Blog archive: Saudi Arabia

  • 2nd October 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In an uncharacteristically magnanimous decision, a Saudi court has cleared 13 people of blame for the disaster that struck Mecca two years ago when a crane toppled on to the Grand Mosque, killing more than 100 people. The crane had been operated by the Saudi Binladin company (founded by...
  • 15th September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The London conference on Qatar, which has caused much hullabaloo over the last couple of weeks, took place yesterday – attended by numerous video cameras and a rather sparse audience of around 150 people, many of whom had badges saying "staff" or "press". The controversial event had been...
  • 13th September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Despite having assistance from two PR firms – one headed by an American who used to organise events at the White House – the controversial and much-heralded "Qatar opposition" conference due to be held in London tomorrow is looking rather shambolic. After sending out vaguely-worded...
  • 11th September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The controversial and much-heralded "Qatari opposition" conference due to be held in London on Thursday will be attended by "hundreds of world-renowned political figures, policy makers, academics, commentators and Qataris", according to a press release. However, the venue, conference programme...
  • 9th September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Qatar, which is reportedly paying a public relations firm $50,000 month to "improve ties with the Jewish community worldwide", has accused the UAE of employing "Zionists" to organise an anti-Qatar conference. A news item published in Arabic by the Qatari-owned al-Jazeera on Thursday began...
  • 8th September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Saudi/Emirati squabble with Qatar which began in May with a fake news item on a hacked website has continued in the form of a virtual reality game which almost nobody outside the Gulf views as seriously as the protagonists themselves.  The latest round of cat-fighting relates to a...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 24th June 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Burger King and Domino's Pizza have joined McDonalds in pledging allegiance to Saudi Arabia's new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. While McDonalds paid for a newspaper ad to announce its support (as I reported on Thursday), Burger King and Domino's have opted for a cost-free solution by...
  • 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...

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