Blog archive: All

  • 9th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Israeli human rights organisation, B’Tselem, today issues itsfindings on the number of Palestinians and Israelis killed during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. The figures, which it says are the result of “months of meticulous investigation and cross-checks” sharply conflict with those...
  • 8th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Debate about the possible appointment of Egypt’s culture minister,  Farouk Hosni, as head of Unesco has centred mainly on his remarks last May about burning Israeli books (for which he has since apologised). But his appointment is also controversial in Egypt, for different reasons...
  • 8th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Socotra, Yemen’s exotic island outpost in the Indian Ocean, witnessed its first-ever riot on Sunday when hundreds of people took to the streets protesting about “an acute shortage of wheat and flour”. The Yemen Post says they hurled stones at one of the Economic Corporation's...
  • 7th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A few more details have emerged about the case of Hassan Shehata, whose arrest I wrote about last month in connection with the harassment of Egypt's tiny Shia minority. AP reports that the prominent cleric and 12 others have been accused of receiving funds from Iran for...
  • 7th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A letter from President Obama confirming US support "for the unity and security of Yemen" was delivered to President Salih on Saturday, according to the official news agency, Saba. The letter allegedly promised "an initiative to support Yemen to face all its development obstacles and...
  • 6th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    While the Houthi conflict dominates the news from Yemen there’s a risk of other issues being ignored. One that certainly should not be ignored is corruption, and last week Alistair Lyon wrote an excellent report about it for Reuters AlertNet. As Lyon notes, “Corruption is rampant in...
  • 5th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Hot on the heels of the Human Rights Watch report aboutdiscrimination against Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia, I received this photo of a Shia Ismaili mosque in Khobar. Note the concrete blocks placed in front of the entrance. According to my source, security forces...
  • 5th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Yemeni government announced yesterday that it "does not view any objection" to suspending military operations against the Houthi rebels if the rebels will do the same. The rebels appear to have responded positively. The "suspension" offer came into effect at 9am on Friday,...
  • 5th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A Facebook campaign, "We all together support the Sudanese journalist Lubna" has so far attracted more than 6,000 supporters. Lubna Hussein is due to go on trial in Khartoum on Monday, charged with wearing "indecent" clothing – namely, trousers. If found guilty she will probably be...
  • 4th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Discrimination against Shia Muslims in the Sunni-dominated countries of the Middle East tends to attract less attention in the west than prejudice against Christians, Jews and Baha'is. Politics plays a part in that, of course, because of Shia Islam's associations with Iran. I recently wrote...
  • 4th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    After going off-line for several hours yesterday "for maintenance", the Menassat website is back – but without the announcement of staff sackings posted by earlier by "Robin Hood". There's one new article on the front page, about the presidential succession in Egypt. A...
  • 4th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The war between the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels, as regular readers will have gathered, has multiple dimensions: local grievances, tribal/religious conflicts and international rivalries among them. One further dimension – which I haven't mentioned so far – is a struggle to succeed...

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