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