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Issue 156 - 01 October 1985



The news of Saudi Arabia's four billion dollar arms deal with Britain, under which the kingdom is to buy 72 high performance Tornado strike aircraft and 30 Hawk jet training planes, together with missiles, radar, spares and supporting equipment, has been received with low-key equanimity in Washington, made the subject of only modest rejoicing in London, and given the most meagre coverage in Riyadh.

Issue 155 - 17 September 1985



The Reagan Administration has denied that Saudi Arabia has any agreement with the United States for American use of Saudi Arabian military facilities. Responding to a report in the 'New York Times' that the kingdom has offered such facilities a State Department spokesman said the two countries had 'long standing relationships based on mutual interest in the stability of the Arabian peninsula region'.

Issue 154 - 03 September 1985



Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, the eldest son of King Fahd and President of the Saudi Youth Welfare Authority, arrived in Moscow last week to attend meetings there concerned with the world football championship. If Prince Faisal bin Fahd had made such a visit to some other country it would not, normally, be regarded as having any great political significance. However, any official contact between Saudi Arabia and the Soviet Union sparks a legitimate interest - and never more so than at the present time.

Issue 153 - 20 August 1985



The sixteen Arab countries represented at the emergency Arab Summit meeting in Casablanca can heave a collective sigh of relief that the conference did not, as some feared it might, turn out an unmitigated disaster. Instead, the participants concluded a three-day meeting with a low key communique which avoided the obvious pitfalls of contention and challenge in inter-Arab affairs, and outlined a cautious and conciliatory approach to a settlement of Arab differences.

Issue 152 - 06 August 1985



The Reagan Administration has delivered to Congress the long-awaited strategic review of US arms sales to the Middle East. The study was presented at a confidential briefing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee by high ranking officials from the State Department and the Pentagon. The officials delivered a 'threat analysis' of the dangers posed to Israel by arms sales to Arab states, together with a similar analysis of external threats to Saudi Arabia and Jordan from, respectively, Iran and the Soviet Union and from Syria.

Issue 151 - 23 July 1985



The GCC's Rapid Deployment Force will be assembled at Hafr al Batin base, in north-eastern Arabia near the borders of Iraq and Kuwait, within the next few months. The Force, the formation of which was agreed at last November's GCC summit meeting in Kuwait. is designed 'to be ready to come to the aid of any Gulf country in the event of external aggression'.

Issue 150 - 09 July 1985



Shortly before the 39 American hostages from the hijacked TWA airliner were released by their Amal captors, the Saudi Arabian government issued a statement. It condemned all kinds of terrorism and air piracy which threatens innocent people. The Saudi Press Agency quoted the official government sources as saying, in a comment on the Beirut hijacking, that such an action was contrary to Islamic and Arab behaviour.

Issue 149 - 25 June 1985



The Ministerial Council of the GCC, meeting this weekend at the Council's headquarters in Riyadh, had earlier decided that it would discuss, among other things, ways and means of dealing with terrorist attacks in the GCC region. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have both been the scene of' recent terrorist operations - Saudi Arabia last month when two small explosions occurred in Riyadh, and the more serious list of terrorist activity in Kuwait, culminating in the car-bombing attempt on the life of the Amir, Shaikh Jabr al Ahmad, on 25 May. The pro- Iranian Shia 'Islamic Jihad' terrorist group claimed responsibility for both incidents, although it subsequently retracted its claim to have carried out the explosions in Riyadh.

Issue 148 - 11 June 1985



The third major Arab leader to have visited the United States this year, King Hussein of Jordan seems, after his recent talks in Washington, to have persuaded the Administration to move a little further along the political road that his visiting predecessors, King Fahd and President Mubarak, had earlier sign posted for the Americans.

Issue 147 - 28 May 1985



The explosion of two bombs in Riyadh coincided with the visit to Tehran by Prince Saud al Faisal. Foreign Minister - the first by a Saudi government minister since the revolution which overthrew the Shah - and the outrage perpetrated in the Saudi capital typified, in a way, the uneasy circumstances and dangerous influences surrounding the state of relations between the kingdom and Iran.

Issue 146 - 14 May 1985



It is a truism upon which Saudis are being increasingly driven to reflect that money is not everything. Certainly a steady few hundred billion or so riyals a year coming in helps to widen the range of political possibilities but it does not automatically ensure a satisfactory solution of all political problems. And when the accustomed level of income begins to fall, by however small a proportion, feelings of hardship and frustration can soon develop. So far as the country's external affairs are concerned, this onset of austerity comes at a particularly difficult moment. Money is even less effective in solving foreign policy than domestic problems, as the Saudis are uniquely placed to know.

Issue 145 - 30 April 1985



President Mubarak's carefully expressed caution about the prospects of a summit meeting with Israel's Prime Minister Shimon Peres - tentatively scheduled for early May, and in Jerusalem - is understandable. Mubarak was rebuffed by President Reagan only weeks ago when he suggested the time had come for the United States to explore the implications of the February "accord" between King Hussein and Yasser Arafat.

Issue 144 - 16 April 1985



There can be little doubt that when the British Prime Minister, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, meets King Fahd the increasingly vexed issue of which Western country will supply 'Saudi Arabia with "ET" (Emerging Technology) multi purpose combat aircraft will be high on the agenda.

Issue 143 - 02 April 1985



Prince Saud al Faisal and Shaikh Sabah al Ahmad, Saudi and Kuwaiti Foreign Ministers, held talks last week with Algerian President Chadli bin Jedid and senior Algerian officials in a bid to activate mediation efforts in the Iran-Iraq war. The two Foreign Ministers had been assigned by the GCC meeting in Riyadh last month to tour Arab capitals to explore ways to end the Gulf conflict. Saudi Arabia, joined by Kuwait, had appealed to Iran to heed peace calls and the GCC, after the Ministerial Council meeting expressed its "concern over the dangerous implications of the recent fighting and its impact on the region's security".

Issue 142 - 18 March 1985



Inevitably, parallels will be drawn and comparisons made between the visits to the United States recently by King Fahd and last week by President Mubarak of Egypt. In a general rather than a particular sense, the two calls into Washington have points of similarity but it is the differences between the two which loom larger and, in retrospect, more importantly