Jerusalem – The Middle East Newsline has confirmed that Saudi Arabia has ruled out a U.S. security presence at energy fields in the Arab kingdom.

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz said the United States, under a new security cooperation agreement with Riyadh, would provide technical support to help protect the kingdom’s crude oil wells and related facilities. Prince Nayef stressed that Saudi personnel would defend the energy facilities.

“The role of the Americans is confined to technical operations as the agreement stipulates,” Prince Nayef said. “As to protecting Saudi oil installations, only God and then the Saudis protect them.”

Prince Nayef said the United States would provide the most advanced technology to help protect the Saudi oil sector. The prince did not elaborate. Saudi Arabia plans to deploy 35,000 officers, under Prince Nayef’s command, to protect strategic installations, including oil facilities. In March 2008, the first group of 1,554 cadets graduated a training course.

In mid-May, Riyadh and Washington signed a security cooperation agreement during President George Bush’s visit. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States would help protect energy and other infrastructure in the Arab kingdom.

“The kingdom gains increased internal and external security capability through U.S. training, equipment and information sharing,” Gen. David Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 22. “We understand that there are constraints on this relationship due to regional sensitivities, and we will continue to work through them.”

Egypt Warns Of Egyptian Brotherhood Help To Hamas

Egypt has alleged that the Islamic opposition established an aid pipeline to Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Egyptian officials said the opposition Muslim Brotherhood established a network to relay financial and military assistance to the Hamas regime. The officials said the aid has flowed through several routes, including Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, which neighbors the Gaza Strip.

“This is a steady effort in which certain people were assigned the task of assessing Hamas’ needs and sending the required aid,” an Egyptian security source said.

Egypt plans to prosecute a Brotherhood member said to play a key role in the effort to aid Hamas. The member was identified as Abdulahi El Farmawi, a deputy at Al Azhar University in Cairo.

Mr. El Farmawi, regarded as a leading Brotherhood operative, has been held in detention since April 2008. He has been charged as the leading Brotherhood liaison with Hamas.

Egyptian prosecutors have alleged that Mr. El Farmawi oversaw a Brotherhood effort to help Hamas’ new military. They said he relayed funds and expertise to purchase unmanned aerial vehicles for the Hamas military. Mr. El Farmawi’s alleged accomplice was identified as Bassam Adel Mahmoud. Mr. Mahmoud, also a Brotherhood member, has been based in El Arish, the capital of the northern governorate in Sinai.

The prosecution said the Brotherhood’s effort was aimed to provide Hamas with a combat aerial capability against Israel. The planned Hamas UAVs were meant to be fitted with large bombs that could strike military and civilian facilities in southern Israel.

The Brotherhood effort was also said to have included another two operatives. They were identified as Mohammed Imad and Nizar Rayan. Mr. Rayan was said to be a leading Hamas operative who infiltrated Egypt.

Egyptian authorities have refused a defense request to release the 60-year-old Mr. El Farmawi on bail. Mr. El Farmawi’s attorney, Abdul Muneium Abdul Maqsoud, said his client’s health is deteriorating in prison.

David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com

©The Bulletin 2008

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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