Thought for the day

"I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians." -- Charles de Gaulle, French general & president

A Leeds University PhD candidate focused on healthcare and mother of two has been sentenced to 34 years in Saudi Arabian prison, the longest sentence ever given to a women's rights defender in the kingdom, researchers and activists say.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will soon end more than two years of self-imposed in-person diplomatic isolation as he travels to Saudi Arabia to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — a month after President Joe Biden’s strained visit to Jeddah.

The Xi trip has not been confirmed, but an unnamed Saudi source said it may occur as early as this week.

Alwaleed bin Talal, a billionaire Saudi prince, invested more than $500m in Russian firms during the same month Moscow began its invasion of Ukraine. 

Stock exchange filings seen by Bloomberg News showed Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding Co in February acquired shares in Gazprom, Lukoil and Rosneft. 

The signing last week of a multi-pronged memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Saudi Arabian Oil Company – formerly the Arabian American Oil Company - (Aramco) and the China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) is a critical step in China’s ongoing strategy to secure Saudi Arabia as a client state. As the president of Sinopec, Yu Baocai, himself put it:

Here’s Just a little more evidence that Americans should never use Twitter.

On Tuesday, a Twitter official was convicted after being caught spying on Americans and funneling money from the Saudi Arabian government.

Saudi Arabia has already slaughtered 120 prisoners in the first six blood-soaked months of 2022.

In the first half of the year, the Gulf country's execution rate spiked - returning the amount of people put to the sword to pre-Covid levels.

Saudi Arabia has raised concerns about Israel's refusal to join a United Nations nuclear non-proliferation treaty, saying it was an obstacle to achieving peace in the region.

The warning was a rare moment of Saudi criticism of Israel, with Riyadh and other Gulf countries recently working together, along with Israel, to combat Iran's nuclear programme.

Nicolas Pelham has written a very good and thorough article on Mohammed bin Salman’s rise to power and the many excesses, abuses, and crimes he has committed in just a few years. Here he reports on the arbitrary and unexplained detentions of thousands of people: