Friday, July 7, 2017
Saudi whistle-blower Mujtahid, who is believed to be a member of or have a well-connected source in the royal family, revealed that the country's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will not participate in the G20 summit after recent concerns grew about an imminent coup against him and his father in Riyadh.
"Mohammed bin Salman, the son of the Saudi king, cannot leave Saudi Arabia for the fear of a coup from inside the al-Saud family, and King Salman is not able to attend the important summit alone due to his mental status," Mujtahid wrote on his twitter page on Wednesday.
He added that the Saudi king got a cold at the end of the holy month of Ramadan and the royal court was forced to cancel his visit to Hamburg after spending hundreds of millions of dollars.
Saudi diplomatic sources announced on Monday that the Saudi will not to attend the G20 summit due to the Persian Gulf crisis related to Qatar.
Minister of Finance Mohammed al-Jadaan will instead go to the summit, scheduled to take place in the Northern German port city of Hamburg on July 7 and 8.
Last week, Mujtahid revealed high tensions in Saudi Arabia, and said a threat of a coup to topple the king and his son is highly likely.
"Moves in the al-Saud family to oust Salman bin Abdulaziz (the Saudi king) have increased by those who support Ahmed bin Abdulaziz (the king's brother) as they are convincing him of taking the leadership in Saudi Arabia," Mujtahid wrote on his twitter page on Sunday.
He added that the princes who have joined the move intend to issue a statement to declare King Salman's incompetency for continued leadership of the country and nullify his recent order that brought his son to the post of the Crown Prince.
Last month, King Salman replaced Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz with his own son, Mohammed bin Salman, the deputy crown prince and defense minister.
According to a royal decree, Mohammed bin Salman, 31, was also named deputy prime minister, and shall maintain his post as defense minister, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The SPA also confirmed that 31 out of 34 members of Saudi Arabia’s succession committee chose Mohammed bin Salman as the crown prince.
The Saudi king had earlier stripped Nayef of his powers overseeing criminal investigations and designated a new public prosecution office to function directly under the king’s authority.
In a similar move back in 2015, the Saudi king had appointed his nephew, then deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef as the heir to the throne after removing his own half-brother Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud from the position.
Under the new decree, King Salman further relieved Mohammed bin Nayef of his duties as the interior minister. He appointed Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef as the new interior minister and Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Salem as deputy interior minister.
Mohammed Bin Salman is already in charge of a vast portfolio as chief of the House of Saud royal court and chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs, which is tasked with overhauling the country’s economy.
The young prince was little known both at home and abroad before Salman became king in January 2015.
However, King Salman has significantly increased the powers of Mohammed, with observers describing the prince as the real power behind his father’s throne.
The power struggle inside the House of Saud came to light earlier this year when the Saudi king began to overhaul the government and offered positions of influence to a number of family members.
In two royal decrees in April, the Saudi king named two of his other sons, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman and Prince Khaled bin Salman, as state minister for energy affairs and ambassador to the United States, respectively.
Late April, media source disclosed that Mohammad bin Salman has literally bribed the new US administration by paying $56m to Donald Trump.
According to reports, bin Salman is paying off the US to buy its support for finding a grip over the crown.
"Since Uncle Sam's satisfaction is the first step for the Saudi princes to get on the crown, paying off Washington seems to be a taken-for-granted fact," Rami Khalil, a reporter of Naba' news website affiliated to the Saudi dissidents wrote.
He added that since the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) is like a sword over the head of the al-Saud, they have no way out but to bribe the US, noting that the Yemen quagmire is also another reason for Riyadh to seek Washington's support.
Also, a prominent Yemeni analyst said early June that the US has been paid several trillion dollars by Saudi Arabia to protect its crown, adding that Riyadh has recently bribed Washington's support for the Yemen war with $200bln.
"Washington has asked for more money to defend the Saudi regime and Riyadh has recently paid $200bln to the US for the costs of its support for the war in Yemen," Saleh al-Qarshi told FNA.
"This is apart from the huge amounts of money that Saudi Arabia pays to the US treasury for protecting its crown," he added.
According to al-Qarshi, former Saudi Intelligence Chief Turki al-Feisal revealed last year that his country has bought the low-profit US treasury bonds to help the US economy.
As the defense minister, Mohammed bin Salman has faced strong international criticism for the bloody military campaign he launched against neighboring Yemen in 2015 amid his rivalry with bin Nayef, the then powerful interior minister.
Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen since March 2015 to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 14,000 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.
The World Health Organization (WHO) in Yemen also announced that more than a thousand Yemenis have died of cholera since April 2017 as Saudi Arabia's deadly campaign prevented the patients from travelling abroad for treatment and blocked the entry of medicine into the war-torn country, continues hitting residential areas across Yemen.
Despite Riyadh's claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
According to several reports, the Saudi-led air campaign against Yemen has drove the impoverished country towards humanitarian disaster.
Nearly 3.3 million Yemeni people, including 2.1 million children, are currently suffering from acute malnutrition. The Al-Saud aggression has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.
The WHO now classifies Yemen as one of the worst humanitarian emergencies in the world alongside Syria, South Sudan, Nigeria and Iraq.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman on Friday objected to India's attempts to stir up disputes over the Doklam region.
The Indian sides claims that, according to a 2012 India-China agreement, the tri-junction point of China, India and Bhutan will be decided by consulting with the Bhutan side, which means China and India have recognized their divergence on the issue.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the so-called tri-junction point, just as its name implies, is a point, rather than a line or an area.
He said, on the tri-junction, the Convention Between Great Britain and China Relating to Sikkim and Tibet(1890) stipulates that the Sikkim section of the China-India boundary commences at Mount Gipmochi in the east.
However, the trespass by the Indian troops took place at the Sikkim section of the China-India boundary over 2,000 meters away from Mount Gipmochi and has nothing to do with the tri-junction, said Geng.
The Indian side, by disregarding of the boundary convention, assumes the whole Doklam region as part of the tri-junction. This is obviously an attempt to confuse the public, he added.
Some opinions hold that the 1890 convention has ceased to have any significance, because the situation changed after the Sino-Indian Border Conflict in 1962.
In response to a question on whether India has recognized the delimitation of the Sikkim section of the China-India boundary since 1962, Geng said successive Indian governments had repeatedly confirmed the 1890 convention in written form, with no disagreement on the boundary alignment at the Sikkim section.
Once the border treaty was signed, its legitimacy and effectiveness was not affected by changes of governments or state systems, said Geng.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in discussed Pyongyang’s latest “provocation” and the need to “keep cool heads” to defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula.
“The North Korean missile provocation is a threat not only to the peninsula, but also the entire region,” Moon said after talks with Putin on the sidelines of G20 summit in Hamburg Friday.
Putin underlined the importance of adopting a rational approach when dealing with Pyongyang.
“The North Korean nuclear program is a very acute problem,” Putin said. “But we must act carefully and pragmatically, and we must keep cool heads.”
Moon confirmed Russia could play a significant role in deescalating the Korean crisis, and invited Putin to visit him in South Korea to further “discuss issues” of mutual concern.
“I would also like to invite you to visit us in Korea, as soon as possible,” said the South Korean president in response to the invitation to the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.
“It will be a very good opportunity to discuss all the issues between our countries.”
Moon, who took office in May, has advocated for greater dialogue with the North. The former human rights lawyer has even expressed a willingness to travel to his isolated neighbor if it means ending the decades-long standoff.
“I am willing to go anywhere for the peace of the Korean Peninsula,” Moon said at his formal oath-taking ceremony.
But despite this more open and flexible approach, the leaders of Japan, South Korea and the US released a joint statement Friday, vowing to collectively apply maximum pressure and to strengthen their military alliances in response to the “major escalation that directly violates multiple United Nation’s Security Council resolutions and that clearly demonstrates the growing threat the DPRK poses.”
The leaders of the three countries added that they would press for more sanctions to show Pyongyang “there are serious consequences for its destabilizing, provocative, and escalatory actions.”
China and Russia has urged patience and pragmatism from all sides, warning against any statements or action that might escalate tensions further.
Instead of trying to “strangle” Pyongyang with additional sanctions which could result in an unpredictable outcome, Moscow and Beijing has proposed a roadmap to deescalate tensions on the peninsula by launching constructive negotiations through a simultaneous halt of Pyongyang’s nuclear program and a suspension of US-South Korean military activity.
But despite the joint Russian and Chinese plea, the US and South Korea rushed to flex their muscles, and within two days, conducted two sets of live fire drills on the Korean peninsula.
North Korea claimed this week to have successfully test-launched its Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in what leader Kim Jong-un described as a “gift” for the “American bastards”.
The move has heightened tensions in an already anxious region, where North Korea’s neighbors have long been concerned about the isolated country’s nuclear capabilities.
Pyongyang has been under UN sanctions since 2006, when the Security Council prohibited the provision of large-scale arms, nuclear technology and related training to Pyongyang. Despite the political and economic pressure, North Korea defiantly continues to pursue its research and development in the nuclear and ballistic missile spheres.
FOUZIA is 13 and is employed by a working mother of two children. Fouzia is the victim of oppression on three counts. She performs the duties of an adult woman, which would be classified as child labour. She is not attending school as is compulsory for children from five to 16 years of age under Article 25-A of the Constitution.
Above all, she will soon be another example of early marriage as she is said to be engaged. The wedding will take place as soon as she has earned enough for her dowry. In the process, Fouzia has been robbed of her childhood and an education.
These deprivations do not bother this young girl’s family. Their sociocultural norms and, according to many, poverty have landed her in this ugly situation. According to Unesco, from 1987 to 2005, early marriage was the fate of nearly 32 per cent of all children in Pakistan.
Scepticism surrounds the implementation of child marriage laws.
This problem is a grave one as it has an adverse impact on maternal health, the infant mortality rate, children’s education, child-rearing practices, rights of children, empowerment of women and, above all, the future generations of Pakistan. It is, therefore, commendable that the Indus Resource Centre — with Oxfam’s support — has launched a project to address the issue in two districts of Sindh. The IRC is eminently qualified for this advocacy work by virtue of its experience in similar projects of a social nature. It has been successful in its campaigns — albeit in limited areas where it has schools and access to communities whose confidence it enjoys. Why is child marriage so common in Pakistan? Basically, it is a misguided approach to female sexuality, strongly entrenched sociocultural norms (often associated with practices such as honour killing) and religious beliefs in a patriarchal society that encourages many parents to marry off their daughters at a young age.
Generally, there is the additional factor of widespread ignorance of the rights of children. In our society, where the overall status of women is low, matrimony for their girl child becomes the first goal of parents. In their desperation, they often arrange obviously ill-matched unions which ruin the couples’ lives.
It is the girl who is the real victim of this obscurantist practice. She is younger and has to pay a heavier price than the groom who may be much older if the matrimonial arrangement is a result of now illegal customs such as swara. Among the first to be sacrificed are the girl’s education and health which in turn rob her of the opportunity to achieve economic empowerment and the advantages that go with it.
The widespread prevalence of child marriages is a clear indication of the poor status of women in Pakistan. The problem of child marriage can be most effectively tackled in the context of the empowerment of women. Since this requires a holistic approach, all aspects of a woman’s life must be addressed if an impact is to be made. The IRC should be able to achieve some results as it is already closely linked with communities through its school infrastructure. Moreover, the Life Skills Based Education it is imparting has already produced results as IRC has been addressing such issues at the social level in its school programme.
What about the government? Of course, it has a big responsibility in averting child marriage as in many cases legal intervention is needed. Thus the child marriage restraint laws of Sindh and Punjab can land the parents in prison and require them to pay a hefty fine if they marry off their offspring under the age of 18 in the former and 16 in the latter province. But few people have been arrested under the law, leaving legal experts and feminists sceptical about the law and its implementation.
Although a sound legal framework is essential to regulate society, the thrust has to be on advocacy for social change for which structures must be created. While a sound law making child marriage illegal is essential, the focus needs to be on the social and cultural dimensions by creating awareness among people about child rights and the status of women. Hence schools and women’s groups are the best place to create an opinion against child marriages.
Again, there is a lot of talk about poverty being the root cause of this evil. But poverty is per se not the cause of many of the anti-social practices attributed to it. Poverty has many faces due to its attendant traits which are the root cause of many problems. Thus, generally speaking, the poor and underprivileged also lack education, are in bad health and have large families. These features combine to make them conservative and resistant to change. But that does not mean that quite a few among the wealthy do not have similar weaknesses.