Blog archive: All

  • 31st August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Bikya Masr news website reports yet another religious clash in Egypt – this time between Muslims and Christians. A number of Christians had camped at Mitt Damsis in the northern delta, for celebrations to mark the birth of St George. Several dozen Muslims attacked the...
  • 30th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    To the surprise of nobody, President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali has  formally declared his candidacy in Tunisia’s presidential election on October 25. This will give him another five-year term, taking him up to the age of 77. In 2004, he secured more than 94% of the vote against three...
  • 30th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Saudi involvement in Yemen’s affairs seems likely to grow following last week’s suicide attack that slightly injured Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the kingdom’s assistant interior minister. On Saturday, Yemen’s foreign minister revealed that the attacker – a known al-Qaeda...
  • 29th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Sometime soon the Iraqi parliament will be asked to approve a new protection law for journalists (the draft was approved by the cabinet at the end of July). I have pointed out before that "liberated" Iraq, far from becoming a model for the region, is rapidly acquiring the negative...
  • 28th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A satirical TV series which makes fun of Kuwaiti politicians seems to have found a simple way to get round a government ban – by changing its name for every episode. The privately-owned satellite channel, Scope TV, was ordered to suspend the 30-part series – specially produced for Ramadan –...
  • 28th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Efforts to negotiate a ceasefire between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels in the north of the country have collapsed, with each side blaming the other. President Salih has vowed to "cleanse" Saada province of rebels but in a speech on Wednesday he acknowledged that Operation Scorched...
  • 27th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Where does the New York Times’s celebrated Middle East commentator Thomas Friedman go to get “different perspectives on the news”? The Google Reader Blog poses this question – thenprovides an answer. Among Friedman’s 17 most-favoured publications and blogs, there isn’t a single Arab...
  • 27th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Villagers in Awalad Yehia (Upper Egypt) are refusing to accept members of the Baha’i faith as their neighbours, Gulf News reports. The Baha’is in question were made homeless by torrential rain and the government is seeking to rehouse them. "Resettling the Bahais in our village will be on...
  • 27th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A ceasefire may be on the way in the war between government forces and Houthi rebels in northern Yemen. NewsYemen saysa ceasefire was agreed verbally on Wednesday and that air strikes have halted though warplanes are still flying over Saada province. A local official is quoted as saying...
  • 26th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Violent confrontations over water shortages continued for a fourth day in southern Yemen on Tuesday. Police reportedly  used tear gas and live bullets to disperse the crowds and one demonstrator was injured. On Sunday, a protester was shot dead, according to Reuters. Water has...
  • 26th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    More news from the world's most sinful city. Following the arrests of the cross-dressing Filipinos, the scandal of thedancing bankers and the "devil-worship" at a heavy metal concert, Riyadh police announce that 807 people have been arrested during the past month for "...
  • 25th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    I came across some research the other day which seems very relevant to the Middle East. It seeks to explain why religion is so influential in some countries but not in others: Although it's commonly assumed (at least by atheists) that increasing wealth and all that goes with it (science,...

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