‘Good’ Syrian rebels on run – Saudis ask Putin for help

Syrian refugees – when will war end for them? UNHRC

Will there be any ‘good’ Syrian rebels left to provide credible representation at the January United States – Russia sponsored Geneva II peace conference?

The U.S. favored rebel group, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), experienced major setbacks in December. On the first, the Syrian [...]

Syria refugees pour into Iraqi Kurdistan in thousands

BBC, August 18

Thousands of refugees from Syria are pouring over the border into Iraqi Kurdistan, the UN refugee agency says.

Up to 10,000 crossed at Peshkhabour on Saturday, bringing the total influx since Thursday to 20,000. The UN says the reasons are not fully clear.

The UN agencies, the Kurdish regional government and NGOs [...]

The prospects of far greater violence in post-coup Egypt

Muslim Brotherhood and police, Cairo

Army has ousted two president in two years and done so in a manner that has made it fairly popular, at least for a while. The generals are likely to try to restore the old oligarchy with a populist façade and a lot of Saudi money. This popular base [...]

Diverging Saudi and Israeli strategic interests in post-Morsi Egypt

Egypt’s Army – ready-made for Saudi defense (Wikipedia)

Over the last few years, Saudi Arabia and Israel have been aligned on critical matters. The two powers are engaged in attacking Iran and its nuclear capacity, ousting the Assad government from Syria, and unseating Hizbullah in Lebanon.

So determined are the two countries to stop [...]

Some thoughts on the ouster of Mohammed Morsi

The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has been ousted from power in Egypt in a military coup. There is an astonishing amount of support for the ouster around the region and around the world as well. Much of Egypt is celebrating. But what will this coup bring in coming months and years?

The provisional government has reached [...]

Russia turns its attention to Syria – and the rest of the Middle East as well

Shortly after Vladimir Putin and Secretary of State John Kerry agreed to seek a negotiated settlement to the Syrian civil war, the Russian president bolstered his support for the embattled Assad government. He announced an impending transfer of anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles to the Syrian military. It was a bold move that signals Putin’s intent [...]

Israeli warplanes fly over Lebanon

Guardian, By Harriet Sherwood

Israeli warplanes flew over Lebanon again on Friday, two days after air strikes targeted a convoy of arms or a weapons research base inside Syrian territory.

Andrea Tenenti, a spokesman for the UN forces in Lebanon, Unifil, confirmed that Israeli forces had continued to violate Lebanese airspace, but said this was [...]

Mass protests planned in Egypt after deadly week

NBC News (via Reuters), By Tom Perry and Yusri Mohamed

Opponents of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi planned mass demonstrations on Friday, raising the prospect of more bloodshed despite a pledge by politicians to back off after the deadliest week of his seven months in office.

Protests marking the second anniversary of the uprising that toppled [...]

Sunni Iraq And Syria

Patrick Markey has a Reuters Analysis piece today that deals with something I’ve alluded to in the past – that Iraq is headed for another eruptive episode in its ongoing civil war and it is a tossup whether the ignition point will be Kurds vs Baghdad, Kurds vs Sunnis or Sunnis vs Baghdad/Shiites. Markey [...]

Middle East News Thread

(Check comments in Middle East News Thread daily for updates)

Gunfire Scatters Mourners at Egypt’s Port Said Funerals

Thousands of mourners marched on Sunday in the Egyptian canal city of Port Said at the funeral of people killed in clashes triggered by death sentences on supporters of a local football team.

Bodies wrapped [...]

Middle East News Thread

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Assad Shown at Ceremony for Prophet Birthday

Syria’s embattled President Bashar Assad was Thursday shown on state television attending prayers at a mosque in a northern district of Damascus to mark the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday.

The leader was shown in a live broadcast kneeling [...]

Middle East News Thread

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Bodies of 25 Hostages Found at Algeria Gas Plant

Security forces found the bodies of 25 hostages on Sunday as they combed a desert gas plant after a deadly stand-off with Islamists, and witnesses said nine Japanese captives had been executed.

Citing security sources, [...]

Middle East News Thread

Palestinian Militants From Syria Establish Lebanon Base

While Bashar al-Assad announced his new solution for Syria on Jan. 6, many recalled the widely known saying about the country’s heritage and its diaspora abroad, which reads: Every person in the world has two homelands, his place of birth first, and Syria second. For some time [...]

Middle East News Thread

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Israel evicts Palestinian activists from Gate of Sun camp

Israeli police evicted dozens of Palestinian activists early Sunday from a first-of-its-kind protest camp they set up in a West Bank area slated for Jewish settlement.

Police and activists confirmed that hundreds of Israeli police entered the campsite [...]

Middle East News Thread

UN warns 1 million Syrians going hungry due to conflict

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) warned on Wednesday it was unable to reach one million desperate and hungry Syrians because of the perilous security situation across the country after nearly two years of deadly conflict

*Iranian Captives Freed in Major Prisoner Exchange in [...]

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