We begin our roundup of British newspapers with the Financial Times and a report by Simeon Kerr titled “Saudi Arabia Becomes Major Investor in $800 Million Gulf Infrastructure Plan”.
People familiar with the Gulf fund’s strategy said that the Saudi sovereign public investment fund is set to become a major investor in the new Gulf Infrastructure Fund, which was set up by Aberdeen Standard Investments and Investcorp in the amount of $800 million.
The sources added that Investcorp, the largest alternative investment manager in the Middle East and based in Bahrain, is finalizing the first closing of participation in the infrastructure fund at about $ 250 million, which could be announced as early as next week, according to the report. .
The report says that the Saudi Investment Fund, which became the most dominant force in economic development in the Kingdom during the era of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is a major investor in the Gulf fund along with a large Asian institution.
The Aberdeen/Investcorp Fund is expected to invest in social infrastructure projects across the Gulf countries, including healthcare, education, social housing, water and digitization. However, this could not be confirmed as Investcorp declined to comment. Aberdeen and the Public Investment Fund did not respond to requests for comment.
The fund is also betting, the author says, on the new generation of Gulf leaders in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Oman, who will prioritize social development in their economic transformation plans.
The writer believes that the fund has attracted the attention of Gulf financial institutions and offices of wealthy Gulf families, with a keenness to distribute surplus funds in the wake of the epidemic, which refocused the attention of governments on the importance of strengthening hospital systems and their employees.
Likewise, the development of digital services across the region is becoming more important as companies have had to adapt to the restrictions of the coronavirus. The development of education and social housing was also a priority, in which the lack of progress was noticeable.
The writer expects that the Saudi Investment Fund’s participation in the fund will facilitate access to the large Saudi market, as Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s economic reform program seeks to accelerate home construction, privatize state assets, including health care facilities, and develop the private education system.
“The politician who is always evolving”
We stay in the Financial Times and an article written by Mehul Srivastava from Tel Aviv entitled “Naftali Bennett Reaps Reward for Calculated Rise to the Top of Israeli Politics”.
The writer says that Naftali Bennett made his name by being an Israeli extremist and right-wing extremist who demands more Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank and stricter measures against the armed Palestinian resistance.
As he is on the cusp of assuming the highest office in Israel with the support of the extreme left and the only Arab party in the Jewish state, his incendiary comments are analyzed for clues to what kind of leader he will be.
The writer argues that Bennett’s ability to play different roles – the standard-bearer of the far-right, a tech millionaire and, suddenly, a united voice in a divided country – says more about him, than the statements that made headlines, in his rise to the top of Israeli politics.
One of his friends, who asked not to be named, said of him that he “always had a very thoughtful public figure,” and another said, “Naftali is a politician who is always evolving.”
The writer expects that Bennett’s presidency of the Israeli government will be the beginning of several things in the Jewish state, as she will witness the first religious Jew, who wears the kippa and observes the Jewish Sabbath, running the country and the first to share power with an Arab party and the first prime minister to control only six seats in the Knesset.
Analysts and friends of Bennett said the compromises dictated by the nature of the existing alliance would temper Bennett’s hard-right motives.
The writer quotes Oded Revivi, the mayor of the settlement of Efrat, as predicting that the coalition headed by Bennett and Lapid “will not be able to promote the two-state solution, and will not be able to evacuate any of the settlements.”
While the report quotes Plessner, a political analyst and friend of Bennett, as saying that “he does not need to resolve the 100-year conflict with the Palestinians to be seen as a competent and successful prime minister.”
China’s long-term challenge
and to the Guardian and an article written by Julian Burger of Washington, titled “China’s ghost at the top as Biden aims to rally democracies on Europe’s journey.”
The writer says that the only topic behind Joe Biden’s European tour this week, which will probably not be in any of the meetings and may not even be mentioned in the final statements, is China.
Biden made this clear before the start of his first foreign trip as president, as he made it clear that the competition between the world’s democracies and their authoritarian regimes – most importantly Beijing – is the decisive global challenge of this era, and without it, victory will not be guaranteed for the United States and its allies.
Biden believes that to win, the Democratic camp must demonstrate much greater cohesion and ambition in responding to the world’s biggest problems, chief among them climate change and the pandemic. This is his main message in a series of summits in the coming days, the leaders of the Group of Seven in Cornwall, NATO and the European Union in Brussels, and then a face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, according to the writer.
The article explains that Biden views Russia as the most authoritarian in the short term, while focusing on the long-term challenge of China’s economic and military success, and has recently (only two years ago) turned to this assessment, arguing that fears of China’s rise are exaggerated. .
This was reinforced, the writer says, by a two-hour phone call in February, according to the Wall Street Journal, in which Xi explained to Biden in detail how China intends to overtake the United States as the world’s preeminent power. The president is said to be preoccupied with the subject, constantly raising it in private and public conversations.
The writer quoted Amanda Sloot, senior director for Europe at the US National Security Council, as saying that the risks in terms of global competition made this moment in relations with Europe comparable to the repercussions of World War II.
She added that her country laid the foundations of the global economy after World War II, and that it was time for the United States and the European Union to consider updating these rules,” noting joint efforts to combat COVID-19 and joint work on the climate emergency.
She added that it was important for NATO to “take action to ensure that it is in an appropriate position to deal with new threats, and that China is one of those,” believing that leaders will assess the need to adapt to the strategic challenge that Beijing poses to our collective security, prosperity and values.
On the same topic, the Financial Times published an article titled “Joe Biden rallies allies to take a tougher stance on China.”
The article says Biden will use this week’s G7 summit to encourage allies to join Washington in taking a harder line on Beijing, as the US president crowned a series of new measures with an executive order to bolster scrutiny of Chinese software and applications.
The article asserts that the escalation of pressure paves the way for a summit hosted by the United Kingdom, at which Biden hopes to persuade his counterparts to reprimand China for its persecution of Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang, its crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, its economic coercion of countries such as Australia, and its aggressive military activity in the China Sea. Southern and Eastern.
The Pentagon has concluded that Beijing has become one of the most serious “quick threats,” prompting the Senate to pass a bill that would provide $250 billion to help the United States maintain a competitive advantage over China in critical technologies such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing.
Biden has also taken steps to reduce the dependence of US supply chains on China, and last week renewed Donald Trump’s order to prevent Americans from investing in 59 Chinese companies, including the international semiconductor manufacturer, the largest Chinese chip maker.
The article makes clear that the EU shares many of the US’s concerns about China, but is less keen to be part of an overt anti-Beijing alliance.
But the article makes clear that there is persistent concern, including in Europe, that the United States is exaggerating its confrontation with China, and is really asking countries to choose between them and China even though the Americans say they do not.
Fear of American pragmatism
We conclude with the Independent Online newspaper and an article written by its correspondent in Moscow, Oliver Carroll, entitled “The normalization process: Geneva prepares to host Biden and Putin.”
Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin are scheduled to meet on the banks of Lake Geneva next Wednesday for their first presidential summit after years of poor bilateral relations, sanctions, wars and mutual allegations of interference in internal affairs.
Since the initiative for the meeting came from Washington, this means, in the writer’s view, that the stakes appear somewhat higher for the President of the United States, especially given the Kremlin’s tendency to silence criticism of him from his domestic citizens.
However, Putin’s agreement to meet with Biden indicates that he thinks renewed contact is a good thing.
From the writer’s point of view, there are clear pressure points on both sides, and the United States does not trust Russia’s intentions with regard to its new generation of nuclear weapons. Russia is equally wary of the capabilities of US conventional weapons.
Given the extent of the dispute over Ukraine, it is unlikely to become a major focus of discussions. But a veteran State Department politician in the Clinton and Bush administrations, Stephen Beaver, believes the American side is likely to divide the issues the two presidents will discuss into three categories.
The first includes issues where the two sides differ greatly, such as Ukraine and Belarus. The second includes the red lines of the United States. The third group consists of issues that are likely to form the main part of the agenda in Geneva, such as arms control.
But some members of the Russian opposition have expressed concerns about American pragmatism, as Putin will not be removed from American policy without being offered something in return.