WBEZ | Saudi Arabia http://www.wbez.org/tags/saudi-arabia Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Iran gets cozy with the U.S., Saudi Arabia's first female film director and a Korean festival http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-09-20/iran-gets-cozy-us-saudi-arabias-first-female-film-director-and-korean <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP13041912113.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Obama and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani may meet face to face for the first time next week. Saudi Arabia&#39;s first female director joins us to discuss her film Wadjda. Plus, we&#39;ll tell you how Koreans are celebrating the Harvest Moon Festival.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F111446071&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-iran-gets-cozy-with-the-us-saudi-arabia/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-iran-gets-cozy-with-the-us-saudi-arabia.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-iran-gets-cozy-with-the-us-saudi-arabia" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Iran gets cozy with the U.S., Saudi Arabia's first female film director and a Korean festival" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 20 Sep 2013 11:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-09-20/iran-gets-cozy-us-saudi-arabias-first-female-film-director-and-korean On Presidents' Day, comparing national holidays around the world http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-02-18/presidents-day-comparing-national-holidays-around-world-105590 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79823063&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>In the United States, we have 10 public holidays, including today, Presidents&rsquo; Day.</p><p>That&rsquo;s about an average number if you consider the world over. But, for wealthier, industrialized countries, it&rsquo;s actually slightly below average.</p><p>But it is hard to make much of a judgment on a country based on how many holidays it has.</p><p>Based on a <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2073511/Workers-UK-fewest-public-holidays-Europe-generous-statutory-holiday-entitlement.html" target="_blank">2011 study</a> done of <a href="http://www.mercer.com/press-releases/holiday-entitlements-around-the-world" target="_blank">62 major industrialized countries</a>, the country with the most public holidays is Colombia, with 18. Colombia has a reputation for being a pretty conservative country.&nbsp; But <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/News/guess-country-holidays/story?id=17388505" target="_blank">according to ABC News</a>, in the last year or two, Colombia has been passed by its fellow South American country, Argentina, which is developing a markedly left-wing reputation.&nbsp; Under Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the country now has 19 public holidays.</p><p>But even some countries known as being left wing have fewer holidays than the U.S.&nbsp; For instance, Communist <a href="http://www.qppstudio.net/publicholidays2013/cuba.htm" target="_blank">Cuba</a> has only 9, along with more leftist or liberal countries like Ecuador, Denmark, Switzerland, and Canada. The Netherlands and the United Kingdom both have only 8.</p><p>Yet, some of the world&rsquo;s most repressive countries actually have more public holidays than we do. Most of them weren&rsquo;t covered by that 2011 study, but I did a little checking myself.</p><p>A lot of countries have holidays that are confined to specific regions, ethnic groups, or religions. Sometimes, there will be government holidays not always acknowledged by the private sector.&nbsp; Nevertheless, the results are still surprising.</p><p>Iran, a Shi&rsquo;ite Islam religious theocracy, has <a href="http://www.qppstudio.net/publicholidays2013/iraq.htm" target="_blank">as many as 18 public holidays</a>.&nbsp; And the country with the most holidays I found anywhere in the world was Saudi Arabia, Iran&rsquo;s Sunni nemesis, with <a href="http://www.saudiembassy.net/about/country-information/facts_and_figures/" target="_blank">as many as</a> <a href="http://www.qppstudio.net/publicholidays2013/saudi_arabia.htm" target="_blank">22 government holidays</a> every year in some regions.</p><p>A lot of these days come from two Muslim holidays that take multiple days, and are observed throughout the Middle East. (Which is why Lebanon rates so high in the 2011 study, with 16 public holidays).</p><p>But it&rsquo;s not just in the Middle East.&nbsp; In Asia, one country with a surprisingly strong showing is none other than international pariah North Korea, arguably the most repressive government anywhere in the world right now, with <a href="http://www.qppstudio.net/publicholidays2013/north_korea.htm" target="_blank">no fewer than 20 public holidays every year</a>, according to one source.</p><p>Even <a href="http://www.qppstudio.net/publicholidays2013/belarus.htm" target="_blank">Belarus</a> narrowly beats the United States, with 11 public holidays to our 10.</p><p>So, the level of freedom, liberalism, conservatism, or economic prosperity has, in the end, very little to do with how many days a year people get to take a break.&nbsp; So, when you&rsquo;re annoyed to find your bank closed today, just think: in some countries, where the quality of life is far worse than here, it happens even more often.</p></p> Mon, 18 Feb 2013 15:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-02-18/presidents-day-comparing-national-holidays-around-world-105590 Untangling the web of Saudi family poltics http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/segment/untangling-web-saudi-family-poltics-100299 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP120620030821.jpg" style="float: left; height: 530px; width: 350px;" title="Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz is seen during a condolence call made by US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, unseen, at the Royal Court in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, June 20, 2012. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) " />The death of Crown Prince Nayef bin Albdulaziz al Saud last week may have made Saudi family politics even more difficult to predict.&nbsp; Who will be the next heir to King Abdullah? One likely candidate is Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Abdul-Aziz. He was just made crown prince.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The official announcement Monday came the day after the burial of Prince Nayef, who died last week in Geneva. He had been named the heir to the Saudi throne in November.</div><p>The 76-year-old Prince Salman is the third successor for the 88-year-old King Abdullah in the past year in one of the West&#39;s most critical Middle East allies.</p><p>Thursday on <em>Worldview</em>, Middle East scholar Joseph Kéchichian tells Worldview what the jostling means for the future of Saudi politics and U.S.&ndash;Saudi relations.</p><p>Kéchichian has written about Saudi Politics, his most recent publications include <em>Faysal: Saudi Arabia&#39;s King for All Seasons</em> and <em>Power and Succession in the Arab Monarchies</em>.&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 21 Jun 2012 10:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/segment/untangling-web-saudi-family-poltics-100299 Worldview 6.21.12 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/worldview-62112-100288 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP120620030474.jpg" title="U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, right, meets with Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, left, during a condolence call at the Royal Court in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)" /></div><p>Thursday on <em>Worldview</em>:</p><p>Saudi Arabia&rsquo;s Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud was officially named crown prince earlier this week, making him the heir-apparent to the aging King Abdullah. His promotion followed the unexpected death of Crown <a href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/n/nayef/index.html?inline=nyt-per" title="More articles about Nayef.">Prince Nayef</a> bin Albdulaziz al-Saud. Middle East scholar Joseph Kéchichian tells <em>Worldview </em>what the jostling means for the complicated web of Saudi family politics.</p><p><em>Worldview</em> soccer contributors <a href="http://las.depaul.edu/geography/People/EuanHague/index.asp" target="_blank">Euan Hague</a>, a professor of geography at DePaul, and <a href="http://athletics.uchicago.edu/menssoccer/msc-assistantcoaches.htm" target="_blank">Michael Madero</a>, assistant coach for the University of Chicago&rsquo;s men&rsquo;s soccer team, share their predictions for upcoming Euro 2012 quarterfinals matches. Plus, Jakub Parusinski, staff writer for the <em>Kyiv Post, </em>describes how fans in Ukraine and Poland have been behaving at the matches (hint: they haven&#39;t always been peaceful).</p><p><strong>To join the conversation call us at 312-923-9239 and tell us why you think your team will take the championship.</strong></p><p>On our<em>&nbsp;Global Activism </em>segment,<em>&nbsp;</em>Holly Ezinga talks about her company,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ourfairearth.com/" target="_blank">Fair Earth</a>, a socially-conscious, eco-friendly company that produces and markets high quality, Fair Trade merchandise from East Africa.</p></p> Thu, 21 Jun 2012 08:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/worldview-62112-100288 Iran accused of plot to kill Saudi ambassador to the U.S. http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-19/iran-accused-plot-kill-saudi-ambassador-us-93284 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-19/iran3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The story seems pulled from a movie script: Last week, the U.S. government alleged that officials high up in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard concocted a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S., with the help of a Mexican drug gang. Members of the Iranian security force, U.S. officials said, intended to detonate a bomb at a crowded restaurant in Washington D.C., killing the ambassador as well as over 100 bystanders.</p><p>We sit down and parse through the accusations with <a href="http://www.niacouncil.org/site/PageServer?pagename=About_parsi" target="_blank">Trita Parsi</a>, director of the <a href="http://www.niacouncil.org/" target="_blank">National Iranian American Council</a>. Born in Iran, Trita fled the country with his family at the age of four to escape political repression. He's an expert on diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Iran.</p></p> Wed, 19 Oct 2011 16:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-19/iran-accused-plot-kill-saudi-ambassador-us-93284 Worldview 10.19.11 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-101911 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/episode/images/2011-october/2011-10-19/iran1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The U.S. government alleges that officials high up in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard concocted a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S., with the help of a Mexican drug gang. We speak with <a href="http://www.niacouncil.org/site/PageServer?pagename=About_parsi" target="_blank">Trita Parsi</a>, director of the <a href="http://www.niacouncil.org/site/PageServer?pagename=NIAC_index" target="_blank">National Iranian American Council</a>, about the accusations. Later, we sit down with activist <a href="http://www.rmaf.org.ph/Awardees/Citation/CitationMishraNil.htm" target="_blank">Nileema Mishra</a>, who recently won the 2011 <a href="http://www.rmaf.org.ph/" target="_blank">Magsaysay Award</a>, considered Asia’s Nobel Prize. Nileema organizes thousands of Indians into self-help groups. They collectively acquire loans, save money, and elevate their lives – all without government assistance. She tells us what low-income Indians need to escape poverty. And, fifty-two years ago this week, Franzkarl Schwendinger opened the “Scotch Club” in the quiet German city of Aachen. He hired the world’s first disc jockey to enliven the atmosphere. Inauspiciously, the discotheque era was born. Jerome and <em>Radio M</em> host Tony Sarabia play their favorite global disco hits to mark the anniversary.</p></p> Wed, 19 Oct 2011 14:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-101911 Saudia Arabia will finally allow women to vote http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-26/saudia-arabia-will-finally-allow-women-vote-92464 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-26/AP090303020862.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia surprised his ultraconservative nation Sunday by announcing bold reforms that will give women the right to vote, run for local office and serve on the Shura Council, the king's advisory board. The reforms would begin in 2015.</p><p>Some observers suggest the ailing 87-year-old king seeks a legacy as a reformer in light of the Arab Spring movement that’s sweeping the Middle East. When rumblings of revolt echoed in Saudi Arabia, the government promised $130 billion in salary raises and spending for social and religious programs.</p><p><a href="http://web.trinity.edu/x8161.xml" target="_blank">Mary Ann Tetreault</a>, professor of international affairs and political science at Trinity University, analyzes King Abdullah’s shift on women’s rights.</p></p> Mon, 26 Sep 2011 15:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-26/saudia-arabia-will-finally-allow-women-vote-92464 Saudi women organizing for the right to drive a car http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-15/saudi-women-organizing-right-drive-car-87881 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-June/2011-06-15/143320533_Women20Driving20in20Saudi20Arabia_xlarge.jpeg" alt="" /><p><p>Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bars women from driving a car.&nbsp; But a growing group of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter users is asking for that to change. A social media campaign is calling on Saudi women who have an international driver’s license to get behind the wheel on June 17 and demand the right to drive.&nbsp; The <a href="http://www.causes.com/causes/44273" target="_blank">Facebook page</a> has been blocked by the Saudi government but not before it had some 12,000 supporters.</p><p><a href="http://www.maiyamani.com/" target="_blank">Mai Yamani</a>, a Middle East scholar and author of several books on Saudi Arabia including <em>Changed Identities, the Challenge of the New Generation in Saudi Arabia, </em>discusses the latest demand by Saudi women.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Manal al-Sharif, a woman's rights activist, made a video of herself driving in Saudi Arabia</em></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/BT-3I5jg1xg" width="560" frameborder="0" height="349"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 15 Jun 2011 15:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-15/saudi-women-organizing-right-drive-car-87881 With Saleh in Saudi Arabia, uncertainty clouds Yemen’s future http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-07/saleh-saudi-arabia-uncertainty-clouds-yemen%E2%80%99s-future-87534 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-June/2011-06-07/Yemen photo.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Four months of peaceful protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s government have become violent on both sides, and over 160 people have died. After President Saleh was injured and fled to Saudi Arabia, many thought it was time to turn the page, but now Yemen’s political future is unclear.</p><p>In Saleh’s absence, opposition groups are setting up a transitional government, and clashes continue to kill dozens in provinces outside of Sana’a. At the same time, new reports have Saleh more injured than previously reported. <a href="http://www.polis.leeds.ac.uk/about/staff/jones/" target="_blank">Clive Jones</a>, chair of Middle East studies at the University of Leeds and co-editor of the journal <a href="http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/13698249.asp" target="_blank">Civil Wars</a>, discusses the uncertainty in Yemen.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 07 Jun 2011 20:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-07/saleh-saudi-arabia-uncertainty-clouds-yemen%E2%80%99s-future-87534 The Life of Osama bin Laden: From millionaire's son to most-wanted man http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-01/life-osama-bin-laden-millionaires-son-most-wanted-man-85909 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-02/Reax to bin Laden_Getty_Majid Saeedi.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed thousands of Americans, was killed in an operation led by the United States, President Obama said Sunday.</p><p>A small team of Americans killed bin Laden in a firefight at a compound in Pakistan, the president said in a dramatic late-night statement at the White House.</p><p>Few details were immediately available about the details of bin Laden's death. But his life ran a fascinating trajectory: from the pampered son of a Saudi millionaire to the world's most-wanted terrorist.</p><p>In telling the story of Osama bin Laden, a logical starting point is the day he must consider his greatest triumph — Sept. 11, 2001.<br /> <br />Within hours of the attacks, U.S. officials were pointing to bin Laden as the prime suspect. President Bush said he wanted bin Laden "dead or alive."<br /> <br />Bin Laden at first denied responsibility for the attacks. But in December 2001, U.S. officials produced what they called a "smoking gun" — a video, showing bin Laden in his trademark camouflage jacket and white cap, lounging on a flowered sofa. According to the translation provided by the Pentagon, bin Laden makes clear he played a direct role in engineering the attacks.<br /> <br />Bin Laden is believed to have been born in 1957. He was the 17th of 57 children, according to research by the 9/11 Commission. His father made a fortune in the construction industry in Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden grew up playing soccer, riding horses and running. The young bin Laden may have gotten his first taste of radical Islamist theory at university, in Jeddah. Peter Bergen, who has written extensively about al-Qaida, said bin Laden's years at King Abdul-Aziz University exposed him to influential Islamist thinkers.<br /> <br />"One of his teachers, Mohammed Quttb, was the brother of perhaps the Lenin of the whole Jihadist movement — Sayeed Quttb, who had died earlier in Egypt," Bergen said. "Another was a guy called Abdullah Azzam, with whom bin Laden would later go on to form a kind of prequel to al-Qaida, a group called the Services Office that was instrumental in getting Muslims from around the world to come to Pakistan to fight against the Soviets."<br /> <br />The fight against the Soviets, following Moscow's invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, was a defining struggle in bin Laden's life. He traveled to the region, raised money from other wealthy Muslims to finance the fight and engaged in at least one battle himself. The war in Afghanistan lasted 10 years — basically the whole of the 1980s. John Parachini, an expert on terrorism at the Rand Corp., said for bin Laden and millions of other Muslims, those years created a movement.<br /> <br />"In this period, there is an awakening throughout the Islamic world about fighting a great struggle — beyond the struggle that many fundamentalist Islamic groups were fighting in their own nations," Parachini said.<br /> <br />For bin Laden, that struggle found expression within the Salafi movement. Salafis believe that over the centuries, the message of Islam has been corrupted. They want a return to the "pure Islam" practiced by the Prophet Muhammad and his immediate successors. Bin Laden has presented himself as the embodiment of the Salafi movement — a spiritual leader, for whom war is a religious obligation, wherever Muslims are being oppressed. It's a powerful message. Millions of Muslims who don't support violent jihad still saw bin Laden as the most capable voice speaking out against corrupt national leaders and the West.<br /> <br />In 1989, when the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, bin Laden went home to Saudi Arabia. But his relations with the country's leaders soon soured. Bin Laden's passport — and eventually his citizenship — was revoked. So he left, and spent the next five years in exile in Sudan. John Parachini said those years, from 1991 to '96, were a critical time.<br /> <br />"Here is where the modern-day bin Laden really comes to the front," Parachini said, "because it's he, with his considerable wealth, operating in a weak state. So here you have this confluence of interest of a newly emerged Islamic state, and a newly emerged, subnational, loosely affiliated collection of people that we now know as al-Qaida."<br /> <br />But as bin Laden's influence grew, the U.S., the United Nations and Saudi Arabia all began pressuring Sudan's government to force him out. On May 19, 1996, he left. He found a home back in Afghanistan, and soon forged a relationship with the ruling Taliban. They needed his cash, and bin Laden needed a base where he could concentrate on building his terrorist network.<br /> <br />Peter Bergen met bin Laden during those years in Afghanistan. He's now a director at the New America Foundation in Washington. Back in March 1997, he was a producer for CNN. He and two other CNN staffers were picked up at dusk, blindfolded and driven through the night to meet bin Laden.<br /> <br />"When he came out of the darkness — he's 6-foot-5, walks with a cane — he didn't seem psychotic. He was quite intelligent, obviously. He seemed like a pretty serious sort of person," Bergen said. "It puzzled me, however, how he was going to pull off attacks against the U.S., given that we're sitting in a mud hut in the middle of the night in Afghanistan."<br /> <br />As it turned out, al-Qaida planning was already well under way for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in which 224 people were killed.<br /> <br />Two weeks later, the U.S. retaliated, launching Tomahawk cruise missiles against targets in Afghanistan and Sudan.</p><p>President Bill Clinton addressed the nation with this explanation: "Our target was terror. Our mission was clear: to strike at the network of radical groups affiliated with and funded by Osama bin Laden, perhaps the pre-eminent organizer and financier of international terror in the world today."<br /> <br />Bin Laden, of course, did not die in the U.S. strikes. Instead, he spent the next three years preparing for what would be his most spectacular attack. Sept. 11 was a triumph for al-Qaida — but it also provoked swift retribution. On Oct. 7, 2001, U.S. and British forces launched airstrikes on Afghanistan. Bin Laden was forced to go on the run. In the years that followed, bin Laden's ability to communicate with his followers was hampered. But bin Laden's message — his vision for jihad — remained ambitious.<br /> <br />"Bin Laden and his followers genuinely believe that what they are about is reformulating the global order," said Daniel Benjamin, now the State Department's point man on terrorism issues.<br /> <br />"They very much think of restoring Islam to the point of its greatest glory, 1,300 years ago. They want to have a single Muslim community stretching from the north Atlantic — or Spain — to Indonesia. They do think in these kinds of messianic terms, in the hope of recasting the globe," Benjamin said.<br /> <br />Benjamin believes that message resonated among Muslims around the world, because bin Laden cast his agenda as springing from religious — rather than political — motivations. Bin Laden is a deeply pious man, Benjamin said. And to top it off, he had the money and fundraising skills to finance his ambitions.<br /> <br />"So he really reshaped the struggle. He's managed to create both an authentic cause, an authentic ideology, and to find the means to carry it out," Benjamin said. "And I fear that the path that he hewed, he cut, is one that others are going to travel for some time to come."<br /> <br />The question now will be: What happens to the movement that Osama bin Laden helped create? Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. </p> Sun, 01 May 2011 23:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-01/life-osama-bin-laden-millionaires-son-most-wanted-man-85909