Archive for the ‘Saudi’ Category

Somali Pirates, After Grabbing Biggest Prize, Negotiate for Loot

November 18, 2008

Vela International Marine Ltd, a Dubai-based marine company which operates the Saudi-owned Sirius Star, said it was working to secure the release of the supertanker and her crew.

A spokesman for the company said all 25 crew were believed to be safe.

The Saudi-owned vessel was hijacked on Saturday, 450 nautical miles south east of Mombasa.

The large oil tanker is owned by Saudi oil company Aramco but was sailing under a Liberian flag.

The Telegraph (UK)

Earlier, a spokesman for the Foreign Office had confirmed that two of those on board are British but could not give any details of their role on the ship.

US Navy spokesman Lieutenant Nate Christensen, of the 5th Fleet, said: “We don’t know the condition of the crew on board or the nature of the pirates’ demands. In cases like this what we typically see is a demand for money from the ship owners but we haven’t had that yet.

This undated picture made at an unknown location shows the Sirius ... 
This undated picture made at an unknown location shows the Sirius Star tanker conducting a trial run in South Korea. Somali pirates have hijacked the Saudi-owned oil tanker the Sirius Star off the Kenyan coast, the U.S. Navy said Monday, Nov. 17, 2008. The tanker owned by Saudi oil company Aramco, is 330 meters (1,080 feet), about the length of an aircraft carrier, making it one of the largest ships to sail the seas. It can carry about 2 million barrels of oil. Lt. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, said the Sirius Star was carrying crude at the time of Saturday’s hijacking, but he did know how much.(AP Photo/ Newsis via Daewoo shipping yards and commissioned )

“We don’t know exactly where they are taking it but we know the town of Eyl is a pirate stronghold.”

Eyl is in the northern Puntland region of Somalia and has become notorious for pirate activity over the past months. Dozens of ships are thought to be being held captive there.

The supertanker is the largest ship to fall victim to pirates, the US Navy said. It is 1,080ft (330m) long and can carry about 2 million barrels of oil.

The hijack, which was the first successful attack so far out at sea, raises fears that international patrols nearer the coast and in the Gulf of Aden will not be enough to protect vital trade routes as pirate gangs become ever more audacious.

The Sirius Star was carrying a cargo of crude oil and had 25 crew members on board when it was attacked.

Related:
Somali Pirates Capture Biggest Prize Ever: “Supertanker” Loaded With Oil

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaand
indianocean/somalia/3475792/Somali-pirates-open-t
alks-for-release-of-hostage-crew-on-oil-tanker-
Sirius-Star.html

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Somali Pirates Capture Biggest Prize Ever: “Supertanker” Loaded With Oil

November 17, 2008

The U.S. Navy says Somali pirates have hijacked a Saudi-owned oil tanker off the Kenyan coast.

Lt. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, says the pirates hijacked the vessel Saturday. The tanker is owned by Saudi oil company Aramco and was sailing under a Liberian flag.

Christensen says the pirates took control of the ship 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya. He spoke Monday by phone from the 5th Fleet’s Bahrain headquarters.

–Associated Press

Link to Fox News:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,453030,00.html


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From the BBC

Pirates have taken control of a Saudi-owned oil tanker in the Indian Ocean off the Kenyan coast, the US Navy says.

The tanker was seized 450 nautical miles south-east of the port of Mombasa, a US Navy spokesman said.

Twenty five crew are said to be on board, including members from Croatia, the UK, the Philippines, Poland and Saudi Arabia.

The Sirius Star oil tanker (image from Aramco website)
The Sirius Star made its maiden voyage in March of this year

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7733482.stm
Photo of ship captured by pirates

The U.S. Fifth Fleet said in a release that pirates attacked the Sirius Star, a Liberian-flagged crude tanker owned by Saudi Aramco, the kingdom’s state oil company. It said the ship was operated by Vela International and had a crew of 25, including citizens of Croatia, the U.K., the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia.
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By Barbara Surk
The Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (Nov. 17) – Somali pirates hijacked a supertanker hundreds of miles off the Horn of Africa, seizing the Saudi-owned ship loaded with crude and its 25-member crew, the U.S. Navy said Monday.
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It appeared to be the largest ship ever seized by pirates.
After the brazen hijacking, the pirates on Monday sailed the Sirius Star to a Somali port that has become a haven for bandits and the ships they have seized, a Navy spokesman said.
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The hijacking was among the most brazen in a surge in attacks this year by ransom-hungry Somali pirates. Attacks off the Somali coast have increased more than 75 percent this year, and even the world’s largest vessels are vulnerable.
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The Sirius Star, commissioned in March and owned by the Saudi oil company Aramco, is 1,080 feet long — about the length of an aircraft carrier — making it one of the largest ships to sail the seas. It can carry about 2 million barrels of oil.
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Lt. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, said the pirates hijacked the ship on Saturday about 450 nautical miles off the coast of Kenya — the farthest out to sea Somali pirates have struck.
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By expanding their range, Somali pirates are “certainly a threat to many more vessels,” Christensen said. He said the pirates on the Sirius Star were “nearing an anchorage point” at the Somali port town of Eylon Monday.
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Somali pirates have seized at least six several ships off the Horn of Africa in the past week, but the hijacking of a supertanker marked a dramatic escalation.
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The pirates are trained fighters, often dressed in military fatigues, using speedboats equipped with satellite phones and GPS equipment. They are typically armed with automatic weapons, anti-tank rockets launchers and various types of grenades.

Read the rest:
http://news.aol.com/article/somali-pirates-hijack-supertanker/250596
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Who Are These Somali Pirates?By Robyn Hunter
The BBC

 

“No information today. No comment,” a Somali pirate shouts over the sound of breaking waves, before abruptly ending the satellite telephone call.
He sounds uptight – anxious to see if a multi-million dollar ransom demand will be met.

He is on board the hijacked Ukrainian vessel, MV Faina – the ship laden with 33 Russian battle tanks that has highlighted the problem of piracy off the Somali coast since it was captured almost a month ago.

But who are these modern-day pirates?

According to residents in the Somali region of Puntland where most of the pirates come from, they live a lavish life.

Fashionable

“They have money; they have power and they are getting stronger by the day,” says Abdi Farah Juha who lives in the regional capital, Garowe.

They wed the most beautiful girls; they are building big houses; they have new cars; new guns,” he says.

“Piracy in many ways is socially acceptable. They have become fashionable.”

Most of them are aged between 20 and 35 years – in it for the money.

And the rewards they receive are rich in a country where….

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7650415.stm

OPEC slashes production; crude continues to tumble

October 24, 2008

OPEC said at an emergency meeting Friday that it will slash oil production by 1.5 million barrels to stem the “dramatic collapse” of oil prices, but crude prices plunged 7 percent anyway as financial markets spiraled downward across the globe.

By GEORGE JAHN, Associated Press Writer

Demand for crude has evaporated and the supply levers held by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries appear to have little influence in the current economic climate.

Iran and Venezuela pushed for a cut of 2 million barrels a day, but there were concerns among other OPEC members that a more severe production cut would exacerbate a deteriorating economic crisis and further destroy demand.

OPEC officials, however, signaled they were prepared to slice deeper quickly if crude continues its freefall.

OPEC is already producing 300,000 barrels a day above its own quota of about 29 million barrels.

If that overproduction is stopped, and all members comply with the 1.5-million cut, OPEC would produce about 1.8 million fewer barrels of oil a day.

OPEC officials, however, left no doubt that they were ready to slice production again quickly if Friday’s decision does not end the price freefall.

The emergency meeting was initially scheduled for Nov. 18, but that was abruptly rescheduled for Friday in response to prices that have entered a tailspin since their historic high of nearly $150 in July.

OPEC President Chakib Khelil said OPEC was ready to convene another emergency session before its next planned gathering in December in Algeria “if there are further decisions that have to be made.

Analyst John Hall of London-based John Hall Associates said the OPEC decision will not have a dramatic effect, adding he assumed any upward trend would stop at between $80 and $90.

But there was no such trend Friday as markets plunged global and fear of an extended recession spread.

Wall Street joined world stock markets in a precipitous plunge, with the Dow Jones industrials dropping more than 400 points in the opening minutes of trading.

Oil futures slid $4.46 to $63.38 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

“It’s clear that the ministers are attempting to underpin at $60 a barrel,” said James R. Crawford an analyst with Inter Emirates. “But where the market will settle remains open.”

Read the rest
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081024/ap_on_bi_ge/eu_opec_
meeting;_ylt=AtVi.2T5ipPpGTmFXXdm3Ais0NUE

Ethnic dispute tears al Qaeda, Hayden says

March 12, 2008

By Bill Gertz
The Washington Times
March 12, 2008

Internal divisions between Saudi and Egyptian leaders of al Qaeda are producing “fissures” within the terrorist group and a possible battle over who will succeed Osama bin Laden, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said yesterday.

General Michael Hayden
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Mr. Hayden, an Air Force general, also said that al Qaeda regrouped in the past two years inside tribal areas of Pakistan and linked up with Pashtun regional extremists in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.
Bin Laden is now an “iconic” figure hiding in the remote border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Mr. Hayden said in a wide-ranging interview with editors and reporters of The Washington Times.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080312/NATION/169481933/1001

Bush in Saudi Arabia for talks

January 14, 2008
By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – President Bush, on his first visit to this oil-rich kingdom, delivered a major arms sale Monday to a key ally in a region where the U.S. casts neighboring Iran as a menace to stability.

Bush’s talks with Saudi King Abdullah, which began over dinner and were continuing with late-night meetings, also were expected to cover peace between Israelis and Palestinians….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080114/ap_
on_re_mi_ea/bush_mideast;_
ylt=ApBMty_OmYAW4c64KOiee3es0NUE

Islamist Militants Target: Pakistan

December 28, 2007

Losing in the West, the jihadis hit Pakistan, with its nuclear prize. http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110011053

In Pakistan there are two fault lines. One is dictatorship versus democracy. And one is moderation versus extremism.” Thus did Benazir Bhutto describe the politics of her country during an August visit to The Wall Street Journal’s offices in New York. She was assassinated yesterday for standing courageously, perhaps fatalistically, on the right side of both lines.

We will learn more in coming days about the circumstances of Bhutto’s death, apparently a combined shooting and suicide bombing at a political rally in Rawalpindi in which more than 20 others were also murdered. But there’s little question the attack, which had every hallmark of an al Qaeda or Taliban operation, is an event with ramifications for the broader war on terror.

With the jihadists losing in Iraq and having a hard time hitting the West, their strategy seems to be to make vulnerable Pakistan their principal target, and its nuclear arsenal their principal prize.

In this effort, murdering Bhutto was an essential step. Hers is the highest profile scalp the jihadists can claim since their assassination of Egypt’s Anwar Sadat in 1981. She also uniquely combined broad public support with an anti-Islamist, pro-Western outlook and all the symbolism that came with being the most prominent female leader in the Muslim world. Her death throws into disarray the complex and fragile efforts to re-establish a functional, legitimate government following next month’s parliamentary elections, which seemed set to hand her a third term as prime minister.

This is exactly the kind of uncertainty in which jihadists would thrive. No doubt, too, there are some in the Pakistani military who will want to use Bhutto’s killing as an excuse to cancel the elections and reconsolidate their own diminished grip on power. In the immediate wake of the assassination, members of Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party have accused President Pervez Musharraf of being complicit in it. But whatever Mr. Musharraf’s personal views of Bhutto–with whom he had an on-again, off-again political relationship–his own position has only been weakened by her death. It would be weakened beyond repair if he sought to capitalize on it by preventing the democratic process from taking its course.

That goes even if the immediate beneficiary of Bhutto’s death is her onetime archrival, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Mr. Sharif, an Islamist politician with close ties to Saudi Arabia and a reputation for incompetence and corruption, said yesterday he would boycott next month’s election even as he is seeking to assert himself as the man around whom all opponents of Mr. Musharraf can rally. We have no brief for Mr. Sharif, except to say that his claim to that position would be strengthened if the military indefinitely postpones or usurps the election.

Beyond the elections, Mr. Musharraf needs to move aggressively to confront the jihadists, and not the lawyers and civil-rights activists he has been jailing in recent months. Hundreds of Pakistanis have been murdered in recent months in terrorist acts perpetrated by fellow Muslims, and many of these perpetrators have, in different ways and at different times, been connected to the Pakistani government itself: as beneficiaries of the terrorist war Pakistan has supported over the years in Kashmir, or as beneficiaries of the support Pakistan gave to the Taliban until 9/11, or as beneficiaries of the ill-conceived “truce” Mr. Musharraf signed last year with Taliban- and al Qaeda-connected tribal chiefs in the Waziristan province. Worst of all has been the look-the-other-way approach successive Pakistani governments have taken to the radical, Saudi-funded madrassas throughout the country.

That will require a more radical reshaping of Pakistan’s politics than Mr. Musharraf has so far been able, or willing, to undertake. But if Bhutto’s assassination has any silver lining, it may be to show that there is no real alternative.

During her meeting with us last summer, Bhutto warned that while the jihadist movement would never have the popular support to win an election in its own right, they had sufficient means at their disposal to “unleash against the population, to rig an election, to kill the army and therefore to make it possible to take over the state.” Today those words seem grimly prophetic.

And while she was in many ways a flawed figure, her answer to that challenge–a real fight against terrorism that would give jihadists no rest; and a real democracy that would give them no fake grievance–looks to be the only formula by which Pakistan may yet be saved.

Musharraf frees foes, seeks Saudi help

November 21, 2007

By PAUL HAVEN, Associated Press Writer

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – President Gen. Pervez Musharraf freed thousands of opponents from jails Tuesday in a sign he is rolling back a wave of repression under emergency rule and flew to Saudi Arabia to talk about the future of an exiled rival, Nawaz Sharif.

Saudi officials said there were efforts to arrange a meeting between Musharraf and Sharif, who was ousted as prime minister by the general’s 1999 coup. However, a Pakistani official said Musharraf’s goal was to prevent Sharif from returning before parliamentary elections Jan. 8.

Back home, the political cauldron continued to boil, with dozens of journalists detained for several hours after clashing with police during a protest and newly freed opposition lawyers vowing to keep up their agitation.

Ewad the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071120/ap_on_re_as/
pakistan;_ylt=AjqnM9wSDN3qSS4Gkdjt1KOs0NUE

From Newt Gingrich: Don’t Legislate Defeat; Work Toward Victory

September 7, 2007

September 7, 2007

Dear Friend,

Next Monday, I will give a speech at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) marking six years since 9/11 and outlining the larger war we should have been waging in order to defeat our terrorist enemies on a worldwide basis.

My speech at AEI is designed to make the case for a larger and more productive dialogue about what we need to accomplish in the Real War we’re engaged in — not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but also in dealing with our enemies on a larger strategic scale, including Iran, Syria, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and the worldwide forces of terrorism that want to destroy our civilization and eliminate our freedoms.
The reason I am speaking out is simple: We need a war-winning option, and today we do not have such an option.

Read it all at:
http://extendedremarks.blogspot.com/

Related:
Newt Gingrich For President

Excellent Gingrich Speech, National Press Club, Aug. 7, 2007

Saudi video makes God cool

August 15, 2007

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP)

The Arab world’s hugely popular music-video industry often features sexy performers in revealing clothes crooning about love.
But the first clip to be produced fully in Saudi Arabia has a message of a different kind: You can be cool and devout.
The video is unusual because it was made in a country where the religious establishment considers music un-Islamic and bans it in public places. And the main cast includes a Saudi woman, something rare in a work produced inside the kingdom.
However, in a sign of Saudi impatience with the restrictions, “Malak Ghair Allah” or “You Only Have God to Count On” was a hit when it was introduced at a popular mall in the western seaport of Jiddah last week. Hundreds of people showed up to watch it on a giant screen in the mall’s main hall.

Read it all:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070815/ENTERTAINMENT/108150034/1007