Blog archive: Qatar

  • 25th June 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
      The Emir of Qatar's abdication this morning (see text of his speech) is widely seen as a milestone – and rightly so. It breaks the long-standing Arab tradition of leaders who cling to power until the drop, or are forcibly removed from office. Sheikh Hamad came to power in 1995,...
  • 28th May 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Villaggio shopping mall in Qatar, which proclaims itself as Doha's "newest and the largest family entertainment destination", was designed with an Italian theme. At the end of one corridor there's a gondola and behind it a large fresco depicting Venice. Visitors often stop by the...
  • 30th October 2012
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Verbal duelling between poets is an ancient Arabian tradition dating back to pre-Islamic times. Saad Abdullah Sowayan describes its customary form: "A duelling match involves two poets ... The first poet steps forward and improvises two verses in which he greets the assembled audience and...
  • 4th December 2011
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A human rights organisation in South Africa is planning legal actionafter a journalist was sacked by al-Jazeera and expelled from Qatar following a positive HIV test. The journalist – a South African who has not been identified – had recently taken up a post as a senior editor with al-...
  • 24th June 2011
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, wife of the emir of Qatar, is famous for her good works. In the eyes of many, she's the model of a modern, enlightened Arab woman. Sheikha Moza is the driving force behind Qatar's remarkable Education City project, she is founder and chair of the Arab...
  • 17th April 2011
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Interesting comments about the emir of Qatar from President Obama. The remarks were picked up by a microphone which Obama thought was switched off. Describing Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani as a "pretty influential guy", the president said: "He is a big booster, big promoter...
  • 6th March 2011
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A human rights activist who was arrested in Qatar last week is being held incommunicado and is "at risk of torture or other ill-treatment," according to Amnesty International. Sultan Khalifa al-Khulaifi was taken away after a two-hour search of his home and car by plainclothes officers...
  • 4th December 2010
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Following FIFA's rejection of England to host the 2018 World Cup, there has been an extraordinary outpouring of hostility in the UK directed against Qatar, which was chosen to host the 2022 World Cup. I tried to set the record straight in an article for Comment Is Free, though clearly many...
  • 29th October 2010
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Qatar has out-performed both Britain and the United States in this year's Corruption Perceptions Index published by Transparency International. The tiny Gulf state is ranked 19th worldwide – one place ahead of the UK and four places ahead of the US. Elsewhere among the Arab counrties...
  • 19th November 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Qatar's reputation as the least corrupt of the Arab states is further enhanced in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index issued by Transparency International. It has moved up to 22nd place out among the 180 countries included in the annual survey – which puts it ahead of France and only...

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