Breakfast wrap: Saudi Arabia’s Cyber Protestors, $9BN Jeddah Metro System

Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil producer, has resumed operating its main internal computer networks after a virus infected about 30,000 of its workstations in mid-August, the company said on Sunday.  It raises questions about how well equipped the region is to handle sophisticated cyber attacks, as Rebel Economy pointed out recently.

But the political dimensions behind this attack became apparent when an English-language posting by a group called the “Cutting Sword of Justice,” claimed the group had launched the attack to destroy 30,000 computers at Saudi Aramco.

It said the company was the main source of income for the Saudi government, which it blamed for “crimes and atrocities” in several countries, including Syria and Bahrain, Reuters said.  Saudi Arabia sent troops into Bahrain last year to back the Gulf state’s Sunni Muslim rulers against Shi’ite-led protesters. Riyadh is also supporting Sunni rebels against the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

But these issues have been brushed aside, allowing the Kingdom to do what it does best: spend ludicrously large amounts of money,

KSA said it is preparing plans to build a metro system in its second largest city Jeddah, a project that would cost around 35 billion riyals ($9.3 billion), a deputy mayor of the city said yesterday.

Saudi Arabia, helped by big budget surpluses on the back of high oil prices, is spending over $400 billion in the five years to 2013 to upgrade its infrastructure.

Egypt’s government will no longer subsidize energy for new cement factories, including 14 factories for which licenses have already been issued, according to the industry and trade minister.  Follows similar decision for the steel industry earlier this year.

Egyptian families spend 5% of income on education, government statistics show.

Yemen’s anti-corruption body has said it would ask the country’s parliament to cancel a deal with DP World because the Dubai-based operator had failed to fulfill its obligations in running the Aden container port.

The United Arab Emirates’ Dodsal Group has won an estimated $450 million contract to build two pipelines from a gas processing plant south west of Abu Dhabi to industrial users to the north east of the capital.


Saudi Telecom Company’s chief executive of international operations, Ghassan Hasbani, said today he has resigned from the company.   On the same day, fixed-line operator Saudi’s Etihad Atheeb Telecommunication Company, said Monday its chief executive has resigned (via Zawya Dow Jones).

The board of Arab Bank, Jordan’s largest lender, has elected Sabih al-Masri to take over at the helm of the bank after the resignation of Abdel Hamid Shoman this month in a dispute over the chairman’s power.

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