Blog archive: All

  • 5th August 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Dozens of northern Yemenis living in the southern city of Aden have been "deported" back to the north during the last few days, according to local media reports. Forces of the Emirati-trained Security Belt are said to have raided homes, shops and markets, rounding up northerners. The...
  • 31st July 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Arabia Foundation, a pro-Saudi think tank established in Washington only two-and-a-half years ago suddenly closed down yesterday, citing "ongoing differences" among its donors that have "made continued operations difficult". In a series of posts on Twitter the organisation's founder, Ali...
  • 15th July 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A new team to identify the perpetrators of chemical attacks in Syria is now "fully operational", the head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) announced last week. However, the creation of the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) has already caused a rift within...
  • 12th July 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Before the war in Syria few people had heard of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and even fewer had any idea what it did. It was one of those obscure international bodies populated by anonymous technocrats, and obscurity suited it well. The general lack of interest meant it...
  • 8th July 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The point of diplomatic cables, and the cause of excitement when they are leaked, is that they are meant to be private – from which we might assume they contain information that is not generally known and is perhaps too interesting to be shared with the public. Sadly, that wasn't the case with a...
  • 13th June 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    After a lengthy silence the head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has revealed some interesting new details about a controversial internal document that surfaced recently on the internet. The document in question was an “engineering assessment” relating to the OPCW’s...
  • 29th May 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has now published a response to Russian and Syrian criticisms of the investigative work done by its Fact-Finding Mission (FFM). On 1 March, the FFM issued a report which found “reasonable grounds” for believing a toxic chemical...
  • 28th May 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In an unusual move, Russia has sent the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons a detailed critique of its recent report on an alleged chemical attack in Syria. In March, after a lengthy investigation, the OPCW’s Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) issued a report which found “...
  • 27th May 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Keep a look-out this week for a Saudi-made video previewing the "emergency" Arab summit in Mecca due to be held on Thursday. If you see it on social media, chances are that the person posting it is being paid to do so. Several Twitter users with Middle East connections have reported receiving...
  • 25th May 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Syria is resisting efforts by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to identify the perpetrators of chemical attacks and has refused a visa for the head of its investigative team, al-bab has learned. The Syrian deputy foreign minister, Faisal Mekdad, has...
  • 25th May 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    New details have emerged regarding claims that investigators from the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) “suppressed evidence” in their report of an alleged chemical attack in Syria. In March, after a lengthy investigation, the OPCW’s Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) issued a...
  • 23rd May 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The United States is threatening a "strong, swift response" to what it describes as "signs that the Assad regime may be renewing its use of chemical weapons" against rebels in north-west Syria. Last Friday, Jonathan Cohen, the acting US representative at the United Nations, warned...

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