Blog archive: All

  • 20th December 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A cabinet reshuffle in Kuwait last week saw the appointment of Dr Abdullah Abdul-Samad Marafie as minister in charge of housing. Biographical notes circulated by the government show he has a PhD in management and finance from the American University in London. Marafie has several other academic...
  • 1st December 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
      REGIONAL OVERVIEW   A million new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in the Middle East and North Africa during November, bringing the region's total since the pandemic began to more than four million. To put it another way, a quarter of all known Covid-19...
  • 30th November 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Towards the end of each month the director-general of the OPCW issues a report headed "Progress in the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons programme". There have been 86 of these reports over the last seven years but what they reveal is not so much progress as a lack of it. More than...
  • 27th November 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    When the 193 countries that are parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention hold their annual meeting next week they will face a tricky question regarding one of the members. The general assumption of the Convention is that if countries are willing to sign up to it they are also likely to comply...
  • 18th November 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The coronavirus pandemic is about to enter a new phase as vaccines become available. Countries in the Middle East are making preparations and here is a round-up of what they are doing. Some – mostly the wealthier ones – have struck deals with major pharmaceutical companies, often for more than...
  • 9th November 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Framed certificates printed in the style of medieval manuscripts and adorned with seals and signatures are much sought after in the Middle East. They are a way of acquiring prestige, getting jobs and, in some cases, laundering a person’s reputation. Thus, when it emerged recently that two Iraqi...
  • 1st November 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
      REGIONAL OVERVIEW   The number of people known to have been infected with Covid-19 in the Middle East and North Africa passed the three million mark at the end of October. Across the region as a whole the level of new infections continues to rise,...
  • 13th October 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    When Algerian police searched the home of 52-year-old Yacine Mebarki they found among his books a copy of the Qur'an. It was an old copy, he says, that he inherited from his grandfather. On closer examination, the police spotted that one of its pages was missing – and charged him with...
  • 6th October 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    An interesting situation is developing at the OPCW – the global chemical weapons watchdog – regarding Syria and Russia. Last July the OPCW's executive council set a 90-day deadline for Syria to provide further information about its chemical weapons programme – some of which it was supposed to...
  • 3rd October 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Week ending 3 October 2020   REGIONAL OVERVIEW   Almost 2.4 million Covid-19 infections have now been recorded in the Middle East and North Africa and the situation has worsened considerably over the past month. New cases, which were averaging around...
  • 29th September 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Two Iraqi politicians have been awarded bogus degrees by a self-proclaimed university in Denmark, it has emerged. ● Former interior minister Qasim al-Araji received a worthless MA certificate from the unrecognised Aalborg Academy of Science in February 2019. ● Ahmad al-Ubaidi,...
  • 28th September 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    On Saturday police in the Indian city of Mysore raided a ceremony where more than 100 people dressed in gowns and mortarboards were about to receive fake degrees. The would-be graduates had paid up to 100,000 rupees ($1,357) for doctorates from the bogus International Global Peace University...

Pages