Blog archive: Saudi Arabia

  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 13th September 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    More than 100 people died on Friday when a crane toppled over during a storm and crashed on to the Grand Mosque in Mecca.  An engineer on the construction site around the mosque described this as an act of God. "It was not a technical issue at all," he told Agence France...
  • 3rd September 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    For the first time in Saudi Arabia's history, women will be allowed to take part in municipal elections scheduled for December. The big question, though, is how many will actually do so. With only 11 days left in the voter registration process, it seems that women have not exactly been queueing...
  • 26th August 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Women have been excluded from previous municipal elections With municipal elections scheduled for December, Saudi women have begun registering to vote for the first time in the kingdom's history. Although the elections themselves are not particularly significant, the inclusion of women as...
  • 27th July 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In an Orwellian twist of logic, Gulf states are once again pushing to restrict religious freedom under the guise of promoting tolerance, combating extremism and protecting human rights. At a conference in France at the weekend, a Saudi official from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs called for...

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