Blog archive: Saudi Arabia

  • 24th October 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A Saudi court has decided that no one was to blame for the disaster that struck Mecca two years ago when a crane toppled on to the Grand Mosque, killing at least 108 people and injuring more than 200 others. The crane, which had not been properly secured during a storm, was operated...
  • 22nd October 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The shadowy figures behind the London Centre for Public Affairs – an apparently bogus PR firm with Qatari connections – have now set up a second organisation. This time it's a mysterious NGO which purports to be monitoring the activities of the United Nations. The new body, known as Independent...
  • 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 –...

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