredictable consequences. Were the events that unfolded in Turkey last Friday a military coup or a revolt? Actually it was both.
Terrorist attacks — whether in the West or East — reflect criminal behavior and adherence to that mindset. With every attack — unless the perpetrator has a Muslim name — no mention of his religion is ever made. However, if there is any remote link to Islam or Muslims, there is a huge outcry.
Do you know the true value of a billion? It is equal to a thousand millions. In other words, if you happen to be a billionaire you can spend a million riyals every month for 83 years and end up with four million riyals left in your pocket. Phew, a billion goes a long way.