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tv   Tech Know  Al Jazeera  January 23, 2015 7:00am-7:31am EST

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saudi arabia's king abdullah has died. and a new king is solomon and promising continuity and calling for unity and solidarity in the muslim world. ♪ live from doha also coming up thailand's parliament votes to impeach foreign minister for her role in a controversial rice subsidy program. and turning a new page in u.s. cuba relations historic talks turn to normalizing ties between
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the two countries. ♪ world leaders started to arrive in saudi arabia for king abdul's funeral, 90-year-old ruler died in hospital after being admitted last month with a case of pneumonia and half brother 79-year-old prince solomon is the new king and has spoken on saudi television promising to continuing the policies of the predecessor and rob reports. >> translator: the world learns of the death of one of its few remaining absolute monarch, the path to power for abdul abdulaziz was shaped from the birth by tradition and conservatism. >> translator: the problems of the world are caused by people rejecting the principles of justice, terrorism, and crime are the enemies of god and every
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religion and civilization. >> reporter: young abdullah was taught religion and religion and scholars and he spent long periods of childhood living in the desert. as crowned prince he took control of the country in 1995 when the king had a stroke. ten years later abdullah became king. the world hopes the saudi kingdom would at least open up. >> during his reign he has inspired a greater openness in two particular areas, in for women and in freedom of expression. there is an outburst of criticism, social criticism and also of government policy in saudi arabia that has happened with the let's say tolerance to some degree of the saudi government. >> reporter: abdullah inherited a kingdom in an oil boom and ba set by terrorism and corruption and restructured the economy and
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joined the world trade organization and had enterprise and failed to address the jobless young saudis and granted women the right to vote and run for office and issued id cards and allowed for the first time to do business without involving a male guardian. but domestic concerns gave way to global ones when the united states was attacked on september the 11 2001. 15 of the 19 hijackers were saudi citizens. he took on al-qaeda when the group began a campaign of bombers against westerners in the country and record on human rights however has remained controversial. in resent years activists who demanded change to petitions ended up in jail and political parties and public demeanor straights were banned. king abdullah's next major challenge after september 11 and al-qaeda was iran and the king's foreign policy focused on
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efforts to continue what the monarchy say increasing evidence of shia led government and supported regime change in libya and luke warm to the revolutions in egypt tunisia and yemen and sending troops to bahrain against protesters may have revealed fears of an iran backed revolution next door. at home the king confronted fears of uprising in a different way and spent 130 billion on housing, jobs and other social benefits. his critics believe he could have done more given saudi arabia east oil wealth to help his population. >> people were convinced a new law for the judiciary would actually make trials open and fair. that did not happen. people were convinced there would be a religious dialog between sunni, saudis and shia saudis especially since 2009 we saw relations deteriorating
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against the shia. criticism of the government allowed in the press but a saudi blogger may be flogged and the latest punishment delayed, despite the king's efforts to perform saudi arabia's conservetism seems unlikely to change rob matheson al jazeera. live pictures from the saudi capitol riyadh where world leaders arriving to attend the funeral of king abdullah to give you a sense of who is there some of the people that have already arrived in the city right now they include the kuwait and the king of bahrain, qatar and mohamed asini and prime minister of egypt, the turkish president also in attendance in the saudi capitol
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erdiwan and prime minister of pakistan is also there. so right now these are live pictures coming to us from the saudi capitol and expecting the funeral to get underway shortly and expecting it to be a fairly brief event. we know that the late king his death was announced last night and of course in line with islamic tradition he is being buried very swiftly, this is the scene in riyadh as world leaders continue to arrive there in the city to pay their tribute to the late king abdullah and of course there has been reaction to the late king's death. it has been coming in. u.s. president barack obama paying his tribute praising one of his allies in the region saying as a leader he was always candid and the courage of convictions and one of the convictions was his stead fast and fashion it in belief in the importance of the u.s. saudi relationship for force and security in the middle east and beyond. and speaking at the world
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economic forum in davos former head of the arab league praised king abdullah for his work. >> king abdullah is a father figure in the arab and muslim world. and a lot of stability and the cooperation and promotion of cooperation among the arab countries for his role in peace between and putting an end to the arab israeli conflict and the palestinian/israeli feud. and it was instrumental. he would record the arab relationship of 2002. i believe that the relations between saudi arabia and the egypt in particular will continue to be one of the cornerstones of the israel
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situation in the middle east because it is their policy that this well-built city, the first years of the kingdom. i believe that king solomon will continue along the same lines. >> reporter: we will look closer at the new king and abdullah abdulaziz was the crown prince in 2012 when the prince died and king solomon governor of riyadh for 50 years and became defense minister in 2011 and head of the military when saudi arabia joined the u.s. led coalition against isil last year. the newly appointed king solomon planned to stay on the course his father set for the nation. >> translator: we are going to continue with the approach of father king abdullah abdulaziz who built the state and followed by his sons we are going to continue to implement the karan and character of the prophet
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mohamed into our legislation. >> reporter: my colleague sammy is here and covered the gulf and particularly saudi arabia very closely. and we were just hearing there sammy king solomon sending the message that continuity is what he will be focus on and do not expect a great shift in saudi policies. >> continuity is the keyword at this stage and looking at some of the back on king solomon from the faction of the founder of the sons of the founder of saudi arabia king abdullah abdulaziz and the sons of the faction, the sons of princess soodaily and very much the key core and inside people within the royal family. you mentioned that he was governor of riyadh city for a while and governor of riyadh providence who was mayor of riyadh city he oversaw the transformation of a city from a desert city into the modern skyscraper city that it is today, has a lot of
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responsibility in terms of balancing the politics between different elements and tribes in the area as well as overseeing the modernization process that went underway. he was also as you mentioned minister of defense. so from that background you would expect a person who would be very aware, very sensitive to the security needs, the needs for stability of saudi arabia. and i think continuity is the right word here. >> i guess that kind of background especially when it comes to balancing the different interest is thinking about the conditions in the region saudi arabia border and yemen so many challenges facing the country. >> a lot of challenges on the border with yemen where saudi arabia has a very active policy a lot of challenges when it comes from the saudi perspective to counter balancing the influence of i ran which saudi arabia is concerned with gcc countries and worried about any problem between iran and the west and where that might leave
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sunni kingdoms in the area. a lot of concern about what is going on the fires burning in iraq and syria and let's not forget a lot of the fighters of the group isil a lot of them come from saudi arabia. these are young people obviously very dissolutioned with the state of affairs in saudi arabia and they go to these sorts of areas to try and create a new reality of the fear and the security concern for the saudi government. these people will try to come back one day and cause trouble within the kingdom. so there are a lot of foreign policy issues that the new king will have to deal with but there is also domestic challenges and i think that is interesting because we don't often talk about the domestic situations in the media and challenges. i think one issue that we have to talk about is economics. if you look at what has been going on there has been a rise in h the working population the
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50 or 60-year-old group now represents 66%, that is is a lot of young people who want jobs. urban dwellers reached 82% by 2010 so a lot of shift to the cities. a lot of that brings a lot of strain on infrastructure demands for a better life. poverty, although saudi arabia is seen as a very rich country and is in many ways but poverty is still a challenge for many people. for some people in saudi arabia or even in the capitol as we know from videos made by bloggers in 2011 and 2012 documenting some of the daily life struggles of people in the capitol to put food on the table, to clothe their children to pay their rent and some of the bloggers ending up in prison and get in trouble with authorities for that. >> i guess when you think about events in the middle east in the past few years that is something in the mind of the saudi leadership the potential political problems and unrest
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that can arise from economic discontent and then efforts to they always had a conservative policy in terms of how much they spend and i think that is something they have to be that much more aware of in light of what we have seen with oil prices. >> oil prices is one very important, it's not only economic as you would imagine in saudi arabia it's also politics keeping the oil prices at a level which is in line with saudi national interest and regional interest and it's going to be an important issue but also balancing domestic politics i think is going to be an important challenge ahead for king solomon, let's not forget over the years hundreds of thousands of saudi students have been sent to study abroad. now these people have come back to saudi arabia many of them taken over good jobs in some ways have a different vision from the more traditional circles within saudi arabia about the way forward for reform process. that has been always a difficult balancing act for the last king
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king abdullah to try to make some reforms while also not pushing the kingdom or allowing people to push the kingdom in his view too fast too soon. that is going to be a very important balancing act to watch going forward, the treatment of women. king abdullah spoke about the right of women to vote in upcoming elections, ekt expected in 2015 and spoke about the vision for women to be able to drive. that has not happened yet so a lot of these issues education, employment the role of women, reform of society, accountability of government are very delicate issues which you will have the so-called conservatives and so-called liberals in different end of the political spectrum on. >> so a great number of different interests to balance, thanks very much sammy and these are live pictures we are watching now from the saudi capitol riyadh where family and
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leaders from around the world gathered for the funeral of the late king abdullah. the family is going to take place in riyadh. king abdullah we know died in the capitol riyadh after suffering from pneumonia. his successor is his 79-year-old half brother prince solomon so we have leaders from around the world that have been paying their tribute. we will keep an eye on what is going on there. we also have our reporters on the ground and monitoring reaction and we have jerusalem first and let's speak to nicole johnston in beirut and what have you been hearing over there? >> lebanon three days of mourning and knowned and a statement from the prime minister he said the late king abdullah was a great leader and a great friends of lebanon and had similar statements from other officials and politicians in here in beirut saying that he had been a big supporter of
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lebanon. now most recently internally the situation for lebanon with saudi influence had been saudi arabia had really been trying to get the two main political blocks in lebanon to talk to carry out some dialog to try and resolve the political impasse here. here in lebanon there has not been a president since may of last year. so saudi arabia had sponsored talks between hezbollah group here as well as the prowestern future movement to try and resolve that political impasse so it goes to show the kind of influence that saudi arabia has here in lebanon. also on the financial front towards the end of last year saudi arabia announced some $4 billion for lebanon, $3 billion of that was ear marked to go to the army in the way of a french maid weapons, weapons coming from france a very obvious
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attempt by saudi arabia there to try and boost the lebanese army and try encounter the growing influence of iran here which exercises in lebanon through the hezbollah group, the lebanese army is really sort of over shadowed by the strength and power of hezbollah here. so saudi arabia has always had you know a very prominent role in lebanon and it does divide the country as well because lebanon and the people of lebanon are largely divided to those who support hezbollah and iran block and those on the pro-saudi, prowestern side of the future movement and the march 14 coalition. >> all right thanks very much indeed nicole johnston in beirut putting it in perspective for us and let's go to jerusalem with the latest on king abdullah death and what have you been hearing from the government? >> from the government of israel
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we did hear a statement issued by the president of israel even though they do not have diplomatic ties but he said he was sad to hear of the passing of king abdullah and described his leadership as grounded considered and responsible. he also said in that statement that as a guardian of the holy places of islam king abdullah was always a moderator who respected the sensitivity and the santacitink and contributed to the peace and stability of the middle east region and heard statements from the former president of israel paris who is in switzerland at tending the world economic forum and describing king abdullah wise with wise policies and says he is a loss for the region and for peace and he had the bravery to put forth a peace plan.
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he is hinting at the arab peace initiative which was designed and proposed by the late king abdullah in 2002 when he was crowned prince as an effort to really present a comprehensive resolution for the palestinian/israeli conflict and in the initiative he offered normalized ties between israel and arab and muslim countries in return for israel withdrawing from palestinian territories and jerusalem as well. now although israel never responded to this unique offer to actually enjoy friendly relations with its neighbors and other countries further afield we see from the statement and from the reaction of the government of israel that they actually acknowledge the efforts by the late king abdullah. there also has been reaction frommel the palestinians as well the abbas announced three days of mourning in palestinian
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territories and also at the funeral in riyadh to offer condolences and know he was instrumental in achieving palestinian reconciliation because he mediated and sponsored the mecca agreement of 2007 when he brought representatives from hamas and quatar when they stopped the fighting in the gaza strip and work on a unity government and this has taken very long for the national unity government to be formed and it is still taking long for general elections to be held we know that that agreement actually ended the blood shed that was caused directly by palestinian in fighting and let's not forget that saudi arabia is a major contributor of aid for the palestinians so we understand that palestinians will remember the late king abdullah as someone who really tried to support their cause and made huge efforts to try to resolve
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the conflict with israel. >> we have not had a great deal of the initiative in recent years but many see it as a way forward not just in terms of israeli palestinian conflicts i guess but also in terms of israel's relations with the rest of the region and we are in jerusalem and thank you. well we are in riyadh and told us a little bit about reaction there to the funeral, to the death of the late king abdullah and the succession of the now present king solomon. >> king solomon just announced to lead his nephew prince believes to be the deputy crown prince of saudi arabia. also and his son mohamed solomon to be the defense minister of this country. >> so i want to take a look now at some international reaction to the passing of the late saudi
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monarch, the u.n. chief ban ki-moon says the peace behind it king abdullah left a legacy that can still point the way to peace in the middle east in a statement the u.s. president barack obama says i appreciated our genuine and warm friendship closeness and partnership between the two countries is part of king abdullah's legacy and a statement from the kingdom of bahrain saying the late saudi king leaves behind a legacy with dedication and landmark achievements in serving his people. the arab and islamic nations and advocating their causes. the leadership change in saudi arabia appears unlikely to bring any great change with the country's allies but what could it potentially money mean for iran and we spoke with international language newspaper based in tyran.
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>> they are not the ones pulling the political strings in saudi arabia. we know that there are other people behind the scenes that they are doing this kind of so-called arm twisting so the person that is going to succeed him now is also following and going to follow the same suit and we know that as far as rivalry between them and saudi arabia is concerned there will be no you know tangible changes with regard to saudi arabia's foreign policy and let's not forget they have only complicated the matters by helping to pull down the prices of oil prices in international market so i'm afraid it's not going to be you know good news for iran because we don't know what is going to happen with us and the new leadership in saudi arabia but whatever it is i don't think it's going to serve our interests in the region. >> reporter: well the indian prime minister modi has said in a tweet that king abdullah's death is saddening and he said and king abdullah we have lost
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an important voice who left a lasting impact on his country. our thoughts are with the people of saudi arabia. meanwhile india's neighbor pakistan one of saudi arabia's strongest allies has announced one day of mourning and we have the latest from islamabad. >> reporter: pakistan attaches a huge importance to relationship with saudi arabia the pakistani prime minister said that there was deep grief in pakistan because the king was also the custodi, an n and standing in the grief and pakistan and saudi arabia enhanced the strategic partnership, the two militarys have been holding regular joint maneuvers on each other's territory, the soldiers consider pakistan an important second line of defense and for the pakistan soldiers it's equally important because 1.5 million pakistanis work in that country.
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>> reporter: christine is of course the managing director of the international monetary fund and her reaction to the news of king abdullah's death. >> i'm saddened by his death, i met him several times and he is going to leave a big legacy but a big loss as well. and he was a great leader, implemented lots of reforms at home and in a very discrete way he was a strong advocate of women. it was very gradual, appropriately so probably for the country but i discussed that issue with him several times and he was a strong believer. >> reporter: these are live pictures coming to us from riyadh where we understand that the funeral for the late king abdullah are underway and a number of leaders have arrived in town for the funeral including kuwait and qatar and
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others and the ceremony will be held in the capitol riyadh and know king abdullah died at the age of 90 at the capitol after suffering illnesses and suffered pneumonia just before he died and successor is 79-year-old half brother prince solomon but perhaps in many ways what is most significant and what is very important is the appointment of a new deputy crown prince, mohamed who would potentially be the first saudi king from the third generation of the ruling family of abdulaziz and develops to watch as well. we know that prince is the first grandson of saudi arabia first monarch king of abdulaziz to join the line of succession and that development is significant because it brings that much more
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certainty and that much more clarity to the future succession in the saudi kingdom which is something that comes up every few years. so these are live pictures we are seeing there perez and underway in the capitol riyadh for the late king abdullah. so let's bring in a senior fellow at the american university of beirut and a nonresident fellow at the hard -- harvard school and thanks for hanging in and can i ask you about the challenges and this has not come as any surprise and has been in poor health for sometime but really what a time for this to happen when you think about what is happening in syria, what is happening in iraq and over the border and yemen, a government effectively dissolved. >> yes noteworthy thing of rule
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is two things he unleashed a foreign policy that was far more dynamic interventionist and militant in some ways than any previous saudi king and sent troops to bahrain to stop the uprising and sent massive amounts of money to egypt to hold down the counter revolution of sisi and sent weapons to the syrian rebels and many other things like that all around the region. this is very unusual for saudi leadership but this is one of the things that he has done. he also supported the saudi leadership supported many groups and different arab countries where there was a proxy war going on between proiran and pro-saudi forces and lebanon and iraq and yemen and syria, all over the region and most of those interventions have not gone very well for the saudis and this is an issue that the new king will have to address the nature of saudi political intervention and military intervention around the region
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and the second is the domestic political structure and governance system the mild reforms that king abdullah started will probably continue but the regional turmoil especially in terms of the crash in oil prices which the saudis can handle but a lot of other people like iraq like iran and others simply cannot withstand for very long. so this is a real challenge for the new leadership in saudi arabia. >> reporter: it's a real challenge for the new leadership and you were mentioning there more intervention in policy in resent years and you mentioned the world militant with regards to somalia, iraq and lebanon and other places you say this is something that the current king solomon is going to have to address, do you expect to see any shift or a change of approach when it comes to those regional challenges those conflicts? >> well political and policy
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shifts in saudi arabia happen according to the rules of geology that upholds the oil wealth of the country and happen very slowly usually nothing happens for years and years and years and something shifts like in gee logical turblance and stable for years and the current leadership in saudi arabia will continue more or less the same policies that king abdullah had followed but they have to pay much more attention to regional issues than was the case in previous saudi monarchs. there is al-qaeda and arab peninsula and yemen which is in a situation and isis has its tentacles here and there in the region and many young saudis go off and join some of these militant groups these islamic militants groups like isis and others and there is a stress there within saudi society that


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