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8th January 2021
News that an international conference on "Gender Identity and LGBT Rights" is to take place in the United Arab Emirates is causing a stir in the gay media. The idea of holding a conference on LGBT rights in the Emirates is not only surprising but potentially significant. It would be the first of… Read more
4th January 2021
  REGIONAL OVERVIEW   New Covid-19 infections in the Middle East and North Africa averaged just under 28,000 a day during December, bringing the total since the pandemic began to almost five million, according to official figures. Across the region as a whole, this represents a… Read more
1st January 2021
The attack on Aden airport in war-torn Yemen which killed at least 25 people and injured more than 100 on Wednesday appears to have had a political purpose rather than a military one. Crowds had gathered to welcome a plane carrying ministers in one of the country's two rival governments. Minutes… Read more
30th December 2020
The American University of London is no ordinary university. Instead of having a campus it has a mailbox at a shop in the Old Brompton Road. And it once offered to sell a degree in business administration to a dog for £4,500. Though operating from the UK, the American University of London (AUOL)… Read more
28th December 2020
Following the discovery that a Kuwaiti government minister who uses the title "Doctor" had got his PhD from a bogus university, more dodgy degrees among the Gulf state's citizens have come to light. Videos posted on YouTube show "graduation" ceremonies in Kuwait where dozens of people received… Read more
20th December 2020
A cabinet reshuffle in Kuwait last week saw the appointment of Dr Abdullah Abdul-Samad Marafie as minister in charge of housing. Biographical notes circulated by the government show he has a PhD in management and finance from the American University in London. Marafie has several other academic… Read more
1st December 2020
  REGIONAL OVERVIEW   A million new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in the Middle East and North Africa during November, bringing the region's total since the pandemic began to more than four million. To put it another way, a quarter of all known Covid-19 infections in the region… Read more
30th November 2020
Towards the end of each month the director-general of the OPCW issues a report headed "Progress in the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons programme". There have been 86 of these reports over the last seven years but what they reveal is not so much progress as a lack of it. More than 20… Read more
27th November 2020
By: Brian Whitaker
When the 193 countries that are parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention hold their annual meeting next week they will face a tricky question regarding one of the members. The general assumption of the Convention is that if countries are willing to sign up to it they are also likely to comply… Read more
18th November 2020
By: Brian Whitaker
The coronavirus pandemic is about to enter a new phase as vaccines become available. Countries in the Middle East are making preparations and here is a round-up of what they are doing. Some – mostly the wealthier ones – have struck deals with major pharmaceutical companies, often for more than one… Read more