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: Egypt

Egypt's raids on NGOs are about control 
Comment Is Free, 30 Dec 2011

Restricting NGO funding is typical of authoritarian regimes happy to take foreign aid but less happy about human rights

Egypt raids on NGOs hint at wider crackdown  
The Guardian, 29 Dec 2011

Even charitable work can be a sensitive matter in Arab regimes if it highlights the state's failure to provide basic services

Egypt's military may soon regret jailing Alaa Abd El Fattah 
Comment Is Free, 1 Nov 2011

The imprisonment of the high-profile revolutionary could escalate tensions between the ruling junta and the protest movement

Egyptians must guard against a show trial as Mubarak faces the people
Comment Is Free, 3 Aug 2011

Seeing the Mubaraks behind bars will be widely viewed as poetic justice, but it's accountability – not humiliation – that matters

Hosni Mubarak: from detention to where? 
Comment Is Free, 13 Apr 2011

From hospitalisation to immunity pleas, the dictators of Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen will do anything to escape justice

Mubarak teases Egypt as his regime fragments
Comment Is Free, 11 Feb 2011

Hosni Mubarak's insulting speech showed why he ought to go, but the struggle on the streets is no longer the only game in town

The Muslim Brotherhood uncovered
The Guardian, 8 Feb 2011

In an exclusive Guardian interview, Egypt's Islamist opposition group sets out its demands

Egypt protests give Arab media a headache 
Comment Is Free, 2 Feb 2011

This week in the Middle East: In their Egypt coverage the Arab media – like the regimes they report on – have failed to move on from the old ways

The politics of Egypt's feeble statistics
Comment Is Free, 25 Oct 2010

In Egypt the state has a virtual monopoly on data, which effectively stops public debate about government decisions

Why Elton John is considered a danger to Egypt 
Comment Is Free, 4 May 2010

A move to ban Elton's gig is about fear of social discord. Yet in other ways the Arab world fails to address 'the public good'

Egyptian law gives fanatics free rein 
Comment Is Free, 28 Apr 2010

An attempt to ban One Thousand and One Nights for being 'obscene' shows the hesba principle is increasingly misused

Pigs to the slaughter in Egypt 
Comment Is Free, 30 Apr 2009

Amid swine flu hysteria Mubarak has ordered pigs to be killed – but is this just another assault on Egypt's Christian minority?

Egypt's step towards freedom of belief 
Comment Is Free, 17 Mar 2009

A court ruling that Egyptians will no longer be forced to pick from three approved religions is a crucial victory for equal rights

Egypt has got its priorities wrong 
Comment Is Free, 19 Feb 2009

The regime is more likely to enforce petty rules to protect its sense of authority than laws that serve the public good

Posthumously yours
Comment Is Free, Aug 15 2008

Filmmaker Youssef Chahine is yet another artist whom the Egyptian state finds more palatable dead than alive

Death on the Nile
Comment Is Free, Jun 20 2008

It's a story straight out of Agatha Christie. The victim lies dead in the embassy garden – but was it foul play or an accident?

Foreign dictates?  
Comment Is Free, January 28, 2008

Faced with complaints about its human rights abuses, Egypt is sheltering behind specious arguments about religion and national sovereignty

One angry poet 
Comment Is Free, April 10, 2007

Naguib Surur was a rebel with a cause. It's time someone translated his greatest work into English.

The view from Egypt 
Comment Is Free, October 12, 2006 

It's not just Britain where the Great Niqab Debate is taking place.

Forbidding ways  
Comment Is Free, September 26, 2006

The Egyptian information minister has issued a decree banning the latest edition of the Guardian Weekly - but it's hard to see why. 

At least 58 killed after trains collide in Egypt  
Guardian, August 22 2006 

At least 58 people were reported dead and 143 injured yesterday when two trains collided on Egypt's antiquated railway system north of Cairo.

Egyptian MPs call for film with gay character to be cut
Guardian Weekly, July 14, 2006

Egyptian MPs are demanding cuts in a popular new film, claiming it defames their country with its gritty portrayal of corrupt politicians, police brutality, terrorism and homosexuality, writes Brian Whitaker

A glimpse behind the screen 
Comment Is Free, July 8, 2006

A novel about a gay newspaper editor was a hit in Egypt - but its movie release has caused a stir.

Call to censor 'immoral' Egyptian film 
The Guardian, July 6, 2006

The Yacoubian Building has broken box office records but many oppose its portrayal of modern Egypt.

How to pass your exams in Egypt  
Comment Is Free, June 27, 2006 

The correct answer is: President Mubarak has renounced police-state policies and deserves all the US support he enjoys.

Gall on the Nile 
Comment Is Free, June 2, 2006 

I don't know if the Egyptians have a term for it, but in Britain we call it "brass neck". The dictionary defines it as gall, cheek, nerve, effrontery - that sort of thing. We use it to describe people who are completely impervious to what others think of them. Whatever the Egyptians call it, their prime minister Ahmed Nazif (pictured welcoming an American visitor) has brass neck by the bucketload.

Egyptian security forces beat up pro-democracy protesters 
Guardian, Friday May 19, 2006

Police and security forces cracked down on demonstrators in Cairo yesterday, beating up pro-reform activists and arresting at least 240 members of the Muslim Brotherhood during protests in support of two judges who had complained about fraud in last year's parliamentary elections.

A welcome at the White House 
Comment Is Free, May 17, 2006

Gamal Mubarak, son and probable successor of the Egyptian president, visited the US last week, allegedly to renew his pilot's licence. While in Washington, he happened to be passing the White House and decided to drop in and say hello.

Jailhouse blogs  
Comment Is Free, May 11, 2006 

Monitored, arrested or jailed, the brave Egyptian bloggers refuse to be silenced.

Fighting terror, Egyptian style  
Comment Is Free, April 28, 2006

Faced with Egypt's worst terrorism crisis in more than seven years, the Mubarak regime seems to have completely lost its marbles.

Suicide bomb attacks at Sinai peacekeeping base 
Guardian, Thursday April 27 2006

Two men blew themselves up yesterday close to a base in northern Sinai where multinational forces monitor Egypt's border with Israel. The blasts came two days after bombings in the eastern Sinai resort of Dahab left at least 18 people dead and dozens injured. 

Security for show  
Comment Is Free, April 26, 2006

The clapped-out Egyptian regime must be held to account after three bombings in Sinai in 18 months.

Perfect timing for local militants to strike 
Guardian, Tuesday April 25 2006

Just one day after Osama bin Laden issued another chilling message, last night's bombings in Egypt will inevitably revive the suspicions voiced by Washington that al-Qaida tapes sometimes contain coded instructions for terrorists. However, it is easy to see why local militants, of their own accord, might have decided to strike in Egypt last night. 

Relatives torch offices of Red Sea ferry firm 
The Guardian, February 07 2006

Angry relatives of passengers lost in the Red Sea ferry disaster ransacked the offices of the ship's owners yesterday, throwing furniture and other equipment into the street before setting fire to it.

Crew accused over Egypt ferry disaster 
The Guardian, February 06 2006

A trickle of survivors from the Red Sea ferry disaster continued to arrive in Egypt yesterday, though more than 700 people are still unaccounted for.

Seminal questions 
The Guardian, January 17 2006

A curious religious debate is raging in Egypt. The question is: should you keep your clothes on when having sex?

20 killed as Egyptian police evict Sudanese protesters 
The Guardian, December 31 2005

At least 20 Sudanese migrants died when thousands of Egyptian riot police brutally evicted them from their protest camp in an affluent district of Cairo yesterday.

The case for the opposition 
Guardian Unlimited, October 11 2005

For the second time in two months, Egyptians will go to the polls in November, this time to elect a new parliament.

How Mubarak won the election 
Guardian Unlimitedn, September 13 2005

Egyptians tell a joke about a man who dares to vote against the government in a parliamentary election.

Mubarak party out in force in Egypt poll 
The Guardian, September 08 2005

Hosni Mubarak's party machine put on an overwhelming display of organisational strength yesterday as Egyptians voted in the country's first contested presidential election.

New Mubarak means same old problems, say opponents 
The Guardian, September 07 2005

Old habits die hard, especially in Egypt. When President Hosni Mubarak launched his election campaign, the party faithfully declared their support in traditional fashion. "With our souls, with our blood, we will sacrifice for you," they chanted

Egyptian censors block magazine  
The Guardian, August 12 2005

Egyptian censors have blocked sales of a news magazine that shows on its cover plainclothes security forces preparing to attack pro-democracy demonstrators.

A bridge too far 
The Guardian, July 26 2005

Egyptians have been living under "emergency" laws for the last 24 years, ever since their president, Hosni Mubarak, came to power. This may not have done much to stop terrorism but it has been highly effective in stopping just about anything else that mi

Weakening grip 
The Guardian, July 01 2005 

Oh dear! These are difficult times for the control freaks who run Egypt's media. Amid continuing demonstrations against President Mubarak and the lectures from Washington about freedom and democracy, they are struggling to keep their grip.

Egypt under fire for censorship 
The Guardian, June 09 2005 

The Egyptian government is stifling academic freedom in universities by censoring course books, preventing research into controversial issues and intimidating student activists, Human Rights Watch says in a report published today.

Afraid to let go 
The Guardian, June 06 2005 

More than 1,000 members of the Syrian Ba'ath party are gathering in Damascus today for what the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, has promised will be a great leap forward on the road to reform. [Also discusses Egypt]

A crucial test 
The Guardian, May 23 2005 

The Egyptian prime minister, Ahmed Nazif, had a successful trip to Washington last week ... at least, according to Mr Nazif.

Egypt must let its people go 
The Guardian, May 16 2005 

Two short sentences in a speech by the US president, George Bush, had Egypt's political dinosaurs in a flap last week: "Egypt will hold a presidential election this fall," Mr Bush said. "That election should proceed with international monitors and with r

Great views, only a few cockroaches
The Guardian, November 18 2002

Sandwiched between two branches of the river Nile, Zamalek is an island mixing greenery with grime, tranquillity with traffic jams. It is also home to one of Egypt's most popular football clubs and now, for a while at least, is my home too.

Homosexuality on trial in Egypt
The Guardian, November 19 2001

In 1800, a European traveller to Egypt wrote: "The inconceivable inclination which has dishonoured the Greeks and Persians of antiquity constitutes the delight, or, more properly speaking the infamy of the Egyptians ... the contagion has seized the poor as well as the rich."

Ancient Egypt yields its underwater secrets
June 05 2000

New archaeological techniques are helping to uncover the secrets of the lost cities of ancient Egypt, astonishingly well preserved beneath the sea.

The latest wonder of the world
June 23 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.