Blog archive: All

  • 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...
  • 7th July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    It is now beyond dispute that banned chemicals have been used in the Syrian conflict. Aside from a few conspiracy theorists, all sides – including the Russian and Syrian governments – accept this as fact, though they disagree about who is responsible. We have reached this point because of...
  • 5th July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Surprising as it might seem, both the Syrian government and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) agree that people were exposed to Sarin in Khan Sheikhoun last April. This should now become the starting point for any rational discussion of what happened there....
  • 4th July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    On 4 April, Syrian government forces carried out an airstrike on Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province which, according to reports at the time, killed at least 74 people and injured hundreds more. Scientific tests by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – an inter-governmental...
  • 1st July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Do news organisations have a duty to publish stories from anonymous sources when there is reason to believe they are untrue? Apparently some people think so. Yesterday, following scientific tests, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed that inhabitants of...
  • 28th June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Of the 13 demands made by Saudi Arabia and the UAE in their ultimatum to Qatar, the one causing most consternation internationally is the call for al-Jazeera to be shut down. On Wednesday, the BBC's renowned World Affairs Editor, John Simpson, and David Kaye, the UN's Special Rapporteur on...

Pages