Articles by Brian Whitaker

Below is a collection of my articles about the Middle East, mostly written for The Guardian newspaper and its website. The articles are grouped chronologically and according to country.

Articles in chronological order:
2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998

Articles listed by country:
Algeria | Bahrain | Egypt | Iran | Iraq | Kuwait | Lebanon | Libya | Oman | Palestine/Israel | Qatar | Saudi Arabia | Syria | Tunisia | United Arab Emirates | Yemen

Archive: various countries


Algeria's regime: out on a limb that looks set to fall
Comment Is Free, 30 Aug 2011

By giving the Gaddafi family refuge, Algeria's gerontocracy is putting itself on the wrong side of history


Bahrainis cannot be subdued for ever
Comment Is Free, 17 Mar 2011

Saudi intervention has sectarianised the conflict even more, and thus may well have sealed the Bahrain regime's fate

British 'torture chief' quits
The Guardian, July 4, 2000


Why do the US media believe the worst about Iran?
Comment Is Free, 9 Nov 2011

In their eagerness to recycle flimsy scare stories about Iran, the US media have failed to absorb the lessons of Iraq and WMD

From discrimination to death – being gay in Iran
Comment Is Free, 15 Dec 2010

Ahmadinejad caused hilarity when he said gay people don't exist in Iran. But his regime's treatment of them is no joke

Iran's 'blogfather' on trial in Tehran
Comment Is Free, 24 Jun 2010

Hossein Derakhshan, the Iranian blogger and Cif contributor, is accused of producing propaganda against the Islamic regime

Method in Iran's conspiracy madness
Comment Is Free, 6 Jan 2010

A new list of subversive western organisations is not born solely of paranoia, but does show political naivety

One year on, blogger languishes in jail
Comment Is Free, 1 Nov 2009

Hossein Derakhshan was arrested in Tehran and 12 months later his family still don't know why

Iran and the west: lessons from history
Comment Is Free, 20 May 2009

Ever since Shah Abbas tried to reach out to Europe, our dealings with Iran have been lost in translation

Endless suffering of chemical gas victims
Brian Whitaker in Tehran
October 31 2002

Mohammed Nejad will always remember the day Iraqi planes dropped their chemical weapons and ruined his life. He was a soldier in the Iranian army during the bitter eight-year war with Iraq.

Inside the 'axis of so-and-so'
The Guardian, October 28 2002

It's not very often, I must confess, that women beg me to change seats on a plane in order to sit next to them.

Tehran sets its terms for US-led action
Brian Whitaker in Tehran
October 25 2002

Iran - the wild card in Washington's Middle East calculations - said yesterday that it would accept US-led military action against Saddam Hussein if efforts to achieve a peaceful solution through the United Nations failed.


Women fail to win seats in Kuwaiti polls
The Guardian, June 30 2006

Women, participating for the first time in Kuwait's parliamentary elections, have failed to win any seats, according to official results announced on Friday, though pro-reform candidates made some gains.

Suffrage and slow motion in Kuwait
Comment Is Free, June 30, 2006

Without democratic reforms in the emirate, women's political role will continue to grow only at a glacial pace.

Women take centre stage in Kuwait's handbag election
The Guardian, June 29 2006

It could be dubbed the handbag election. Kuwaitis are voting for a new parliament today - and not only are women taking part for the first time but some candidates are allegedly trying to buy their votes with designer handbags stuffed with cash.

Parliament confirms new Kuwaiti emir
The Guardian, January 30 2006

Kuwait's parliament yesterday unanimously confirmed Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah as emir, ending political turmoil over the royal succession.

Kuwaiti MPs declare emir unfit for office
The Guardian, January 25 2006

Nine days after being proclaimed head of one of the world's wealthiest countries, Sheikh Sa'ad al-Abdullah al-Sabah, emir of Kuwait, was declared unfit for office yesterday and removed from his post by a unanimous vote in parliament.

Royal hush
The Guardian, January 23 2006

Uncertainty over the condition of Kuwait's new emir reflects a tendency to keep rulers' ill-health shrouded in secrecy ...

Kuwaiti paper calls for ruler to step down
The Guardian, January 21 2006

In an unprecedented move for the Arab press, a leading Kuwaiti newspaper yesterday called for the abdication of the oil-rich country's ruler, less than a week after he inherited the throne.

Kuwait mourns after emir dies
The Guardian, January 16 2006

Kuwait declared 40 days of mourning yesterday after the death of its ruler, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah.

The Emir of Kuwait
The Guardian, January 16 2006

The Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who has died aged 77, was, for the last 27 years, ruler of one of the world's richest countries, but it was for those seven terrible months in 1990 ...

More women win vote in Kuwait
The Guardian, January 06 2006

Kuwait, where traditionalists and Islamists battled for years to keep women out of politics, now has more registered women voters than men, according to the interior ministry.

The black desert
August 16 2000

In the blazing heat of the desert, a lake ought be a welcome sight. But this lake has no palm trees around its edges, no camels watering. The sand here is a dark, sticky brown, turning to black at the lake's fringes.

Saddam casts long shadow on Kuwait
August 02 2000

Today, the trauma helplines in Kuwait will be busy. It happens every year on the anniversary of the invasion, and the government-run telephone counselling service lays on extra staff to cope with calls.

Damage claims spiral into the realm of the futile
August 01 2000

For nine years now 200 people in Switzerland have been totting up what promises to be the world's biggest bill: the compensation Iraq must pay for invading Kuwait. The final tally will not be known for three more years, but it is likely to be hundreds of billions of dollars.

The day Kuwait wants to forget
July 30 2000

When the Iraqis invaded Kuwait on 2 August 1990, Muhammad Ben Naji's first thought was to call the police. He was eating breakfast in a cafe when trouble broke out in the street. Hearing shots, the customers rushed to the window.

Women in Kuwait call for suffrage
The Guardian, June 27, 2000


(Articles about Libya are now here)


Oman's Sultan Qaboos: a classy despot
Comment Is Free, 4 Mar 2011

He may be a Britain-friendly, music-loving 'renaissance man', but Oman's Sultan Qaboos still tolerates no dissent


Al-Jazeera – how Arabic news channel became a key player in global media
The Guardian, 20 Sep 2011

Pioneering TV station credited with aiding Arab spring and opening up political debate in the Middle East

Qatar is more boring than backward
Comment Is Free, 3 December 2010

Many myths have done the rounds since Qatar was declared World Cup 2022 host – for a start, alcohol isn't illegal


Tunisia is leading the way on women's rights in the Middle East
Comment Is Free, 10 Sep 2011

Tunisia is the first country in the region to withdraw reservations to the UN convention granting equal rights to men and women

This week in the Middle East
Comment Is Free, 26 Jan 2011

Protests in Tunisia have sent shock waves across Egypt, Jordan and Yemen, where the appetite for ousting autocrats is strong

This week in the Middle East
Comment Is Free, 19 Jan 2011

Tunisia's God-free uprising and the role of the internet; the growing trend of Saudi spinsters; Yemen's tribal politics

Tunisia analysis: Old guard, 'new' government
The Guardian, 17 Jan 2011

Many Tunisians are asking whether ousted president Ben Ali's old guard can be trusted with free and fair elections

This week in the Middle East
Comment Is Free, 12 Jan 2011

Tweeting about the Tunisian uprising; Iran, Russia, and the shady morals of Putin's tiger, and the price of presidents

This week in the Middle East
Comment Is Free, 30 Dec 2010

Can Tunisian protesters end the 'Arab malaise'? Will Egypt ever catch the people traffickers? What is a woman's life worth?

How a man setting fire to himself sparked an uprising in Tunisia
Comment Is Free, 28 Dec 2010

A relatively minor incident has become the catalyst for a wave of protests that may end the presidency of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali

Democracy, Tunisian style
Comment Is Free, 9 Sep 2009

Tunisia has been praised as peaceful and competitive, but its next election will have little to do with democracy

United Arab Emirates

In Dubai, they still don't get it
Comment Is Free, 9 Dec 2009

The emirate likes to see itself as a modern financial centre yet reverts to authoritarianism and censorship in the face of bad press

Sheikhs, lives and videotape
Comment Is Free, 29 Apr 2009

A member of the UAE royal family is accused of torture – but is there any chance of justice when the country's rulers are the law?

Ousted by a gay sheikh
Comment Is Free, 16 Feb 2009

An author whose book touched on the sexual hangups of the local establishment has been disinvited from a Dubai literary festival

Dubai's big pink taxis
Comment Is Free, August 17, 2006

Are women-only taxicabs really the solution to gender discrimination?

High life in Dubai
Comment Is Free, July 5, 2006

The treatment of a music mogul arrested in Dubai on drugs charges smacks of double standards.

Dubai in mourning after emir, 62, dies in Australian hotel
The Guardian, January 05 2006

Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and a world-renowned owner and breeder of racehorses, died suddenly in Australia yesterday, aged 62.

Dubai opens ski resort
The Guardian, December 03 2005

Temperatures never rise above freezing and there is a fresh sprinkling of snow every day, but step outside and you will find a sunbaked desert.

'Gay party' guests face hormone treatment
The Guardian, November 30 2005

More than two dozen men arrested at an allegedly gay party could face compulsory hormone treatment, officials in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, said yesterday.