Blog archive: Saudi Arabia

  • 12th October 2016
    By
    Hiba Zayadin
    What was meant to end in a swift victory for the coalition is rapidly turning into a protracted civil war with grave humanitarian consequences. The Saudi-led intervention has wreaked havoc on Yemen and inflamed sectarian rifts across the Gulf region. Eight months after Saudi Arabia said its...
  • 11th October 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Saudi Arabia has "privately accepted" that one of its coalition warplanes bombed a funeral in Yemen on Saturday, according to the BBC's security correspondent, Frank Gardner. Gardner's report appears to be based on a briefing from British government officials. At least 140 mourners died...
  • 10th October 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The bombing has been "barbaric" and war crimes have "unquestionably" been committed. One especially repugnant kind of bombing is known, euphemistically, as the double tap: "They drop one bomb and then they wait for the aid workers to come out, civilian people pulling the injured from the...
  • 9th October 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Two airstrikes hit a large funeral gathering in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, on Saturday killing more than 140 people and injuring at least 525, according to the UN's humanitarian coordinator in the country. This was the worst single attack of the war so far and it is difficult to construe it as...
  • 6th October 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    More details are emerging about the attack on a highly unusual "civilian" vessel which was severely damaged by Houthi fighters at the southern end of the Red Sea last weekend (see yesterday's blog post). The Saudi-led coalition which is fighting the Houthis in Yemen insists that the vessel...
  • 29th September 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    According to Islamic tradition the Prophet Muhammed once said: "Pay the labourer his wages before his sweat dries". But in the devout Gulf states that is one religious instruction employers are often content to ignore. Stories abound of workers being unpaid for months – and sometimes never...
  • 26th September 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Writing for the Independent last week, Middle East reporter Robert Fisk highlighted an event which he claimed "may prove to be even more dramatic than the terror of Syria's civil war". The cause of his excitement was a conference held in the Chechen capital, Grozny, towards the end of August...
  • 21st September 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, will pay an official visit to Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates in November. An official announcement yesterday said their tour will "help to strengthen the United Kingdom’s warm bilateral...
  • 13th September 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The battle over Britain's arms sales to Saudi Arabia is getting dirtier and dirtier, amid talk of disbanding a troublesome parliamentary committee which sought to have sales suspended. In a draft report earlier this month, the all-party Committee on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) warned...
  • 9th September 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Strenuous efforts are under way to water-down a report by British MPs which – in its draft form – calls for a suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The draft version, prepared by the all-party Committee on Arms Export Controls, was leaked to the BBC and quoted extensively on...
  • 7th September 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The British government's determination to continue selling weapons to Saudi Arabia – despite credible reports that the Saudis are committing war crimes in Yemen – is facing its most serious challenge yet. A parliamentary committee – the Committee on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) – is due to...
  • 4th September 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The wealthy autocrats of the Gulf have traditionally relied on money to minimise dissent and keep themselves in power. In the initial alarm over the Arab Spring uprisings, the king of Saudi Arabia dipped into his pockets and produced a £133 billion social spending package to include bonuses...

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