Blog archive: All

  • 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...
  • 4th June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The day before unknown persons hacked a government website in Qatar, triggering a vicious media feud among Gulf states, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi was urging a former CIA director to give the Qataris "hell". On 23 May, a conservative think tank with strong Israeli connections held a...
  • 2nd June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The secret is out. When Donald Trump typed the word "covfefe" on Twitter many people were baffled but, according to Trump's press secretary, Sean Spicer, "The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant." Now, though, many of Trump's supporters are convinced...
  • 1st June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In a rare turning-of-tables in the land of the Prophet, a Saudi court has sentenced a cleric to 45 days in prison for defaming a comedy actor. The case arose out of a popular Saudi TV series, Selfie, which satirised ISIS/Daesh. One episode poked fun at religious figures who smash...
  • 31st May 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The emir of Qatar is reportedly flying to Kuwait today to exchange Ramadan greetings with Kuwait's emir – something that he apparently has to do in person rather than by phone. There is not much doubt, though, about the real purpose of the visit. It's an attempt to cool down the war of...
  • 28th May 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    On his recent trip to the Middle East, Donald Trump posed for cameras sitting side by side with the emir of Qatar. "We are friends," Trump said, shaking the emir's hand. "We have been friends now for a long time. Our relationship is extremely good." So good, apparently, that Trump was hoping to...
  • 26th May 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The first tangible result of Donald Trump's visit to the "Muslim summit" in Riyadh last weekend has been the reopening a long-standing feud among Arab Gulf states. Over the last few days Saudi and Emirati media have been attacking Qatar ferociously, especially over its attitude towards Iran and...
  • 25th May 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Earlier this week a story appeared on the website of Qatar's government-run news agency quoting what it said was a speech made by the emir at a military graduation ceremony. The remarks attributed to the emir brought a furious reaction from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Qatar...
  • 24th May 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Hot on the heels of Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia and the festivities surrounding it, a new feud has erupted among the Arab Gulf states. The Saudis and Emiratis are blocking the websites of al-Jazeera and other Qatari news sources. Qatar, meanwhile, says reports of a controversial speech...
  • 18th May 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    For more than a week clashes have been taking place in Awamiyah, a town in Saudi Arabia's predominantly Shia Eastern province. What began – ostensibly – as a redevelopment project is now being portrayed in Saudi media as an anti-terorrism operation. Awamiyah has long been a centre of...
  • 15th May 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    There are three possible outcomes to the war in Yemen: reconstruction as a single state, partition into two states – north and south – or fragmentation into multiple statelets. Of these, only a single state can offer some hope of a more secure future for the Yemeni people but the prospects for...
  • 9th May 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    For the last two years a Saudi-led coalition has been waging a war in Yemen to restore the "legitimate" government headed by Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi. But that goal is now in doubt because Hadi's lacklustre performance has opened up a rift between Saudi Arabia and its key ally in the conflict,...

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