Blog archive: All

  • 24th April 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Last week, unnoticed by most of the world's media, Saudi Arabia was elected to the UN's Commission on the Status of Women – with support from at least three EU countries. The commission is described on its website as "the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to...
  • 23rd April 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Since leaving the diplomatic service Peter Ford, a former British ambassador in Damascus, has become an outspoken critic of western policies towards Syria and has described calls for President Assad to step down as "child-like". During the conflict Ford has also repeatedly disputed...
  • 19th April 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A decorative concrete structure which had stood for more than 25 years at the entrance to a government building in the Saudi city of Buraydah was abruptly demolished at the weekend because of its alleged connection with Christianity, according to local media.  The structure, which...
  • 10th April 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The trouble with Ayaan Hirsi Ali is that so many people take her seriously. The late Christopher Hitchens described her as "probably the most important public intellectual ever to come out of Africa" and last week it was the turn of a writer in the Wall Street Journal, no less, to hail...
  • 7th April 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    One of the more effective examples of international cooperation has been the outlawing of chemical weapons. With just a few exceptions, the world has been remarkably successful in moving towards the completely eliminating them.  To date, only three countries – Egypt, North Korea and...
  • 27th March 2017
    By
    Helen Lackner
    Repeated bombing over the last two years by the Saudi-led coalition has brought the conflict in Yemen no closer to a solution. In the article below, HELEN LACKNER considers the unfolding disaster. Two years ago, on 26 March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition started aerial attacks...
  • 20th March 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Gulf's autocratic rulers have joined forces in denouncing Switzerland after it complained about human rights abuses in Bahrain. The row began last Tuesday when Switzerland's representative at the UN Human Rights Council made a brief statement expressing concern about five particular...
  • 7th March 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Saudi Arabia has confirmed the death of at least one transgender Pakistani among 35 who were arrested in Riyadh last week for "imitating the opposite sex". According to rights activists in Pakistan, two of those arrested were placed in sacks and beaten to death in police custody (see ...
  • 6th March 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    When Donald Trump won the US election last November, Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi boasted of being the first international leader to phone and congratulate him. Immediately after his inauguration Trump returned the compliment. On his first working day in the Oval Office, Sisi was...
  • 5th March 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In countries where gender discrimination is considered a social and religious necessity, the dividing line between male and female is not to be crossed. Men must behave and dress as men, and women as women – or face punishment.  In Saudi Arabia last week, police raided a gathering of...
  • 27th February 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Several hundred Egyptian Christians have fled their homes in North Sinai over the last few days following a series of murders attributed to supporters of the so-called Islamic State. Since the end of January at least seven people have been attacked and killed in the provincial capital,...
  • 23rd February 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    When it comes to reporting the conflict in Yemen, Fox News is exceptionally bad. Fox has been fooling its viewers for years but now, with Donald Trump installed in the White House, the problem is becoming a more serious. Trump is a devotee of Fox News: it tells him what he wants to hear – about...

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