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posted by Fnord666 on Monday May 29 2017, @12:18AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the making-progress dept.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the World Bank's Women Entrepreneurs Fund, an idea that the president's elder daughter proposed, will work to help women in the Middle East who want to start their own businesses.

The [$100 million] donation from Saudi Arabia and the UAE was set to be announced at a Sunday event with President Trump's daughter, according to the report.

The first daughter spoke with Saudi women who are civil leaders, businesswomen and elected government officials during the president's first foreign trip.

The Hill

The announcement by World Bank President Jim Young Kim came during a visit to Saudi Arabia by President Trump, who was accompanied by his wife, Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

"We thought it was a fantastic idea," Kim said. "But we had no idea how quickly this would build. This is really a stunning achievement. I've never seen anything come together so quickly, and I really have to say that Ivanka's leadership has been tremendous." The money will help kick off a $1 billion women's empowerment fund that the World Bank will announce in July, he said.


additional coverage:

Original Submission

Related Stories

Politics: Saudi Arabia Will Lift Ban on Women Drivers Next Year 17 comments

Saudi Arabia will lift its ban on women drivers in June 2018, in a move the interior minister said would "transform traffic safety":

Saudi Arabia's lifting of a much criticized ban on women drivers will reduce the number of car crashes in a country with one of the world's worst traffic-related death rates, its interior minister said on Thursday.

King Salman announced the historic change on Tuesday, ending a conservative tradition which limited women's mobility and was seen by rights activists as an emblem of their suppression in the kingdom where Islam originated.

Saudi Arabia was the only remaining country in the world to bar women from driving, a policy that will officially end in June 2018 after a ministerial committee reports on measures needed for implementation.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef, the interior minister who took over from his uncle in June, said security forces were ready to apply traffic laws to men and women, though he did not mention if women would be recruited as traffic police.

"Women driving cars will transform traffic safety into a pedagogical practice which will reduce human and economic losses caused by accidents," he was quoted as saying on the ministry's official Twitter feed. He did not elaborate.

The current King of Saudi Arabia was crowned on January 23, 2015.

Also at the Washington Post. NYT has teaching activities for your students.

Related: Saudi Arabia, UAE to Donate to Women Entrepreneurs Fund
Saudi Arabia to Lift Ban on Online VoIP and Video Calling Services

Original Submission

Politics: Saudi Arabia Arrests 11 Princes and Many Ministers for Alleged Corruption 46 comments

Something is definitely going on in Saudi Arabia:

Saudi authorities arrested at least 11 princes, several current ministers and dozens of former ministers in a sweeping move reportedly designed to consolidate power for the son of King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud. According to media reports citing Saudi-owned television network Al Arabiya, an anti-corruption committee ordered the arrests hours after King Salman directed the creation of the committee, headed by his favorite son and adviser, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The committee was established by the royal decree, The Associated Press reports, "due to the propensity of some people for abuse, putting their personal interest above public interest, and stealing public funds." Billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is among those detained, The Wall Street Journal reports. Alwaleed holds stakes in some of the world's major companies, including Apple and Twitter.

Remember Prince Alwaleed? Bitcoin could outlive him.

It's unclear what those arrested are accused of doing, but Al-Arabiya reported that new investigations into the 2009 Jeddah floods and 2012 MERS virus outbreak have been launched.

Separately, the heads of the Saudi National Guard and Saudi Royal Navy have also been replaced.

BBC notes that the reform faction is in control here:

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says Prince Mohammed is moving to consolidate his growing power while spearheading a reform programme. [...] Prince Mohammed recently said the return of "moderate Islam" was key to his plans to modernise Saudi Arabia. Addressing an economic conference in Riyadh, he vowed to "eradicate the remnants of extremism very soon". Last year, Prince Mohammed unveiled a wide-ranging plan to bring social and economic change to the oil-dependent kingdom.

Some Soylentils have been skeptical of Saudi Arabia's recent moves towards liberalization (some listed below). Has this apparent purge of internal political opposition changed your mind about the viability of these reforms?

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 29 2017, @12:24AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 29 2017, @12:24AM (#516935)


  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by DonkeyChan on Monday May 29 2017, @12:29AM (5 children)

    by DonkeyChan (5551) on Monday May 29 2017, @12:29AM (#516939)

    But when are they going to stop stoning them in the streets and give them the same rights as men?
    Ohhh this is just a show that's right.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by tftp on Monday May 29 2017, @01:02AM

      by tftp (806) on Monday May 29 2017, @01:02AM (#516947) Homepage

      Just a show, you say? You are not cynical enough:

      The money will help kick off a $1 billion women's empowerment fund that the World Bank will announce in July, he said.

      They are investing $100M as a bait (and even that is just a promise,) attract 10x as much from other sources, and then can steal all that and more back! Governments are usually not allowed to give public money to well connected individuals, but such grants make it possible.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by n1 on Monday May 29 2017, @01:06AM (3 children)

      by n1 (993) on Monday May 29 2017, @01:06AM (#516949) Journal

      Just going to leave this here....

      Last week, in “A Young Prince Is Reimagining Saudi Arabia. Can He Make His Vision Come True?,” Washington Post foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius (4/20/17) wrote what read like a press release for the Saudi regime. What’s more, he’s written the same article several times before. For almost 15 years, Ignatius has been breathlessly updating US readers on the token, meaningless public relations gestures that the Saudi regime—and, by extension, Ignatius—refer to as “reforms.”

      Ignatius columns on Saudi Arabia break down roughly into two groups: straight reporting mixed with spin and concern trolling, and outright press releases documenting the dictatorship’s spectacular reforms.

      [...] Let’s begin by taking a look at his most recent iteration of this genre (4/20/17), featuring a brave Saudi prince taking on “religious conservatives” (vague reactionaries who are never named or defined) to change his own monarchy:

      Two years into his campaign as change agent in this conservative oil kingdom, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman appears to be gaining the confidence and political clout to push his agenda of economic and social reform.

      Ignatius begins by doing something a lot of “reformer” boosters do in Saudi Arabia: conflating “economic reform” with social reform. [...] Indeed, the only social reforms even mentioned in the glowing report are “a Japanese orchestra that included women” performing to “mixed audience,” and a co-ed Comic Con. Perhaps by 2025 they’ll have mixed-gender D&D tournaments.

      Ignatius’ cheerleading columns always rely on vague person-on-the-street sources as a placeholder for the Voice of the People. [...]

      King Abdullah announced January 11 that 30 women would join the kingdom’s Shura Council, a consultative body of 150 persons, and that women henceforth would hold 20 percent of the seats. Skeptics cautioned that it’s a symbolic move, since this is an advisory group that doesn’t actually enact any legislation. But it’s a powerful symbol, according to men and women here.

      [...] He goes on to interview a Cambridge-educated woman who appears hand-picked by the regime for a glossy profile. She’s from a humble background and was about to drop out of college until the king stepped in and benevolently paid her tuition. A story Ignatius, of course, dutifully repeats without skepticism.

      Then there’s the other genre of Saudi coverage [...]

      Saudi Arabia is painted as a fearful, almost childlike place, whose evil deeds are animated by paranoia rather than ambition—bumbling “misfires” and “mistakes” rather than sinister motives.

      [...] The one piece whose headline seems to indicate actual criticism of the Saudi regime is anything but.

      Saudi Arabia is a frightened monarchy…. Countries that feel vulnerable sometimes do impulsive and counterproductive things, and that has been the case recently with Saudi Arabia.

      [...] Strangely, in 15 years of writing columns about the monarchy, David Ignatius has not himself used the term “human rights,” much less addressed their abuse in a meaningful way. [...] they are stripped of all autonomy, with the beheading of a minority religious figure painted as a response to the Evil Iranians: “The kingdom’s fear of a rising Iran led it to execute a dissident Shiite cleric.”

      [...] Saudi Arabia, despite being an oppressive absolute monarchy that arbitrarily detains, tortures, executes and mercilessly bombs civilians, is never given the dreaded “regime” moniker like Assad and Gaddafi and North Korea. Actions are not done by an anthropomorphized state, but a nebulous blob of reluctant bureaucrats. And they are not even actions; they are always good-faith reactions to “Iranian hegemony.”

      [...] [On Saudi involvement in Yemen civil war] the few times it is touched upon it is glossed over as “costly and unsuccessful.” It is bad—not in terms of morals, but in process.

      [...] Ignatius simply takes the regime’s word that all 47 people—including two minors—subject to its 2016 mass execution were guilty of being “extremists”:

      A defensive, anxious Saudi leadership tried to show its resolve with last week’s execution of 47 extremists.

      [...] In 2015, when King Abdullah died, Ignatius (1/22/15) insisted that the monarch who ruled for ten years over a country that didn’t allow women to drive, swim, own property or travel alone “was seen by many Saudi women as their secret champion.”

      [...] Ignatius, of course, is not alone. He joins a long line of faithful Western pundits who frame the Saudi regime as a reformist entity, earnestly pushing change in a fundamentally reactionary country under perma-threat from Shia forces. The Al Saud mafia is not in league with religious extremists, but a bulwark against them; they are not an illegitimate dictatorship, but an enlightened ruling class helping usher in “reform” in the face of a hyper-religious population.

      And throughout it all, they are on a 71,500-year reform plan where they are effusively praised for moving their country toward the 19th century every five years or so. Other regimes that oppress their people and bomb civilians “must go” now, and are beyond the moral pale—mere allegations of being friendly with them, a career-ender. But the Saudi regime, a friendly host to light-touch US pundits, is just a well-meaning scrappy band of reformers this close to turning into Switzerland. All they need is a bit more time.

      Source: Adam Johnson at []

      See also:

      The Trump administration wrapped up a weapons deal with the Saudi Arabian government this week that will be worth up to $350 billion over the next ten years. [...]

      The vast majority of the reports on the topic, however, omitted a rather key piece of context—namely, whom the weapons will be used to kill.

      [...] the head of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed earlier this month his forces were “fighting alongside” the Saudi-backed Yemeni government.

      [...] To the extent the Saudi bombing of Yemen was gestured at, it was in vague, Risk game–like terms about how Saudi Arabia was a “check” against “Iranian aggression”—an opaque framing that reduces all Shia populations in the Middle East into mindless Iranian drones in urgent need of an application of Saudi munitions.

      [...] The New York Times (5/15/17) did mention the famine and war in Yemen in the context of the arms deal last week, but one article on the subject from Thursday (5/18/17), for unknown reasons, removed this passage expressly noting the Saudis’ history of buying US weapons:

      The Saudis have spent a fortune on US weapons over the years, and a series of new deals that could be worth more than $300 billion over the next decade are close to completion, Reuters reported this month.

      Source: Adam Johnson at []

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 29 2017, @01:36AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 29 2017, @01:36AM (#516957)

        Strangely, in 15 years of writing columns about the monarchy, David Ignatius has not himself used the term “human rights,” much less addressed their abuse in a meaningful way.

        I'm not an apologist for Ignatius or the Saudis because their problems are obvious and legion. But since you bolded that line I figured it was worth at least a google-check.
        It took me 30 seconds to find this Ignatius column from 2016:

        Women’s rights also get strong support: 67 percent of young Arabs said their leaders should improve the personal freedom and human rights of women. This progressive view had roughly equal support from young Arab men (66 percent) as women (68 percent). By the way, an even number of men and women were surveyed. []

        Sooooo... Looks like FAIR isn't quite as fair as they'd like us to believe.

        • (Score: 2) by n1 on Monday May 29 2017, @02:25AM

          by n1 (993) on Monday May 29 2017, @02:25AM (#516974) Journal

          You have a ... fair ... point... The original claim is pretty bold, but still illustrative in my opinion.

          There may well be other articles with even more, better references to the human rights concept... I would note that the article in question is talking about "arabs" in general -- not specifically Saudi Arabia -- and even then is referring to a survey covering 16 countries, about what young people in the region "want". He is not explaining historical or current actions on the Saudi government, reform or their record in recognition of human rights.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 29 2017, @05:36AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 29 2017, @05:36AM (#517031)

        Wtf is a D&D tournament?

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 29 2017, @01:30AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 29 2017, @01:30AM (#516954)

    Remember when getting the saudis to pay $25M for HIV drugs [] disqualified Hillary from the presidency?

    Nope. Never happened!

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Snotnose on Monday May 29 2017, @01:30AM (1 child)

    by Snotnose (1623) on Monday May 29 2017, @01:30AM (#516955)

    I'll believe it when women in Saudi Arabia can drive, go to school/college, or do anything without a male's permission.

    We make enough oil, it's time we tell the Saudis to flat out fuck off until they join the 20th century, then put them on a very limited leash until they join the 21'st century.

    Having a big nose is no reason to not wear a mask. I mean, I still wear underwear....
    • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Monday May 29 2017, @02:50AM

      by kaszz (4211) on Monday May 29 2017, @02:50AM (#516981) Journal

      Don't worry there are many scenarios:
        * Oil runs out (inflated well reserve data)
        * CO2 restriction wipes out oil income
        * Another power source undermine the oil business
        * Someone decides to let men in green jumpsuits have a vacation in the sand, just ask Iraq