Blog archive: All

  • 21st September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    More harassment of the Tunisian regime’s critics: Abdallah Zouari, a journalist for the Islamist newspaper al-Fajr, spent 11 years in jail for "membership in an illegal organisation" (al-Nahda party) and "attempting to overthrow the state".  Following his release, he was forced to...
  • 20th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Egyptian border guards shot and wounded a 20-year-old Ethiopian man who was among a group of African migrants trying to cross illegally into Israel, the German Press Agency reported yesterday. On September 15, two Eritrean men were shot dead by Egyptian border guards and...
  • 20th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Devotees and critics of the late Edward Said may be interested in the September issue of Viewpoints (from the Middle East Institute) where a variety of writers and academics reconsider his seminal work, Orientalism – "the critique it proffered, the controversy it...
  • 19th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Yemeni government last night declared a temporary truce in its war with the Houthi rebels for the duration of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, according to the German Press Agency. Whether it will take hold remains to be seen. A similar unilateral ceasefire declared a couple of weeks ago...
  • 18th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Ramadan is coming to an end, and in the Arab countries this year it has been accompanied by a rather unusual development: the issue of compulsory fasting versus personal liberty has at last entered the public discourse.  In Egypt, the police diligently rounded up 150 people for...
  • 17th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Following the conviction of Lubna Hussein in Sudan for "indecently" wearing trousers, Egypt's government-appointed Grand Mufti, Ali Gomaa, says it's OK for women to wear trousers so long as they are loose-fitting and not see-through. Posted by Brian Whitaker, 17 September...
  • 17th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Attacks by warplanes reportedly killed as many as 87 displaced civilians in northern Yemen yesterday. Details are sketchy but the Associated Press report cites several witnesses to the large number of casualties. Human Rights Watch, which has called for an investigation, said in a...
  • 16th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Next week sees the official opening of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia,described as “a bridge between world cultures”. The university, intended to promote international research, has been established by the king outside the control of the...
  • 16th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A Jordanian doctor could face legal action after reportedly abandoning his Indonesian maid near Directorate of Chest Diseases and Foreigners' Health after she developed tuberculosis. The 28-year-old woman was allegedly beaten by the doctor’s mother and received no wages during the 19 months that...
  • 15th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Tapes attributed to Osama bin Laden rarely cause much of a stir these days, and the latest one is being interpreted (perhaps correctly) as evidence of al-Qaeda's current weakness. However, Marc Lynch on the Foreign Policy blog suggests "it deserves attention in ways which...
  • 15th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Under the headline "Areas outside state control", the Yemen Post has published a round-up of the country's multiple security problems, noting that in most governorates, the state controls only the main cities. Some key points: Bani Dhabian, Sanaa: "Bani Dhabian is a tribal...
  • 14th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In theory it’s very simple. A group of people get together to form a political party, then the voters decide if their policies are worth supporting. But in those Arab countries where parties are allowed – which rules out Bahrain, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE for a start –...

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