Articles by Brian Whitaker

This is a collection of my articles about the Middle East, mostly written for the The Guardian newspaper and its website. The articles are grouped chronologically and according to country.

Articles in chronological order:
2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998

Articles listed by country:
Algeria | Bahrain | Egypt | Iran | Iraq | Kuwait | Lebanon | Libya | Oman | Palestine/Israel | Qatar | Saudi Arabia | Syria | Tunisia | United Arab Emirates | Yemen


Archive 1998-2001

2001

India moves missiles to Pakistani border
The Guardian, 27 Dec 2001
India said yesterday that it had moved missiles and fighter aircraft to its border with Pakistan as part of the biggest military build-up between the nuclear neighbours for almost 15 years.

Arafat vows to make banned trip to Bethlehem
The Guardian, 24 Dec 2001
Yasser Arafat will attempt to make his annual Christmas visit to Bethlehem today in defiance of an Israeli ban, Palestinian officials said last night.

Tension rises as two guards die in Kashmir fighting
The Guardian, 24 Dec 2001
Two Indian border guards were reportedly killed in a clash with Pakistani forces yesterday as both countries rushed reinforcements to the tense frontier area. Each of the nuclear rivals justified its military build-up as a response to moves by the other side.

Violence dominates lawless province
The Guardian, 19 Dec 2001
Marib, the scene of yesterday's conflict in which 12 people are reported to have been killed, is simultaneously Yemen's most important province and its most lawless.

'Stop the terror and start talking'
The Guardian, 5 Dec 2001
World leaders offer their reactions to the renewed violence in the Middle East.

Doublespeaking of terrorism
The Guardian, 3 Dec 2001
If the US stretches the definition of terrorism to justify an attack on Iraq, it will stretch the international coalition to breaking point, says Brian Whitaker .

UN reaches deal to impose new sanctions on Iraq
The Guardian, 30 Nov 2001
Amid controversy over American threats to attack Iraq as part of its anti-terrorism campaign, the UN security council met last night to agree on a revised plan for sanctions against the country.

Iraqis in defiant mood amid US threats
The Guardian, 28 Nov 2001
The war of words between Washington and Baghdad intensified yesterday when Iraq rejected US demands to allow weapons inspectors back into the country.

Raising the double standard in Afghan war
The Guardian, 26 Nov 2001
If America allows the Northern Alliance to commit more atrocities, its campaign will never be victorious, says Brian Whitaker .

Lebanese farmers find drug crops too profitable to miss
The Guardian, 26 Nov 2001
Lebanon issued a tough warning to poppy growers yesterday, threatening them with life imprisonment if they do not abandon the drug trade.

Bin Laden taint hurts family empire
The Guardian, 22 Nov 2001
Calls to the Saudi Binladin Group's outpost on Berkeley Street in the heart of London's West End were diverted straight to the answering machine yesterday. No one was returning any messages.

Northern stronghold ready to capitulate
The Guardian, 22 Nov 2001
Mullah Faizal, the most senior Taliban leader left in northern Afghanistan, swept out of the beleaguered city of Kunduz yesterday evening in a convoy of mud-encrusted battle cruisers crammed with 50 heavily armed Taliban fighters.

Homosexuality on trial in Egypt
The Guardian, 19 Nov 2001
Same-sex relationships are as common in the Middle East as in Europe, but the difference is public perceptions, writes Brian Whitaker .

Hizbullah claims US offered amnesty
The Guardian, 17 Nov 2001
Hizbullah said yesterday that the US had secretly offered to forgive it for attacks on westerners in return for abandoning its struggle against Israel.

Egypt jails 'debauched' gays
The Guardian, 15 Nov 2001
Egypt's biggest gay trial ended yesterday with 23 men being jailed for terms of up to five years, and 29 acquitted.

An Arab aesthetic
The Guardian, 13 Nov 2001
By appropriating Arab-Islamic designs, couture houses recognise that fashion - and thus modernity - does not belong exclusively to the west, writes Brian Whitaker .

New rift threatens over refusal to freeze Hizbullah assets
The Guardian, 7 Nov 2001
Lebanon is today expected to reject American demands to freeze the assets of the Hizbullah organisation, opening the biggest rift yet between Arabs and the US in the campaign against worldwide terrorism.

Misplaced politics in Damascus
The Guardian, 5 Nov 2001
On a visit lacking clear objectives, Tony Blair was mistaken not to acknowledge Syria's 34-year war against Israel, writes Brian Whitaker .

Taliban agreed Bin Laden handover in 1998
The Guardian, 5 Nov 2001
The Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar agreed three years ago to hand over Osama bin Laden, but changed his mind after US cruise missile attacks, the former head of Saudi Arabian intelligence said yesterday.

Listed as an enemy, wooed as a friend in a crisis
The Guardian, 31 Oct 2001
George Washington was once a terrorist, the Syrian minister of information tells visitors as he reels off a list of other suspects: Nelson Mandela, Joan of Arc, Charles de Gaulle. It is a point the Syrians are sure to make today in their talks with Tony Blair.

Arabs hatch media plan to 'face the westerners'
The Guardian, 30 Oct 2001
Middle Eastern states planning to broadcast pro-Islamic TV to the west must improve their PR tactics if they want their campaign to succeed, says Brian Whitaker .

Extremist view of Islam unites terror suspects
The Guardian, 26 Oct 2001
Investigators hunting members of Osama bin Laden's network have discovered that all the suspected terrorists arrested in Europe over the past 10 months follow an extreme Salafi interpretation of Islam.

Taliban translator 'fugitive Egyptian'
The Guardian, 25 Oct 2001
The Taliban's most prominent interpreter is a fugitive Egyptian militant, an Arab newspaper claimed yesterday.

Pressure on the Saudi safety valve
The Guardian, 23 Oct 2001
A new-found aversion to terrorists and those that support them could result in great trouble for the country in which Bin Laden was born, says Brian Whitaker

Saddam Hussein offers sympathy in email to US
The Guardian, 22 Oct 2001
Saddam Hussein has emailed an American citizen offering his personal condolences over the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, but accusing the US of "terrorism" and "fanaticism".

Iran in secret pact to aid Americans
The Guardian, 17 Oct 2001
Iran has secretly agreed to help any members of the American forces who stray into its territory as a result of the conflict with neighbouring Afghanistan, in a sign of its growing cooperation with the US.

Growing threat of bioterrorist attacks
The Guardian, 16 Oct 2001
The threat to the United States from bioterrorist attacks has been steadily increasing over the last five years. In 1999 Robert Burnham, the FBI's domestic terrorism chief, warned that more people were obtaining dangerous materials with intent to cause harm.

Halt war, says ayatollah
The Guardian, 16 Oct 2001
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, yesterday accused the United States of dragging the world into war and urged the international community to step in to halt the bombing of Afghanistan.

US relations with Riyadh slide further
The Guardian, 16 Oct 2001
Rapidly souring relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia took a further turn for the worse yesterday when the kingdom criticised the bombing of Afghanistan.

Piecing together the terrorist jigsaw
The Guardian, 15 Oct 2001
Investigations into the bombing of USS Cole suggest small band of key players in Bin Laden's network, writes Brian Whitaker.

Al-Qaida link to kidnap of tourists
The Guardian, 13 Oct 2001
An armed group that kidnapped 16 western tourists in 1998 was part of the al-Qaida network, a former prime minister of Yemen said yesterday.

Blair snub shows Gulf sensitivity
The Guardian, 12 Oct 2001
The picture in the Oman Observer shows a relaxed Tony Blair chatting to Sultan Qaboos in the ruler's office.

Gulf murder alarms westerners
The Guardian, 12 Oct 2001
Alarm spread among westerners in the Gulf yesterday after the murder of a Canadian employed at an airbase in Kuwait.

Threat to Iraq alarms Arab states
The Guardian, 10 Oct 2001
American hints that the war on terrorism could be extended to other countries besides Afghanistan yesterday threatened to wreck the consensus of support among Middle Eastern governments.

Battle station
The Guardian, 9 Oct 2001
A decade ago we watched Baghdad burn on CNN. This time millions were glued to footage from an Arab satellite channel broadcasting from a nation few of us could find on the map. Brian Whitaker reports on how al-Jazeera cornered the conflict.

Dissident clerics warn Saudi royals
The Guardian, 8 Oct 2001
Dissident Muslim clerics in Saudi Arabia have threatened to excommunicate the king and other members of the royal family if they support the military strikes against Afghanistan.

Saddam says the world should see evidence US has against Bin Laden
The Guardian, 8 Oct 2001
Iraq, a frequent target for bombing by American and British warplanes, last night condemned the strikes on Afghanistan.

A tug of war - but will the rope snap?
The Guardian, 6 Oct 2001
The Islamic University of Medina, in Saudi Arabia, is one of the Muslim world's most prestigious universities, founded in 1961 by the Saudi king "to convey the eternal message of Islam to the entire world".

Saudis draw their line in the sand
The Guardian, 4 Oct 2001
When Donald Rumsfeld arrived in Riyadh yesterday for talks with the Saudi government, the issue at the top of the agenda was a space-age command centre at the Prince Sultan air base, 70 miles to the south-east of the capital, near the town of al-Kharj.

Chilling document hints at 'Armageddon'
The Guardian, 1 Oct 2001
A letter, handwritten in Arabic and possibly the work of one of the September 11 hijackers, raises many puzzling questions, writes Brian Whitaker .

Bestseller Bin Laden book snapped up
The Guardian, 29 Sep 2001
The world's most wanted man stares out from the cover of the book with a Mona Lisa smile. He is wearing white robes, topped with a camouflage jacket, and a cheap digital watch on his wrist.

Saudis to give US use of key air base
The Guardian, 29 Sep 2001
US officials are confident that Saudi Arabia will allow use of the Prince Sultan air base for military action against Afghanistan.

Sulky Syria meets old Arafat rival
The Guardian, 27 Sep 2001
Syria's defence minister met a radical Palestinian guerrilla chief yesterday, casting doubt on a planned Syrian reconciliation with the mainstream Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

G8 summit may have been Bin Laden target
The Guardian, 27 Sep 2001
Two months before the attacks on New York and Washington, Osama bin Laden may have been contemplating an aerial attack against world leaders assembled in Genoa for a G8 summit.

Saudis cut ties with Taliban regime
The Guardian, 26 Sep 2001
Saudi Arabia yesterday cut all ties with the Taliban regime, accusing it of recruiting and training "gullible" Saudis to take part in international terrorism.

First battle: a tangled web of terrorist cash
The Guardian, 25 Sep 2001
President George Bush opened up a new front in his "war on terrorism" yesterday by attacking Osama bin Laden's finances. "We will starve the terrorists of funding," he said. The move freezes any assets in the US belonging to those named but - more importantly - threatens to freeze the asset of any banks that do business with them.

Arab states face stark choices
The Guardian, 24 Sep 2001
Supporting the United States is a risky business in the Middle East because there are costs as well as benefits, writes Brian Whitaker .

Saudis reject US plea to use bases
The Guardian, 24 Sep 2001
US ally is also source of Bin Laden cash and recruits.

Arab world divided on fight against terror
The Guardian, 24 Sep 2001
All Arab countries except Iraq were quick to condemn the suicide attacks on New York and Washington. But differences are beginning to emerge over the practicalities of fighting terrorism.

Bin Laden taint hurts family empire
The Guardian, 21 Sep 2001
Calls to the Saudi Binladin Group's outpost on Berkeley Street in the heart of London's West End were diverted straight to the answering machine yesterday. No one was returning any messages.

High hopes as Arafat tries to make 48-hour truce stick
The Guardian, 19 Sep 2001
Israelis and Palestinians were holding their breath last night, waiting to see whether the ceasefire called by Yasser Arafat will last until tomorrow.

Middle East peace holds key to America's war
The Guardian, 17 Sep 2001
A brave George Bush would win his 'war against terrorism' by solving, not inflaming, the Middle East crisis, says Brian Whitaker

Bin Laden and family flee to the hills and family go into hiding
The Guardian, 17 Sep 2001
Terror suspect denies role in attack on US.

What the Middle East papers say
The Guardian, 14 Sep 2001
The Arab press urges caution on the US while newspapers in Israel demand strong action on terrorism, writes Middle East editor Brian Whitaker.

Hijackers linked to Saudi Arabia and Emirates
The Guardian, 14 Sep 2001
Western intelligence sources are now concentrating wholly on the theory that the Saudi-born terrorist Osama bin Laden was responsible for the attacks and reject suggestions from retired US commanders, such as Wesley Clark, that Iraq was behind it.

From aid to antagonism
The Guardian, 14 Sep 2001
Moves to launch a military strike against Afghanistan contrast sharply with a $43m (£30m) donation to the Taliban regime approved by US secretary of state Colin Powell less than four months ago.

Sharon likens Arafat to Bin Laden
The Guardian, 14 Sep 2001
The Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, laid down some covering fire yesterday as his tanks attacked Palestinian territory in search of terrorists: he likened Yasser Arafat to Osama bin Laden.

Israeli tanks invade Jericho and Jenin
The Guardian, 14 Sep 2001
Israeli tanks rolled into the West Bank towns of Jenin and Jericho yesterday, shelling buildings and leaving four Palestinians dead.

Iraq stands alone as Arab world offers sympathy and regrets
The Guardian, 13 Sep 2001
America's traditional enemies condemn attacks but blame the US role in Middle East crisis.

What the Middle East papers say
The Guardian, 12 Sep 2001
For all their differences, the media in the Middle East - from Iraq to Israel - seem to be agreed on one thing: the attacks are the result of American policies, writes Brian Whitaker , the Middle East editor.

Finger of suspicion pointed at Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden
The Guardian, 12 Sep 2001
Within hours of the attacks in New York and Washington, the US and other western intelligence organisations put Osama bin Laden, the Saudi-born terrorist in hiding in Afghanistan, at the top of the list of suspects.

Sixty years on, America endures horror worse than Pearl Harbour
The Guardian, 12 Sep 2001
Though it was difficult even to guess at the death toll last night, there can be no doubt that yesterday's day of terror was on a scale that the United States has never seen before.

Opec promise stable oil prices
The Guardian, 12 Sep 2001
Oil producers have moved quickly to reassure markets about the continuity of supplies following the terror attacks in the United States.

Gadafy goes bananas for bananas
The Guardian, 11 Sep 2001
Colonel Muammar Gadafy, the unpredictable Libyan leader, has offered to buy all the bananas grown in the Caribbean, according to officials who visited Tripoli recently.

Saddam relative 'seeks asylum'
The Guardian, 4 Sep 2001
A member of Saddam Hussein's family said last night that he was seeking refuge in an Arab country, then hastily retracted his statement.

The summit of Middle East tension
The Guardian, 3 Sep 2001
Israelis call it a village, the rest of the world an illegal settlement. Either way, Psagot is symptomatic of the failure of current security measures, writes Brian Whitaker .

Satellite to beam anti-Saddam TV to Iraq
The Guardian, 29 Aug 2001
The US-sponsored propaganda war against Saddam Hussein will move into space when the first satellite TV channel run by the Iraqi opposition starts broadcasting. By Brian Whitaker.

Hereditary republics in Arab states
The Guardian, 28 Aug 2001
Brian Whitaker explores the new and self-contradictory trend towards republican dynasties.

'These are the worst days of our lives'
The Guardian, 20 Aug 2001
Many Israelis believe Ariel Sharon is not tough enough, while two thirds of Palestinians support suicide bomb attacks, leaving little hope for peace, writes Brian Whitaker .

Sharon too peaceful, says Israeli poll
The Guardian, 18 Aug 2001
Ariel Sharon's popularity among Israelis has plummeted, apparently because they think he is using too little force, an opinion poll showed yesterday.

Sharon's forces close in on Bethlehem
The Guardian, 15 Aug 2001
Israeli forces were poised to begin a big incursion around Bethlehem last night as the prime minister, Ariel Sharon, warned that the Palestinians were about to lose "additional assets".

West Bank a shooting gallery as Palestinians answer invasion
The Guardian, 15 Aug 2001
The West Bank erupted in defiance yesterday. Fierce gunbattles broke out in Beit Jala and Bethlehem, and one Palestinian was killed and another critically injured in separate explosions in Nablus and Ramallah.

Palestinian Authority calls general strike
The Guardian, 13 Aug 2001
The Palestinian Authority called for a general strike today to protest at the Israeli seizures of Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem.

Israel shaken by new suicide bombing
The Guardian, 13 Aug 2001
A Palestinian suicide bomber brought the intifada to Israel's heartland yesterday, blowing himself up in a cafe near Haifa and wounding 15 people, one of them seriously.

Israelis seize PLO peace plan papers
The Guardian, 12 Aug 2001
Police and protesters clash as lorries take away tons of documents from captured Palestinian HQ

Bush calls on Arafat to act
The Guardian, 10 Aug 2001
President George Bush demanded that Yasser Arafat carry out arrests in the wake of yesterday's suicide bombing. A strongly worded statement issued from the US leader's Texas ranch appeared to echo Israel's contention that ultimate responsibility lay with the Palestinian leader.

Who carried out suicide bombing?
The Guardian, 10 Aug 2001
Two terror groups claim credit for act that is gaining acceptance among Palestinians.

Speculation mounts about Saddam's succession
The Guardian, 6 Aug 2001
Diabetes, strokes, cancer ... you name it, Saddam Hussein is rumoured to be suffering from it.

Algeria police blamed for riots
The Guardian, 30 Jul 2001
A report into April's Berber clashes exonerates the government, writes Brian Whitaker.

Saddam's son turns to religion to win power
The Guardian, 30 Jul 2001
The unholy rivalry between Saddam Hussein's wayward sons, Uday and Qusay, has taken a surprising turn with reports that Uday has converted to Shi'a Islam.

US jet in close shave with Iraqi missile
The Guardian, 27 Jul 2001
An Iraqi missile narrowly missed an American U2 spy plane patrolling the southern no-fly zone of the country, US officials said yesterday.

Summit on racism jeopardised by anti-Zionist draft
The Guardian, 26 Jul 2001
A row about the nature of Zionism is jeopardising plans for a worldwide campaign against racism, US officials said last night.

Liquid assets
The Guardian, 25 Jul 2001
For the Middle East, water has always been a politically sensitive issue, linked as it is to production of food. Brian Whitaker looks at how the region allocates this precious commodit, and Sophie TrŽmolet looks at shortages in the Canary Islands

Israel 'faces existential crisis'
The Guardian, 23 Jul 2001
A professor's claim that new demographic trends could lead to Israel's collapse are based on questionable assumptions, writes Brian Whitaker .

Arab politicians eye up makeover
The Guardian, 16 Jul 2001
The Middle East finally realises the value of good PR, writes Brian Whitaker .

Algerian 'behind LA plot'
The Guardian, 16 Jul 2001
An Algerian based in London has been accused by New York prosecutors of being one of the masterminds behind an alleged millennium plot to blow up Los Angeles airport.

Saddam to retire, says Arab report
The Guardian, 13 Jul 2001
Saddam Hussein is considering stepping down in September and leaving the Iraqi presidency to his son Qusay, a leading Arab newspaper claimed yesterday.

Biggest sellers 'damage' UN effort
The Guardian, 10 Jul 2001
Amnesty International yesterday accused major gun-producing nations such as the United States, Russia and China of trying to undermine the first United Nations conference aimed at controlling small arms distribution.

Moroccan prince denounces 'despotism'
The Guardian, 9 Jul 2001
The cousin of the reigning king has called for sweeping constitutional reform and a curb on the powers of the monarchy, writes Brian Whitaker .

Russia blocks new sanctions on Iraqi arms
The Guardian, 3 Jul 2001
A British-American plan to revamp sanctions against Iraq suffered a big setback at the UN security council last night when Russia resisted the so-called "smart" sanctions meant to replace the oil-for-food programme.

Sandy shores and a media desert
The Guardian, 2 Jul 2001
A Tunisian journalist is imprisoned for challenging her president's desire to eradicate free speech, says Brian Whitaker .

Russians oppose 'smart sanctions'
The Guardian, 28 Jun 2001
Russia yesterday threatened to wield its veto in the United Nations to torpedo US and British plans to introduce a new "smart sanctions" regime against Iraq.

Jordan first to lose when 'smart' sanctions hit Iraq
The Guardian, 26 Jun 2001
Jordan, battered economically by almost nine months of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is preparing for another blow. As the first casualty of "smart" sanctions against Iraq, it could lose its entire oil supply, as well as its main export market.

Fight or flight?
The Guardian, 25 Jun 2001
Israel's airports have some of the most stringent security measures in the world. But is the threat of terrorism the only motive for such heavy-handed tactics, asks Brian Whitaker .

Jerusalem cafe provides food for thought
The Guardian, 18 Jun 2001
The problems faced by a family of Palestinian restaurateurs are a microcosm of the region's current troubles, says Brian Whitaker.

The first casualty of war
The Guardian, 17 Jun 2001
Israelis say Western reports are biased. But the media complain Israel is harassing them. Report by Peter Beaumont, Brian Whitaker in Jerusalem and Edward Helmore in New York.

Israel furious at BBC for Sharon claim
The Guardian, 15 Jun 2001
Israel attacked the BBC yesterday for a Panorama programme which concludes that prime minister Ariel Sharon could be tried for war crimes, write Brian Whitaker and Vikram Dodd.

Reluctant Arafat accepts US ceasefire plan
The Guardian, 14 Jun 2001
The CIA director, George Tenet, brought Israeli and Palestinian security officials together yesterday to begin implementing the Middle East ceasefire plan they have reluctantly accepted.

Arafat tested as US envoy plans to leave
The Guardian, 13 Jun 2001
The director of the CIA, George Tenet, was preparing to leave the Middle East last night without a final agreement on his ceasefire proposals.

CIA-led Middle East talks fall apart
The Guardian, 12 Jun 2001
Three hours of talks described as "very tense" with the CIA chief, George Tenet, broke up in disarray last night after Israel said it would not lift its blockade in the West Bank and Gaza until the Palestinians implemented security measures, a Palestinian official said.

Green gold 
The Guardian, 11 June 2001
When Lebanon wiped out the Bekaa valley's $500m-a-year cannabis industry in the 1990s, it was a catastrophe for the impoverished area. Its people are now returning to drug production to survive - and are ready to fight the government to protect their crops. Brian Whitaker reports.

Israel drives hard bargain for peace
The Guardian, 11 Jun 2001
While many Israelis genuinely hope for a ceasefire, some would prefer it to fail. Ariel Sharon may be one of them, writes Brian Whitaker.

Israeli shell kills Bedouin women
The Guardian, 11 Jun 2001
The Middle East ceasefire was in the balance yesterday after Israeli tank fire killed three Palestinian women in a Bedouin tent on the Gaza Strip.

Pimps charge 'transfer fees' for women
The Guardian, 10 Jun 2001
Israeli brothel keepers have the right to buy and sell prostitutes in the same way that football clubs transfer players, a lawyer claimed last week. 'There is no difference between trading football players, hi-tech programmers, or surgeons, and selling women for purposes of prostitution,' Yaacov Shklar, who specialises in defending pimps, told a Knesset committee.

Israeli pimps charge transfer fees for women
The Guardian, 10 Jun 2001
Israeli brothel keepers have the right to buy and sell prostitutes in the same way that football clubs transfer players, a lawyer claimed last week. 'There is no difference between trading football players, hi-tech programmers, or surgeons, and selling women for purposes of prostitution,' Yaacov Shklar, who specialises in defending pimps, told a Knesset committee.

US in talks to cement Middle East ceasefire
The Guardian, 8 Jun 2001
Efforts to shore up the fragile ceasefire in the Middle East are to be stepped up today in joint Israeli-Palestinian security talks arranged by the US Central Intelligence Agency.

US creeps back into Middle East
The Guardian, 7 Jun 2001
The CIA director, George Tenet, arrived in Israel yesterday, taking the US a step further towards re-engagement in the Middle East conflict.

Israel slices through the low road to Gaza
The Guardian, 7 Jun 2001
There may be a lull in the Middle East conflict above ground, but below ground the battle of the moles rages on.

Hamas threat leaves ceasefire in tatters
The Guardian, 6 Jun 2001
The militant Islamic group Hamas vowed yesterday to attack Israelis "everywhere, by all means", casting doubt on the viability of the ceasefire called by the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, last weekend.

Stopping sanctions from smarting
The Guardian, 4 Jun 2001
America's new proposals for sanctions against Iraq may not look too smart, but they deserve to be given a chance, says Brian Whitaker.

UN gets more time to revamp Iraqi sanctions
The Guardian, 1 Jun 2001
Britain and the US have delayed their plans to ask the UN security council to introduce "smart" sanctions against Iraq in the hope of avoiding a split in the council.

Husseini the 'voice of sanity' dies
The Guardian, 1 Jun 2001
Heart attack claims leading PLO official who fought for Palestinians' right to live in Jerusalem and whose popularity infuriated Arafat.

Where the qat is out of the bag
The Guardian, 28 May 2001
It's a drug that induces dreaminess, lucidity and, later on, surges of energy. And in some countries, including Yemen, it's legal, says Brian Whitaker

Another side of Saddam - the shy romantic novelist
The Guardian, 26 May 2001
A tragic novel of loveless marriage, rape and death is causing a stir in Iraq and at the CIA. Could its unnamed author be the Butcher of Baghdad?

Russia blocks smart sanctions against Iraq
The Guardian, 24 May 2001
British and American plans for "smart" sanctions against Iraq ran into trouble yesterday when Russia - which has a veto in the UN security council - sought to block any changes for six months.

The Mitchell report
The Guardian, 22 May 2001
The Mitchell Commission yesterday called for an immediate and unconditional end to violence as a first step towards resuming Middle East peace talks.

Are smart sanctions the answer?
The Guardian, 21 May 2001
Getting tough with Saddam didn't work, says Brian Whitaker. Will a softly-softly approach be any more effective?

Heading for disaster
The Guardian, 21 May 2001
Israel should stop using F-16 fighter-bombers to attack the Palestinians, the US vice-president, Dick Cheney, said yesterday.

Classics
The Guardian, 16 May 2001
You don't have to speak Latin to study classics, says Brian Whitaker.

The truth isn't out there
The Guardian, 14 May 2001
Lebanese journalists often end up on a media gravy train fuelled by lies and deceit, writes Brian Whitaker .

Creditors chase PLO money man
The Guardian, 8 May 2001
A Palestinian multi-millionaire who ran the PLO's finances for 12 years is being pursued in Britain for debts left behind when he fled bankruptcy.

The definition of terrorism
The Guardian, 7 May 2001
A new US government report illustrates that any classification of terrorist groups is fundamentally motivated by self-interest, writes Brian Whitaker .

Woman joins the list for Iranian presidency
The Guardian, 3 May 2001
A woman was among the first to register as a candidate when nominations for the Iranian presidential election opened yesterday.

Europe irresolute over Israeli trade fraud
The Guardian, 30 Apr 2001
Israel has been flouting an EU trade agreement at the expense of Palestinian finances for the past six years. But, asks Brian Whitaker, does Europe have the nerve to take punitive action?

The great libel saga
The Guardian, 30 Apr 2001
The longest-running libel action in the British courts involves a specialist newsletter, Africa Confidential, being sued by a group of Saudi businessmen. Brian Whitaker and David Pallister on why the case has lasted six years.

Europe colludes in Israeli trade scams
The Guardian, 23 Apr 2001
The EU's disallows trading with 'illegal' Jewish settlements, but accepts their goods under Israeli guise Brian Whitaker .

Dispute and denial surround killings of teenagers
The Guardian, 18 Apr 2001
Seventeen-year-old Bassam Zaharan was suspected of wounding an Israeli soldier with a knife. But the Palestinian teenager will not be appearing in court or going to prison: Israeli forces shot him dead before he could be put on trial.

Saddam supports sanctions
The Guardian, 16 Apr 2001
Iraq's dictator is playing a dangerous diplomatic game over UN sanctions, which he has been using to his advantage, writes Brian Whitaker .

Israel wins war of words
The Guardian, 9 Apr 2001
Brian Whitaker on the dangers of sloppy journalism.

Court arrests 40 dissidents in Iran
The Guardian, 9 Apr 2001
In a new crackdown on dissent in Iran, agents of the Revolutionary Court arrested 40 people on charges of trying to overthrow the Islamic regime, reports from Tehran said yesterday.

Pokemon feels force of religious fatwa
The Guardian, 5 Apr 2001
Pikachu, Charmander and Butterfree are fighting for their lives. The Pokemon creatures loved by millions of children around the world stand accused of promoting Zionism, freemasonry, Christianity, Darwinism and Shintoism - not to mention gambling.

Israeli website mixes fact and fantasy
The Guardian, 3 Apr 2001
Tasteless computer games are one thing, but Brian Whitaker says that fantasy masquerading as journalism is far worse.

Cartoonist gives Syria a new line in freedom
The Guardian, 3 Apr 2001
Politics has never been much fun in Syria, but the cartoonist Ali Farzat believes that jokes are the way to bring about reform.

Barak's failures lead all shades of British Jewry to trust in Sharon
The Guardian, 28 Mar 2001
The Jewish community in Britain seems to have swung behind Ariel Sharon's new government in Israel, after six months of watching the Palestinian uprising.

Syrian rehabilitation is in the pipeline
The Guardian, 26 Mar 2001
The young Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, has proved adept at handling diplomatic relations with the US in talks over illegal fuel smuggling, writes Brian Whitaker

US moots lifting of air ban
The Guardian, 26 Mar 2001
The US is considering lifting the 10-year ban on commercial flights to Iraq, state department sources say. The idea is being discussed as part of a new sanctions package which would "make it possible for almost everything to go into Iraq", apart from military equipment and "dangerous dual use" items.

Syrians fall victim to racism in Lebanon
The Guardian, 19 Mar 2001
After President Hafez al-Assad of Syria died last June, questions about Lebanon's relationship with its neighbour have come into the open, says Brian Whitaker .

Lebanon peace lies in development, UN says
The Guardian, 19 Mar 2001
Amid heightened tension on Lebanon's southern border, a senior UN official yesterday called for the area to be developed and repopulated to prevent further conflict.

Syria looks to the future
The Guardian, 13 Mar 2001
Syria is finally allowing the world's media off its leash as it thinks about reform

Middle East stares war in the face
The Guardian, 12 Mar 2001
With Israel busy on the Palestinian front, Hizbullah guerrillas may start attacking from the north, writes Brian Whitaker .

Muslims' kinder way of eating meat
The Guardian, 5 Mar 2001
While Britain continues its mass cull of livestock, animals in the Middle East are slaughtered by the thousand for very different reasons, writes Brian Whitaker .

US urges Syria to be tougher on Iraq
The Guardian, 27 Feb 2001
The US secretary of state, Colin Powell, continued his whirlwind tour of the Middle East yesterday in an effort to bolster flagging support for sanctions against Iraq.

Losing the Saudi cyberwar
The Guardian, 26 Feb 2001
The Saudi government's attempts to filter the internet for its citizens are narrow-minded, unrealistic and, it seems, doomed to failure, says Brian Whitaker .

Allies struggle to find 'smart' sanctions on Iraq
The Guardian, 26 Feb 2001
A decade after the Gulf war, experts say west will have trouble inventing acceptable new ways to bring Baghdad to heel.

Allies repackage 'smart' embargo
The Guardian, 21 Feb 2001
The British government will discuss plans to impose "smart" sanctions on Iraq with the new US administration this week as opposition to the transatlantic policy against Saddam Hussein mounts throughout Europe and the Arab world.

How support for UN strategy withered away
The Guardian, 21 Feb 2001
What went wrong: Iraqi defiance pays dividends.

International reaction
The Guardian, 21 Feb 2001
From frosty silence to vocal criticism, doubts abound.

Kurds despair under west's leaky umbrella
The Guardian, 20 Feb 2001
The 900 refugees whose ship was beached on the French Riviera at the weekend are the visible tip of a much larger exodus fleeing harassment by Saddam Hussein, Kurdish sources said yesterday.

No contest in the battle for Arab hearts and minds
The Guardian, 19 Feb 2001
In the Middle East, Saddam Hussein appeared to have won the public relations battle yesterday in the aftermath of the US-British air strikes on radar stations around Baghdad.

West rebukes Israel's assassins
The Guardian, 15 Feb 2001
International opprobrium was directed at Israel yesterday for its state-approved assassinations of suspected terrorists - a practice widely regarded as illegal.

Saudis open a can of words
The Guardian, 14 Feb 2001
Cracking down on corruption can produce a host of new problems, as Brian Whitaker explains.

Pressure on prince over Saudi visit
The Guardian, 14 Feb 2001
Prince Charles came under fire from Amnesty International yesterday after palace officials refused to say whether he will raise the issue of detained Britons during a visit to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi security scare raises bomb doubts
The Guardian, 10 Feb 2001
Prince Nayef, the Saudi minister who is heading investigations into bomb attacks against Britons, has doubled the number of his personal bodyguards to 300 men, opposition sources said yesterday.

Saudis track down drink den owner
The Guardian, 8 Feb 2001
A business associate of the Briton facing execution in Saudi Arabia for a car bomb killing was yesterday moved from his prison cell in Dubai for extradition back to the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Sharon has a mountain to climb
The Guardian, 7 Feb 2001
Even with his trademark bulldozing style, Ariel Sharon will find it difficult to make a dent in a monumentally complicated political situation, says Middle East editor Brian Whitaker .

Rage and hope mix in election of hated enemy
The Guardian, 7 Feb 2001
The Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, is ready to meet Ariel Sharon as Israeli prime minister, the PLO confirmed last night.

Briton accused of Saudi car bomb 'sold drinking den' to victim
The Guardian, 7 Feb 2001
Alexander Mitchell, the Briton facing execution in Saudi Arabia after he admitted planting a car bomb, had a business relationship with the man he is accused of killing, sources in Riyadh's expatriate community said yesterday.

Briton's TV confession adds to mystery of the Saudi car bombs
The Guardian, 6 Feb 2001
A British hospital worker was last night facing the death penalty in Saudi Arabia after he appeared on television in Riyadh and admitted planting a car bomb which killed a fellow Briton in November last year.

Trade secrets of the expat speakeasies
The Guardian, 6 Feb 2001
Many of the expatriate drinking dens in Saudi Arabia operate like private clubs, with strict rules. Members join by invitation and pay a monthly subscription towards the running costs. Members can also sign-in guests.

UN cannot punish Iraqi oil surcharges
The Guardian, 26 Jan 2001
A new and damaging crack opened in the international sanctions against the Iraqi regime yesterday when the United Nations accepted that it cannot penalise oil firms which make illegal payments to Baghdad.

Pressure on Iraq over 'new weapons'
The Guardian, 23 Jan 2001
The Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, has rebuilt three factories which are now capable of producing chemical weapons, the US and Britain claimed yesterday.

Saddam proclaims Gulf war victory as son lays fresh claim to Kuwait
The Guardian, 18 Jan 2001
Saddam Hussein yesterday marked the tenth anniversary of the Gulf war with a victory speech, amid revived controversy over Iraq's territorial ambition to incorporate its neighbour Kuwait.

Saddam: serpent in the Garden of Eden
The Guardian, 12 Jan 2001
The Gulf war exposed western hypocrisy and made a hero of a tyrant, says Middle East editor Brian Whitaker .

Oil guru warns against hasty supply cuts
The Guardian, 12 Jan 2001
Cuts in oil production, coupled with Iraqi political machination, could drive world energy prices to a new peak, members of Opec were warned yesterday.

Bin Laden stars at Afghan wedding of the year
The Guardian, 11 Jan 2001
Afghanistan's social event of the year was no match for the wedding of Madonna and Guy or Posh and Becks. But the atmosphere was as jolly as it ever gets in Kandahar.

Taliban to execute Muslims who deny Islam
The Guardian, 9 Jan 2001
The head of the Afghanistan Taliban movement warned yesterday that anyone who converted from Islam to another religion would be executed.

Saddam defies doubters on TV
The Guardian, 7 Jan 2001
A televised speech by Saddam Hussein yesterday failed to convince doubters that he is alive and well.

Bush is Mr Nice Guy, says Gadafy
The Guardian, 6 Jan 2001
George W Bush is a nice man. That's the word on the US president-elect from Libya.

Middle East to West End
The Guardian, 5 Jan 2001
The relationship between Britain and the Arab world has been reaffirmed by the Syrian president's marriage to a Londoner. Middle East editor Brian Whitaker reports.

Dead or alive?
The Guardian, 5 Jan 2001
Mystery of Saddam Hussein's health deepens.

The great survivor
The Guardian, 3 Jan 2001
For 10 years the west has spent billions enforcing no-fly zones, policing sanctions and funding opposition groups but, as the anniversary of the Gulf war approaches, Saddam Hussein is still in power - and stronger than ever. How does he do it?

2000

Winter in the desert
The Guardian, 29 Dec 2000
Despite only having one word for snow, the Arabic-speaking nations and their neighbours are not immune from the end-of-year chill, writes Middle East editor Brian Whitaker.

Decision day for Middle East talks
The Guardian, 27 Dec 2000
Today is the deadline set by President Bill Clinton for both sides in the Middle East conflict to declare whether they accept proposals put forward in Washington last week as a framework for continuing talks

Jerusalem trade-off broached
The Guardian, 23 Dec 2000
Hardliners will not like proposed deal on sovereignty and refugees

Artificial toe puts mummy in history books
The Guardian, 23 Dec 2000
Scientists studying a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy believe they have found the earliest evidence of a working artificial body part.

Britons under arrest in Saudi Arabia
The Guardian, 22 Dec 2000
Three Britons are under arrest in Saudi Arabia on suspicion of producing or smuggling alcohol, the British embassy in Riyadh said last night.

Arabophobia in the air
The Guardian, 15 Dec 2000
A security scare at Heathrow airport over a pack of playing cards has drawn attention to widespread racism among airlines, writes Middle East editor Brian Whitaker.

Iraq levies oil surcharge
The Guardian, 12 Dec 2000
Iraq threw down a new challenge to the United Nations yesterday by announcing that anyone who wants to buy its oil will have to pay a 40-cent surcharge on each barrel directly into an Iraqi bank account.

Bin Laden: aiming at the symptom, not the disease
The Guardian, 8 Dec 2000
As the US tries a new tack in its fight against terrorism, Brian Whitaker questions the wisdom of concentrating so much effort on the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.

Sainsbury's on Egyptian boycott list
The Guardian, 7 Dec 2000
All over the Middle East - in government and private offices, in universities and schools - the list that has sent shudders through western companies is passed around. It names US firms and products which Arabs and Muslims are urged to boycott in protest at American support for Israel.

UN mediator tells Israel: lift blockade or risk war
The Guardian, 6 Dec 2000
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict could rapidly deteriorate into a regional war, the United Nations special envoy to the Middle East, Terje Roed-Larsen, warned yesterday.

Middle East conflict over rules of engagement
The Guardian, 1 Dec 2000
Not least of the disputes between the Israelis and Palestinians is whether they are actually at war, says Brian Whitaker .

War games on the net: but this time it's for real
The Guardian, 30 Nov 2000
It's a war where nobody gets killed and almost anyone can join in. Brian Whitaker reports on the Middle East cyber-war

Iraqi plan threatens winter oil supplies
The Guardian, 30 Nov 2000
A new confrontation between Iraq and the UN has raised the spectre of oil supplies being disrupted this winter.

Israelis will hinder western intervention
The Guardian, 24 Nov 2000
While the Israelis are beginning to realise that intervention in the conflict is inevitable, they will surely do their utmost to make it as ineffective as possible, writes Brian Whitaker .

Britain ready to commit observers
The Guardian, 24 Nov 2000
The British government is preparing to commit troops as part of an international observer force in the troubled Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Bomb-risk warning to Britons
The Guardian, 24 Nov 2000
Britons in Saudi Arabia were urged to take extra care yesterday after two explosions in five days in the capital Riyadh.

Baghdad starts oil flowing in pipeline to Syria
The Guardian, 23 Nov 2000
In the biggest challenge to international sanctions so far, Iraq has begun pumping oil to Syria through a long-disused pipeline, Arab sources said yesterday.

'Restraint' strikes fear into Palestinians' hearts
The Guardian, 21 Nov 2000
In a strongly worded attack, Middle East editor Brian Whitaker condemns Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip.

Saudi car explosion kills Briton
The Guardian, 18 Nov 2000
Blast follows warnings of threat to British interests.

Unity through intifada and satellite TV
The Guardian, 17 Nov 2000
From London to the Gulf, the intifada has given the Islamic world the sense of belonging they have spent years trying to achieve by other means, writes Brian Whitaker.

Syria to free 600 political prisoners
The Guardian, 17 Nov 2000
Syria's new president, Bashar al-Assad, has ordered the release of 600 political prisoners to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the purge that brought his father Hafez to power.

6m Iraqis sign up to join Jihad
The Guardian, 11 Nov 2000
More than 6m Iraqis, including 2m women, have volunteered to fight Israel, President Saddam Hussein said yesterday.

America should copy us, says Russian poll chief
The Guardian, 11 Nov 2000
In Serbia it was a case of déjà vu yesterday. "I could never have predicted that what happened in elections in Yugoslavia would be repeated in the United States," the new president, Vojislav Kostunica, quipped at a press conference.

Looking for justice as Palestinians continue to die
The Guardian, 10 Nov 2000
Israel has been condemned for using too much force against Palestinians, and Brian Whitaker questions whether any legal action can be taken against them.

Arab suspects linked to big operation against US
The Guardian, 10 Nov 2000
Kuwait said yesterday that it was holding three Arabs and was seeking a fourth on suspicion of plotting to attack American interests in the Gulf.

Iraq resumes domestic flights
The Guardian, 6 Nov 2000
Iraqi Airways, grounded since the Gulf war, resumed regular domestic flights through the western-imposed no-fly zones yesterday, striking a further psychological blow against British-backed sanctions.

Israeli demonstrators reveal an alternative view
The Guardian, 3 Nov 2000
As Brian Whitaker discovers in Jerusalem, not all Israelis are calling for revenge against Palestinians.

Israeli troops 'shot dead'
The Guardian, 2 Nov 2000
Two Israeli soldiers were reported to have been killed yesterday in a gun battle which looks certain to trigger a further escalation in the Middle East's unrelenting cycle of violence and reprisal. Two Palestinians, including a policeman, died in the fighting which raged for several hours in al-Khader, a Palestinian village on the outskirts of Bethlehem.

Iraq ready to send airliners through no-fly zones
The Guardian, 31 Oct 2000
Iraq opened another crack in the sanctions regime yesterday by announcing the resumption of commercial flights inside the western imposed no-fly zones on November 5.

Report of US plan to offer Arafat an instant mini-state
The Guardian, 28 Oct 2000
The US president, Bill Clinton, will propose a Palestinian mini-state as a temporary way out of the current Middle East violence, an Israeli newspaper reported yesterday.

Middle East: The politics of identity
The Guardian, 27 Oct 2000
In the Middle East, identity matters. But not everyone is so easily categorised, writes Brian Whitaker in Jerusalem.

Intifada 2000 dwarfs the original
The Guardian, 27 Oct 2000
Latest carnage takes its cue from 1987, but is many times more alarming

Israelis gear up for armed struggle
The Guardian, 26 Oct 2000
Israeli civilians are making their own arrangements to protect themselves, accusing the army of timidity. Gun dealers in Jerusalem reported sales of weapons and ammunition up to 10 times the normal figure yesterday and shooting ranges were doing a brisk trade.

Barak dumps peace hunt
The Guardian, 23 Oct 2000
The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, yesterday capped weeks of blood and rage by turning his back on the seven-year quest for peace, declaring a "time-out" in negotiations with the Palestinians.

Arabs declare jihad and agree $1bn aid deal for Palestinians
The Guardian, 23 Oct 2000
Arab leaders set themselves on a collision course with the United States yesterday by declaring an economic and diplomatic jihad against Israel.

Israel set for total break with Palestine
The Guardian, 22 Oct 2000
Israel put itself on a collision course with its Arab neighbours last night as it suggested it was ready to pre-empt a declaration of a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem by issuing its own statement of 'unilateral separation' on its own terms.

$1bn aid pledge by Saudis
The Guardian, 22 Oct 2000
Saudi Arabia yesterday poured petrol on the conflagration in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, pledging a $1 billion package to support the 'Al-Aqsa intifada' - named for the clash at the Jerusalem mosque that triggered the recent violence.

Cut ties with Israel, demand hardliners
The Guardian, 21 Oct 2000
Arab leftwingers and hardline Islamic groups urged Arab leaders last night to sever diplomatic relations with Israel and use their "oil weapon" to support the Palestinians.

Dear Mr President...
The Guardian, 19 Oct 2000
It is January 2001 and the US presidential inquiry into violence in the Middle East has finally issued its report. Middle East editor Brian Whitaker imagines what it might say.

Egyptian resort swaps tourism for diplomacy
The Guardian, 17 Oct 2000
The Americans swept in like a firestorm yesterday, descending on the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh with all the brawn of the world's last remaining superpower.

Welcome to Yemen - but take care
The Guardian, 16 Oct 2000
Most Yemenis treat foreign visitors well, reports Brian Whitaker in Sana'a. Even the kidnappers.

West's weak link is terror target
The Guardian, 15 Oct 2000
The destroyer USS Cole was a formidable sight as it sailed into Aden Harbour. With a crew of nearly 300, it was heading to the Gulf to support the UN embargo against Iraq.

Yemen bombers hit UK embassy
The Guardian, 14 Oct 2000
The British embassy in Yemen was hit by a bomb yesterday less than 24 hours after a suicide attack on a US warship in the south of the country killed 17 people and injured 35.

Sixteen feared dead in attack on US destroyer
The Guardian, 13 Oct 2000
An explosion that devastated one of the US navy's most sophisticated destroyers in Aden yesterday was caused by an elaborately planned terrorist suicide mission, Pentagon officials alleged last night.

Martyrs, never victims
The Guardian, 13 Oct 2000
As the Middle East lurches toward war, the death toll rises apace - all but a handful of them Muslim Palestinians. Middle East editor Brian Whitaker looks at the myth-making that accompanies each death

Arafat laughs off new Barak ultimatum
The Guardian, 11 Oct 2000
Fears of an immediate war between Israel and the Palestinians went into momentary retreat yesterday after both sides yielded to dogged diplomatic efforts led by the United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan.

Jordanians unite in anger and grief behind new intifada
The Guardian, 11 Oct 2000
On Amman's streets, the troubles in Palestine are on everyone's mind, provoking not only anger and riots but grief.

War of words in the Middle East
The Guardian, 5 Oct 2000
Covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a challenge for writers as words can cause political offence, and attempts to be fair can lead to inaccuracies, writes Middle East editor Brian Whitaker .

Two leaders torn between conflicting demands of peace and territory
The Guardian, 4 Oct 2000
By the perverse nature of Middle Eastern politics, Yasser Arafat received a hero's welcome when he returned to Gaza from the failed Camp David talks last July.

No-win situation that forced premier to make difficult choices
The Guardian, 4 Oct 2000
When Ariel Sharon set out on his infamous stroll up to the Dome of the Rock last week, the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, faced a no-win situation.

America brokers peace talks
The Guardian, 3 Oct 2000
The US secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, announced late last night that the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, and Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, have agreed to meet her in Paris tomorrow.

World blames hawk Sharon
The Guardian, 3 Oct 2000
World leaders yesterday condemned Ariel Sharon, the Israeli hardliner whose visit to a holy site in Jerusalem has triggered five days of violence.

Ariel Sharon: the bloodstained past that inflames Palestinians
The Guardian, 3 Oct 2000
When Ariel Sharon, the bulldozer of Israeli politics, marched up to the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem last Thursday accompanied by hundreds of riot police, he was - as he put it - merely exercising the right of every Jew to visit the holiest site in Judaism.

A Saudi woman's lot is not a happy one
The Guardian, 29 Sep 2000
Amnesty International says women in Saudi Arabia suffer systematic discrimination. Middle East editor Brian Whitaker reports.

Iraqi spin doctors target no-fly zone
The Guardian, 29 Sep 2000
Saddam Hussein is stepping up his propaganda war against the no-fly zones imposed by Britain and the US over northern and southern Iraq, British intelligence sources said yesterday.

New flights prick Iraq sanctions
The Guardian, 28 Sep 2000
Jordan yesterday became the third country within a week to send a plane to Baghdad, as Saddam Hussein intensified his campaign to force an end to economic sanctions at a time when the west is heavily dependent on Iraqi oil.

Saudis 'condone' abuse of women
The Guardian, 27 Sep 2000
By consistently failing to investigate allegations of abuses against women, Saudi Arabia effectively condones certain types of violence against its female citizens, according to a report published by Amnesty International today.

Footballing son is latest Gadafy to drop in on London
The Guardian, 26 Sep 2000
Britain has granted an entry visa to the 26-year-old son of Muammar Gadafy, in a move that shows how much relations have thawed with Libya since sanctions were suspended last year. Next week a British trade mission heads there looking for business.

Saddam's trump card
The Guardian, 26 Sep 2000
There is nothing like an oil crisis to spread feelings of empowerment around the Middle East. Last week even Palestinians - whose only oil comes from olives - were suggesting that here was a weapon their friends could use to further the struggle with Israel.

Saddam who?
The Guardian, 22 Sep 2000
You may think that naming a child is a simple process, but, as Middle East editor Brian Whitaker explains, in the Arab world, it has multiple layers of complexity.

Saddam oils the wheels of fuel chaos
The Guardian, 19 Sep 2000
As threatening sounds emanate from Baghdad once again, Middle East editor Brian Whitaker examines the Iraqi leader's role in the continuing global oil crisis.

Government's response to oil crisis
The Guardian, 18 Sep 2000
The government is planning to rush through a new law which will force Britain's oil companies to maintain supplies. We explain the reasons behind it.

Money or influence - a toss-up for the Gulf states
The Guardian, 15 Sep 2000
The Gulf's vast reserves mean it will always have hefty clout in the world's oil markets, but no one can say where its long-term future leads for sure, explains Middle East editor Brian Whitaker .

Saddam's quest for new glories
The Guardian, 12 Sep 2000
Saddam Hussein may or may not be dying, but he is trying to leave his mark with a new national anthem and a Baghdad monument celebrating Iraq's "victorious" emergence from the Gulf war which its president set off when he tried to take over Kuwait in 1990.

How Opec came back to haunt the west
The Guardian, 8 Sep 2000
Bill Clinton's message to crown prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was brief and to the point when they met yesterday. Unless the world's biggest oil producer shook some sense into the militant members of the Opec cartel, there was a risk of plunging the world economy into recession.

Why sovereignty rules in the Arab world
The Guardian, 1 Sep 2000
Middle East editor Brian Whitaker explains why moves towards Arab integration lag far behind those in Europe.

Israeli troops killed in bungled raid
The Guardian, 28 Aug 2000
Three Israeli soldiers died at the weekend in a bungled attempt to arrest a Palestinian activist in the West Bank. The Israeli chief of staff, Shaul Mofaz, suggested yesterday there had been a "serious operational mishap" and said he could not rule out the possibility that the soldiers - members of the elite Duvdevan undercover unit - had been killed by "friendly fire".

What's in a word?
The Guardian, 25 Aug 2000
A surprising number of English words are derived from Arabic including algebra - a branch of mathematics developed by the Arabs whose contribution to our civilisation is often overlooked. Middle East editor Brian Whitaker reports.

Faulty landing gear blamed for crash
The Guardian, 25 Aug 2000
The Gulf Air plane which crashed off Bahrain on Wednesday was unable to lower its nose wheel for landing, sources quoted by a Bahraini newspaper claimed yesterday.

Revealed: Israel's nuclear site
The Guardian, 23 Aug 2000
New photographs of the secret Israeli reactor at Dimona, published on the internet, confirm that Israel could have made 100-200 nuclear weapons, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

Rivals for holy city may have to turn to God
The Guardian, 22 Aug 2000
A plan to remove the disputed sovereignty of Jerusalem from mere mortals could overcome the biggest hurdle to peace in the Middle East

Why the 'rules' of racism are different for Arabs
The Guardian, 18 Aug 2000
Arabs are the only really vicious racial stereotypes still considered acceptable in Hollywood, writes Middle East editor Brian Whitaker

Safety checks weaken suicide theory of EgyptAir crash
The Guardian, 18 Aug 2000
Egypt yesterday claimed vindication in the latest round of the politically charged investigation into the crash of EgyptAir flight 990, which plunged into the sea off Massachusetts last October, killing 217 people.

The black desert
The Guardian, 16 Aug 2000
For Kuwait, vast lakes of oil, contaminated water reserves and increasing cases of asthma are the legacies of the Gulf war. Brian Whitaker reports.

Russia blasts allied raids on Iraq
The Guardian, 16 Aug 2000
Russia condemned American and British air raids on Iraq as a violation of international law yesterday, and called for them to be stopped immediately.

US and Britain resume Iraq raids
The Guardian, 14 Aug 2000
American and British aircraft renewed their bombing of Iraq at the weekend after a six-week lull - killing two people and hitting a railway station and food distribution centre, according to Baghdad.

The 'towel-heads' take on Hollywood
The Guardian, 11 Aug 2000
The American embassy in Yemen is under siege, at the mercy of a frenzied mob. The US Marines whisk the ambassador away by helicopter. But as the riot continues Yemeni men, women, boys and girls fire at the marines.

The 'towel-heads' take on Hollywood
The Guardian, 11 Aug 2000
Arabs accuse US filmmakers of racism over blockbuster

Security in wolves' clothing
The Guardian, 11 Aug 2000
Killing time at airports in the Gulf often means drifting into a game of Spot The Hijacker, writes Brian Whitaker

US furious at Venezuelan leader's visit to Saddam
The Guardian, 10 Aug 2000
The Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, is due to arrive in Baghdad today, defying western objections and delivering a propaganda coup for the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein.

Briton injured in shooting by Saudi student
The Guardian, 10 Aug 2000
One person died and three others - including a Briton - were injured during a shooting incident near a housing complex for foreigners in Saudi Arabia yesterday.

Saddam casts long shadow on Kuwait
The Guardian, 2 Aug 2000
Today, the trauma helplines in Kuwait will be busy. It happens every year on the anniversary of the invasion, and the government-run telephone counselling service lays on extra staff to cope with calls.

Damage claims spiral into the realm of the futile
The Guardian, 1 Aug 2000
For nine years now 200 people in Switzerland have been totting up what promises to be the world's biggest bill: the compensation Iraq must pay for invading Kuwait. The final tally will not be known for three more years, but it is likely to be hundreds of billions of dollars.

Sands of time erode support for sanctions
The Guardian, 1 Aug 2000
Tomorrow is the anniversary of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. Iraq is still paying the price, and it is rising

Keep talking, Jordan urges
The Guardian, 27 Jul 2000
Arab commentators agreed, almost universally, yesterday that Israel was to blame for the collapse of the summit between Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak, Israel's prime minister.

Leaders seeking a place in history
The Guardian, 26 Jul 2000
This was going to be the year that finally ended decades of Arab-Israeli conflict. Bill Clinton would win his place in history as a peace broker and Yasser Arafat, Ehud Barak and Hafez al-Assad would take a Nobel prize.

Jerusalem is still the stumbling block
The Guardian, 21 Jul 2000
The peace negotiations that came back from the dead resumed at Camp David yesterday without President Clinton, who flew to the G8 summit in Okinawa, leaving his secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, to keep alive the hope of progress.

How peace became American pie in the sky
The Guardian, 20 Jul 2000
The failure to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians at Camp David was born out of Clinton's arrogance, writes Middle Eastern editor Brian Whitaker

Dollars for peace
The Guardian, 18 Jul 2000
As the Camp David talks reach their most delicate stage, a settlement might depend on promises of cash and security guarantees

Can Clinton do a Carter at Camp David?
The Guardian, 11 Jul 2000
As the Israeli-Palestinian summit gets under way in the US, Middle East editor Brian Whitaker wonders if the same venue that brokered an historic deal 22 years ago can work its magic a second time around

Syrians endorse Bashar
The Guardian, 11 Jul 2000
One month after the death of President Hafez al-Assad, Syrian voters turned out yesterday to confirm the succession of his 34-year-old son, Bashar.

Camp David's gates reopen
The Guardian, 11 Jul 2000
Palestinian and Israeli negotiators will gather at the US presidential retreat, Camp David, today for a summit that could end 50 years of conflict in the Middle East. But they arrive more in apprehension than expectation, and time - at least under Bill Clinton's presidency - is running out.

Opec in turmoil as Saudis drive down prices
The Guardian, 5 Jul 2000
Opec was thrown into turmoil yesterday by a Saudi decision to turn on the taps and force down oil prices.

British 'torture chief' quits
The Guardian, 4 Jul 2000
A British colonel accused of torture while running the secret police in Bahrain retired abruptly yesterday from his post as an adviser to the island's interior ministry.

Women in Kuwait call for suffrage
The Guardian, 27 Jun 2000
A group of Kuwaiti women yesterday launched a legal claim for full political rights. They are asking a court to decide whether the electoral law which prevents women from voting or standing for public office violates the constitution.

The latest wonder of the world
The Guardian, 23 Jun 2000
In the days when 500,000 papyrus scrolls could store the entire sum of human knowledge, the Egyptian city of Alexandria - at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa - was a natural site for the world's greatest library.

Amnesty call for investor policy
The Guardian, 21 Jun 2000
Amnesty International yesterday called on investors to help safeguard human rights in Saudi Arabia.

The true cost of Gulf war compensation
The Guardian, 16 Jun 2000
The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait caused financial hardship for businesses and individuals across the globe. But reparations come with their own price tag, writes Middle East editor Brian Whitaker

Gulf war reparations may take Iraq more than a century to pay
The Guardian, 16 Jun 2000
Iraq faces a series of gigantic claims for Gulf war damage - so large that there is almost no way to recover the money, short of extending sanctions for well over 100 years.

Challenger backs off - for the moment
The Guardian, 14 Jun 2000
Rifaat al-Assad, the exiled brother of Syria's late president, is not seeking to take control, his son said yesterday. "I know my father and he is not somebody who wants power," Soumar al-Assad told the Guardian.

Why Israel must help Bashar
The Guardian, 13 Jun 2000
Israel must take a bold step for peace and help Syria's new leader defeat his political rivals, argues Middle East editor Brian Whitaker .

Syrian heir disputed by uncle in exile
The Guardian, 13 Jun 2000
The first signs of a power struggle in Syria emerged yesterday when the late president's disgraced brother challenged the succession to power of his 34-year-old nephew, Bashar al-Assad.

City in black as leaders arrive
The Guardian, 13 Jun 2000
Syria - normally wary of foreigners - yesterday braced itself for the arrival of at least 10 heads of state, a score of prime ministers or foreign ministers, and hundreds of journalists.

Gloomy prospect for peace process
The Guardian, 12 Jun 2000
The future of the Middle East peace process hung in the balance yesterday following the death of President Assad. Only last week the Syrian track - stalled since January - appeared to be on the point of revival. But now, in the words of a US state department official, everything is "up in the air" again. Talcott Sealy, a former US ambassador to Damascus, put it more strongly, describing Assad's death as a menace to the peace process. "It's really a setback," he said.

Living dead invade serial murders trial
The Guardian, 11 Jun 2000
Yemen has been shaken by a grisly and baffling murder drama in which at least two women have died, their alleged killer has confessed to more crimes, and some of his 'victims' have made a surprise appearance - alive and in court at his trial.

Six days took world to the brink
The Guardian, 10 Jun 2000
The Soviet Union planned a naval landing in Israel at the height of the 1967 Arab-Israeli six-day war but aborted it at the last minute, according to an ex- officer. The revelation shows how close the superpowers came, amid the rivalries of the cold war, to direct involvement in the Middle East conflict.

Reviews
The Guardian, 8 Jun 2000
DU-R100 PC Radio |Virtually Islamic: Computer-mediated Communication And Cyber Islamic Environments

Ancient Egypt yields its underwater secrets
The Guardian, 5 Jun 2000
Archaeologists show off relics and footage from cities beneath the sea off Alexandria

Hizbullah heroes face the test of peace
The Guardian, 1 Jun 2000
Abdullah Qasir, a Hizbullah member of the Lebanese parliament, quotes a Koranic verse: "If you are rude, people will not like you."

Picnics and pilgrimages on day of victory
The Guardian, 29 May 2000
From all over Lebanon they came in their tens of thousands. Banners along the road proclaimed "the day of victory". A silver Buick had its boot lid tied down over a picnic table, the flag of Hizbullah fluttering gaily from its roof.

Flight from border zone turns spotlight on Syria
The Guardian, 25 May 2000
Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon has brought Syria back to centre-stage in the Middle East. So far, it's not a speaking part.

Palestine negotiator quits
The Guardian, 16 May 2000
The head of the Palestinian team negotiating with Israel resigned yesterday after discovering that a second set of talks had begun secretly in Sweden.

Saudis claim victory in war for control of web
The Guardian, 11 May 2000
There are now many internet cafes - constructed to keep male and female surfers apart - and around 30 commercial internet service providers, but the apparent range of choice belies the fact that all traffic passes through the King Abdulaziz City of Science and Technology in Riyadh, which is the country's only link to the web.

Girl killed to act as drug mule in Gulf
The Guardian, 10 May 2000
Drug smugglers abducted and killed a small girl, then stuffed her body with drugs in order to take them into a Gulf state, a senior police officer was reported as saying yesterday.

Drive to get Syria on peace train
The Guardian, 4 May 2000
Efforts to revive the Syrian track of the Middle East peace process intensified yesterday as the foreign ministers of Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia gathered in the Syrian city of Palmyra for two days of talks.

1999

Abd al-Aziz al-Saqqaf
The Guardian, 5 Jun 1999
Abd al-Aziz al-Saqqaf, who has died in a car accident aged 48, was a courageous warrior whose weapons were paper, ink and computers

Court chaos as five fight jail
The Guardian, 31 Jan 1999
The wheels of Yemeni justice have enmeshed the five jailed Britons in a machine that grinds slowly forward one moment, spins dizzily the next, then wheezes to a halt. No one is sure who is in control.

Yard blames Yemen deaths on intelligence blunders
The Guardian, 17 Jan 1999
Senior Scotland Yard officers are demanding an investigation into whether a botched British intelligence operation may have ultimately led to the deaths of four western tourists in Yemen and the arrest of five Britons on bomb charges.

Yard blames Yemen deaths on intelligence blunders
The Guardian, 17 Jan 1999
Senior Scotland Yard officers are demanding an investigation into whether a botched British intelligence operation may have ultimately led to the deaths of four western tourists in Yemen and the arrest of five Britons on bomb charges.

On Yemen's death row
The Guardian, 17 Jan 1999
They face a violent death. Those found guilty of terrorism in the Yemen are blind-folded with hands tied behind their back, made to kneel on the ground and then killed by a single pistol shot to the back of the neck. It would a barbaric end to the lives of five young men from ordinary homes in provincial British cities.

On Yemen's death row
The Guardian, 17 Jan 1999
They face a violent death. Those found guilty of terrorism in the Yemen are blind-folded with hands tied behind their back, made to kneel on the ground and then killed by a single pistol shot to the back of the neck. It would a barbaric end to the lives of five young men from ordinary homes in provincial British cities.

Kidnappers' call to London imam
The Guardian, 14 Jan 1999
News of the kidnap of 16 Westerners was communicated to an imam in north London barely an hour after the tourists were seized in Yemen, it emerged yesterday as the trial of three men accused of the kidnapping opened.

Kidnappers' call to London imam
The Guardian, 14 Jan 1999
News of the kidnap of 16 Westerners was communicated to an imam in north London barely an hour after the tourists were seized in Yemen, it emerged yesterday as the trial of three men accused of the kidnapping opened.

Kidnappers' call to London imam
The Guardian, 14 Jan 1999
News of the kidnap of 16 Westerners was communicated to an imam in north London barely an hour after the tourists were seized in Yemen, it emerged yesterday as the trial of three men accused of the kidnapping opened.

Yemen terror case suspects 'signed false confessions'
The Guardian, 13 Jan 1999
THE families of the five Britons held in Yemen on suspicion of terrorism claimed yesterday the men had been tortured and forced to sign false confessions.

Yemen terror case suspects 'signed false confessions'
The Guardian, 13 Jan 1999
THE families of the five Britons held in Yemen on suspicion of terrorism claimed yesterday the men had been tortured and forced to sign false confessions.

British sect's link to Yemen kidnappers
The Guardian, 10 Jan 1999
The kidnap group behind the murder of four British tourists in Yemen had close links to an extremist Islamic group based in London. Five British Muslims, arrested in Yemen a few days before the kidnapping on charges of involvement in a plot to bomb British interests, also allegedly had material produced by the same group.

British sect's link to Yemen kidnappers
The Guardian, 10 Jan 1999
The kidnap group behind the murder of four British tourists in Yemen had close links to an extremist Islamic group based in London.

British sect's link to Yemen kidnappers
The Guardian, 10 Jan 1999
The kidnap group behind the murder of four British tourists in Yemen had close links to an extremist Islamic group based in London. Five British Muslims, arrested in Yemen a few days before the kidnapping on charges of involvement in a plot to bomb British interests, also allegedly had material produced by the same group.

Kidnappers were to join Yemen military
The Guardian, 6 Jan 1999
The Jihad organisation that kidnapped 16 Western tourists in Yemen last week was to have been absorbed into the Yemeni army to curb its activities. Sources say the kidnapping occurred when the agreement collapsed.

Kidnappers were to join Yemen military
The Guardian, 6 Jan 1999
The Jihad organisation that kidnapped 16 Western tourists in Yemen last week was to have been absorbed into the Yemeni army to curb its activities. Sources say the kidnapping occurred when the agreement collapsed.

1998

Gun battle survivors tell how captors took their revenge
The Guardian, 31 Dec 1998
It was a hail of bullets from attacking Yemeni government troops that triggered off the execution of the tourists by their kidnappers.

Kidnapped Britons 'were used as human shields'
The Guardian, 31 Dec 1998
Yemeni kidnappers used British tourists as human shields and executed them after security forces stormed their hide-out, survivors said yesterday, contradicting the authorities' version of the botched rescue.

Kidnap terror ends in death
The Guardian, 30 Dec 1998
Three British tourists and one Australian were shot dead yesterday at their kidnappers' hide-out in Yemen when security forces stormed the site in a disastrous end to the country's worst hostage crisis.

Hostage to fortune and Yemeni guns
The Guardian, 30 Dec 1998
The hostage tragedy in Yemen highlights the often tenuous control of the government over its people. President Ali Abdullah Salih might give the appearance of a strongman, having been in power since 1978 - longer than Thatcher, Major and Blair put together - but he has stayed there less by the iron fist than by tactical alliances with the country's quarrelsome factions.