Blog archive: All

  • 2nd September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The UN refugee agency issued a new warning yesterday about the situation around Saada city in northern Yemen where fighting between government forces and rebels has displaced more than 35,000 people during the last three weeks. "The situation is deteriorating by the day," UNHCR...
  • 2nd September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Following the imprisonment of an Egyptian poet for “insulting” President Mubarak (reported here in July), another Arab poet – this time in Jordan – is preparing himself for jail. Islam Samhan was arrested last October and charged him with insulting the prophets because of Quranic references...
  • 1st September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Today is the 40th anniversary of the revolution that brought the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamarihyya (officially abbreviated to the Great Splaj) into being – which makes Col Gadafy the longest-surviving Arab leader (a year longer than Sultan Qaboos in Oman). On a visit to...
  • 1st September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Naâma Asfari, a Western Sahara human rights activist, has been jailed for four months in Morocco following a row with a policeman about his keychain. Asfari was stopped at a checkpoint outside Tantan on August 14. An officer noticed a flag of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic(...
  • 31st August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Yemeni government appears to have succeeded in blocking – at least temporarily – the launch of a new satellite TV channel linked to the opposition. Suhail TV had been due to start broadcasts aimed at Yemenis from the beginning of Ramadan, but has not done so.According to the Yemen...
  • 31st August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Bikya Masr news website reports yet another religious clash in Egypt – this time between Muslims and Christians. A number of Christians had camped at Mitt Damsis in the northern delta, for celebrations to mark the birth of St George. Several dozen Muslims attacked the...
  • 31st August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Nine tribesmen who were "fighting alongside the Yemeni army" have been killed in a mortar attack by the Houthi rebels in northern Yemen, tribal sources told AFP on Sunday. Sixteen other fighters from the Hashed tribe (the largest tribe in Yemen) were wounded on Saturday. These are the...
  • 30th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    To the surprise of nobody, President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali has  formally declared his candidacy in Tunisia’s presidential election on October 25. This will give him another five-year term, taking him up to the age of 77. In 2004, he secured more than 94% of the vote against three...
  • 30th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Saudi involvement in Yemen’s affairs seems likely to grow following last week’s suicide attack that slightly injured Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the kingdom’s assistant interior minister. On Saturday, Yemen’s foreign minister revealed that the attacker – a known al-Qaeda...
  • 29th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Sometime soon the Iraqi parliament will be asked to approve a new protection law for journalists (the draft was approved by the cabinet at the end of July). I have pointed out before that "liberated" Iraq, far from becoming a model for the region, is rapidly acquiring the negative...
  • 28th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Efforts to negotiate a ceasefire between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels in the north of the country have collapsed, with each side blaming the other. President Salih has vowed to "cleanse" Saada province of rebels but in a speech on Wednesday he acknowledged that Operation Scorched...
  • 28th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A satirical TV series which makes fun of Kuwaiti politicians seems to have found a simple way to get round a government ban – by changing its name for every episode. The privately-owned satellite channel, Scope TV, was ordered to suspend the 30-part series – specially produced for Ramadan –...

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