June 27, 2010

An open letter to President Barack Obama

An open letter to President Barack Obama

Mr. President I write to you on the occasion of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz’s visit to the United States of America.

The Saudi-American relations are currently facing challenges. The bilateral relations have passed through a difficult phase since the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

Although the fact-finding committee which presented its report on Sept. 11 attack confirmed that there was no direct or indirect involvement of the Saudi government in this attack, yet the negative media campaigns have increased in the United States against Saudi Arabia, coupled with the negative statements repeatedly calling for the US to “re-evaluate its relations with the Kingdom.”

In 2005, at Crawford a meeting took place between Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah (then crown prince) and President George W. Bush. In that meeting the world witnessed the wisdom and pragmatism of Saudi Arabia, which showed its keenness to secure supplies of energy to the world as well as the Saudi interest in establishing stability, peace and security in the region.

Through my meetings with various US ambassadors, members of the honorable Senate and House of Representatives as well as the US media, I had the opportunity to explain the consequences of the US media campaign on the Saudi-American relations:

I indicated that the Saudi society is surprised by the storm of media criticism in America of Saudi Arabia. I explained Saudi Arabia’s efforts in combating terrorism. I made my point very explicitly on the draft resolution submitted by the notorious Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and the negative program proposed by Sen. Anthony Weiner. I also commented on the book written by the neo-conservative hawk in Washington at that time, Richard Perle.

Mr. President, I believe that both our countries share the responsibility of consolidating and supporting the media and cultural bodies that have a significant influence on public opinion. It is important to understand the strategic relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Saudi Arabia can no longer accept the media attacks directed at Kingdom’s interests. As much as you value the security and interests of your country, we too are proud of our identity, our faith, our heritage and our national interests. We are against terrorism, we are against the killing of civilians, and we are against terrorists, including those who occupy Arab lands.

Mr. President, there are few prominent names in the United States eager to pass a law to “punish Saudi Arabia.” They are: Anthony Weiner, Arlen Specter, Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, Bob Graham and Ron Wyden. These people accuse Saudi Arabia of financing terrorist organizations. This is a repeat of lies of the Zionist lobby that Saudi Arabia encourages anti-Semitism. After Sen. Arlen Specter had proposed the “Saudi Arabia Accountability Act” in the Senate, Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York intended to submit a similar proposal to the House of Representatives. But the most negative media campaign against Saudi Arabia was the book “The End of Evil,” by the neo-conservative Richard Perle, who blames the Sept. 11 attack on the Saudi government.

Finally, Mr. President, there is the issue of the Saudi student Humeidan Al-Turki.

Now that the Supreme Court of the State of Colorado has ruled to reject the appeal filed by the defense of Al-Turki, there remains one final constitutional solution to this problem.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued a presidential pardon to Hank Greenspan, the leader of a smuggling network of arms to Israel. The network that ridiculed the reputation of US intelligence.

In September 1974, President Gerald Ford pardoned President Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal that shook the US.

In 1989, President George H.W. Bush pardoned Orlando Bosch, one of the most aggressive terrorists who had masterminded the bombing of a civilian aircraft, one of his many terrorist acts.

In 2000, President Bill Clinton pardoned Al Schwimmer who was accused of organizing a network smuggling arms to Israel.

In July 2007, former President George W. Bush issued a pardon to I. Lewis Libby, assistant to former Vice President Dick Cheney after being indicted on lying and perjury charges, the most ugly charges in the dictionary of American justice. In December 2008, President George W. Bush issued a presidential amnesty for 19 prisoners convicted of exploitation of their business in helping Israel, as well as the presidential pardon of other dignitaries involved in fraud, deception and possession of illegal arms and drug trafficking.

Mr. President, is the Saudi student’s (presumably accused of harassing his maid) action more serious than charges of those convicted of election fraud, bombing planes, lying, and possession and smuggling of arms and drugs?

Mr. President Barack Obama I wish you success in your mission for better Saudi-American relations on the basis of common and equal interests of the two countries.

Abdullah Al Alami

(Saudi writer)



June 18, 2010

The Honorable Mark Kirk

The Honorable Mark Kirk

Thank you for your letter. Unfortunately I will not be able to donate any funds to your campaign due to the following reasons:

1. According to CNN, Israeli forces shelled a house where they had ordered about 100 Palestinian civilians to take shelter, killing about 30 people and wounding many more, witnesses told the U.N.
http://edition. cnn.com/2009/ WORLD/meast/ 01/09/zeitoun. gaza.israel/

2. According to CNN, as Israeli warplanes continue to bomb Gaza, attention is turning to the role of American-made weapons in the deadly attacks, which have now killed over 400 and wounded 2000, including many civilians.
http://rawstory. com/news/ 2008/CNN_ U.S._weapons_ create_Gaza_ civilian_ 0102.html

3. According to BBC, An Israeli air raid has killed at least 17 Lebanese civilians who were fleeing southern border areas. Women and children were among those killed when the convoy was hit.
http://news. bbc.co.uk/ 2/hi/5182564. stm

4. According to The Guardian, More than 10 people have been killed after Israeli naval commandos boarded six aid ships in a convoy heading towards the Gaza Strip.
http://www.guardian .co.uk/world/ blog/2010/ may/31/israel- troops-gaza- ships

5. According to Haaretz, during Operation Cast Lead, Israeli forces killed Palestinian civilians under permissive rules of engagement and intentionally destroyed their property, say soldiers who fought in the offensive.
http://www.haaretz. com/news/ idf-in-gaza- killing-civilian s-vandalism- and-lax-rules- of-engagement- 1.272379

Best regards

Abdullah Al Alami
Saudi writer

--- On Thu, 6/17/10, Mark Kirk wrote:

From: Mark Kirk
Subject: Are you worried about Israel?
Date: Thursday, June 17, 2010, 9:49 PM

Dear Friend,

Are you worried about the future of the State of Israel? Me too.

From Gaza City to Damascus to Tehran, Islamic terrorists threaten the destruction of America’s greatest ally in the Middle East almost daily. Incitement against Israel continues while global anti-Semitism stands at its highest point since World War II.

Will you stand with me to fight anti-Israel incitement and defend the Jewish State? Become a “Chai for Kirk” leader by joining my campaign for U.S. Senate today.

For the last decade, I worked tirelessly in the House of Representatives to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship. I helped lead the campaign to stop America’s participation in the Durban II Conference – and I opposed U.S. membership in the anti-Israel Human Rights Council.

Recently, I was the first member of Congress in America to reaffirm Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel. Right now, I am leading the effort to cut off gasoline to Iran and stop the regime’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

We have accomplished much, but with so much at stake, I know there is more I can do from the United States Senate.

Will you stand with me in my U.S. Senate campaign and help me confront the growing dangers to the U.S.-Israel relationship? Your donation of $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 or $2,400 will help put me over the top and send a pro-Israel champion to the United States Senate.

Thank you for your strong support. Together, we will defend the State of Israel from those who seek her destruction – and celebrate another 62 years of the U.S.-Israel relationship.


Mark Kirk
Member of Congress

P.S. Your contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250, $500 or more will help send a pro-Israel champion to the United States Senate. Together, we can defend the State of Israel. Please join our effort today.

Paid for by Kirk for Senate
Our mailing address is:
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Copyright (C) 2010 Kirk for Senate All rights reserved.

June 9, 2010

My comments on reforms introduced by King Abdullah


Published: Jun 8, 2010

King Abdullah leads way toward a bright future, say EP citizens

Writer and researcher Abdullah Al-Alami said the most significant developments in the past five years have been the social, economic and administrative reforms the king introduced on Feb. 14, 2009. “King Abdullah’s policies played an important role in developing education in the country,” he said.

According to Al-Alami, who is a dedicated watcher of Saudi media, there have been slow but noticeable changes in reporting and analyzing the news on local radio and television. “However, local press has not moved forward although King Abdullah invited intellectuals to provide their points of view freely and with little restriction,” he said, noting that the minister of culture and information has been instrumental in implementing the king’s plans to reform the local media so that it would reflect the message of peace, tolerance and moderation.

Al-Alami also shared his view of the Saudi public’s response to the many changes and reforms. “Please remember that King Abdullah was assisting the late King Fahd before he actually took over,” Al-Alami said. “As such, people were ready for the changes when he formally took over. In certain areas, the king has exceeded people’s expectations.”

Despite all the changes, to those outside Saudi Arabia, the pace of change in the Kingdom seems glacial, but King Abdullah has made change a constant within the Kingdom. “With everything being relative, the outside world may not realize the extent of the pace of change in the Kingdom,” Al-Alami said. “There is no doubt that we still have a long way to go — especially in the areas of human rights, judicial standards and women’s participation.”


June 5, 2010

Putting Names To Faces

Putting Names To Faces

A brief introduction to the nine people shot dead on 31 May 2010, by Israeli soldiers who attacked the Turkish vessel M.V. Mavi Marmara, as it attempted to transport humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

1. Ibrahim Bilgen, 61, an electrical engineer from Siirt. Member of the Chamber of Electrical Engineers of Turkey. Ran as a Saadet (Felicity) Party candidate in the Turkish general election of 2007 and the Siirt mayoral election of 2009. Married with 6 children. (link -link - link - link)


2. Ali Haydar Bengi, 39, ran a telephone repair shop in Diyarbakir. Graduate of Al-Azhar University, Cairo (Department of Arabic Literature). Married to Saniye Bengi; four children - Mehunur (15), Semanur (10) and twins Mohammed and Senanur (5, pictured below). (link - link - link - link)

Ali haydar bengiBengi twins

3. Cevdet Kiliçlar, 38, from Kayseri. A graduate of Marmara University's Faculty of Communications; formerly a newspaper journalist for the National Gazette and the Anatolia Times. For the past year he was a reporter and webmaster for the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH). Married to Derya Kiliçlar; one daughter, Gülhan, and one son, Erdem.

See him participating in an IHH African relief project here. See his Flickr photos here. (link - link - link - link)

Cevdet Kiliçlar_2

4. Çetin Topçuoglu, 54, from Adana. Former amateur soccer player and taekwondo champion, who coached Turkey's national taekwondo team. Married to with one son, Aytek.

See Çetin Topçuoglu's Facebook page here. (link - link - link - link)

Çetin Topçuoğlu

His wife, Çigdem Topçuoglu (below, right), was also aboard the Mavi Marmara, but survived. (link - link - link - link)

Çetin and Cigdem Topçuoğlu

5. Necdet Yildirim, 32, an IHH aid worker from Malatya. Married to Refika Yıldırım; one daughter, Melek, aged three. (link - link)

Necdet yildirim

6. Fahri Yaldiz, 43, a firefighter who worked for the Municipality of Adiyaman. Married with four sons. (link - link - link)

Fahri YaldizFahri Yaldiz family2

7. Cengiz Songür, 47, from Izmir. Married to Nurcan Songür; six daughters and one son. (link - link - link - link - link)

Cengiz Songür_2

8. Cengiz Akyüz, 41, from Iskenderun. Married to Nimet Akyüz ; three children - Furkan (14), Beyza (12) and Erva Kardelen (nine). (link - link)

Cengiz Akyüz_2

9. Furkan Dogan, 19, in his senior year at Kayseri High School where he was awaiting the results of his university entrance exams; hoped to become a doctor. Loved chess. Son of Dr. Ahmet Dogan, Assoc Prof at Erciyes University. A Turkish-American dual national, with two siblings. (link - link - link - link - link - link - slideshow)

Furkan Dogan

June 3, 2010

Media personalities seek approval for new club

Media personalities seek approval for new club

Abdullah Al Alami briefs Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja on the Club's objectives. (AN photo)


Published: Jun 3, 2010 00:45 Updated: Jun 3, 2010 01:36

ALKHOBAR: A group of prominent media personalities met Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja on Wednesday and presented him a proposal to establish an expanded and comprehensive club that would include everybody related to media and culture.

The group included Undersecretary at the Culture and Information Ministry Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Hazza’a, columnist and academic Dr. Saud Kateb, Jeddah chamber board member Dr. Abdullah Binmahfouz, well known blogger of Mashrabiya fame Abdul Aziz Hamza, economic researcher and writer Abdullah Al-Alami and Saudi Radio’s Dalal Dia.

They discussed the establishment of what will eventually be called the Jeddah Club for Media and Culture. It is to be an independent institution aimed at promoting media and cultural aspects, including print and electronic media, broadcast and audio as platforms for interactive communication.

“The meeting went very well,” Dalal Dia told Arab News. “We explained to the minister how our goals are different from the Saudi Journalists Association. The idea is to bring all those associated with print media, online media, broadcast media on one platform and tackle issues that confront us all.”

Another important aspect the club founders have in mind is the training of young people. “Through this club, we want to conduct training sessions for our young people who are entering the field and who are unaware of the rules and regulations and the code of ethics. We want them to learn from our experience and be better and responsible journalists,” said Dalal Dia.

Al-Alami said the minister promised to study the proposal carefully. “If his review is positive, an endorsement is likely,” he said.

On the club’s proposed name, Al-Alami said it would include people from all over the Kingdom. “’Jeddah’ doesn’t mean it will only have Jeddawis. The Jeddah Club for Media and Culture will be like the Dubai Media Club, whose membership is open to everybody. It is not just a club of mediapersons only from Dubai.”

The idea to form such a club was first floated by journalist Jamal Al-Banoon.

Speaking to Arab News, he explained why such a club was needed. “I agree, we have the Saudi Journalists Association. However, that is not all encompassing. What we have in mind is a club that is open to everybody related to the broad spectrum of media and culture — not just the old media but the new media, as well,” he said and pointed out about there being a lot of journalists writing only for online publications. “A lot of youngsters have become popular only because of blogging, and they are having quite an influence on our society, so they need to be acknowledged. Online publications have carved a niche for themselves and have attracted large followings. There is media dynamism on the Internet. Some of our online writers are more popular than the print media people. So they got to be part of this media club.”

Al-Banoon said like any other club, “our club, too, will be governed by a certain code of conduct and ethics and before we accept anybody as a member, the club founders, which include prominent citizens, will vet the applications, just to ensure that people with good backgrounds become the club members.”

He said the proposal is now with the minister, who seemed very supportive at Wednesday’s meeting. “There is a long way to go, however. All this is still in a very early stage. We will get going once we get the registration and license from the Ministry of Culture and Information.”

Al-Banoon clarified that the club would be open to foreign nationals who are working at the Kingdom’s media organs. It may be noted that Arabic newspapers have a large number of non-Saudi Arab nationals working for them. There are also Indians, Pakistanis and Sri Lankans working in the English and other language media. Then there are correspondents and freelance journalists based here in the Kingdom.

“This club will be open to them, as well,” he said. “We plan to have playwrights, fiction writers, columnists, business writers, business experts, translators, analysts, guest writers, lyricists, poets, scriptwriters, radio broadcasters, television producers, documentary makers, news readers and letter writers — everybody.