Blog archive: All

  • 25th August 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Iraq's education ministry has quietly dropped a chapter about evolution from its biology textbooks. The ministry has so far given no explanation but the change has brought complaints and ridicule from Iraqis on social media. Among the complainers, Dr Mohammed Fawzi, who studied genetic...
  • 17th August 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    At a news conference in Damascus yesterday, Syria's deputy foreign minister accused the US and Britain of supplying rebel fighters with chemical weapons. The claim has excited Russian media – especially Sputnik News which has published multiple stories on the topic. Sputnik wonders if...
  • 11th August 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Bahrain recently joined Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt in calling for the Qatari broadcaster, al-Jazeera, to be shut down. But a more obvious candidate for closure would surely be the Bahraini government's official mouthpiece, the misleadingly-named Bahrain News Agency (BNA). Whatever you...
  • 10th August 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Covering the face with a burqa has become a contentious issue, and several countries have imposed bans or restrictions. The debate, to quote a BBC report, "takes in religious freedom, female equality, secular traditions and even fears of terrorism". What people usually have in mind...
  • 6th August 2017
    By
    Mustafa Habib
    Over the past few weeks, there has been a rash of attacks on medical professionals in Baghdad. It has caused protests, debate, bad memories and more than a few doctors to consider leaving the country. The article below is re-posted from the Niqash website. by Mustafa Habib Last...
  • 2nd August 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A prominent public relations firm which secured a $1.2 million-a-year contract from Egypt's intelligence apparatus – the mukhabarat – has pulled out of the deal after only seven months. In January, New York-based Weber Shandwick signed a deal with Major General Khaled Fahmy, head of the General...
  • 31st July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Saudi Arabia has accused Qatar of "declaring war" on the kingdom in a dispute over the hajj – the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. At a press conference yesterday Saudi foreign minister Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir said Qatar was seeking to "internationalise" the holy sites (Mecca and Medina...
  • 29th July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A new human rights organisation which surfaced recently in Brussels has some uncanny connections with the scandal-ridden Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD) which went bankrupt last year. GNRD, headed by a man who previously ran a fake university, was funded with millions of...
  • 24th July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Here's some reading for the summer holidays. Over the next couple of weeks Arabs Without God – my book about atheism and freedom of belief in the Middle East – will be serialised here at al-bab, with a new chapter added each day. It starts today with the introduction and first chapter....
  • 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...

Pages