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Bedouin Tribe Challenges Saudi Neom Tech City

by Oui Wed Apr 7th, 2021 at 11:11:49 AM EST

Saudi tribe challenges crown prince's plans for tech city | BBC News |

The Huwaitat are a proud, ancient and traditionally nomadic Bedouin tribe that have lived on both sides of the Saudi-Jordanian border for hundreds of years.

Revered in history as fearless warriors, they fought alongside T E Lawrence in the Arab Revolt of 1917 and he mentioned them in his epic memoir, Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

I spent several weeks living with them in my 20s in the desert dunes east of Jordan's Wadi Rum, catching a glimpse of a traditional way of life that was fast disappearing.

Abdul Rahim Al Huwaiti, executed by Saudi special forces for protesting forced eviction | MENA Rights Group |

On April 13, 2020, a few hours after he criticised attempts by the authorities to evict residents of Al Khuraiba village, Abdul Rahim Al Huwaiti was executed by Saudi special forces when they opened fire on his home in the early hours of the morning.

In April 2017, the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) acquired title to an area of land by the Red Sea. The land assigned to this project included Al Khuraiba village. At this time, property transactions stopped and rumours circulated of possible evictions. A group of residents queried the changes and rumours with the Tabuk Emirate, the regional authority,but were told that the rumours were unfounded, and that the suspension of land transfers was a precautionary measure in the best interests of the public.

On October 24, 2017, the Saudi authorities announced the commencement of the NEOM megacity project. Construction of the NEOM project began in January 2018. In February 2018, committees from the Justice Ministry started secretly issuing emergency acquisition orders on all land owned by private citizens falling within the boundaries of the NEOM project.

A Saudi human rights activist living in London alleges that she has received death threats from people she believes are supporters of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Alya Abutayah Alhwaiti told the BBC the threats were made in a phone call and on Twitter after she raised international awareness about a Saudi government plan to evict members of her tribe to make way for a 21st Century high-tech city on the shores of the Red Sea.

Abdul Rahim al-Huwaiti

On 13 April, a man named Abdul Rahim al-Huwaiti posted videos online alerting the world that Saudi security forces were trying to evict him and other members of the Huwaitat tribe from their historic homeland in the far north-west of the country to clear the way for a new development called Neom.

A few days later she posted photographs and video footage from his funeral near the village of al-Khoraibah, which was apparently well-attended despite the presence of Saudi security personnel.

Eight of Abdul Rahim al-Huwaiti's cousins had been arrested for protesting against the eviction order, but that together with human rights activists in the West they were hoping to mount a legal challenge.

Saudi Arabia's futuristic city project in talks over cloud computing deal | Reuters |

Jordan Prince Hamzah: How Saudi Arabia fits into the crisis

It turns out there are essentially two separate issues here. One is Prince Hamzah, the popular elder son of the late King Hussein, who rattled Jordan's security chiefs with his recent contacts with disgruntled tribal figures. The other involves a number of officials who are alleged to have had links to at least one other country.

One of the most prominent figures arrested on Saturday was Bassem Awadallah, the former head of Jordan's Royal Court and now an economic adviser to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He holds dual Saudi-Jordanian citizenship and has appeared as a moderator at Saudi Arabia's high-profile Future Investment Initiative forums. The Washington Post reported that the Saudi foreign minister's delegation was refusing to leave Jordan without taking Bassem Awadallah back to Riyadh with them. This, say Saudi officials, is untrue.

Bassem Awadullah has a number of powerful international connections. As well as his position close to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, he has links to UAE's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. He has reportedly been involved in recent UAE-backed purchases of Palestinian land around Jerusalem.

'UAE buying Jerusalem properties on behalf of Israel' | Middle-East Monitor |

A Palestinian businessman who is affiliated with former Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan is planning to buy real estate in the Old City of Jerusalem on behalf of the UAE which is helping the occupation expand its illegal settlements, the deputy head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Kamal Khatib, warned yesterday.

Khatib posted on Facebook that "an Emirati businessman very close to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Bin Zayed, is planning to buy houses and properties adjacent to Al-Aqsa Mosque in particular, with the help of a Jerusalemite businessman who works for Dahlan."

"They offered a resident of Jerusalem $ 5 million to buy his house which is adjacent to Al-Aqsa Mosque. When he refused, they raised the offer to $20 million, but the attempt to lure him was unsuccessful."

Who are the Howaitat Tribe and What Was Their Response to the Killing of US 'Green Beret' Trainers? | Al-Bawaba - 2017 |

The Howaitat are a large tribal confederation who have lived in the southern part of what is now modern day Jordan since before the 18C. The tribe is made up of several branches, including the Ibn Jazi, the Abu Tayi, the Anjaddat, and the Sulaymanniyin.

Historically well known for having supported the Hashemites during the Arab Revolt, former Sheikh of the Howaitat Auda Abu Taya famously mustered a force of Bedouin tribesmen to Aqaba under the banner of Prince Faisal bin Hussein, leading them to victory.

Nowadays, the Howaitat are in possession of large areas of land from the Wadi Rum desert stretching all the way to Saudi Arabia. Now semi-settled, they predominantly farm, as well as manage several tourism camps in Wadi Rum, a UNESCO world heritage site which currently brings in around 105,000 tourists per year.

His Majesty King Hussein of Jordan and Prince Hamza with the Sheikh of the Howaitat tribe Faisal al-Jazy, 1997 (@alhowaitat1 facebook page)

The Howaitat Respond to al-Jafer Shooting

Aside from releasing the video of the shooting at the demands of the Howaitat, the Jordanian government and military court have been careful and somewhat limited with the amount of information they have released about the al-Jafer incident.

This is likely down to the fear that the incident will damage the currently very proximate relationship between the US and Jordanian security services. It may also be down to worry over the reaction of the Howaitat, who clearly hold influence over Ma'an governorate territory.

How the British & French crushed King Faisal I of Iraq's dream of an Arab kingdom


The Howeitat or Howaytat (Arabic: الحويطات‎ al-Ḥuwayṭāt) are a large Judhami tribe, that inhabits areas in present-day Jordan, Palestinian territories and northwestern Saudi Arabia. The Howeitat have several branches, notably the Ibn Jazi, the Abu Tayi, the Anjaddat, and the Sulaymanniyin, in addition to a number of associated tribes.


Howeitat nomads were recorded as the only tribesmen living in the southern, inland area of the al-Karak -Shawbak sanjak (district) of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century.[1] According to the Ottoman historian Qutb al-Din al-Nahrawali (d. 1582), the tribe was a branch of the Banu Uqba, the dominant tribe of the al-Karak-Shawbak region during Mamluk rule (1260-1516) and whose chieftains were officially recognized by the Mamluk authorities.[1] The Howeitat are unusual in claiming descent from a single ancestor, an Egyptian named Huwayt.[2] However, according to Kamal Salibi, their presence in the area may date from the 18th century, when tribes of the northern Arabian desert were being pushed northwards by expansion of the Wahhabite-associated bedouin of central Arabia; by the late 18th century the Howeitat were already laying claim to areas around Aqaba and northwards;[3] they also laid claim to land in Egypt. They developed into a partly settled tribe, combining farming in the fertile areas of Jabal Shara with pastoralism, but early in the 20th century were rendered more or less nomadic by the activities of two rival shaikhs, Abtan ibn Jazi and Auda abu Tayi, who concentrated on raiding, collection of tribute and camel-herding.

The Dynamics and Evolution of UAE-Syria Relations: Between Expectations and Obstacles - Report

Since the beginning of the Syrian uprising in mid-March 2011, the United Arab Emirates has adopted a relatively ambiguous position regarding events in the country, officially supporting the Syrian  opposition  but  maintaining  various  links  with  the  Assad  regime  in  Damascus.  In  2015,  the  UAE began withdrawing from the Syrian conflict, investing its attention and resources increasingly in the war in Yemen. However, by 2018 the UAE was pursuing a rapprochement with the Syrian regime, re-opening its embassy in Damascus in December of that year. The ostensible purpose of this - to counter the deepening influence of Turkey and Iran in Syria - appears misguided in several respects.

On  the  economic  front,  there  are  potential  opportunities  for  Emirati  investment  in  various  sectors  in Syria, such as real estate, transport and trade. These sectors were all traditional beneficiaries of Emirati  investment  prior  to  2011.  The  prospective  return  of  UAE  investment  to  Syria,  however,  is  fraught with complications and obstacles.

Saudi Arabia ’committed to invest billions in Jordan' -- report 2016

by Oui on Wed Apr 7th, 2021 at 11:18:27 AM EST
by Oui on Wed Apr 7th, 2021 at 06:03:38 PM EST
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by Oui on Wed Apr 7th, 2021 at 11:44:24 AM EST
by Oui on Wed Apr 7th, 2021 at 12:43:50 PM EST
by Oui on Wed Apr 7th, 2021 at 02:51:04 PM EST
by Oui on Wed Apr 7th, 2021 at 05:15:02 PM EST
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by Oui on Wed Apr 7th, 2021 at 07:24:13 PM EST
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Jordan's King Abdullah: Prince Hamzah 'under my protection' in his palace | I24 News |

In statement read on his behalf, Abdullah says 'sedition has been nipped in the bud' and that his half-brother Prince Hamzah is 'in his palace under my protection'

"The challenge of these last days was not the most dangerous for the stability of the country -- but it was the most painful for me because the parties involved in this sedition were from home and from outside."

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi on Sunday had charged that the plotters had linked up with foreign parties, but had declined to identify them.

"Hamzah is now with his family in his palace under my protection," Abdullah said the address.

"He has committed before the (Hashemite) family to follow the path of his parents and grandparents, to be faithful to their message, and to place the interest of Jordan, its constitution and its laws above all other considerations."

by Oui on Wed Apr 7th, 2021 at 06:12:47 PM EST
by Oui on Wed Apr 7th, 2021 at 07:03:41 PM EST
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by Oui on Wed Apr 7th, 2021 at 07:51:57 PM EST
Palestinians accuse Gulf visitors of 'desecrating' Al-Aqsa Mosque | JPost - Oct. 17, 2020 |

Israel readies itself for high UAE tourist numbers post-pandemic: Ministry official | Al Arabys - Feb. 8, 2021 |

Occupation and peace cannot coexist, says Jordan's King Abdullah | Middle East Eye - Feb. 25, 2021 |

Jordan's King Abdullah II has warned that continued unilateral actions will kill any chance for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, adding that Amman was ready to help relaunch peace talks.

"Occupation and peace simply cannot coexist," he said during a virtual address to the Brookings Institute in Washington DC on Thursday.

"The Palestinian people have a right to an independent, viable, and sovereign state on June 4, 1967 lines, to live alongside Israel in peace and security.

"There is no alternative to the two-state solution and continued unilateral steps will only kill the prospects of peace."

Last summer, Israel appeared ready to unilaterally annex parts of the occupied West Bank, including settlements around East Jerusalem. Those plans were reportedly delayed as part of Israel's normalisation deal with the United Arab Emirates.

However, Israel continues to pursue a longstanding policy of surrounding East Jerusalem with settlements that over time have cut the city off from large parts of the occupied West Bank, and fragmented the remaining territory.

"Occupation, injustice, despair and apartheid. History has shown us, there are no winners in this formula. Only losers and tragedy," King Abdullah said.

by Oui on Wed Apr 7th, 2021 at 10:51:31 PM EST
Hashemite Kingdom and Custodianship of Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem

Jordan's crown prince steps to the fore amid strained relations with Israel | Brookings Institute - March 15, 2021 |

Jordan's 26 year-old Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah is taking a higher profile in the country's diplomacy. He was scheduled to make his first-ever visit to Jerusalem last week, but it was cancelled due to differences with Israel, apparently regarding his security detail. The incident has further strained the already poor relations between the royal palace and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The crown prince, a graduate of Georgetown University and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, is no stranger to the world of international politics. In 2015, he became the youngest person ever to chair a meeting of the United Nations Security Council. He also addressed the U.N. General Assembly in 2017.

In early March, King Abdullah II and the crown prince traveled to Saudi Arabia to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shortly after the Biden administration had released a damning intelligence report that held the Saudi prince responsible for the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul. The Saudis have pressed all their allies to demonstrate support for the embattled heir-apparent. The visit was undoubtedly a reluctant but necessary step in maintaining Jordan's troubled relations with its wealthy Gulf neighbour.

The planned visit to Jerusalem was a mechanism to reinforce Jordan's responsibility for the management of the Muslim and Christian holy sites in the city. This responsibility is enshrined in Article 10 of the 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel. (In recent remarks to Brookings, the king repeated this point, specifically mentioning the Hashemite custodianship over the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.) It serves as an important source of the Hashemite monarchy's legitimacy. The Jordanians believe that Netanyahu, with the support of the Trump administration, was trying to squeeze the Jordanians out of Jerusalem -- possibly to be replaced by the Saudis.

by Oui on Wed Apr 7th, 2021 at 10:52:52 PM EST
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It appears the signatories of the Abraham "Business" Accords states have isolated the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for backing Palestinians and King Abdullah's plea for a peace deal. The Biden White House has given support to Jordan and is making a statement to all parties involved.

by Oui on Thu Apr 8th, 2021 at 06:06:09 AM EST
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Jordan makes new US defence agreement public | MEE - March 1, 2021 |

The terms of the agreement, published on Jordanian news site Ammon, stipulate that "US forces may possess weapons and circulate with them on Jordanian territory while exercising their duties".

It also states that US forces may transport and stock equipment and that personnel, their aircraft and ships are authorised to "freely enter and exit Jordanian territory".

Islamist lawmaker Saleh al-Armuti decried the lack of parliamentary oversight and called on the government to cancel the accord, claiming it "violates the constitution and affects Jordan's sovereignty".

by Oui on Wed Apr 7th, 2021 at 10:54:08 PM EST
'Illegal' Al-Aqsa visitors spark Jordan protest | Arab News - April 1, 2021 |

AMMAN: Jordan's Foreign Ministry has objected to the growing number of non-Muslims entering Al-Aqsa Mosque while under Israeli security protection.

In a strongly worded statement, ministry spokesperson Deifallah Al-Fayez on Thursday accused Israel of violating the historical and legal status quo of the mosque and ignoring its commitments "as the occupier of East Jerusalem."

Al-Fayez said that Al-Haram Al-Sharif/Al-Aqsa Mosque, comprising all 144 dunums, is a holy place solely for Muslims.

"The Jerusalem waqf and the department of Al-Aqsa affairs are part of the Jordanian government's exclusive right to run and arrange all issues related to the holy site, including the regulation of entry to the site in accordance with international law and historic status quo," Al-Fayez said.

Jordan's King Abdullah and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed in 2014 that Al-Aqsa Mosque is for Muslims to pray and for all others to visit.

Were reports of a Jordanian coup a wake-up call for Israel? | JPost - April 6, 2021 |

by Oui on Wed Apr 7th, 2021 at 10:56:06 PM EST
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by Oui on Fri Apr 9th, 2021 at 06:59:47 AM EST

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