Middle East

Lebanon looks to China as US, Arabs refuse to help in crisis Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

By BASSEM MROUE, BEIRUT (AP):- Facing a worsening economic crisis and with little chance of Western or oil-rich Arab countries providing assistance without substantial reforms, Lebanon’s cash-strapped government is looking east, hoping to secure investments from China that could bring..

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UN to hold crisis talks as decaying Yemen tanker risks disaster Sunday, July 12th, 2020

DUBAI, (AFP):- An abandoned oil tanker lying off Yemen's coast with 1.1 million barrels of crude on board is deteriorating badly and could rupture at any time, with disastrous results for Red Sea marine life, UN and other experts warn. The 45-year-old FSO Safer is anchored off the port of Hodeida..

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Turkey’s president formally makes Hagia Sophia a mosque Friday, July 10th, 2020

By SUZAN FRASER, ISTANBUL, (AP):- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday formally reconverted Istanbul’s sixth-century iconic Hagia Sophia into a mosque and declared it open to Muslim worship, hours after a high court annulled a 1934 decision that had turned it into a museum. The..

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Jerusalem offers a grim model for a post-annexation future Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

By JOSEPH KRAUSS, JERUSALEM (AP):- It’s hard to say what exactly will change in the West Bank if Israel follows through on its plans to annex parts of the occupied territory, but east Jerusalem, which was annexed more than a half-century ago, may provide some answers. Israeli leaders paint..

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Iraqi extremism expert Hisham Al Hashemi killed Monday, July 6th, 2020

BAGHDAD, (AFP):- Renowned extremism expert Hisham Al Hashemi was shot outside his home in Baghdad on Monday and died shortly thereafter at a local hospital, Iraqi officials told AFP. Al Hashemi was an authoritative voice on extremist factions including Daesh, but was also frequently consulted by..

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Iran confirms damaged nuclear site was centrifuge facility Sunday, July 5th, 2020

TEHRAN, Iran (AP):- Iran on Sunday confirmed that a damaged building at the underground Natanz nuclear site was a new centrifuge assembly center, the official IRNA news agency reported. Iranian officials had previously sought to downplay the fire, which erupted early on Thursday, calling it only..

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Israeli leader’s son takes center stage in corruption sagas Saturday, July 4th, 2020

By ARON HELLER, JERUSALEM (AP):- As scandal-plagued Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands trial for corruption, his 28-year-old son has emerged as a driving force in a counterattack against critics and the state institutions prosecuting the longtime Israeli leader. A favorite of the prime..

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Iran will not disclose cause of mysterious nuclear site fire Friday, July 3rd, 2020

By JON GAMBRELL, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP):- An online video and messages purportedly claiming responsibility for a fire that analysts say damaged a centrifuge assembly plant at Iran’s underground Natanz nuclear site deepened the mystery Friday around the incident — even as Tehran..

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Analysts: Fire at Iran nuke site hit new centrifuge facility Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

By JON GAMBRELL, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP):- A fire and an explosion struck a building above Iran’s underground Natanz nuclear enrichment facility early on Thursday, a site that U.S.-based analysts identified as a new centrifuge production plant. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran..

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Lebanon’s plea to skeptical expats: Come visit, bring cash Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

By ZEINA KARAM,BEIRUT (AP):- With Beirut’s airport partially reopening from a three-month virus shutdown, the government is hoping thousands of Lebanese expatriates will return for the summer — and bring dollars desperately needed to prop up the crashing economy. But Lebanon’s far-flung..

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Satellite image: Iran blast was near suspected missile site Saturday, June 27th, 2020

By JON GAMBRELL, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP):- An explosion that rattled Iran’s capital came from an area in its eastern mountains that analysts believe hides an underground tunnel system and missile production sites, satellite photographs showed Saturday. What exploded in the incident..

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Iran says coronavirus deaths top 10,000 Thursday, June 25th, 2020

TEHRAN, (AFP):- Iran on Thursday announced 134 new deaths from the novel coronavirus took the overall toll in the Middle East's deadliest outbreak past 10,000. The Islamic republic has struggled to contain the spread of the virus since it reported its first cases in the Shiite holy city of Qom in..

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Israeli annexation plan draws apartheid comparisons Wednesday, June 24th, 2020

By JOSEF FEDERMAN, JERUSALEM (AP):- Benjamin Pogrund spent decades battling apartheid as a journalist in South Africa. Since moving to Israel two decades ago, he has passionately defended the country against charges that it too is an apartheid state. But at the age of 87, Pogrund is having second..

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US wants Security Council to extend Iran arms embargo Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

UNITED NATIONS, (AFP):- The US has proposed a UN Security Council resolution condemning a devastating 2019 attack on Saudi oil facilities it blames on Iran and proposing an extension of an arms embargo against the Islamic republic, sources said. The embargo, put in place as part of a nuclear..

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Saudi Arabia to hold ‘very limited’ hajj due to virus Monday, June 22nd, 2020

By AYA BATRAWY, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP):- Saudi Arabia said Tuesday that because of the coronavirus only “very limited numbers” of people will be allowed to perform the annual hajj pilgrimage that traditionally draws around 2 million Muslims from around the world. The decision comes..

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US considers withholding aid to Jordan to force extradition Monday, June 15th, 2020

By MATTHEW LEE and JOSEF FEDERMAN, WASHINGTON (AP):- The Trump administration is considering withholding aid to one of its closest Arab partners, Jordan, in a bid to secure the extradition of a woman convicted in Israel of a 2001 bombing that killed 15 people, including two American citizens. The..

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G20, Heal Thyself Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

The G20 ministers of finance meet this week under the auspices of Saudi Arabia, which holds the group’s presidency this year. But it is hard to imagine the G20..

A Doomed Middle-East Peace Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

Still No Care for Care Workers Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

Saving Generation COVID Monday, July 13th, 2020