N-deal: It’s All About Business

27 August 2015 | 0 comments | Opinions & Editorials | by

Abdulateef Al-MulhimAbdulateef Al-Mulhim
Commodore, Royal Saudi Navy (Retired)

Do people remember the time when the United States or should I say the “Great Satan” moved one of its aircraft carriers with its task force just a few years ago to the Arabian Sea as a warning to the Iranians that America was not fooling around and it really meant business?

Well, the US surely meant business but it was not about unleashing lethal weapons on Iran in case it did not adhere to the western demands of halting work on its nuclear program. At that time, Iran was hungry for American and western products and parties on the other side of the fence were preparing their balance sheets. And, what about self-inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities? Well, that is the role of the IAEA, which should actually stand for “Iran Appeasing Every American.”

Simply put, why should the US go to war over Iran’s nuclear program when the American companies are eyeing trillions of dollars worth deals to capture Iranian market? Those deals will make the current Iranian regime look good inside and outside Iran. Oh, accept my apologies. Did I single out the US? Well, I meant all the western countries want to do business with Iran. Why would the West implement sanctions against Iran if it could make billions of dollars out of business deals that require just a few pieces of paper? The nuclear deal means nothing.

So the erstwhile “Great Satan” to Iran i.e. the US and its western allies are currently busy finding ways to establish commercial ties with the not-so-long-ago evil state. We are talking here about deals to the tune of trillion dollars. That is trillion with a “T” not “M” or “B.”

Iran has billions of dollars in frozen assets worldwide. Some economists put the figure as high as $100 billion. So, do people really think that the US and especially Europe has the stomach to give Iran all this money back? The answer is certainly no. So, why not make a deal and rebuild Iran’s outdated oil and gas infrastructure and open up other businesses in Iran. The Iranian youth are hungry for western goods. And in addition to the frozen assets, Iran suffered from years of boycotts, sanctions and years of war with Iraq from 1980 to 1988 and many things have to be built from scratch. Iran needs bigger roads, hospitals, modern airports, more electricity and of course modernized oil and gas facilities. So, what is the next step for Iran?

Just a few days after the announcement of the nuclear deal between Iran and the West including Russia, top politicians and company CEOs already booked flights to Tehran. The world was not surprised to see British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in Iran shaking hands in a press conference with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in a historical announcement to restore full diplomatic relations and reopening of the British Embassy in Tehran. It is business so never mind and forget that four years ago Iranian protesters had stormed the British embassy. But do people really believe that protesters in Iran could storm the British embassy without the nod from their supreme leader? I don’t think so. But again, what is the next step that could change the dynamics of the world politics. The answer is simple. The US just restored its relations with its once archenemy Cuba after half a century of enmity so why can’t the same be done with Iran?

I don’t care what the Iranians say about America. I went to schools in the US in the 1970s and knew many Iranians in my school and still cherish their friendship, they all loved America. And I have met many Iranians in Saudi Arabia who come for business, or to perform Umrah or Haj. They all love the US and many of them buy many American products from Saudi Arabia to take back with them to their friends and families. I think restoration of full-fledged US-Iran ties is now just a matter of time. We are talking about trillion-dollar business so American companies’ CEOs will forget about the 444 days that the Americans were held hostages and the Iranians will forget the skirmishes that occurred between the two countries’ navies and the Iranians will forget that America took the side of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein during the Iraq-Iran war.

Iranians want American friendship and goods and the Americans want access to Iranian market. And let us not forget the hundreds of thousands of Iranians living in the US (and the West) who will leave no stone unturned to facilitate those business deals. At the end, the Americans will get the Shish Kabab and the Iranians will have a taste of the juicy Big Macs.

Written by Abdulateef Al-Mulhim. N-deal: It’s All About Business reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al-Mulhim.

Diplomatic Protocol

26 August 2015 | 0 comments | Special Interest | by

Diplomatic Protocol

With the upcoming visit to the U.S. of Keeper of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman looming on the horizon, it caused us to think about the powerful ties the Kingdom has enjoyed with the United States dating from the famous meeting between King Ibn Saud and President Franklin Roosevelt aboard the cruiser USS Quincy on Egypt’s Great Bitter Lake in 1945. In February of the following year, Saudi Arabia opened a Legation in Washington, DC headed by Sheikh Asad Al-Faqih with the official titles of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary. In March 1949, the Saudi Legation was raised to an Embassy, with Sheikh Asad Al-Faqih assuming the official titles of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.

Diplomatic Protocol

We have before us an interesting volume dealing with Washington, DC social manners during the years of the sheikh’s service as ambassador. It is titled “The Social List of Washington and Social Precedence In Washington” and dates from 1951. In it, publisher Carolyn Hagner Shaw lays out the official protocols to be followed in Washington society.

“The necessity of following protocol in Washington is of momentous importance,” she cautions readers. “The rules of precedence governing who ranks whom must be adhered to rigidly when entertaining officials.

“It is well to remember that personal friendships do not count. The rank of one’s guest must be the deciding factor at all times.

“The wife of an official always assumes the rank held by her husband.

“When there is doubt as to which of two people bears the higher rank, it is the part of wisdom never to invite them to dinner at the same time.

“Heads of Foreign Powers rank one another according to length of service, an Ambassador preceding a Minister in all cases.”

After explaining in detail protocols governing interaction with the President, Vice President and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Shaw moves on to discussing the proper forms to follow when communicating with Ambassadors of Foreign Powers:

“In writing address an envelope (using three lines):

His Excellency
Full name
The Ambassador of Norway

“The salutation of a letter:

Excellency
or
My dear Mr. Ambassador

“In speaking:

Excellency
or
Mr. Ambassador

“In introducing:

The Ambassador of Norway
(do not use “His Excellency” in this case)

“In writing address an envelope to an Ambassador and his wife (using three lines):

His Excellency
The Ambassador of Norway
and Mrs. (surname only)

“It is to be remembered that when addressing the wife of an Ambassador, no title is given her.

“Upon his arrival in Washington, an Ambassador presents his credentials to The President, and his precedence begins with that day. Ambassadors of Foreign Powers rank one another according to length of service.

“An Ambassador of a Foreign Power precedes a Minister at all times, regardless of length of service.”

In a Table of Precedence, Shaw identifies the accepted order of precedence governing social affairs in Washington, beginning with the President at the top:

  • The President of The United States
  • The Vice President of The United States
  • The Chief Justice of The United States
  • Ambassadors of Foreign Powers
  • The Speaker
  • The Secretary of State
  • United States Representative to the United Nations
  • Ministers of Foreign Powers

Shaw goes on identify 27 more levels of precedence, ranging from Cabinet members in the order in which their departments were created, to members of the Senate and House, to governors of states, to five- and four-star generals, down to major generals and Rear Admirals.

Diplomatic Protocol

A Memorandum of Conversation drafted in February 1949 by Secretary of State Dean Acheson discussed the “Elevation of the Legation of Saudi Arabia to the Grade of Embassy.” In it Acheson wrote:

“His excellency Asad Al-Faqih, Ambassador Designate of Saudi Arabia, called upon me today at 3:45 p.m. to present a copy of his Letter of Credence and of his Remarks to be made to the President as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. Sheikh Asad-Al-Faqih was presented by Mr. Woodward, Chief of Protocol.

“I inquired concerning the health of the Royal Family and was informed that H.R.H. Prince Faisal, Foreign Minister, had undergone an operation for sinus in Paris, and that His Majesty King Ibn Saud was obliged occasionally to use the wheel chair which President Roosevelt had given him a few years ago. The Ambassador assured me that His Majesty’s condition was not serious.

“I inquired also concerning Sheikh Ali Ali Reza, and found that he too had been operated upon recently for stomach ulcers.

“Otherwise our conversation was limited to an exchange of courtesies.

D. A.”

The years of Sheikh Asad Al-Faqih’s service as Ambassador to the United States marked a crucial period in the development of the strong ties of friendship that continue to bind together these two great countries.

King Salman Visits Washington DC

26 August 2015 | 0 comments | Special Interest | by

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Visits Washington DC

Aramco ExPats has learned that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, head of the House of Saud, will visit Washington, DC in early September for meetings with President Barack Obama. This will be King Salman’s first visit to the United States since 2012 and first since he assumed the crown in January of this year following the death of his half-brother, King Abdullah. King Salman is the son of Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman ibn Faisal ibn Turki ibn Abdullah ibn Muhammad Al-Saud —known in the Arab world as Abdulaziz, best known elsewhere in the world as Ibn Saud—the founder and first monarch of the modern Saudi State.

Born on the last day of December 1935, King Salman received his education at the Prince’s School in Riyadh, where he majored in religion and modern science. After serving as Deputy Governor of Riyadh, he assumed the governorship in April 1955, retaining that post through December of 1960 and assuming it again in 1963 when he was named Minister of Defense.

Throughout his life, King Salman has won great respect for his work on various humanitarian and service committees providing relief to victims of natural and man-made disasters. Many countries have honored him with medals, decorations and awards for his service to people from around the world.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Visits Washington DC

Included among King Salman’s awards are an honorary doctorate from the Islamic University of Madinah and the Kant Medal, awarded to him in 1910 by the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

The Academy had this to say in 2010 about then-Prince Salman when it granted him the first-ever Kant Medal in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the promotion of science in an international context:

HRH Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud was born in Riyadh, studying among other things the Quran and the Sharia under the great Islamic scholars and sheikhs. He is one of the highest-ranking and most influential members of the Saudi Arabian royal family. He is Governor of the Riyadh Region, which under his leadership and with his sustained support has developed into the impressive political, economic, administrative and, especially, scientific-cultural center of the country, with numerous universities, museums and monuments. For decades, Prince Salman has engaged in humanitarian, social, medical and scientific issues worldwide. He is the founder of many foundations and has been honored with the highest awards. His activities have an international reputation, which extends far beyond the Arab world.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Visits Washington DC

Prince Salman is the initiator of the eponymous “Prince Salman Science Oasis” in Riyadh, whose purpose is to develop an interactive science center and to raise and promote public interest and awareness of science. The “Prince Salman Science Oasis” acts as a socially integrated scientific platform, thus making a pioneering contribution to the teaching of science and to the strengthening of the public dialogue.

He is also president of the “Riyadh Philanthropic Society for Science.” By offering the prestigious “Prince Salman Prize for Research Excellence,” which is awarded by the Saudi Society for Libraries and Information, an impressive attempt has been made to make visible and reward academic excellence. Prince Salman encourages other universities in Saudi Arabia to do the same.

In addition to his outstanding commitment to education and science, Prince Salman has provided lasting services in the medico-social sector. The United Nations has awarded him for his fight against poverty in the world as well as for his humanitarian commitment in the Philippines. In 2009 he was awarded the “Special Olympics in Middle East and North Africa International Award” in great appreciation for his service to people with disabilities in Saudi Arabia and to the strengthening of research in this field. With the award of the Kant Medal, which has been awarded now for the first time, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences recognizes Prince Salman’s outstanding contribution to the promotion of education and science.

We welcome King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to the United States.

Partnership Fuels Development of Game-Changing Technologies

26 August 2015 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

Partnership Fuels Development of Game-Changing Technologies

Saudi Aramco’s Research and Development Center, through its work with FUELCOM, has made headway with several technologies that could alter the landscape of personal mobility.

FUELCOM, or the Fuel and Combustion for Advanced Engines program, is a 10-year collaborative research undertaking that launched in 2013 between Saudi Aramco’s Research and Development Center (R&DC) and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Clean Combusion Research Center (KAUST-CCRC).

Research in Fuels and Engines

The program researches hydrocarbon fuel combustion in engines, allowing scientists to develop oil derived fuels that are suitable for the next generation of high efficiency and low emission combustion engines.

One example of their work is the development a promising engine fuel concept that could enable diesel-like levels of efficiency, but with far lower pollutant emissions. This translates into fewer carbon emissions, and more miles per gallon.

This work will set a new course for the auto industry and influence the design of cars that we’ll drive in the future.

“This research pushes the boundaries of what we know about the combustion of oil-based fuels,” said Amer A. Amer of Saudi Aramco’s R&DC. “Saudi Aramco wants to be at the forefront of creating perfect fuels and perfect engines, in synergy.”

“For decades, automotive engine design has been conducted in a vacuum, simply striving for improvements to the combustion engine itself, without altering the fuel that goes inside,” said professor Mani Sarathy from KAUST-CCRC. “By understanding how fuels behave in engines, we have the chance to further improve the engine design. You can now begin to think about altering fuels such that they are better optimized for a particular engine or combustion system.”

Success Stories

Saudi Aramco’s FUELCOM initiative has produced a number of accomplishments in combustion science, including:

  • The development of AramcoMech, a state-of-the-art chemical kinetic model capable of describing hydrocarbon fuel oxidation in a variety of combustion systems, in 2013. AramcoMech’s capabilities will soon include describing combustion emissions, including the formation of soot.
  • The development of the Aramco KAUST Fuel Design Tool, which complements AramcoMech in that it can be used to develop surrogate fuels that match the physical and chemical properties of real fuels. The tool will soon be made openly available to benefit the broader combustion research community.
  • The establishment of the Saudi Arabian Section of the Combustion Institute.

Independence Day with Engr. Mohammad Samiuddin Mirza

25 August 2015 | 0 comments | Pakistan | by

Independence Day with Engr. Mohammad Samiuddin Mirza

It was Friday, a holiday as August 14 is the Independence Day of Pakistan. I was dragged by Engr. Ghulam Abbas Cyclewala to attend a flag hoisting ceremony at Al-Nadil Burhani a beautiful Sports Complex near Railway Station owned by Dawoodi Bohra Community. The ceremony was performed by the Chief of Rangers Col. Shahid and was followed by bands and the Guards March Pass.

Engr. Cyclewala insisted on visiting his friend Engr. Samiuddin as his wife makes good Samosas and we could have a nice cup of tea with him. I thought it was a good idea, as I always wanted to write a brief on Engr. Mohammad Samiuddin Mirza being one of the Senior Mechanical Engineer of NED, who has lived for over 30 years in Abu Dhabi. At last I got the opportunity.

We were given a warm welcome by him and his wife Humera Muntaz in their house near Delhi Naval Housing Society. It was a well decorated and well-furnished house. His daughter Hina Sami served steaming hot Shahmi Kababs, followed by Sweet Basin Halwa prepared by none other than Samiuddin himself, disclosed by his wife. Cyvlewala remarked to Sami Bhai, you are good cook. Samiuddin with a smile on his face said, I can make sweet dishes and Humera is a Saltish Specialist.

While taking tea, I started my work as I knew very little about him.

I asked Engr. Samiuddin Mirza to tell us about his background. His wife came closer…to hear all about him.

Samiuddin while scratching his head, cleaned his spectacle, started by saying…

I was born in Karolli State, Rajputana India, in 1946. I belong to a very religious family. We were very well settled and affluent in India with large ancestral estates and properties. My Grandfather was Member Parliament in the Assembly of Rajputana India. My father Mohammad Alimuddin was a Dental Surgeon and Specialist Doctor of Maharaja Court. He was awarded the Honor of Khan Bahadur for his Services. I was the youngest child of ten children born to my parents. I had four elder brothers and five elder sisters keeping me under their watchful eyes while I was growing up. It was tough at times to please everyone and the different demands and expectations of my older siblings. My brothers focused on disciplining me and ensuring that I received a proper education. My sisters focused on developing my manners and teaching about my responsibilities to my family and my parents. My sisters were the ones who also pampered me and gave me unconditional love and support throughout my youth. And even today I share a special bond with my sisters.

Where did you get your primary education?

This time his younger daughter Hina Sami came closer to hear his father’s story.

Father disclosed, by saying…I was one and half-year-old when we came to Pakistan in 1947. We stayed in Nawabshah as my uncle lived there before the partition later shifted to Karachi.

My early schooling was from Government Boys School, Lalkothi, Shahrah-e-Faisal, as it was not far of our home.

I was transferred to the Government Boys Secondary School at Jail Road. I sat for my matriculation examination at the age of 14 tears and passed with distinction in four subjects.

Independence Day with Engr. Mohammad Samiuddin Mirza

What about your Secondary and Higher Secondary Education?

I completed my Intermediate and Bachelor’s Degree in Science from Government College for Men in Nazimabad. I secured First Division and assured my place in the prestigious NED Government Engineering College now NED University of Engineering & Technology. I passed the BE (Mechanical) Examination from the batch of 1968.

How did you start your career?

Samiuddin was quite for a moment, and then he looked on the roof for a while and taking a long breath.

Started by saying it is a long journey

I was Assistant Manager, Pakistan Machine Tools, Karachi, 1968 thru 1970. Executive Engineer, Karachi Electric Supply Corporation, Karachi, 1070 thru 1974, Maintenance Superintendent, Water and Electricity Department, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 1974 thru 1980, General Superintendent Power and Sea Water Desalination Plants, 1980 thru 1982, Manager Projects-Power and Desalination Plants 1982 thru 1987, Chief Engineer Projects, 1987 thru 1999, Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, 1999 thru 2004, Senior Manager Projects, DHA Cogen Ltd, Karachi, Pakistan 2004 thru 2011.

Tell me Sami Bhai which was your big achievement from all said?

He thought for a while and revealed…

Achievements: Project Manager Large Corporation, Projects in Field, working as Senior Manager Projects at DHA Cogen Ltd., the first seawater desalination plant in Pakistan.

Yes I forgot, when did you get married to this beautiful looking Lady Humera Mumtaz? And what is your family size?

Samiuddin, started laughing in a style, and this time the lady vanished in another room.

He said was married to Humera Muntaz on March 13, 1975 and blessed with children: Nigar Sami-1976, Nida Sami-1979 and Hina Sami-1982. He further added that two girls are happily married and now he prayed for the third daughter.

Independence Day with Engr. Mohammad Samiuddin Mirza

Sami Bhai what are your spare time interest?

Frankly I am looking busy doing nothing…Ha! Ha!!

Interests: Management Shareholding in Providence Modaraba Ltd., Karachi, 1988. Contributed articles to Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. Served as President Overseas Pakistani Investors Forum, Abu Dhabi UAE. Member of Thinkers Forum Abu Dhabi-UAE 1991 thru 2004; Served as President Maths Society Government College Karachi 1953 thru 1964; Life Time Member of Institution of Engineers Pakistan (IEP); Life Time Member of Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC); Member of Overseas Pakistani Foundation (OPF); Member of International Desalination Association (IDA) USA; Member of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Engr. Mohammad Samiuddin Thank You very much for giving us a lot of your important information and sparing the time which will always treasure and this Independence Day will be long remembered.

Will you like to give any message to young generation?

I am grateful to Engr. GA Cyclewala, as I had invited him by saying that my wife makes good Samosas. And that has attracted him as he is fond of Samosas and unfortunately we served you Shahmi Kababs, come again for Samosas.

My message for young generations;

Our beloved Prophet SAWS had said that women, land and wealth (Zer, Zamin, Zin) are troublesome (Fitmas) and he didn’t want to disrupt the harmony and love in his family.

I was.