Blog archive: All

  • 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...
  • 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...

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