Excerpts: Forged academic degrees;Saudi problem. Turkey hosts Anti-Terror
Forum June 06, 2012
+++SOURCE: Saudi Gazette 6 June '12:"The pressure to get a college
degree".By Tariq A. Al-Maeena
SUBJECT: Forged academic degrees;Saudi problem
QUOTE:"Ministry of Education,,,identified 110 offices selling forged degrees
from non-Saudi universities...'for the past several years' ...just the tip
of the iceberg
In the quest to obtain a college degree, some have opted for an easier
route. This was affirmed by a finding of the Ministry of Higher Education
which has identified 110 offices selling forged degrees from non-Saudi
universities. “The agencies have been supplying these bogus degrees for the
past several years,” said Muhammad Al-Ouhali, undersecretary at the Ministry
of Higher Education for academic matters, adding that the recent finding was
just the tip of the iceberg.
The degrees supplied by these diploma mills are not genuine or approved by
any official body, and often not worth the paper they are printed on. They
are issued by institutions that may offer courses without stringent controls
or approved standards. Or they may be simply issued by the transfer of money
into an overseas account.
Al-Ouhali added, “Steps are being taken to identity the agencies that supply
forged degrees. The ministry has set up a special department to crack down
on the issuance of false degrees. The department can verify the authenticity
of any degree by contacting the institution that purportedly issued the
document. The names of those holding forged degrees will not be found in any
accredited university register.”
Fake college degrees can be a profitable business for those selling them. A
fake bachelor’s or master’s degree can be bought for SR3,000 to SR30,000
while a bogus doctorate degree can cost up to SR90,000 from an institution
in the West.
With the advent of the Internet, the issuance of fake degrees has become a
universal problem, and the World Wide Web has made it easier for diploma
mills to snare prospective candidates for bogus certification through fake
ads or spam. Such organizations simply create a website that looks like it
belongs to a genuine university. A US media investigative team reported that
such sites provide online payment options for customers as well as details
for prospective employers who might contact them to verify whether a degree
is genuine or not, and that bogus degree markets thrive in India, Israel and
Although there have been instances where students were genuinely unaware of
the scam, in most cases it was reported that the prospective degree
recipients knew exactly what they were getting into. A US Department of
Justice finding of a few years ago created some ripples in this country when
it named over a hundred recipients of bogus PhD degrees from Saudi Arabia
who obtained their certificates from diploma mills. What was discomforting
was that some of them held executive positions in the government at the
time, undoubtedly riding on the success of those fake degrees.
This brings up another question. Does everyone have to have a degree? Is it
the social trend that is creating pressure for one and all to seek a college
diploma? Those who are not earnest or committed enough or others who may not
be intellectually comfortable in the confines of a university classroom may
find the call of a diploma mill appealing. It only requires the transfer of
money and very little mental effort on the part of the recipient, and soon
enough a snazzy and impressive piece of paper is in one’s hands sure to
impress any human resources manager.
There have also been cases where such degree holders were prompted by social
pressure and not by employment requirements. Such people finding themselves
surrounded by PhD holders often find it necessary to validate their standing
in the group, and the diploma mill is the most expedient method.
Let us resist this peculiar social stress on the importance of a university
degree. Such intense pressure could force some to take the easier bogus
route. As one reader put it, “Stop this craziness insisting that only
someone with a PhD can teach a basic course at a university! Usually they
cannot and they have no interest in doing so. We have diluted our education
systems and overproduced PhDs who now outnumber the jobs available. Bring
back technical colleges, business colleges, etc., and stop calling them
universities. This is what the country needs most — a nation of capable and
qualified doers and not an inflated bunch of idle PhD holders.”
+++SOURCE: Naharnet (Lebanon) 6 June '12:"Anti-Terror Forum in Turkey as
Syrian Conflict Rages", Agence France Presse
SUBJECT:Turkey hosts 'Anti-Terror Forum" 7 June
QUOTE:"Ministers from 30 countries. . . .will meet in Turkey [7 June] at an
anti-terror forum overshadowed by Syria's crisis and Iran's nuclear threat."
EXCERPTS:Ministers from some 30 countries, including U.S. Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton, will meet in Turkey on Thursday[7 June] at an anti-terror
forum overshadowed by Syria's crisis and Iran's nuclear threat.
The meeting comes as Western powers are pushing for increased pressure on
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stop his regime's assault against the
."A wide range of subjects are on the menu -- boosting the fight against
terror is obviously one ... but also other current topics such as the
situation in Syria and Iran's nuclear program," a Turkish diplomat told
Agence France Presse.
The European Union will be represented by its foreign policy chief Catherine
Ashton, who is also due to meet with Turkish diplomats.
World powers believe Iran has military nuclear ambitions, while Tehran has
insisted its program is peaceful.
Ankara's so-far fruitless attempt at playing middleman between Tehran and
world powers on the topic is also expected to be raised during the Istanbul
meeting, Turkish and European diplomats said.
Meanwhile, Turkey would also use the forum to seek "closer cooperation"
against Kurdish separatists' financial and political branches in Europe, the
Turkish diplomat said.
The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by
Turkey and by much of the international community, took up arms in
Kurdish-majority southeastern Turkey in 1984, sparking a conflict that has
claimed some 45,000 lives.
Kurdish separatists use their bases in northern Iraq as a springboard for
attacks into Turkey's southeast.
+++Source: Syria Report 4 June '12:"Syria to Print Money in Russia, Grows
Increasingly Dependent on Moscow "
SUBJECT: Syrian economic dependency on Russia
TEXT:Mohammad Jleilati, the Minister of Finance, has said that his
government was finalising discussions with Russia to print money there, a
move that signals a potentially growing economic dependency of the Syrian
government towards Moscow.
+++SOURCE: Syria Report 4 June '12:"SIIB under Sanctions from the US
Treasury, Board Resigns"
SUBJECT: Board members of Syrian bank resign after U.S. sanctions
TEXT:Updated June 03, 2012: Syria International Islamic Bank, an institution
with Qatari strategic shareholders and that saw its assets jump 85 percent
in the last quarter alone, was added to a list of companies under sanctions
by the US Treasury, leading to the resignation of all its Board members
+++SOURCE:Syria Report 4 June '12:"Unprecedented Strike Organised in
SUBJECT:First Damascus traders' strike
An unprecedented strike by Damascene traders was held last week, the first
in the Syrian capital since the beginning of the uprising in March 2011. .
Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA