Israeli Pianist and Qatari Audience

2 February 2013 | 0 comments | Opinions & Editorials | by

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

Just a few days ago a Saudi woman columnist in the Asharq Al-Awsat wrote an article titled “Israel that we don’t know.” It was a very well balanced article. After reading it, I saw some tweets from what seemed to me clown-style tweets. This person was against publishing such an article even though it is clear that he didn’t read it. He just saw the title of the article and it was enough for him.

In the Arab world we don’t read and if we do, we don’t try to understand. But, what if the article was published in a Qatari newspaper? Would the same person criticize the article or the columnist? I don’t think so. For them, the Qatari Al Jazeera news channel is indisputable, but, the Saudi (Dubai-based) Alarabiya news channel is called the Hebrew news channel. I will not go into details about what they say about United Arab Emirates’ No. 1 policeman, Gen. Dhahi Khalfan. So, just let us talk about music.

How many Arab nationals had ever seen a Broadway show titled Fiddler on the Roof? I don’t know the answer, but, if one single Arab national was present in any of the performances, then the number would be 3,242 people. The show started in 1964 in New York City. The original script was written in Yiddish in 1894. I think Many Arabs should have watched the play. It would have reminded them of the Arab League with one difference.

The Arab League is taking care of 22 countries not five daughters like the play. In the play, there is the poor, rich and sharp-tongued. Like the play, the Arab world has the rich, poor and sharp-tongued. At that time if an Arab national was seen going to Broadway to watch Fiddler on the Roof, then he or she will be labeled as a Zionist and traitor of the Arab cause.

So, what would you call inviting an Israeli musician to an Arab capital to play music for an audience from all over the world including many Arabs and especially Qataris? And why watching a play written about a Jewish family 54 years before the creation of the state of Israel would make you a Zionist and traitor, but watching an Israeli pianist in an Arab capital would make you an Arab music lover? The answer is because the Israeli pianist performed in Doha, Qatar. So, the question now is why no one is calling Qataris Zionists or traitors? The answer is, Qatar is a cash machine with lots of money. So much money, they bought Harrods of London using their pocket change, gave Gaza Strip $ 400 millions and gave the Qatari-Egyptian Sheikh (Yusuf Al-Qaradawi) a blank check to deliver to the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar is untouchable.

Daniel Barenboim is a well-known Israeli composer and pianist who is of an Argentinean origin. He was invited to perform in Katara Cultural Village in Doha, Qatar. Katara Cultural Village is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in the Gulf area. It is a place where you can spend the whole day with your family and enjoy the scenery, waterfront and a wide variety of international cuisines. And don’t get me wrong, I think Qatar is free to decide whom to invite to the country.

As a matter of fact, I admire Qatar and I enjoy being there and I think Qatar progressed a lot and it is becoming one of the most advanced countries in the world. And they have one of the strongest economies with the highest per capita income in the world. What Qatar had done regarding the invitation of an Israeli pianist is going to be part of the Qatari future. Qatar is hosting many international events and has been chosen to host the FIFA World Cup in the 2022 if there is no upset decision. So, Qatar will have to open its doors to every nationality including the Israeli athletes, media and Israeli football federation members.

As for myself, an Arab, who is tired of wars in the region, loss of human lives and precious assets, I wish the Arab world were listening to the sound of music rather than the sound of guns in the many wars with the Israelis. And my views about the Arab-Israeli conflict are open and not hidden. I have written many articles about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

But, the Israeli pianist’s visit to Qatar had exposed many of the real faces of the so-called anti-Zionists in the Arab world. The performance of the Israeli pianist has exposed to the world that many in the Arab world are using the Palestinian suffering just to gain fame and become celebrities and that they have turned the Palestinian cause into a money-making machine.

There are voices, which were given space in the Qatari media to label any columnist who mentions Israel in his or her articles as Zionists, but, if Qatar receives Israelis with a red carpet, then the same type of twitter clowns look the other way. We saw them criticize every Saudi who wanted the best for the Palestinians and spoke honestly about the best way to end the Palestinians’ miseries. We heard these people say that Mahmood Abbas is a tool in the hands of the Israelis and he is working for them, but they are quiet about the intention of Hamas to talk to the Israelis about a two-state solution. They criticized Saudi columnists for writing articles about Israel, but they looked the other way when a member of the Muslim Brotherhood asked the Egyptian Jews to return to Egypt. Those same people denied any Iranian involvement with Hamas, but they looked the other way when Hamas leaders thanked the Iranians for their help.

In the Arab world you can gain fame and become a political star just by shouting loud and issuing as many threats against Israel as you can the same way we did in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s (talk is cheap). At the end of the day, the 22 Arab countries had won only one Nobel Prize in science.

We are simply a nation of tweeps not scientific labs.

Written by Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim. Israeli Pianist and Qatari Audience reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim.

Materials Supply Launches Code of Conduct

30 January 2013 | 1 comment | Saudi Aramco News | by

Saudi Aramco News

Saudi Aramco’s Materials Supply organization has launched a code of conduct for its employees under the slogan “Doing the Right Things Right.” It is designed to help employees make the right decisions when faced with potential dilemmas surrounding ethics.

Launched by Munir M. Rafie, vice president of Materials Supply, the code explores in detail what Saudi Aramco regards as potential ethical pitfalls for its employees. It was unveiled before Materials Supply management and employees at an event in the Plaza Conference Center and will be followed by similar events throughout the Kingdom.

The campaign has its roots in initial Town Hall meetings two years ago and is part of a combined effort by Materials Supply, Management Services and Internal Auditing.

In August 2010, employees were surveyed on their perceptions of ethical behavior, and a 70 percent response resulted in the convening of employee focus groups. Two key recommendations followed:

1) Develop a code for company suppliers to clearly articulate Saudi Aramco’s values of ethics and integrity.

2) Develop an ethics guide for all supply chain stakeholders within Saudi Aramco.

At events in 2011 and 2012, Materials Supply launched the Supplier Code of Conduct, providing an ethical code of practice that all Saudi Aramco suppliers are required to acknowledge and apply.

In this second phase, Materials Supply launched the “supply chain” code for company employees, addressing ethical issues related to interactions with suppliers of materials and services. The code, which is available in English and Arabic, will be rolled out to all employees across the company who hold responsibility for materials and services requisition, procurement and contract administration.

In his opening remarks, Rafie said: “The code is designed to improve our understanding and outlook and deepen our awareness of our ethical responsibilities. We now have a strong base for knowing what is right and what is wrong.”

“Materials Supply is the process owner for the supply chain; we are accountable for its performance and integrity. We have already addressed the external environment through the Supplier Code of Conduct, and today, we complete the circle by addressing stakeholders within Saudi Aramco,”Rafie said.

The Code of Conduct booklet outlines in detail situations that could result in conflicts of interest and examines proper conduct with suppliers and government officials, alongside procedures for internal and external communications.

Stanford Club of Saudi Arabia Launched

30 January 2013 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

Saudi Aramco News

Led by two Saudi Aramco employees, Dr. Ibrahim Al-Mojel from Corporate Planning and Saad Al-Gheriri from Treasury, The Stanford Club of Saudi Arabia conducted its inaugural event Jan. 6 at a Riyadh hotel.

Guests of honor included HE Dr. Fahad Balghunaim, Minister of Agriculture of Saudi Arabia, and Dr. John Etchemendy, Provost of Stanford University. More than 70 alumni from multiple regions in Saudi Arabia attended the event, and with the collaboration from the university, the club was able to reach out to more than 150 alums in the Kingdom.

The club was formed to achieve three main objectives:

To provide members of the club with opportunities for personal and professional development through hosting intellectual events and other developmental activities.
To foster and strengthen relationships and interaction among Stanford alumni.

To reinforce the link between alumni and Stanford University and promote collaboration between Saudi institutions and Stanford.

The program started with Saad Al-Gheriri, vice president of Stanford Club of Saudi Arabia, welcoming and thanking the attendees for their support, giving an overview of the program, and introducing the guests of honor. Then, Dr. Ibrahim Al-Mojel, club president, reviewed the club’s structure, initiatives and the plan going forward.

Afterward, Etchemendy talked about Stanford’s strong ties to Saudi Arabia since the early days of oil exploration when oil was first discovered by Max Steineke, who was a graduate of Stanford University.

The Stanford Club of Saudi Arabia can be reached through its official email

Workshops Capitalize on Talent in Jazan

30 January 2013 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

Saudi Aramco News

A targeted recruitment program for Saudi nationals to develop local employment for Saudi Aramco’s next mega-project is already making large strides.

Jazan Refinery and Terminal Project (JRTP) recently inked contracts between Saudi Aramco and seven contractors, who will start construction on the refinery next year.

In tandem, an energetic recruitment program overseen by Saudi Aramco Project Management (SAPM) has ignited sizeable interest among locals for the job opportunities offered by JRTP.

When completed in late 2016, JRTP will process 400,000 bpd of Arabian Heavy and Arabian Medium crude oil. It will also produce 80,000 of gasoline, 250,000 of ultra-low sulfur diesel and over 1 million tons per year of benzene and paraxylene products.

A series of workshops are being held both in-Kingdom and out-of-Kingdom and are set to continue throughout 2013. Jazan was one of the recruitment areas explored for the first time.

The recruitment program will be coordinated across the world and will involve more than 10 contractors working across different time zones.

In keeping with the vision of King Abdullah, who launched the Jazan Economic City Project as part of a strategy to revitalize the region’s economic activity and serve domestic energy demands, there are ambitious Saudization targets for each of the project’s contract packages.

At the peak phase of the refinery construction, the Saudi workforce could exceed 4,000 employees hired by the construction contractors.

Those working on the project say that the Jazan project team will continue the tradition of Saudi Aramco delivering world-class mega-projects, not only safely and on time but with a significant contribution from local talent.

Workshop Focuses on Intelligent Fields

30 January 2013 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

Saudi Aramco News

The first Northern Area Oil Operations (NAOO) Intelligent Field knowledge sharing and technology workshop was held recently.

The event was held in collaboration with the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ (SPE) Saudi Arabia Section and was sponsored by the Northern Area Production Engineering and Well Services Department (NAPE&WSD). More than 80 industry leaders and professionals from Saudi Aramco and service providers used the workshop to exchange experiences and best practices associated with the adoption of smart oil field technologies.

According to NAPE&WSD manager, Naji Umair, “The workshop is part of NAOO’s continuous efforts to unlock the full potential of Intelligent Field technology and maximize its benefits.” He added that “the potential impact of Intelligent Field technology on improving safety and cost efficiency is substantial, especially in offshore and remote fields where accessibility and geographic remoteness is challenging in conventional data acquisition operations.”

The deployment of Intelligent Field technology is part of a long-term strategy to collect and use real-time wells and surface equipment data to make timely optimized production and reservoir management decisions. Intelligent Field technology is becoming essential for ensuring enhanced oil and gas recovery and reducing operating costs, especially with the current expansion of Saudi Aramco exploration and development activities.

The workshop paved the way to further enhance operational excellence through informative demonstrations of innovative intelligent field workflows, instrumentation and applications.