Blog archive: All

  • 24th June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Burger King and Domino's Pizza have joined McDonalds in pledging allegiance to Saudi Arabia's new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. While McDonalds paid for a newspaper ad to announce its support (as I reported on Thursday), Burger King and Domino's have opted for a cost-free solution by...
  • 23rd June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Having placed Qatar under economic siege earlier this month – in a row that was triggered by a fake news report – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have now issued a formal list of demands. Qatar has been given 10 days to comply, or face unspecified consequences. The demands –...
  • 22nd June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Since King Salman became ruler of Saudi Arabia a couple of years ago at the age of 79, his favourite son, the impetuous Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been unofficially running the country. Just to confuse things, though, an announcement from Riyadh yesterday means the prince is officially NOT...
  • 18th June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Viewed in isolation, the temporary disappearance of Al Jazeera's Arabic-language Twitter account last Saturday might seem fairly insignificant. In the light of other events, though, it's yet another sign that political battles in the Middle East are increasingly being fought via the internet...
  • 17th June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In a grotesque development earlier this week, Saudi Arabia – a world leader in the exploitation of migrant workers – won a seat on the governing body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The ILO is a United Nations agency "devoted to promoting social justice and internationally...
  • 8th June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Yesterday, CNN suggested that Russian hackers may have been behind the planting of a fake news item on the website of Qatar's government news agency last month. The news item – a fictitious account of a speech purportedly made by Qatar's emir – provided the spark for a barrage of attacks on...
  • 7th June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    It is hard to imagine that when the Saudis and Emiratis embarked on their ferocious confrontation with Qatar they would have done so without believing they had Donald Trump's support. Their quarrel with Qatar was far from new but Trump's stance at the "Muslim summit" in Riyadh last month appeared...
  • 6th June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The extraordinary propaganda offensive against Qatar which has been raging in sections of the Arab media for the last couple of weeks shifted from words to deeds yesterday when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt in effect placed Qatar under siege. There are four possible outcomes...
  • 4th June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The day before unknown persons hacked a government website in Qatar, triggering a vicious media feud among Gulf states, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi was urging a former CIA director to give the Qataris "hell". On 23 May, a conservative think tank with strong Israeli connections held a...
  • 2nd June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The secret is out. When Donald Trump typed the word "covfefe" on Twitter many people were baffled but, according to Trump's press secretary, Sean Spicer, "The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant." Now, though, many of Trump's supporters are convinced...
  • 1st June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In a rare turning-of-tables in the land of the Prophet, a Saudi court has sentenced a cleric to 45 days in prison for defaming a comedy actor. The case arose out of a popular Saudi TV series, Selfie, which satirised ISIS/Daesh. One episode poked fun at religious figures who smash...
  • 31st May 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The emir of Qatar is reportedly flying to Kuwait today to exchange Ramadan greetings with Kuwait's emir – something that he apparently has to do in person rather than by phone. There is not much doubt, though, about the real purpose of the visit. It's an attempt to cool down the war of...

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