Blog archive: Saudi Arabia

  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 11th February 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Jeff Bezos, the American multi-billionaire who claims he was the target of a blackmail attempt, has been talking mysteriously of a possible Saudi connection. On January 9, Bezos and his wife jointly announced they were divorcing after 25 years of marriage. Next day, the National Enquirer, a...
  • 1st February 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In Saudi Arabia it's not uncommon for a man to divorce his wife without telling her. This isn't because Saudi men are especially forgetful – it's a way of avoiding expense, since an ex-wife who thinks she is still married can't claim alimony or other entitlements. To put a stop to this abuse...
  • 22nd October 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Last November Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, travelled to Riyadh for an interview with the heir to the Saudi throne – an interview that has since proved memorable for all the wrong reasons. Under a headline announcing "Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring, at...
  • 15th October 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The disappearance and suspected murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul is the latest in a long line of reasons for questioning Britain's relationship with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf monarchies.  It's a relationship that has never been viewed with...
  • 7th August 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Saudi Arabia launched an extraordinary campaign against Canada yesterday. Besides expelling the Canadian ambassador, it announced a trade freeze and a suspension of flights to Toronto and said thousands of Saudis currently studying in Canada will be transferred to other countries. In a more...
  • 3rd August 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Saudi Arabia blamed rebels for two reported airstrikes on the Yemeni city of Hodeidah yesterday. More than 20 people died when the strikes hit a fish market and the entrance to a hospital, according to witnesses and medical staff. Colonel Turki al-Malki, spokesman for the Saudi-led...
  • 24th July 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Largely unnoticed by the British public, the Emir of Qatar has arrived in London for a visit which includes talks with prime minister Theresa May. Visits by Gulf potentates don't generally arouse much interest in Britain and the Emir's arrival is no exception – though it hasn't escaped the...
  • 12th July 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In a move that appears to license war crimes, the Saudi king has issued a pardon for "all military men" involved in the Yemen conflict.  An announcement by the government news agency on Tuesday said the pardon would apply to "military and disciplinary penalties, in regard of some...
  • 13th June 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In Yemen, the long-expected military assault on the port city of Hodeidah began this morning. Hodeida is currently held by the Houthis who control much of northern Yemen. According to local reports it is being attacked from the south by the Amaliqa ("Giants") Brigades – a surviving section...

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