Employees at the Saudi Binladin Group, a construction giant, have set fire to more than seven company buses in the latest protest by disgruntled staff over not being paid salaries for months and a large round of reported layoffs.I'm still calling the high prices we saw right after the most severe recession since the Great Depression an artificial bubble given to us by unwarranted speculation.
Maj. Nayef al-Sharif, the spokesman for the Civil Defense
in the city of Mecca, said late Saturday that firefighters put
out the blaze without any injuries reported.
The Binladin Group has not issued any statements about the
reported layoffs or the unrest. Calls and an email request for
comment to the company were not immediately returned.
For several weeks, thousands of the firm's employees have
been staging rare protests in Mecca and the Red Sea coastal city
of Jiddah, with some saying they have not been paid for six
The attack on the company's buses comes a day after the
Saudi Al-Watan newspaper quoted an unnamed source as saying the
company has terminated employment for 50,000 foreign workers and
issued them exit visas. Many of those workers are apparently
refusing to leave without being paid their late wages, the
Gulf-based construction firms have been among the hardest-
hit due to lower oil prices that have curbed and sometimes
delayed government spending on major infrastructure projects.
The Saudi Binladin Group is one of the world's largest
construction firms. Founded in 1931 and headquartered in Jiddah,
the firm has been behind some of Saudi Arabia's most important
projects, including roads, tunnels, airports, universities and
hotels. It has carried out expansion work throughout the holy
city of Mecca to accommodate more Muslim pilgrims, including
construction of a massive clock tower with luxury hotels.
The Binladin family has been close to Saudi Arabia's ruling
family for decades. Al-Qaida's late leader Osama bin Laden was a
renegade son of the construction firm's founder, Mohammed bin
Laden, and was disowned by the family in the 1990s.
Despite the close family ties, the Saudi government barred
the firm from acquiring new contracts after an initial
government probe found the construction company was partly
responsible for a crane collapse in Mecca's Grand Mosque last
year that killed 111 people days before the start of the annual
The crane boom pierced the roof of the mosque housing
Islam's holiest site, the Kaaba, bringing down slabs of
reinforced concrete and leaving bodies of worshippers lying amid
pools of blood on the mosque floors.
Saudi daily Arab News reported that the layoffs included
engineers, foremen, steel fixers, carpenters and welders at the
firm. The paper said employees were offered severance pay.
The newspaper cited various possible reasons for the
terminations, including government restrictions on the firm and
changes to Saudi labor law that have made it more difficult for
firms to hire expatriates over local Saudis.
Having said that, it looks like the bubble has not only burst (despite attempts by many to re-inflate it) but it looks like its going to take several nations down with it.
Poor economic conditions have been the source of war for centuries. Its being ignored today because the new hotness is fighting over "global warming"....but it always comes back to money.
If we are seeing a new Arab Fall, then we need to be prepared for the breakdown of several nation states simultaneously. I'm watching Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Libya and my sneak picks outside of the Arab Fall meme but rooted in the fraudulent oil bubble is Venezuela (not really hard...they're melting down and only the business class is watching them), and Argentina.
The USMC needs to get ahead of this. Time to stand up a MEB Headquarters (FWD) aboard whatever MEU we have floating in the region. Not because I want Marines to give even more to that god forsaken region, but because we need to be prepared to protect US citizens.