Blog archive: All

  • 26th February 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Twenty-three new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Arab countries since yesterday's report, and Algeria is a newcomer to the list. Excluding Iran (where details are very confused), the latest tally of cases in the rest of the Middle East region is as follows: Algeria 1 (+1) Bahrain 26 (+...
  • 25th February 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Coronavirus cases have now been reported in nine countries in the Middle East. The outbreak in Iran is clearly the most serious in the region, and it may be more extensive than the official figures suggest. Elsewhere in the region the number of cases is small and no deaths have been reported so...
  • 10th February 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A 27-year-old Egyptian rights activist was detained on arrival at Cairo airport on Friday and now faces multiple charges: Publishing rumours and false news intended to disturb social peace and sow chaos. Incitement to protest without permission from the relevant authorities with the aim...
  • 6th February 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The war in Yemen is complicated and it can be difficult to keep track of what's happening on the ground, not to mention the related peace efforts. A new report from the Sana'a Center for Strategic Studies is a useful starting point for anyone wanting a quick catch-up – well, relatively quick, since...
  • 3rd February 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Rebels in Syria used a gas chamber to murder dozens of civilian captives, a university professor has claimed. The claim – which is not supported by any evidence – formed part of a Powerpoint presentation that Edinburgh University professor Paul McKeigue showed to a meeting in London last month...
  • 31st January 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Last October a mysterious whistleblower surfaced in Brussels complaining of irregularities in the OPCW's investigation of a suspected chemical attack in Douma, Syria. "Alex" – as the whistleblower asked to be called – claimed that in an effort to shape the investigation towards a "pre-ordained"...
  • 30th January 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Among the leaked documents in the OPCW whistleblower affair is an account of a meeting between four of the organisation's staff and a group of toxicologists. The toxicologists were shown photos and videos of alleged victims from what was suspected to be a chlorine gas attack in Douma, Syria....
  • 27th January 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A former Director of Special Forces in the British army appeared on Russia's RT channel on Sunday, talking about the OPCW's investigation of a suspected chemical attack in Douma, Syria. Retired Major General John Holmes is a board member of the British Syrian Society along with President...
  • 21st January 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    On Monday, Russia stepped up its campaign against identifying the perpetrators of chemical attacks in Syria with a specially-convened meeting at the UN. Though held under the auspices of the Security Council, it was what is known as an "Arria" meeting – a discussion that's not treated as formal...
  • 18th January 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Banned chemical weapons have been used repeatedly during the Syrian conflict and in most cases, if not quite all of them, the Assad regime is the obvious suspect. By its own admission the regime had stockpiles of chemical weapons, and almost all the reported attacks struck rebel-held areas....
  • 17th January 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    On 6 June 2018, four staff from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons met a group of toxicologists in connection with the investigation of a suspected chlorine attack in Douma, Syria. As part of the investigation the OPCW initially proposed exhuming bodies from mass graves...
  • 2nd January 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Many of the recent claims about "irregularities" in the OPCW's investigation of a suspected chemical attack in Syria revolve around an employee called Ian Henderson. His exact role has been a matter of dispute but now leaked documents give a clearer picture. * * * In a report last March the...

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