Blog archive: All

  • 21st July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    It's increasingly clear that the hacking incident last May which created a pretext for the Saudi-Emirati confrontation with Qatar was not a random attack: it had been carefully planned and took more than a month to prepare. This is a significant development because it suggests that the...
  • 18th July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Egypt faces multiple security threats, with the continuing Islamist insurgency in Sinai and the bombing of churches not least among them. But the latest threat detected by the ever-vigilant Sisi regime comes from a different direction – from researchers doing surveys. Last November the regime...
  • 17th July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The banned nerve agent sarin has been used repeatedly in the Syrian conflict, as laboratory tests have confirmed. There are disputes, though, about who has been using it. Syrian rebels, along with western governments, blame the Assad regime while the regime, supported by Russia and Iran, blames the...
  • 7th July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    It is now beyond dispute that banned chemicals have been used in the Syrian conflict. Aside from a few conspiracy theorists, all sides – including the Russian and Syrian governments – accept this as fact, though they disagree about who is responsible. We have reached this point because of...
  • 5th July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Surprising as it might seem, both the Syrian government and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) agree that people were exposed to Sarin in Khan Sheikhoun last April. This should now become the starting point for any rational discussion of what happened there....
  • 4th July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    On 4 April, Syrian government forces carried out an airstrike on Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province which, according to reports at the time, killed at least 74 people and injured hundreds more. Scientific tests by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – an inter-governmental...
  • 1st July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Do news organisations have a duty to publish stories from anonymous sources when there is reason to believe they are untrue? Apparently some people think so. Yesterday, following scientific tests, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed that inhabitants of...
  • 28th June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Of the 13 demands made by Saudi Arabia and the UAE in their ultimatum to Qatar, the one causing most consternation internationally is the call for al-Jazeera to be shut down. On Wednesday, the BBC's renowned World Affairs Editor, John Simpson, and David Kaye, the UN's Special Rapporteur on...
  • 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...

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