Blog archive: All

  • 3rd October 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The repressive Sultanate of Oman is to be honoured next month by an official visit from Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne. But one Omani newspaper will definitely not be reporting on the prince's trip: last week a court ordered the permanent closure of Azamn newspaper and...
  • 2nd October 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Egypt's Sisi regime arrested four more journalists last week and charged them with the catch-all crime of "publishing false news". Harassment of the media has increased markedly in Egypt since Sisi seized power in 2013. Last year Egypt had more imprisoned journalists than any country apart from...
  • 29th September 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    According to Islamic tradition the Prophet Muhammed once said: "Pay the labourer his wages before his sweat dries". But in the devout Gulf states that is one religious instruction employers are often content to ignore. Stories abound of workers being unpaid for months – and sometimes never...
  • 26th September 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Writing for the Independent last week, Middle East reporter Robert Fisk highlighted an event which he claimed "may prove to be even more dramatic than the terror of Syria's civil war". The cause of his excitement was a conference held in the Chechen capital, Grozny, towards the end of August...
  • 23rd September 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    There are signs of growing consternation among Coptic Christians over the Egyptian patriarch's obsequious behaviour towards the Sisi regime. Last week, amid preparations for Sisi's visit to the United States, Pope Tawadros issued instructions for Copts living in the US to welcome the...
  • 21st September 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, will pay an official visit to Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates in November. An official announcement yesterday said their tour will "help to strengthen the United Kingdom’s warm bilateral...
  • 17th September 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    An article has appeared on three French-language websites defending GNRD, the strange (and now bankrupt) human rights organisation that Norwegian authorities have accused of money-laundering. The article portrays GNRD as a brave non-western alternative to groups like Human Rights Watch...
  • 13th September 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The battle over Britain's arms sales to Saudi Arabia is getting dirtier and dirtier, amid talk of disbanding a troublesome parliamentary committee which sought to have sales suspended. In a draft report earlier this month, the all-party Committee on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) warned...
  • 9th September 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Strenuous efforts are under way to water-down a report by British MPs which – in its draft form – calls for a suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The draft version, prepared by the all-party Committee on Arms Export Controls, was leaked to the BBC and quoted extensively on...
  • 7th September 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The British government's determination to continue selling weapons to Saudi Arabia – despite credible reports that the Saudis are committing war crimes in Yemen – is facing its most serious challenge yet. A parliamentary committee – the Committee on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) – is due to...
  • 4th September 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The wealthy autocrats of the Gulf have traditionally relied on money to minimise dissent and keep themselves in power. In the initial alarm over the Arab Spring uprisings, the king of Saudi Arabia dipped into his pockets and produced a £133 billion social spending package to include bonuses...
  • 3rd September 2016
    By
    James M Dorsey
    Global soccer and global sports governance have for the past nine years and certainly since a fateful meeting in late 2010 of the executive committee of FIFA, the world soccer body, witnessed crisis after crisis. Invariably the scandals involved corruption: financial corruption, political...

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