Blog archive: All

  • 24th February 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In times of war it's important but often difficult to distinguish truth from propaganda. So the newly-formed "Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media" – comprising three professors, two lecturers and three postgraduate researchers at British universities – ought to be a welcome...
  • 19th February 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A 329-page report by the UN's panel of experts on Yemen was published last week, and it makes grim reading. Yemen, as a state, has all but ceased to exist, it says. It also notes that during the three-year conflict there have been "widespread violations of international humanitarian law and...
  • 19th February 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    What on earth is going on at Newsweek? An article posted on its website earlier this month wrongly claimed that James Mattis, the US defense secretary, had said there is no evidence of the Assad regime using the nerve agent sarin against its people. The claim attributed to Mattis was...
  • 12th February 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A British member of parliament was paid £15,000 (almost $21,000) for helping to organise a "Qatar opposition" conference in London, it emerged yesterday. Daniel Kawczynski, a Conservative MP and a strong supporter of Saudi Arabia, declared the money in the register of members' interests...
  • 10th February 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The former head of an Emirates-linked human rights organisation which went bankrupt in 2016 claims he is owed more than $200,000. Palestinian-born Loai Deeb founded the Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD) in 2008 while also running a fake university from his home. Based in...
  • 9th February 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    At a news conference last week US defence secretary James Mattis was asked about reports of recent chemical attacks in Syria using chlorine. "Is this something you're seeing that's been weaponised?" a reporter asked. "It has," Mattis replied, adding that the deadly...
  • 2nd February 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Russia has so far kept a low profile in the Yemen conflict – in contrast to its role in Syria – but that is now changing. Over the last few months it has been stepping up political and diplomatic contacts and advertising itself as a potential mediator. Given Russia's position in Syria, allied...
  • 30th January 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The official aim of the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen is to restore the "legitimate" government of the internationally-recognised but unconstitutionally-elected President Hadi. That was always something of a fantasy and events during the last couple of months have made it even more...
  • 29th January 2018
    By
    Kristian Ulrichsen
    Fighting broke out in Aden yesterday between southern separatists and forces loyal to Yemen's internationally recognised president, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi. This was not the first time they have clashed but yesterday's outbreak was the most serious so far. At least 10 people are reported to...
  • 26th January 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Saudi-owned Al Arabiya News channel has been fined £120,000 ($170,000) for "serious" breaches of Britain's broadcasting code. Yesterday's announcement came after Ofcom, which regulates broadcasting in the UK, upheld a complaint of "unjust or unfair treatment and unwarranted...
  • 25th January 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Taxation has never been a prominent feature of life in the wealthy Gulf states – unlike many other countries. But that is changing. Last year Saudi Arabia introduced a "sin tax", doubling the price of tobacco products and sugary drinks. Then, earlier this month, Saudi Arabia and the UAE went a step...
  • 22nd January 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Atheism is like terrorism and is part of an orchestrated plot to destroy Arab countries, an Egyptian government minister claimed last week. "The ideas of atheists, queers and extremists are time bombs" like the bombs of terrorists, Muhammad Mukhtar Juma'a, minister of awqaf (religious endowments...

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