Blog archive: Saudi Arabia

  • 23rd June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Having placed Qatar under economic siege earlier this month – in a row that was triggered by a fake news report – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have now issued a formal list of demands. Qatar has been given 10 days to comply, or face unspecified consequences. The demands –...
  • 22nd June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Since King Salman became ruler of Saudi Arabia a couple of years ago at the age of 79, his favourite son, the impetuous Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been unofficially running the country. Just to confuse things, though, an announcement from Riyadh yesterday means the prince is officially NOT...
  • 18th June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Viewed in isolation, the temporary disappearance of Al Jazeera's Arabic-language Twitter account last Saturday might seem fairly insignificant. In the light of other events, though, it's yet another sign that political battles in the Middle East are increasingly being fought via the internet...
  • 17th June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In a grotesque development earlier this week, Saudi Arabia – a world leader in the exploitation of migrant workers – won a seat on the governing body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The ILO is a United Nations agency "devoted to promoting social justice and internationally...
  • 8th June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Yesterday, CNN suggested that Russian hackers may have been behind the planting of a fake news item on the website of Qatar's government news agency last month. The news item – a fictitious account of a speech purportedly made by Qatar's emir – provided the spark for a barrage of attacks on...
  • 7th June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    It is hard to imagine that when the Saudis and Emiratis embarked on their ferocious confrontation with Qatar they would have done so without believing they had Donald Trump's support. Their quarrel with Qatar was far from new but Trump's stance at the "Muslim summit" in Riyadh last month appeared...
  • 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...
  • 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...

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