Blog archive: All

  • 16th July 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A pro-Israel thinktank with a reputation for Islamophobia is funding a campaign in Britain to release Tommy Robinson, a far-right agitator currently serving a jail sentence for disrupting a court case. Last week the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum (MEF) announced that it is supporting...
  • 12th July 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In a move that appears to license war crimes, the Saudi king has issued a pardon for "all military men" involved in the Yemen conflict.  An announcement by the government news agency on Tuesday said the pardon would apply to "military and disciplinary penalties, in regard of some...
  • 9th July 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Last Friday the OPCW published the results of laboratory tests on samples from a suspected chemical attack in Syria – thus prompting a wave of misreporting not only by the usual activists on social media but by others who ought to be setting a better example. A few hours after the findings...
  • 7th July 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The OPCW has now issued an interim report on the alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria, last April. Although the investigation is not yet complete, laboratory tests so far have found possible evidence of chlorine use but no evidence of sarin or a similar nerve agent. The OPCW also...
  • 27th June 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Following a vote earlier today the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is now authorised not only to investigate chemical attacks but also -- crucially -- to identify whoever was responsible. The decision came from a special session of states parties to the Chemical...
  • 27th June 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh claimed yesterday there is no evidence that the Assad regime has been using chlorine as a chemical weapon. Numerous chlorine attacks have been documented in Syria and according to OPCW investigators the chemical has been used "...
  • 25th June 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A three-day conference on "upholding the global ban against chemical weapons use" is due to take place in The Hague this week. The conference, officially a special session of states parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, has been called at the request of 11 countries – Australia, Bulgaria...
  • 20th June 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In the midst of a furore over the Trump administration's policy of separating the children of detained migrants from their parents, the United States has announced that it is pulling out of the UN Human Rights Council. While these two developments are not directly connected many people will...
  • 13th June 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In Yemen, the long-expected military assault on the port city of Hodeidah began this morning. Hodeida is currently held by the Houthis who control much of northern Yemen. According to local reports it is being attacked from the south by the Amaliqa ("Giants") Brigades – a surviving section...
  • 8th June 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Growing up in Lebanon during the civil war, Karl Sharro had a happy childhood and, he says, especially enjoyed "the long absences from school because of the fighting". He must have learned something, though, because he went on to university and became an architect. But perhaps it was...
  • 3rd June 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Jordan has had 12 prime ministers since King Abdullah came to the throne in 1999. Their average survival time in office is one year and seven months but the current prime minister, Hani al-Mulki, has fared rather better. Last week he passed the two-year mark though his future is now...
  • 25th May 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Qatar has finally joined two of the key international treaties on human rights: the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) and the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR).  It is the third Arab Gulf state to join, following Kuwait (which did so more than 20 years ago...

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