Blog archive: All

  • 13th August 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Last Thursday Yemen's southern separatists sent a letter to the UN Security Council and to the foreign ministers of all EU member states. Written in flawless English, it set out their grievances and demanded "credible southern representation" in political processes aimed at ending the four...
  • 11th August 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    On Saturday, after four days of armed clashes, separatist forces seized control of Aden – the "temporary" capital of Yemen's internationally-recognised government. They appear to have met little resistance in taking over military camps, the home of the interior minister and, most symbolically,...
  • 9th August 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Fighting between rival militias in Yemen's anti-Houthi coalition is continuing for a third day, according to reports this morning from the southern city of Aden. The clashes which broke out on Wednesday involve southern separatists on one side and supporters of Yemen's ousted but internationally...
  • 5th August 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Dozens of northern Yemenis living in the southern city of Aden have been "deported" back to the north during the last few days, according to local media reports. Forces of the Emirati-trained Security Belt are said to have raided homes, shops and markets, rounding up northerners. The...
  • 31st July 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Arabia Foundation, a pro-Saudi think tank established in Washington only two-and-a-half years ago suddenly closed down yesterday, citing "ongoing differences" among its donors that have "made continued operations difficult". In a series of posts on Twitter the organisation's founder, Ali...
  • 15th July 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A new team to identify the perpetrators of chemical attacks in Syria is now "fully operational", the head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) announced last week. However, the creation of the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) has already caused a rift within...
  • 12th July 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Before the war in Syria few people had heard of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and even fewer had any idea what it did. It was one of those obscure international bodies populated by anonymous technocrats, and obscurity suited it well. The general lack of interest meant it...
  • 8th July 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The point of diplomatic cables, and the cause of excitement when they are leaked, is that they are meant to be private – from which we might assume they contain information that is not generally known and is perhaps too interesting to be shared with the public. Sadly, that wasn't the case with a...
  • 13th June 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    After a lengthy silence the head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has revealed some interesting new details about a controversial internal document that surfaced recently on the internet. The document in question was an “engineering assessment” relating to the OPCW’s...
  • 29th May 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has now published a response to Russian and Syrian criticisms of the investigative work done by its Fact-Finding Mission (FFM). On 1 March, the FFM issued a report which found “reasonable grounds” for believing a toxic chemical...
  • 28th May 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In an unusual move, Russia has sent the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons a detailed critique of its recent report on an alleged chemical attack in Syria. In March, after a lengthy investigation, the OPCW’s Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) issued a report which found “...
  • 27th May 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Keep a look-out this week for a Saudi-made video previewing the "emergency" Arab summit in Mecca due to be held on Thursday. If you see it on social media, chances are that the person posting it is being paid to do so. Several Twitter users with Middle East connections have reported receiving...

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