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. 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. The Howeitat are unusual in claiming descent from a single ancestor, an Egyptian named Huwayt. 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; 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