Blog archive: All

  • 4th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    It’s probably reassuring for Iraq’s neighbours that the “democratic” Maliki government is gradually acquiring the characteristics of a bog-standard authoritarian regime. Its latest move, reported in the New York Times, is to ban websites “deemed harmful to the public, to require internet...
  • 4th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Mediation by a tribal leader from the Socialist Party has secured a truce between Houthi rebels and armed supporters of the Islah Party in al-Jawf province (north-eastern Yemen), according to the Yemen Observer. The Shi’a and Sunni rivals had been fighting for a couple of weeks with...
  • 3rd August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    With the holy month fast approaching, it’s time for a look at this Google graph. It shows internet searches for “sex” in Egypt during the last 12 months (or, if you want to Arabise it, searches for سكس). Notice the sudden dip at the beginning of September. That was the start of Ramadan...
  • 3rd August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The London-based Women Solidarity for Unified and Independent Iraq has appealed to Arab governments to help save the lives of nine women believed to be facing imminent execution in Iraq. Amnesty International says Iraq's presidential council has ratified the death sentences...
  • 3rd August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    You will be pleased to hear that even if Yemen is on the brink of  turning into a failed state, its banking sector is in fine fettle and unaffected by the global financial crisis. The central bank’s governor, Ahmad al-Samawi, delivered the good news on Saturday and also “reviewed...
  • 2nd August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Several recent reports from Gaza suggest a steady erosion of personal liberties as Palestinian society retreats into supposedly “traditional” values. Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights says there has been anoticeable increase in “honour” killings – the most recent case being that of a 27-year...
  • 2nd August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The authorities in Morocco have seized the latest edition of two of the country's leading independent magazines – TelQuel (circulation 35,000) and Nichane (50,000). The reason? Both published an opinion poll showing that 91% of Moroccans have a "positive or very positive"...
  • 1st August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Not to be sidelined amid Yemen’s growing mayhem (the Houthi rebellion alone has cost 338 civilian lives during the last 12 months according to government figures), al-Qaeda elements attacked a military vehicle in the eastern province of Marib on Thursday. AFP says three soldiers...
  • 1st August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Not to be sidelined amid Yemen’s growing mayhem (the Houthi rebellion alone has cost 338 civilian lives during the last 12 months according to government figures), al-Qaeda elements attacked a military vehicle in the eastern province of Marib on Thursday. AFP says three soldiers...
  • 1st August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Shortly before dawn on Friday, Saudi security forces raided a “satanist ceremony” (i.e. a rock concert) at a private residential compound in Riyadh. A number of Saudis, Syrians and others were arrested (it is not known how many) and all the equipment was seized, including cameras and computer...
  • 31st July 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    It’s almost two weeks since the latest Arab Human Development Report was published and, after the initial burst of news items which basically summarised its content, considered views are beginning to emerge. The theme of the 2009 report, as I noted last week, is “human security...
  • 31st July 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Violence seems to be on the increase in Algeria again. Reuters reports that at least 14 soldiers were killed in an ambush on Wednesday. (Other reports give a death toll ranging from 11 to 20). "The past two months have seen an upsurge in the violence," Reuters says. "Insurgents killed...

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