June 22, 2012

My take this week: Life goes on
Thursday 21 June 2012
• The death of Prince Naif brought sadness to the whole Nation. However, life goes on and the appointments of Prince Salman as Crown Prince and Prince Ahmed as minister of Interior went smoothly as usually is the succession process in Saudi Arabia. When interviewed by a Lebanese TV channel I said: This is yet another good example why Saudi Arabia is still the most stable country in a sea of turbulence.
• Beirut looks almost completely deserted. There were very few people arriving at Beirut airport. I’m happy Saudi Arabia did not warn its citizens not to travel to Lebanon this hot summer. Even the large hotels and restaurants were almost empty except for a few Saudi families enjoying the usual Lebanese hospitality.
• The headlines of the major Lebanese newspapers call for caution as recent events in North Lebanon escalated recently. I did not feel any danger staying out late at night. I follow a golden rule whenever I travel abroad; all is well if I keep to myself and do not draw any attention. I met many Lebanese intellectuals and writers, most of them believe that peace will prevail. 
•The Saudi Human Rights Commission (HRC) has launched a website where victims of incest can seek help. This is great news as victims can now approach social workers who will guide them in order to face their culprits more courageously without having to disclose their true identity. I have no doubt that the HRC aims to support the victims in any way possible, and I hope this would scare of the culprits once and for all. Criminals who attempt to harass women or children in any way deserve harsh punishments.
• Oil is not in the news, at least not this week. OPEC meeting last week has done nothing to dispel speculation that Saudi Arabia may be willing to see crude go much lower for a while. Although Saudi Arabia pricing has made it easier to step up purchases of additional barrels, buyers’ enthusiasm for additional supply has been limited. Most analysts indicate that the most important thing that took place at the OPEC meeting was probably what did not take place.
• I wrote a few weeks ago about the catering unit of Saudi Arabian Airlines. I understand now that SR1.3 billion ($ 350 million) is projected to be raised by floating 30 percent of the catering unit shares. Saudi Airlines started a process of privatization in 2006 by splitting into six units. This is not all, it plans to privatize each of the units individually and offer them to the public in the near future.

Tweet: “Death ends a life, not a relationship”. 
Jack Lemmon

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