Blog archive: Saudi Arabia

  • 17th February 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Saudi Arabia's recent claim that it is preparing to send ground troops into Syria is either a transparent (and therefore ineffective) piece of psychological warfare or the latest step towards the collapse of the House of Saud. In an article for the American website, National Interest,...
  • 11th January 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Faced with falling oil revenue and an alarming budget deficit, Saudi Arabia is pinning some of its economic hopes on nationalising the production and sale of miswak, according to local media reports. Ibrahim al-Muaiqil, director-general of the kingdom's human resources fund, is quoted...
  • 9th January 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Is Saudi Arabia's Prince Muhammad bin Salman a reincarnation of Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady who reshaped Britain's economy in the 1980s? Or is he, perhaps, a reincarnation of Charles I, the seventeenth-century English monarch who lost his head in a civil war? In an interview for...
  • 16th December 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Five "top engineering and technical officials" are expected to go on trial in Saudi Arabia in connection with the world's worst crane accident last September, according to local media. More than 100 people died and several hundred were injured when a crawler crane toppled backwards...
  • 16th December 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Pakistan's foreign minister, Aizaz Chaudhry, was taken by surprise yesterday when he read in the newspapers that his country has joined the new Saudi-led 
  • 15th December 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Prince Mohammed bin Salman addresses a news conference on Saudi Arabia's "anti-terrorism" initiative. Amid widespread derision, Saudi Arabia has announced that it will lead a new military coalition to protect "the Islamic world" against terrorism. Speaking at a news conference in Riyadh,...
  • 1st December 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Magna Carta, Philip Hammond and the Saudi businessman Did foreign secretary help sheikh meet the Queen?    Last summer Britain's foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, received a gift from a Saudi businessman – an Ebel watch priced at almost £2,000. Although government ministers are...
  • 26th November 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Last September Thomas Friedman of the New York Times wrote a column disputing the claim by a retired American general that Iranians are the world's leading "purveyors of radical Islam". That title, he said, belongs to America's friend, Saudi Arabia. Friedman was right. There are plenty...
  • 20th November 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Ashraf Fayyad (left): his ideas "do not suit Saudi society" Ashraf Fayyad, a Palestinian poet and artist incarcerated in Saudi Arabia for the last two years, has now been sentenced to death for "questioning the Divine Self" (i.e. God), according to the Arabic Network for Human...
  • 30th September 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    British prime minister David Cameron receiving a decoration from King Abdullah in 2012. The award, The Order of King Abdul Aziz, is given to foreigners for "meritorious service" to the kingdom. Not only are many Saudis jumpy about their incautious King Salman, the world surrounding the Gulf...
  • 24th September 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The municipal elections in Saudi Arabia scheduled for December will be the first in which women have been allowed to take part. Now that registration of voters and candidates has closed it is possible to get a clearer picture of the actual levels of female participation. Across the kingdom,...
  • 15th September 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A lot of misinformation is being circulated about the crane accident on Friday which killed more than 100 people at the Grand Mosque in Mecca during a storm. Several spurious claims have gained credence simply because no one bothered to check them against the abundant photographic evidence. One...

Pages