U.S. Embassy in Cairo deletes Twitter post that angered Morsi supporters in Egypt

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo shut down its provocative Twitter account for more than two hours Wednesday, one day after posting a clip from Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” in which host Jon Stewart bashed the government of Mohammed Morsi for arresting a popular Egyptian satirist who’s often compared to Stewart. | 04/03/13 20:54:00 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

In rebel-held Syria, some schools try to carry on

It’s unlikely the students and teachers at Taha Hussein High School will soon forget last year’s summer break. | 04/03/13 16:03:15 By - By David Enders

March was deadliest month of Syrian war, as rebel deaths surged

March was the deadliest month so far in Syria’s two-year-old civil war, as rebels pressed their offensive throughout the country, seizing a provincial capital for the first time and launching attacks on other fronts. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 5,896 civilians and combatants died last month, surpassing the 5,400 deaths the observatory recorded in August, the previous high-water mark. The observatory recorded 3,893 deaths in February. | 04/01/13 16:29:59 By - By David Enders

As Syria’s war rages, villagers who’d fled to cities for better lives return

Until a few months ago, the village of Dweetchia was all but empty, one of hundreds of once-populated specks in northern and eastern Syria that had been abandoned over the last decade because of drought, environmental mismanagement and poverty, a modern exodus that led perhaps as many as a million Syrians to search for better lives elsewhere. The conditions that drove people from the villages haven’t changed, but Dweetchia is once again full of people. Many of its former residents have returned, joined by refugees seeking safety from the fighting that’s ravaged much of the country. | 04/01/13 00:00:00 By - By David Enders

Cyprus’ banks reopen, but ‘Russians’ might lose big

Banks reopened Thursday in crisis-stricken Cyprus after a 12-day closure, but not everyone joined the queues, as small enterprises all over the island appeared to be on the verge of going under and unable to meet payrolls. | 03/28/13 19:03:21 By - By Roy Gutman

As Egypt’s foreign currency reserves fall, black market in dollars thrives

In today’s moribund Egyptian economy, a man who calls himself Youssef has become a crucial component to keeping the wheels of commerce turning. He’s a black-market money dealer, selling dollars for Egyptian pounds at a markup. With the Egyptian government desperate to keep dollars in the country, banks are limited in how many they may let their clients have. People who need dollars are willing to pay Youssef more to get them. He’s become one of the few sources of unlimited capital in Egypt. | 03/28/13 14:05:11 By - By Amina Ismail

Iraqi oil: Once seen as U.S. boon, now it’s mostly China’s

Ten years after the United States invaded and occupied Iraq, the country’s oil industry is poised to boom and make the troubled nation the No.2 oil exporter in the world. But the nation that’s moving to take advantage of Iraq’s riches isn’t the United States. It’s China. | 03/27/13 15:31:53 By - By Sean Cockerham

In Cyprus financial crisis, even Orthodox Church likely to lose millions

Cyprus, a palm-fringed island in the Mediterranean Sea, has long held three distinctions. Now it has another: It’s the only place in the continuing euro currency crisis in which the government has agreed to force bank account holders to help pay for the rescue of debt-ridden banks. The cost for many savers and businesses would be staggering. | 03/26/13 18:25:18 By - By Roy Gutman

Islamists, secular rebels battle in Syria over Nusra Front’s call for Islamic state

Two Syrian rebel groups – one seeking an elected civil government, the other favoring the establishment of a religious state – are battling each other in the city of Tal Abyad, on the border with Turkey, in a sign of the tensions that are likely to rule this country if the government of President Bashar Assad falls. | 03/26/13 15:32:24 By - By David Enders

Obama’s Syria policy in shambles as Assad opposition squabbles

The Obama administration’s Syria policy was unraveling Monday after weekend developments left the Syrian Opposition Coalition and its military command in turmoil, with the status of its leader uncertain and its newly selected prime minister rejected by the group’s military wing. State Department officials said they still planned to work with the coalition, to which the United States has pledged $60 million, but analysts said the developments were one more sign that the Obama administration and its European allies had no workable Syria policy. | 03/25/13 19:26:26 By - By Hannah Allam

Ben Zygier, Israel’s Prisoner X, reportedly revealed IDs of 2 Mossad informants

Why Mossad agent Ben Zygier, who was known until earlier this year only as Prisoner X, was jailed had been a lingering mystery of the case. Zygier spent nearly a year in solitary confinement so intense that not even his jailers knew his real name before he died, allegedly a suicide. Israeli officials added to the mystery by banning journalists from reporting on the case after Zygier was found dead in his cell in December 2010. | 03/25/13 15:19:01 By - By Sheera Frenkel

In Raqqa, largest city held by Syrian rebels, Islamists provide electricity, bread, and order

The sounds of battle can still be heard nearby and residents remain fearful that the government will attack with airstrikes and missiles. But Abdul Hakim Mohamed, the vice president of the local civil council in the largest Syrian city so far to fall to rebel control is optimistic about the future, though what that future will be is uncertain. | 03/24/13 13:06:59 By - By David Enders

Obama plays tourist at end of Mideast trip

Content that he laid the groundwork for possible improvements in the Middle East, President Barack Obama played tourist Saturday, gazing at the wonder of the ancient city of Petra on his last stop of a four-day trip to the Mideast. | 03/23/13 16:20:32 By - By Lesley Clark

Obama vows to help Jordan take care of Syrian refugees

President Barack Obama on Friday pledged $200 million in new aid to Jordan to help it handle a flood of refugees seeking shelter from the raging civil war in neighboring Syria. | 03/22/13 18:41:43 By - By Lesley Clark

‘Sorry’ says Israel’s Netanyahu, opening way for diplomatic relations with Turkey

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized Friday to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, ending a nearly three-year-long feud in a phone call brokered by President Barack Obama. | 03/22/13 18:22:45 By - By Sheera Frenkel, Hannah Allam and Roy Gutman

Turkish Kurds take big step toward ending insurgency

The scene could not have been imagined just two years ago. Before a million Turkish Kurds, many waving their own tricolor flag, and with millions more Turks following it live on national television, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdish PKK insurgency called via written letter for an end to his 30-year insurgency. | 03/22/13 17:34:35 By - By Roy Gutman

Obama charms Israel but chills Palestinians

Across Israel Friday, news stations aired a special live broadcast of President Barack Obama’s last day in the Jewish state with a headline summarizing his visit: “US President wins our hearts and minds.” | 03/22/13 19:16:07 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Israel says chemical weapons used in Syrian conflict

Israeli officials said there was "compelling evidence" that chemical agents were used in an attack against civilians in northern Syria earlier this week, citing satellite imagery and reports from the ground. | 03/21/13 18:25:23 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Obama shifts tone on Israeli settlements

President Barack Obama shuttled between the West Bank and Jerusalem on Thursday, prodding Palestinians and Israelis to restart peace talks as he acknowledged decades of frustration but insisted it’s in both sides’ best interest. | 03/21/13 19:41:17 By - By Lesley Clark and Sheera Frenkel

UN refugee chief: Aid agencies overwhelmed as Syrian crisis worsens

With the dramatic increase in Syrian refugees outpacing international funding to deal with the crisis, some aid agencies could be paralyzed within weeks, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees warned Wednesday. | 03/20/13 16:49:31 By - By Hannah Allam

Obama calls trip an opportunity to 'reaffirm the unbreakable bond' between the US and Israel

President Obama landed in Israel Wednesday, pledging that the U.S. will remain a steadfast ally of Israel, amidst "winds of change" in the turbulent region. | 03/20/13 07:51:08 By - Lesley Clark

Think you know the facts about Iraq War? Think again.

A decade after the beginning of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, myths and distortions persist about how the conflict evolved into the current incarnation of Iraq as a fragile, highly sectarian state with a domestic political crisis that’s only exacerbated by volatile neighbors Syria and Iran. | 03/19/13 17:54:40 By - By Hannah Allam

Syrian opposition names U.S. citizen Ghassan Hitto to prime minister post

After two days of meetings that lasted into the wee hours of Tuesday, Syrian opposition leaders elected a prime minister to lead their interim opposition government. But questions remained about the prime minister’s responsibilities and whether a government in exile would have any real influence inside Syria. | 03/19/13 15:09:59 By - By David Enders

Iraq changed U.S. military tactics – think quick and small

Ten years ago, the United States massed a traditional military force behind sand-berm walls separating Kuwait from Iraq. | 03/19/13 17:09:52 By - By Matthew Schofield

Islamist rebels consolidating hold in three northeast Syrian provinces

Rebels from Syria’s Islamist factions now control large parts of three contiguous provinces in north and eastern Syria, and they are working to install civil administrations there in line with their ambitions of establishing an Islamic state after the fall of President Bashar Assad. | 03/15/13 17:51:00 By - By David Enders

10 years after Iraq invasion, Sunnis who backed Saddam chafe under Shiite rule

A decade after the U.S.-led invasion, Iraq is still a broken country. Its government is democratically elected, but nearly everyone sees it as dysfunctional, and many observers wonder whether the country can hold together and function as a normal state. Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki is widely criticized for what critics call his manipulation of the political process, though they concede that at least some of the problems he faces were inherited from the U.S. occupation. | 03/15/13 17:07:16 By - By Roy Gutman

Middle East in turmoil 10 years after Iraq invasion that officials said would bring peace

Ten years later, the era that the U.S.-led invasion ushered in looks anything but simple. After tens of thousands of deaths, not just of Americans, but also of Iraqis – many, if not most, at the hands of other Iraqis – that country is still in turmoil. American troops are gone and a democratically elected government rules. But bombings and massacres continue, and the country remains mired in sectarian feuding. Elsewhere, conflict reigns – in some cases, coincidentally, with anniversaries that fall also around this weekend. | 03/15/13 16:22:59 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Religious parties left out of new Israeli government as Netanyahu forced to compromise

For the first time in years, Israel’s new government will not include representatives from the country’s ultra-Orthodox religious parties, a condition Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to on Thursday in order to form a coalition that will allow him to be sworn in for a third term. | 03/14/13 17:34:01 By - By Sheera Frenkel

U.S. pledge to help Iraqis who aided occupation largely unfulfilled

Ten years after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and set off a sectarian war that continues to this day, thousands of Iraqis are eligible for resettlement to the U.S. because they risked their lives to help the war effort as interpreters, cultural advisers and other support staff. But of the allotment of about 25,000 “special immigrant visas,” just 4,669 cases have been approved since 2008, and the program is scheduled to end in September. | 03/14/13 13:48:12 By - By Hannah Allam

Obama nominates first U.S. envoy to Libya since deadly Benghazi attacks

A veteran diplomat who’s served in Syria, Kuwait and Turkey will return to the Middle East as the new U.S. ambassador to Libya, President Barack Obama announced Wednesday. | 03/13/13 18:15:01 By - By Hannah Allam

Egyptian court confirms 21 death sentences in soccer riot, hands down 5 life terms

An Egyptian court issued split verdicts Saturday in the deadliest soccer riot in this country’s history, confirming death sentences for 21 fans accused of planning the violence, giving life terms to five others, and sentencing to long prison stretches two senior police commanders. | 03/09/13 15:03:31 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

Egypt’s silent soccer stadiums show the depth of country’s troubles

It was the kind of game that used to lock Egyptians in 90 minutes of suspense. Cairo’s Zamalek team was up against Suez’s PetroJet. Zamalek’s Ahmed Gaafar scored the last of three goals in that shutout game, after the ball bounced off PetroJet’s goalie. Gaafar kissed the ground as the television announcer roared a loud “Goal!” | 03/08/13 12:51:41 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

State Department withdraws honor for Egyptian activist over anti-American, anti-Semitic tweets

The State Department on Thursday backed off its decision to honor a young woman for her bravery in the Egyptian uprising after it emerged that she’d quoted Adolf Hitler on Jews, celebrated a suicide bombing and posted anti-American commentary on her Twitter account. | 03/07/13 19:01:34 By - By Hannah Allam

UN officials hopeful Syrian rebels will soon release peacekeepers held in Golan Heights

Syrian rebels have divided kidnapped U.N. peacekeepers into smaller groups and are keeping those groups in separate locations, a move that would make a rescue effort more difficult, according to a video released Thursday. | 03/07/13 18:34:52 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Syrian rebels seize 20 peacekeepers in Golan Heights, demand UN take tougher stand on Assad

Syrian rebels on Wednesday took 20 United Nations peacekeepers hostage in the Golan Heights, demanding that the U.N. and the United States do more to force Syrian President Bashar Assad to withdraw his troops from a village in the area in return for the hostages’ release. | 03/06/13 18:01:29 By - By Sheera Frenkel

New bus service for Palestinians raises charges of racism

For more than a decade, Khaled Abdi and his uncle, Sami, have navigated the circuitous routes of the West Bank to get to low-paying construction jobs in central Israel. They’d wake at 3 a.m. to leave their homes near Nablus to catch one of Israel’s state-run buses, which also ferried Israeli settlers. | 03/04/13 17:36:43 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Kerry tells Morsi that Egypt must change before U.S. will send more aid

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry vowed Sunday to provide $190 million to help Egypt’s government pay its bills, but said any additional money would require that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi move quickly to resolve the country’s differences with the International Monetary Fund, reform its security services and take steps to provide equal rights for women and religious minorities. | 03/03/13 16:04:22 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Rebel cooperation in Syrian town shows challenge of isolating Islamists

Sophisticated new weapons now in the hands of rebels in north-central Syria underscore how difficult it will be, once more lethal aid begins to arrive, to keep those weapons from Islamist extremists who’ve become key to rebel military advances throughout the country. | 03/03/13 13:55:24 By - By David Enders

U.S. vow of non-lethal aid for Syrian rebels fails to satisfy Assad opposition

For the first time in the two-year push to topple President Bashar Assad, the United States said Thursday that it will send food and medicine directly to armed Syrian rebels. | 02/28/13 19:48:13 By - By Hannah Allam and David Enders

Once a curiosity, captured tanks are a growing part of Syrian rebels’ arsenal

Ankir Ankir normally drives a wheat harvester, but a battle in December found him piloting a tank, a skill he had learned 17 years ago as an 18-year-old conscript in the Syrian army. | 02/27/13 16:49:51 By - By David Enders

Autopsy casts doubt over first Israeli version of how Palestinian prisoner died

On the evening of Feb. 18, Israeli authorities arrested Arafat Jaradat, 30, on suspicion that he had thrown stones at Israeli soldiers. Five days later, he was dead. Now his story has come to symbolize what many Palestinians and human rights groups say are the torturous interrogation methods used by Israel’s internal security service, the Shin Bet. | 02/26/13 18:26:24 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Syrian opposition leader Mouaz Khatib agrees to attend Rome meeting

After initially threatening a boycott, Syria’s opposition agreed Monday to attend a meeting on Thursday in Rome of the so-called Friends of Syria group of nations that support the rebellion against Syrian President Bashar Assad. But the agreement came only after Secretary of State John Kerry personally called opposition leader Mouaz Khatib and urged him to come. | 02/25/13 17:33:14 By - By David Enders

Syrian government accused of targeting hospitals, health workers as war rages

The national hospital in Azaz lies in ruins; government aircraft bombed an entire wing. In nearby Aleppo, a barrel bomb forced the closing of the Dar al Shifa hospital. Those are just two examples of the toll on Syria’s hospitals in nearly two years of war. Half of them are now out of service, according to Syria’s government. International officials decry what they say is a government campaign against health care facilities and medical professionals that constitutes a war crime. | 02/25/13 15:44:49 By - By Roy Gutman and Paul Raymond

For Egypt’s women, fear of rape now governs Cairo’s Tahrir Square

Tahrir Square is where Egyptians rose up against the regime of Hosni Mubarak two years ago. It was a very different time. That there were so few sexual assaults, many hoped, was a sign of a more progressive, democratic Egypt. But now every demonstration in Tahrir – and they happen weekly – seethes with likely sexual violence. Now women enter the square with trepidation. | 02/25/13 00:00:00 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Israel closely watching what weapons are being sent to Syria’s rebels

Israel is closely monitoring the kinds of weapons that are being sent to Syrian rebel groups, and it’s consulted with U.S. officials about which weapons they consider too sophisticated to be passed to the groups that are battling to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to Israeli officials with knowledge of the situation. | 02/22/13 17:22:10 By - By Sheera Frenkel

It’s still unclear why Israel’s Mossad jailed Prisoner X, Ben Zygier

The most commonly repeated story about why Israel’s Mossad spy agency nabbed one of its own and threw him into prison, where he hanged himself, is probably false or at least only part of the truth, according to people familiar with the way the Mossad operates. In the murky world of espionage, even what comes out in the news is subterfuge, they caution. | 02/22/13 16:28:15 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Pro-Assad militia now key to Syrian government’s war strategy

A Syrian government militia that the U.S. has declared a terrorist organization is becoming increasingly important to the Syrian government’s strategy as it attempts to shore up its still-loyal but beleaguered military. | 02/19/13 18:10:13 By - By David Enders

U.N. numbers on Syrians in need of help far too low, survey suggests

The first detailed survey of the humanitarian crisis in northern Syria suggests that the United Nations has grossly underestimated the number of civilians in dire need of assistance, a situation that experts say plays down the scope of the catastrophe. | 02/18/13 17:39:14 By - By Roy Gutman

Ben Zygier, Israel’s ‘Prisoner X,’ may have revealed how Mossad used foreign passports

In the space of three days, a two-year-old mystery about an unidentified prisoner who hanged himself in a high-security Israeli prison has become a scandal for Israel’s vaunted Mossad spy agency. Many here are predicting that it will cost some top officials their jobs. | 02/15/13 18:02:45 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Agencies warn Congress not to use humanitarian aid as tool against Syria’s Assad

Humanitarian groups are lobbying hard against a proposal by several U.S. senators that would turn over the delivery of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to a Syrian opposition council that’s criticized as too weak and too political to handle the responsibility. | 02/15/13 12:05:31 By - By Hannah Allam

Israelis puzzle over mysterious death of Mossad’s ‘Prisoner X’

A handful of facts are known about Ben Zygier: He was born Sept. 12, 1976, in Australia, and he died in Israel on Dec. 15, 2010. He was involved in Jewish organizations, immigrated to Israel, married an Israeli and fathered children. He also was a member of Israel’s Mossad spy agency. What’s not known is why Israeli security agents detained him and sent him to solitary confinement. Nor is it known how, under 24-hour surveillance in a suicide-proof cell, he managed to hang himself. | 02/13/13 18:02:20 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Syrian air attacks worry some at camps for displaced people

On Jan. 13, bombs dropped by Syrian aircraft destroyed this town’s open-air market and at least five buildings around it. U.S. officials and Syrian opposition leaders say the bombings were part of a Syrian government tactic to target people who’ve fled because of violence in their home cities. | 02/07/13 15:08:17 By - By Roy Gutman

Aid doesn’t reach camp for displaced Syrians just outside Turkey

The Atma camp jars the senses of any visitor. Syrian jets routinely fly over it or nearby villages, scaring everyone inside. The Atma clinic is in chaos: unheated, unlighted and with threadbare supplies. But the most surprising thing here is the near-complete absence of the international community. | 02/07/13 17:57:54 By - By Roy Gutman

U.S., Israel pressure EU over Hezbollah after Bulgaria says group behind bus attack

Israel and the United States on Tuesday urged the European Union to declare the Lebanese group Hezbollah a terrorist organization after the Bulgarian government announced that Hezbollah militants were behind the bombing of a tour bus last July that killed five Israeli tourists in that country. | 02/05/13 18:17:48 By - By Sheera Frenkel and Roy Gutman

Few expect results from Syrian opposition’s offer to negotiate indirectly with Assad

Despite offers by the leader of an umbrella group for Syria’s opposition to negotiate with the Syrian government, such talks are unlikely in the short term for a number of reasons, including two of the opposition’s key demands. | 02/05/13 15:02:34 By - By David Enders

Gen. Carter Ham: Members of al Qaida group among Benghazi attackers

The attackers who killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, represented a variety of Islamist groups and were motivated by a myriad of factors, the top Libyan official investigating the case has told McClatchy. They almost certainly included members of al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, which the French now are confronting in northern Mali, said Army Gen. Carter Ham, the head of the U.S. military’s Africa Command. | 02/04/13 18:16:52 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Syrian government offensive forces thousands to find shelter in caves, cars

Under bombardment from combat aircraft, tanks and rocket launchers, at least 100,000 people have fled the towns and villages north of Hama in central Syria in the past 10 days, rebels say. But shelter has run out in this part of northern Syria, and many have been forced to live in the open or even in nearby caves. | 02/01/13 18:32:17 By - By Roy Gutman

January death toll in Syria rises as talks remain stalled

Syrian human rights activists recorded a slight increase in deaths in January compared with December, but still fewer than what so far has been the peak of the violence in the country last summer. | 02/01/13 18:17:12 By - By David Enders

Prosecutors allege police role in deadly Egypt soccer riot

Last weekend more than 60 people died in riots triggered when a judge sentenced 21 people to death for their roles in a Feb. 1, 2012, stampede after a soccer game that left 74 dead. On Friday, thousands turned out for protests around the country to mark the anniversary of the tragedy. Few details of that day’s events are known. If people knew what prosecutors think took place, they might be even angrier. | 02/01/13 16:40:35 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

Israelis: Missiles were at Syrian military base when aircraft struck

The Israeli officials’ accounts, if they’re accurate, help explain the Syrian government’s assertion that Israeli jets had targeted a scientific research center in Jamraya and not a military convoy when they flew low over the Israel-Syria border Wednesday in the pre-dawn hours. | 01/31/13 18:24:49 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Israeli aircraft strike Syrian target near border with Lebanon

Israel intervened militarily in Syria’s complex civil war early Wednesday, launching an air assault that destroyed either a convoy of anti-aircraft missiles that were bound for Lebanon or a scientific research center near Damascus that previously had been the target of rebel groups. | 01/30/13 18:19:40 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Egypt military chief urges end to violent protests, warns nation threatened

CAIRO Declaring that ongoing street protests could lead to the “collapse of the state,” Egypt’s top military general warned Tuesday that if opponents of President Mohammed Morsi continue to paralyze the country through demonstrations, the military might have to intervene to defend the government. | 01/29/13 19:08:41 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Another day of violence leaves Egypt wondering how this will end

Egypt descended into chaos Monday as fresh clashes between protesters and security forces rocked cities around the country, with few people honoring a 9 p.m. curfew that had been ordered in three provinces as demonstrators took to the streets to curse Egypt’s first democratically elected president. | 01/28/13 19:38:44 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Yemen moves against al Qaida-linked fighters after hostage talks falter

Yemen’s army launched an offensive against al Qaida-linked militants in central Bayda province on Monday after negotiations failed to win the militants’ peaceful surrender and the release of three Western hostages. | 01/28/13 17:13:05 By - By Adam Baron

U.S. effort to undercut Islamist rebels in Syria appears to have failed

A U.S.-supported push to form military councils across Syria to unite the hundreds of groups fighting to topple President Bashar Assad and coordinate the provision of aid to secular rebel groups appears largely to have failed. | 01/28/13 16:43:16 By - By David Enders

Israel: Iran slowing nuclear program, won’t have bomb before 2015

Israeli intelligence officials now estimate that Iran won’t be able to build a nuclear weapon before 2015 or 2016, pushing back by several years previous assessments of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. | 01/28/13 16:31:10 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Father, mother worry as Egypt’s political divisions color a court’s soccer riot verdict

The death sentence handed down to Adel Mohammed’s son on Saturday for his part in a riot last February that killed 74 soccer fans supposedly helped set off the latest round of deadly protests in Port Said, Egypt. But Mohammed believes the violence, which led to at least 38 deaths and 800 injuries over two days, was not about his son. | 01/27/13 16:19:23 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

Port Said soccer riot verdict sparks deadly clashes in Egypt

A court sentence in the death of 74 fans at a Port Said soccer stadium set off the deadliest round of protests in Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s five-month tenure Saturday and a surge violence around the country that showed no signs of subsiding. | 01/26/13 12:11:41 By - Nancy A. Youssef

Amid clashes of Egypt’s Brotherhood, opposition – the quiet struggle of those in the middle

To mark the two-year anniversary of an uprising that led to their ascension, members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood came to the town of Faiyum on Friday with a simple message: The government may not be providing services for you, but the powerful social organization supporting it still can. | 01/25/13 17:56:37 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Israel’s new political star acclaimed as ‘a man of the people’

Israelis have long valued television celebrity Yair Lapid as the country’s everyman, and this week they made him one of the most powerful political figures in Israel’s next government. | 01/25/13 15:51:27 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Top al Qaida leader in Yemen, Saeed al Shihri, reportedly dies

The Yemeni government reported the death Thursday of a top leader of al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, who died as a result of wounds suffered in a November “counter-terrorism operation” in the northern province of Saada. | 01/24/13 18:01:15 By - By Adam Baron

Britain, Germany, Netherlands urge citizens out of Benghazi

Three European countries urged their citizens to leave the restive eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Thursday after Libyan officials found a threatening message against Europeans outside a foreign-run company, a Libyan congressman said Thursday. | 01/24/13 17:55:09 By - By Nancy Youssef

Will a new, moderate Benjamin Netanyahu emerge from Israeli election?

Netanyahu will need to secure a majority of 61 seats in the 120-seat Parliament to stay on as prime minister. With Israel’s left- and right-wing parties in a dead split of 60-60 seats, analysts say securing a majority might be harder than he expected. | 01/23/13 17:36:21 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu likely to stay in charge, but centrists’ strength surprises

Israelis voted Tuesday in an election that’s widely expected to hand Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a third term, but with a coalition far less stable than one he’s enjoyed in recent years. | 01/22/13 18:55:51 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Netanyahu expected to win re-election in Israel, but shifting politics cloud future

With less then 24 hours before Israelis cast their ballots, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is widely expected to win another four-year term as the head of the government. | 01/21/13 15:17:16 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Syrian government has pattern of attacking bakeries, bread lines

After a week without bread, people in the small central Syrian town of Halfaya got word two days before Christmas that a shipment of flour had arrived at the main bakery, prompting several hundred to queue up for the staple of life in the war-ravaged land. | 01/21/13 00:00:00 By - By Roy Gutman and Paul Raymond

U.S. quietly trying to suppress dangers of Syria’s chemical arsenal

The Obama administration has quietly arranged for thousands of chemical protective suits and related items to be sent to Jordan and Turkey and is pressing the military forces there to take principal responsibility for safeguarding Syrian chemical-weapons sites if the country’s lethal nerve agents suddenly become vulnerable to theft and misuse, Western and Middle Eastern officials say. | 01/17/13 16:33:48 By - By R. Jeffrey Smith

Human Rights Watch, U.S. reject report that Syria used chemical weapons

Employees of the advocacy group Human Rights Watch expressed skepticism Wednesday over a report that a State Department cable had concluded that the Syrian government used chemical weapons last month against rebel-held neighborhoods in the city of Homs. | 01/16/13 18:00:47 By - By David Enders

Egyptian democracy workers still on trial for helping U.S. groups

In a court that usually is hosting drug dealers and murderers, Rawda Ali is the unwitting defender of democracy promotion, charged with helping Western nonprofit organizations operate illegally in Egypt. While her Western colleagues fled months ago, she and 14 Egyptians may face years in jail for their efforts to promote democratic movements among nascent political parties. | 01/16/13 17:09:47 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

Seeking safety from rape, Syrian girls reportedly are marrying earlier than before war

Standing outside the refugee tent that has become her home, Qut al Qukub al Subayhi looked like a happy bride, posing with her new husband. She laughed when asked where the young couple had spent their honeymoon. “Here,” she said, pointing to the tent. | 01/15/13 15:14:21 By - By David Enders

Lebanon’s Hezbollah steps in to help Syrians fleeing violence at home

Despite its unflinching support for the Syrian government during the last two years, the militant Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah has been quietly aiding Syrians living in Lebanon – including those who don’t support its political positions. | 01/14/13 15:43:17 By - By David Enders

For Syrians escaping war, a muddy Lebanese potato field will have to do for refuge

The winter rain was pouring down one day this week and it was bitterly cold in the muddy field, but that didn’t stop work for the man who called himself Abu Jassim. | 01/11/13 17:46:33 By - By David Enders

Al Qaida-linked Nusra rebels about to overrun Syrian air base

A Syrian rebel group that the United States has labeled an affiliate of al Qaida in Iraq appeared Thursday to be on the verge of overrunning a government air base that’s used to launch helicopter strikes against rebel-held areas in Syria’s north. | 01/10/13 18:43:40 By - By David Enders

Iran’s foreign minister works to woo Egypt in Cairo visit

Iran’s foreign minister on Thursday met with top Egyptian officials during a visit to the Egyptian capital that raises questions about how Egypt, the United States’ biggest Arab ally, might recalibrate its formerly standoffish relationship with Iran, America’s biggest regional foe. | 01/10/13 16:21:58 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Naftali Bennett won’t beat Benjamin Netanyahu in Israeli election, but he’s cut the margin

Analysts say Bennett has emerged as a surprising political force. His party, which a few years ago was struggling to scrape into parliament with two or three seats, now looks poised to win 14 to 17, making it one of the top three factions. Seven to 10 of those seats may come at Netanyahu’s expense. | 01/10/13 16:01:42 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Prisoner swap by Syrian government, rebels frees 48 Iranians

Rebels fighting to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad on Wednesday freed 48 Iranian hostages whom they’d been holding for five months in return for the government’s release of more than 2,000 mostly Syrian prisoners. It was the largest prisoner exchange to date of the country’s civil war. | 01/09/13 16:03:57 By - By David Enders

Tunisia frees lone suspect in Benghazi attacks, another sign investigation is in trouble

Tunisian authorities on Tuesday released the only man held so far in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, according to the suspect’s lawyer, reaffirming fears that the Libyan-led investigation into the deaths is foundering. | 01/08/13 18:08:13 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

In Turkish border town, charity fields Syrians’ pleas for help

Syrian towns and villages seeking to survive the extreme deprivations of daily life 22 months into their country’s political crisis are inundating a Turkish charity with requests to send flour, fuel, clothes and blankets across the border into their devastated land. | 01/07/13 00:00:00 By - By Roy Gutman and Paul Raymond

Key source for Syrian death toll questions accuracy of recent UN-sponsored report

A new United Nations-sponsored report that estimates more than 60,000 people have died in Syria’s political violence has touched off a new dispute that underscores how little is truly known about the toll from a civil war just weeks from beginning its third year. | 01/04/13 17:48:58 By - By David Enders

Nusra Front reportedly leading Syrian rebels’ fight for key Damascus area

An Islamist rebel group that the United States has listed as a terrorist organization has taken the lead in fighting in Damascus, according to residents who’ve recently fled the violence there. | 01/03/13 15:59:36 By - By David Enders

U.S. drone strikes in Yemen increase

In the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden, Yemen – home to al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula – has come close to eclipsing Pakistan as a key focus of American counter-terrorism efforts. | 12/27/12 13:10:24 By - By Adam Baron

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi signs constitution, reaches out to critics – but no sale

Morsi offered to engage in a national dialogue with an increasingly organized opposition movement, but opponents immediately rejected his call for talks, signaling that the nation will remain polarized. | 12/26/12 17:24:01 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

A divided Egypt cast first votes on its constitution

Egyptians endorsed a controversial, Islamist-backed constitution after the first day of voting, but without the support of the capital, according to initial results, raising new doubts that it could bring stability to an increasingly polarized Egypt. | 12/26/12 16:32:54 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

Caught between al Qaida and Iran, U.S. struggles over Syria conflict

The bloodshed in Syria has continued for so long that extremist forces have taken charge, with U.S. officials saying they now face two familiar enemies in the struggle to find a resolution: al Qaida in Iraq cells and Iranian-backed sectarian militias. | 12/20/12 18:36:37 By - By Hannah Allam

State Department officials take heat on Capitol Hill over Benghazi attack

Democrats asked gingerly, Republicans accusingly, but the main question from congressional hearings Thursday on the deadly Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi boiled down to: Why did the State Department fail to respond to the well-documented deterioration of security in eastern Libya? | 12/20/12 17:38:50 By - By Hannah Allam

Scholars wrestle with Shariah law in proposed Egypt constitution

Peppered throughout Egypt’s constitution, which is expected to pass in a referendum vote Saturday, is a renewed emphasis on Islamic law, or Shariah, as a guiding principle of the state. But some judges here said they don’t know how to enforce law defined by Shariah, and that injecting it into the courts could complicate an already turbulent period and further polarize the state. | 12/20/12 16:06:12 By - By Amina Ismail

Defying West, Israel moves ahead with new settlements

Israeli officials announced this week that they would press on with a surge in new settlement construction, defying criticism from Western governments that the construction would doom fledgling hopes that Israeli and Palestinian leaders might reach a peace deal. | 12/18/12 15:04:06 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Syrians sounding alarm over growing food shortages

With bread scarce in major cities and towns, infant formula in extremely short supply and fuel costs skyrocketing, civilians in war-ravaged Syria face an acute food crisis that might end in starvation for many, according to activists from around the country of 22 million. | 12/14/12 19:02:11 By - By Paul Raymond and Roy Gutman

Syrian rebels say Americans, Britons helped train them in Jordan

Weeks before the Obama administration and other Western nations recognized a new Syrian opposition coalition as “the legitimate representative” of the Syrian people, Syrian rebels were receiving training in the use of light and heavy weapons with the backing of the Jordanian, British and U.S. governments, participants in the training have told McClatchy. | 12/14/12 18:10:45 By - By David Enders

Egypt scrambles to prepares for Saturday vote on new constitution

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s decision to rush a referendum on a new constitution already has polarized the country. Now the balloting itself appears likely to heighten those divisions. | 12/13/12 18:28:03 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

Head of new U.S.-backed Syrian coalition endorses al Qaida-linked rebel faction

Right after the United States formalized its backing of a new Syrian opposition group Wednesday, the mutual unease underpinning the partnership surfaced as the group’s leader openly criticized the United States for declaring the rebel movement’s Nusra Front a terrorist group linked to al Qaida in Iraq. | 12/12/12 19:32:52 By - By David Enders and Hannah Allam

Obama backs new Syria coalition but maybe too late to stop al Qaida advance

In late 2011, U.S. officials say, battle-hardened commanders of al Qaida’s Iraq branch slipped into Syria to rally jihadists around the fight to unseat President Bashar Assad, espousing a militant Islamism that worried pro-democracy activists. | 12/11/12 19:42:10 By - By Hannah Allam

Few expect vote on constitution to calm Egypt’s turmoil

Whether Egypt’s constitutional referendum happens this weekend as scheduled or not, two weeks of political turmoil and divisiveness, and an opposition that’s vowed to continue its protests, have all but extinguished hope that passing a permanent document will bring Egyptians what they say they want most: stability. | 12/11/12 18:37:42 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

Nusra Front rebel group fighting in Syria is al Qaida in Iraq, U.S. says

The State Department said Monday that the Syrian rebel movement's Nusra Front is just another name for al Qaida in Iraq, an acknowledgment that the uprising to topple President Bashar Assad is led in part by foreign Islamist extremists who fought U.S. troops for years in the bloody Iraq war. | 12/10/12 19:28:22 By - By Hannah Allam and Jonathan S. Landay

After 6 months, rebels gaining ground at Damascus; Islamists lead fighting

A new rebel offensive around the Syrian capital has demonstrated the insurgents’ strengths after six months of combat in the Damascus region. But from afar it’s hard to gauge how close the rebels are to penetrating the central city or to capturing and holding new ground. | 12/10/12 15:21:12 By - By David Enders

Division within Egypt’s opposition over upcoming vote could hand Morsi a win

While opponents to a constitutional referendum called by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi have successfully mobilized protests that have drawn thousands to demonstrations at the presidential palace in the past week, they have yet to agree on how to approach next weekend’s vote, divided over whether to keep pushing for a delay, boycott or urge Egyptians to vote the proposed constitution down. | 12/08/12 19:17:27 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

Experts skeptical Syria is preparing to use its chemical arsenal

With concern over the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons stockpile reaching a fever pitch this week, international experts are cautioning against alarmism, saying there’s no confirmation that the Syrians are mixing weapons components or loading them into delivery systems, as some U.S. news organizations have reported. | 12/08/12 15:37:10 By - By Matt Schofield and Hannah Allam

In Egypt’s battle over Morsi’s powers, no criminal charges and no winners

Adel Amer, 44, said he was one of those who beat protesters at a fierce and ultimately deadly standoff Wednesday in front of Egypt’s presidential palace between supporters and opponents of President Mohammed Morsi. | 12/07/12 17:28:25 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Khaled Meshaal’s visit to Gaza another sign of Hamas’ rise

When Khaled Meshaal crosses into the Gaza Strip at noon on Friday it will be the Hamas leader’s first trip to the coastal territory. It also will be a symbol of how far the Palestinian Islamist movement, which both Israel and the United States have branded a terrorist organization, has come since its inception in 1987. | 12/06/12 15:41:40 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Morsi’s Mubarak moment? President inflames opponents with speech

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Thursday blamed two weeks of political turmoil that have engulfed his nation on “paid elements,” and he refused to make any concessions to his opponents in a late-night televised speech that for some was reminiscent of one of toppled leader Hosni Mubarak’s last public presentations. | 12/06/12 20:09:07 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

Clashes over vote on new Egypt constitution leave 5 dead

Supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi clashed in fierce battles outside the presidential palace Wednesday, pelting each other with rocks, throwing Molotov cocktails and tear gas canisters and chasing one another around the compound in a melee that left five dead and more than 697 people injured. | 12/05/12 18:37:18 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Long-exiled South Yemen leader Beidh defends his calls for secession

Ali Salem al Beidh was one of the chief architects of the agreement that united the northern Yemen Arab Republic with the southern People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen to create the country that exists today. | 12/05/12 16:44:50 By - By Adam Baron

Even moderate Palestinians agree Hamas is winning leadership battle

The U.N. recognition of Palestine as a nonmember observer state should have been one of the Palestinian Authority government’s greatest achievements. But hours after the historic vote last week, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad publically concluded, “Hamas delivered. . . . Hamas has won.” | 12/05/12 16:20:14 By - By Sheera Frenkel

U.S. might name Syrian rebel Nusra Front a foreign terrorist group

In an apparent bid to isolate Islamist extremists and bolster a new Western-backed Syrian opposition alliance, the United States is moving to declare one of the most effective Syrian rebel groups a foreign terrorist organization because of its alleged ties to al Qaida. | 12/04/12 20:08:35 By - By Jonathan S. Landay and Hannah Allam

Israel vows to pursue settlement plans despite international anger

Unshaken by rising international criticism, Israeli officials confirmed Tuesday that they plan to proceed with two new settlement construction projects, including development in a highly contentious area outside Jerusalem known as E1. | 12/04/12 15:44:59 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Anti-Morsi protesters besiege palaces as Egyptian constitution crisis worsens

Protesters stormed onto the grounds of the Egyptian presidential palace Tuesday in a dramatic escalation of the crisis over President Mohammed Morsi’s decision to give himself absolute judicial power and set a quick referendum on a controversial new constitution. | 12/04/12 19:08:32 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

Obama warns Syria about using chemical weapons, threatens ‘consequences’

President Barack Obama warned the embattled leader of war-torn Syria on Monday not to use chemical weapons against rebels fighting to topple his regime, as the United States voiced rising concern that he may be preparing to do so and consulted with regional allies on a range of responses. | 12/03/12 19:50:18 By - By Jonathan S. Landay and Hannah Allam

For one Syrian activist, second thoughts on the armed rebellion

Hasaka is still controlled by the Syrian government, but even from the window of a taxi it’s obvious the people here have not been spared from the country’s civil war. | 12/03/12 15:14:11 By - By David Enders

Al Qaida-linked group Syria rebels once denied now key to anti-Assad victories

When the group Jabhat al Nusra first claimed responsibility for car and suicide bombings in Damascus that killed dozens last January, many of Syria’s revolutionaries claimed that the organization was a creation of the Syrian government, designed to discredit those who opposed the regime of President Bashar Assad and to hide the regime’s own brutal tactics. | 12/02/12 16:32:30 By - By David Enders

Egypt court, citing threats, cancels session on key issue in standoff with Morsi

Egypt’s highest court indefinitely postponed a highly anticipated ruling Sunday, leaving the nation’s upcoming referendum on the new constitution in a state of uncertainty and putting off for now a direct confrontation with President Mohammed Morsi over his claim of judicial immunity. | 12/02/12 16:46:57 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Egypt’s new constitution short of the specifics of government, long on loopholes

The draft constitution that Egyptians will vote on Dec. 15 is supposed to usher in the kind democratic reform that protesters demanded nearly two years ago in protests that led to the fall of then President Hosni Mubarak. Yet the rushed document is peppered with caveats and does little to clarify what role government should have in a democratically ruled Egypt. | 12/01/12 16:35:20 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Morsi declares Dec. 15 vote on Egypt constitution as Muslim Brotherhood rallies show of its strength

Activating its powerful clout and organization, the Muslim Brotherhood turned out vsat crowds across Egypt Saturday in support of President Mohammed Morsi, a show of strength that suggested the challenges facing those who accuse the president of granting himself dictatorial powers one day ahead of a critical court decision. | 12/01/12 16:49:56 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

Chris Stevens felt risks at U.S. consulate were worth it, says judge who visited Libya

. Three months before U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens died when suspected Islamist militants stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul Anderson, in Libya under the auspices of the American Bar Association to advise on rebuilding the country’s justice system, paid a courtesy call to the U.S. embassy in Tripoli. | 11/30/12 18:34:00 By - By Hannah Allam

Israelis decry Germany’s abstention on U.N. Palestine vote

Israeli officials had long known that they would be on the losing end of the U.N. General Assembly’s vote on whether to grant Palestine official status as a non-member observer state. Palestinian officials months ago had announced that they’d gathered enough votes to win the declaration. | 11/30/12 17:48:49 By - By Sheera Frenkel

In Syrian towns rebels control, demonstrators sometimes target them

Wael Nasrallah has organized more than 100 demonstrations in the past 20 months. On Friday, he led another one in Qalat al Mudiq, a city of about 30,000 in central Syria. | 11/30/12 16:11:29 By - By David Enders

U.N. accepts Palestine as observer state by lopsided margin; U.S., 8 others opposed

Over staunch U.S. objections, the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly voted to name Palestine a non-member observer state, a symbolic victory for the stateless Palestinians and a political boost for their embattled president, Mahmoud Abbas. | 11/29/12 19:36:45 By - By Hannah Allam and Sheera Frenkel

All eyes on Egypt’s military as Morsi, judges battle for power

There is only one intact Egyptian institution capable of stopping a constitutional crisis that threatens to drive the nation into legal limbo and force its citizens to vote on a rushed constitution, and so far, the Egyptian military is showing no signs of getting involved. | 11/29/12 19:35:49 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Syrian rebels’ arsenal now includes heavy weapons

Rebels who have laid siege to a Syrian army base near Mayadeen in southeastern Syria have made mortar attacks a regular part of their routine. | 11/29/12 15:46:05 By - By David Enders

U.S. dilemma at UN – undermining Palestinian statehood may strengthen Hamas

On the eve of a Palestinian bid for U.N. recognition as a nonmember state – a move that’s expected to succeed despite strident U.S. opposition – the Obama administration’s policy conundrum over the Palestinians appears stark. | 11/28/12 19:37:11 By - By Hannah Allam

Family, neighbors of Yemeni killed by U.S. drone wonder why he wasn’t taken alive

The Nov. 7 drone strike that killed alleged al Qaida-linked operative Adnan al Qadhi outside Beit al Ahmar was just one of more than 50 American airstrikes believed to have taken place in Yemen so far this year. | 11/28/12 15:45:43 By - By Adam Baron

Kurds say they’ll stop Islamist rebels from moving along Syria’s border with Turkey

A tense truce between Syrian rebels and a Kurdish militia held Tuesday in the city of Ras al Ayn, fast against the border with Turkey. But neither side hid its disdain for the other, and both continued to hold prisoners in a standoff that suggests rebel hopes to push their control further east faces an all but certain challenge. | 11/27/12 19:07:35 By - By David Enders

Egyptians fill Tahrir Square in largest protest of President Mohammed Morsi

Tens of thousands of protesters poured into Tahrir Square on Tuesday night to contest what they believe is Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s illegal declaration that his decisions are exempt from judicial oversight, marking the largest protests ever against the newly elected president. | 11/27/12 19:02:08 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

For many Palestinians, Arafat exhumation recalls better days

When Yasser Arafat was buried in 2004, tens of thousands thronged his funeral amid a charged atmosphere in which many swore revenge for the death of the father of Palestinian nationalism On Tuesday, only a few were on hand as Arafat’s political heirs exhumed his body in a final effort to determine what killed the iconic Palestinian leader. | 11/27/12 18:07:45 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Aid groups warn of food crisis in Syria as winter nears, refugee numbers surge

The top U.S. aid official said Tuesday that Syria faces an immediate humanitarian emergency and that international plans to feed and support millions of destitute civilians have fallen short. | 11/27/12 17:59:53 By - By Roy Gutman

Arms shipment from Libya to Gaza seized as talks continue over details of Israel-Hamas cease-fire

With an end to weapons smuggling to the Gaza Strip one of the key points of contention in the cease-fire agreement that last week ended hostilities between Hamas militants and Israel, Egyptian security forces arrested three people Tuesday after intercepting a large shipment of weapons smuggled into the Sinai Peninsula from Libya. | 11/27/12 17:23:41 By - By Mel Frykberg

Egypt’s President Morsi emerges victorious from confrontation with country’s judges

After days of protests, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi announced Monday that a sweeping decree issued last week that exempted his decisions from challenges in court will remain in effect on issues pertaining to “sovereign matters,” a result that some were calling a compromise but that appeared to be a sweeping victory for the Islamist president. | 11/26/12 19:23:01 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Israel’s Ehud Barak retires, signaling tougher line on Iran

In a development that could lead to a hardening of Israel’s position on Iran’s nuclear program, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced Monday that he was resigning from political life, a surprise move that removed a moderate voice from the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. | 11/26/12 16:58:24 By - By Sheera Frenkel

U.N. envoy to Middle East acknowledges 'quiet engagements' with Hamas

The United Nations envoy to the Middle East acknowledged in an interview with McClatchy Sunday that he has maintained quiet contacts with the Islamist group Hamas for “years,” despite the international community’s official policy to isolate the group. | 11/25/12 17:55:57 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Turkey, Iraq exchange sharp rhetoric with Syria as backdrop

Turkish and Iraqi leaders exchanged sharp, rhetorical assaults Friday, each warning of growing instability in the other’s country, in the latest sign that tensions stoked by Syria’s civil war are spilling over into the region. | 11/23/12 16:57:12 By - By Roy Gutman

Rebels flying black Islamist flag seize artillery base in Syria’s Deir al Zour province

After a siege that lasted nearly a month, Syrian government soldiers abandoned an artillery base in the town of Mayadin Thursday morning, handing anti-government rebels in southeastern Deir al Zour province a key victory that will allow them to move next to the airport near the provincial capital, one of the last positions the Syrian military controls in the province. | 11/22/12 16:50:58 By - By David Enders

A violent day in Gaza, then silence, then celebration

The cease-fire that went into effect Wednesday between Israel and Hamas did little to erase in immediate terms the physical destruction that had been visited upon this tiny coastal strip of land over the past eight days. | 11/21/12 17:56:07 By - By Mel Frykberg

Many Israelis denounce cease-fire accord, say job is unfinished

Few Palestinians or Israelis were willing to put much trust in the cease-fire deal their leaders reached on Wednesday, saying they remembered all too well the failed cease-fires of years past. | 11/21/12 15:45:37 By - By Sheera Frenkel

With Syria’s eastern oilfields in rebel hands, a brisk business in pirated crude grows

Syrian rebels have captured two of the three major oilfields in the country’s southeastern Deir al Zour province and are extracting oil that they say is helping to support their rebellion. | 11/21/12 15:10:04 By - By David Enders

Israel, Hamas declare cease-fire, promise new talks on Gaza issues within 24 hours

With last-minute prodding from the United States, Israel and the militant group Hamas agreed Wednesday to a cease-fire, ending eight days of rocket fire and naval and sea bombardment and bringing to a successful end more than a week of halting Egyptian-led talks as the conflict in Gaza teetered on the brink of all-out war. | 11/21/12 17:41:53 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Sheera Frankel

U.S. warns Bahrain’s society ‘could break apart’

The strategic Persian Gulf island of Bahrain, scene of continuing protests since early last year by the majority Shiite Muslims against the Sunni minority monarchy, is on the verge of severe disruption, the State Department warned Tuesday. | 11/20/12 19:34:43 By - By Roy Gutman

Hamas, Israel say cease-fire likely after week of bombs, rockets

Israel and the Islamist group Hamas inched closer Tuesday to agreeing to an Egyptian-negotiated cease-fire that would end a weeklong Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip that’s killed at least 116 Palestinians and threatened to devolve into all-out war. Both sides suggested that the announcement of the cease-fire could come as soon as Wednesday. | 11/20/12 23:17:08 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Sheera Frenkel

U.S. approach to Gaza-Israel talks shows new reluctance to referee Mideast conflicts

The Obama administration’s hands-off approach to Israel’s ongoing offensive in Gaza is emblematic of what analysts see as an evolving diplomatic approach that’s easing the United States out of its longstanding role as chief referee for Middle Eastern conflicts. | 11/19/12 19:40:22 By - By Hannah Allam

Officials say Israel, Hamas nearing cease-fire deal; Gaza invasion off for now

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators appeared Monday to be homing in on an agreement on a cease-fire that would end Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, which have killed 101 Palestinians in the past six days, and head off what analysts had expected would be a far bloodier incursion by Israeli ground forces. | 11/19/12 19:15:25 By - By Sheera Frenkel and Nancy A. Youssef

Lower death toll is key difference between Israel’s two Gaza operations

Less then a mile from the Gaza border, Israeli reserve officer David Mozer sits with his soldiers and waits for news of impending war. | 11/19/12 17:27:06 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Petraeus: CIA secrets cut from public account after U.S. consulate attack

Former CIA Director David Petraeus told lawmakers Friday that the agency had secretly assessed that al Qaida-linked gunmen attacked the U.S. consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, but that classified references to the terrorist group were cut from talking points on which U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice relied for television interviews. | 11/16/12 18:59:24 By - By Jonathan S. Landay and Maria Recio

Israel finds Arab Spring has complicated its move against Hamas

In a small cafe not far from the border with Gaza, Israeli reserve soldiers sipped coffee Friday morning and mused about what they might face if they are ordered to invade the densely populated coastal strip that is governed by the Islamist groups Hamas. | 11/16/12 17:15:58 By - By Sheera Frenkel and Amina Ismail

Rebels in Syria waiting to see if new opposition umbrella group can deliver international aid

Rebels inside Syria have adopted a wait-and-see attitude toward a new organization created to lead the opposition to Syrian President Bashar Assad, with the decision to embrace it largely contingent on whether the group delivers significant international aid for the rebellion. | 11/16/12 15:44:49 By - By David Enders

Rocket from Gaza lands near Jerusalem, opening new front

A rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip exploded outside Jerusalem on Friday, opening a new front in fighting between Israel and radical Palestinians and increasing the danger that the conflict will spiral into total war. | 11/16/12 15:33:41 By - By Sheera Frenkel

All-out war feared as Israel moves troops toward Gaza, rockets land near Tel Aviv

Israeli tanks and troops moved toward the Gaza Strip on Thursday night in apparent preparation for a possible invasion of the crowded seaside enclave after a day of violence that included two militant rocket strikes on the southern suburbs of Tel Aviv, raising the likelihood that the region was on the brink of all-out war. | 11/15/12 18:57:55 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Rebels capture Ras al Ayn, 1st town to fall in Syria’s Kurdish region

Rebels who are fighting the Syrian government took control of a fourth border crossing with Turkey after killing or capturing the remaining government soldiers in the city of Ras al Ayn on Wednesday evening. | 11/15/12 16:53:01 By - By David Enders

Obama says he won't embrace Syria's new opposition coalition yet

Unlike France, Saudi Arabia and several other U.S. allies in the Gulf, President Obama Wednesday held back from recognizing a new Syrian opposition group as the core of a government-in-exile, a caution that appeared to reflect concern over issues that have emerged since its formation on Sunday. | 11/14/12 20:56:25 By - By Roy Gutman

Kurds in disputed town on Turkish border ask Syrian rebels to withdraw

The two major Syrian Kurdish political factions have put aside their differences and called for rebels to leave the city of Ras al Ayn, where they’ve been battling troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad for the past week. | 11/14/12 18:07:13 By - By David Enders

Israel launches massive attack on Gaza, kills key Hamas leader

Israeli aircraft and warships struck dozens of targets across the Gaza Strip on Wednesday in the opening hours of what military officials in Jerusalem said could be a days-long military operation. The attacks left at least one senior Hamas leader dead and terrorized tens of thousands of Gaza residents in the strip’s densely populated urban centers. | 11/14/12 20:00:51 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Israel says Syrian rebels using borders to limit government’s ability to respond

Syrian rebels are using their country’s northern and southern borders as a strategic fighting position, forcing the Syrian military to limit its response to rebel gains in an effort to avoid triggering a confrontation with neighboring countries, an Israeli military officer said Tuesday. | 11/13/12 18:34:56 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Libyan officials acknowledge they’ve arrested no suspects in Benghazi consulate attack

Two months after the American ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed in assaults on U.S. facilities here there have been no arrests of suspected attackers, and Libyan officials say it is unlikely any will be made anytime soon. | 11/13/12 17:47:39 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

U.S. dilemma: How to avoid another Libya when Syrian regime falls

Rebel military leaders are frustrated with the U.S.’s hands-off approach to their movement. To be sure, some cash is flowing to the rebels, as are some small arms. But nobody, one opposition leader said, is helping to unify the rebels’ disparate military factions. | 11/13/12 16:12:36 By - By Roy Gutman

Thousands flee to Turkey as Syrian rebels, military battle for 5th day in Ras al Ayn

More than 100,000 Syrians are housed in refugee camps in Turkey, and thousands more have fled there without officially registering with the Turkish government. Turks also have opened their homes to the refugees. | 11/12/12 19:08:55 By - By David Enders

Israel takes fire from Syria, Gaza; vows to ‘escalate’ if it continues

Israel’s military engaged on two fronts Monday, exchanging fire across its northern border with Syria and its southern border with Gaza as its leaders warned that the military was prepared to “escalate on all fronts.” | 11/12/12 18:08:08 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Libyans, diplomats: CIA’s Benghazi station a secret – and quickly repaired

Despite speculation to the contrary, no Libyan or non-American diplomats stationed in Benghazi say they knew of the existence or purpose of the CIA annex. | 11/12/12 17:58:48 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Witnesses differ with U.S. over when Libya consulate attack began

Witnesses in Benghazi, Libya, provide a chronology for the attack Sept. 11 on the U.S. consulate here that differs in significant ways from timelines released by U.S. officials in Washington, raising more questions about how the assault unfolded and the speed with which Americans at a nearby CIA annex responded to calls for help from the consulate. | 11/12/12 17:40:46 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Parents of missing journalist Austin Tice speak to press in Beirut

The parents of missing American journalist Austin Tice appealed for information about their son Monday at a news conference in Beirut. | 11/12/12 15:20:04 By - By Lindsay Wise

U.S. hails creation of new Syrian exile opposition group

Political opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad established a new organization Sunday and elected an activist Muslim cleric to lead it, a move that could open the spigot of international humanitarian aid to Syria. But questions remained on when and if a step-up of military aid will follow. | 11/11/12 19:34:38 By - By Roy Gutman

Female Kurdish militia leader widely reported as killed by Syrian rebels turns up alive

A female Syrian militia leader widely reported 10 days ago as killed by anti-government rebels has turned up alive and apparently well, according to a video posted on the Internet Sunday. | 11/11/12 16:37:30 By - By David Enders

Anti-Assad Syria National Council picks a Christian to be its new leader

Syria’s biggest political opposition bloc Friday elected a Christian, George Sabra, as president, a move Sabra said showed that the Muslim-majority nation will not allow its national uprising to descend into sectarian war. | 11/09/12 20:08:35 By - By Roy Gutman

Diplomats still in Benghazi say they had long questioned U.S. reliance on local militia

Even before the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, diplomats from other nations and Libyan security officials had questioned the wisdom of a U.S. decision to rely primarily on members of a local militia to protect its compound here. | 11/09/12 18:24:47 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, Libyan official who led rebels during uprising, faces murder probe

The man who led Libya’s rebel movement at the height of U.S. and NATO involvement in last year’s uprising has been ordered to face questions over the assassination of the top rebel army general whose troops helped end Moammar Gadhafi’s regime. | 11/07/12 18:27:24 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

U.S. diplomat meets with Syrian opposition leaders Clinton blasted

A top U.S. diplomat met into the wee hours Wednesday with leaders of the Syrian National Council to discuss future coordination with them, just a week after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had chastised them as being out of touch with the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad and said the United State no longer would recognize the council as a key player in the rebellion. | 11/07/12 18:21:09 By - By Roy Gutman

Battle for Maaret al Numan reveals Syrian rebels’ weak spots

Hobbled by a lack of supplies and a confused chain of command, rebels here said they feared they might lose the strategic city without reinforcements and ammunition. That’s a reversal from a month ago, when at least five groups of fighters coordinated to attack Maaret al Numan from three sides and clear it of army and security forces. | 11/07/12 17:06:06 By - By David Enders

Israel worries about Netanyahu’s pro-Romney stand now that Obama’s won

Israeli leaders scrambled Wednesday to retract and reword their staunchly pro-Republican statements made during the U.S. presidential campaign, fearful of the fallout that might come with news that President Barack Obama had won a second term in office. | 11/07/12 16:43:20 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Deaths in Syria down from peak; army casualties outpacing rebels’

The death toll among rebels and civilians in Syria dropped 16 percent in October compared with August, the deadliest month of the conflict to date, though the number is still more than three times higher than it was in the last month of a U.N.-brokered cease-fire earlier this year, according to statistics that a Syrian human rights group compiled. | 11/06/12 16:34:43 By - By David Enders

Syrian workers now drawing hostility from Lebanese hosts

Syrians have long come to Lebanon in search of better job opportunities, but the sudden increase in their numbers as they flee the war in their homeland has exacerbated tensions with their Lebanese hosts. | 11/05/12 17:51:04 By - By David Enders

Israeli report says Netanyahu, military were split over possible attack on Iran

Israel’s military leaders refused two years ago to put the country’s army on alert for immediate action against Iran, telling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak that Israel was not ready to take on Iran alone, according to a new documentary that aired here Monday. | 11/05/12 16:32:13 By - By Sheera Frenkel

U.S. move to de-recognize Syrian opposition group baffles allies

The Obama administration’s decision to drop its recognition of the Syrian National Council as the leading Syrian opposition group and propose creating a new umbrella organization surprised and puzzled close U.S. allies, diplomats said Friday. | 11/02/12 18:39:49 By - By Roy Gutman

No matter who wins Tuesday’s election, U.S. likely to become entangled in Syria’s war

Despite Americans’ exhaustion with 11 years of foreign conflict, the victor in Tuesday’s presidential race may find it all but impossible to keep the United States from becoming more deeply entangled in the unfolding calamity of Syria’s sectarian civil war. | 11/01/12 19:59:43 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

U.S. says CIA sent security team to Benghazi consulate 25 minutes after attack, refuting claims of delay

A CIA security team rushed to the U.S. consulate in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi less than 25 minutes after receiving the first call that the mission was under attack, while a second squad was dispatched by air from the capital, Tripoli, according to a timeline released on Thursday by U.S. intelligence officials. | 11/01/12 21:08:08 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

Questions and some answers about attack on U.S. consulate in Libya

Questions continue to swirl around the attack on the American consulate in Libya in September that left the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans dead. | 11/01/12 19:30:16 By - By Matthew Schofield

Mitt Romney, Benjamin Netanyahu share donors as well as friendship

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have acknowledged a friendship that goes back decades, but the financial ties that also bind them became evident last month when the premier revealed his list of campaign donors. | 11/01/12 16:44:58 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Syrian opposition group tells U.S. to stay out of internal politics

A U.S. decision to de-recognize a Syrian exile umbrella group and to propose a new political forum – and even who should be on it – drew an angry response from opposition figures Thursday, who charged that Washington was trying to impose its will on them while passively watching the bombardment of cities and towns by the Assad regime. | 11/01/12 16:01:46 By - By Roy Gutman

Al Qaida-linked groups cement control in northern Mali as diplomats ponder intervention

Not long ago, this green oasis was a bustling tourist destination. Now it’s the would-be jumping off point for the world’s newest battle against Islamist extremism. | 10/31/12 15:58:54 By - By Alan Boswell

Experts divided on number of Syrians in need of shelter, food

Syria’s humanitarian crisis is rapidly worsening and may be much larger than the United Nations. and major governments are describing it, according to diplomats and officials of U.N. organizations. | 10/29/12 16:16:27 By - By Roy Gutman

Neither side honors Syria cease-fire on last day

Fighting appeared to have returned to its former pace Monday on the final day of Syria’s four-day holiday cease-fire, underscoring the difficulties of finding a negotiated end to the country’s civil war. | 10/29/12 15:16:39 By - By David Enders

Holiday cease-fire imperfect, but slows Syria violence

A United Nations cease-fire that went into effect Friday morning in Syria was breached almost immediately, but people across the country reported less violence than usual. | 10/26/12 14:43:31 By - By David Enders

Syria-like violence seen as unlikely in a Lebanon that’s stable in its instability

Lebanon’s politics are inextricably linked to Syria’s. Syria and Lebanon were one country until Lebanon gained independence in 1943, and Syria occupied Lebanon militarily from 1976 until 2005. | 10/26/12 13:36:38 By - By David Enders

Egypt seizes Libyan weapons, suspects in further sign of spreading terrorist influence

Egyptian police have arrested five Libyans who allegedly are members of al Qaida, intercepted two truckloads of arms from Libya and killed a Libyan who police said is suspected of involvement in the assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, adding new evidence that arms and extremists are leaching out of Libya into the wider region. | 10/25/12 18:53:00 By - By Mel Frykberg and Jonathan S. Landay

Syrian military, some rebels accept 4-day U.N. cease-fire

The Syrian military announced Thursday that it would abide by a United Nations-sponsored cease-fire during the four-day Eid al Adha holiday, the first such agreement since April. | 10/25/12 17:44:59 By - By David Enders

Israeli operations in Sudan aimed at disrupting Gaza arms trade, officials say

Israeli intelligence officials said Thursday that their military has been conducting operations inside Sudan for several years in an effort to disrupt weapons supplies and training for militants in the Gaza Strip – tacit acknowledgement that Israel was responsible for the bombing Wednesday of a weapons factory in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital. | 10/25/12 16:07:53 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Anti-U.S. rebels’ triumph in northern Yemen brings peace to embattled region

Residents largely welcome the stability and discount the concerns elsewhere that the “state within a state” is ruled through violence and intimidation. | 10/25/12 15:51:13 By - By Adam Baron

Inside Turkey’s Kurdish insurgency: No sex, no swearing, no Quran

Volunteers who join the Kurdish insurgency against Turkey must abandon Islamic religious practice and must forego “emotional ties” to anyone outside the group, as well as swear words and sex, or face trial and prison, according to a Syrian-born Kurd who defected from the group to Turkey over the summer. | 10/25/12 15:47:25 By - By Roy Gutman

Hamas sends rocket barrage at Israel one day after Qatar’s emir visits Gaza

Hamas militants fired more than 70 rockets into southern Israel on Wednesday, one day after the emir of Qatar became the first head of state to visit Gaza since Hamas seized control there five years ago. | 10/24/12 18:00:13 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Republicans living in Israel plan push to win Jewish votes for Romney

A group of Americans who live in Israel are hoping that they can give the Republican Party in the United States a boost this week and influence the vote in key swing states. | 10/24/12 15:35:10 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Gadhafi partisans in Libya express anger as Bani Walid siege continues

The siege of Bani Walid, the last major stronghold of supporters of deceased dictator Moammar Gadhafi, claimed the lives of at last two people on Monday, more than a year after Gadhafi was killed and nearly one year after Libya’s provisional government declared that the war to topple him had ended. | 10/22/12 17:10:14 By - By Mel Frykberg

Doctors in Egypt often won’t treat HIV-AIDS patients

Throughout Africa, the rate of HIV infection is being brought under control by concerted efforts. Similar efforts, however, are largely nonexistent in North Africa and the Middle East, and AIDS activists worry that the rise of a conservative Islamic government in Egypt will make matters worse. | 10/22/12 15:47:40 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

As Romney, Obama debate foreign policy, few see easy answers in Middle East

President Barack Obama’s handling of the so-called Arab Spring is likely to crop up when he debates foreign policy Monday night with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But what the United States could have done differently as longtime allies were knocked from power in one country after another is far from clear, foreign policy analysts say. | 10/22/12 03:00:00 By - By Hannah Allam

U.S. joins Turkey, Iran in call for brief cease-fire in Syria’s civil war

The Obama administration on Friday threw its support behind a U.N.-led proposal for a brief cease-fire in Syria during a Muslim holiday next week, the first significant initiative put forth under a renewed diplomatic push. | 10/19/12 19:19:47 By - By Hannah Allam

U.S. description of Benghazi attacks, at first cautious, changed after 3 days

In the first 48 hours after the deadly Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. diplomatic outposts in Libya, senior Obama administration officials strongly alluded to a terrorist assault and repeatedly declined to link it to an anti-Muslim video that drew protests elsewhere in the region, transcripts of briefings show. | 10/18/12 19:20:36 By - By Hannah Allam and Jonathan S. Landay

New report on Gadhafi’s death accuses Libyan rebels of executing dozens

Rebels who ambushed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s convoy not only probably killed the strongman and his son after capture but also summarily executed more than 60 of his supporters in a nearby hotel, according to the most detailed examination to date of Gadhafi’s grisly last moments after he fell into the hands of U.S.-backed rebel forces one year ago Saturday. | 10/17/12 00:00:00 By - By Hannah Allam

Diplomats see Kurds, not Assad, as likely target of Turkish border buildup

Turkish tanks are deployed on hilltops overlooking Syria and additional combat aircraft have been moved to bases close to that war-torn country in an escalation that began Oct. 3, when a Syrian artillery round landed in the border town of Akcakale, killing five Turkish civilians. | 10/16/12 17:32:37 By - By Roy Gutman

Police brutality still plaguing Egypt, human rights group says

Police brutality is as common under newly elected President Mohammed Morsi as it was under the regime of Hosni Mubarak, a new study of incidents has found, raising questions about whether the uprising that toppled Mubarak and gave rise to the first democratic elections in Egypt’s history has had any impact on the issue that triggered the anti-Mubarak revolt. | 10/15/12 18:31:27 By - By Amina Ismail and Nancy A. Youssef

British say weapons they left at U.S. consulate in Benghazi are missing

When British diplomats abandoned their offices in Benghazi over the summer after the British ambassador’s motorcade was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades, their security detail left its weapons and vehicles in the custody of the U.S. consulate in that eastern Libyan city. | 10/12/12 19:05:19 By - By Mel Frykberg

Scores injured as rival protests clash over Morsi in Cairo’s Tahrir Square

Thousands of protesters clashed violently with one another Friday in dueling demonstrations over the performance of Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, and the group he once led, the Muslim Brotherhood. | 10/12/12 18:36:01 By - By Amina Ismail

Hezbollah drone may have been sent to monitor Israel’s nuclear facility at Dimona

A drone aircraft that entered Israeli airspace earlier this week was apparently on a mission to take pictures of the Dimona nuclear research center in southern Israel, Israeli officials confirmed Friday. | 10/12/12 17:23:09 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Turkey says cargo aboard Syria-bound plane violated rules, but won’t say what was found

Turkey on Thursday said cargo aboard a Syrian aircraft that was forced down over Turkey on a flight from Moscow to Damascus violated international rules about transporting munitions aboard civilian aircraft. | 10/11/12 17:36:34 By - By Roy Gutman

Benghazi consulate attack couldn’t have been stopped, security official testifies

Higher walls and a half-dozen extra guards couldn’t have stopped the Sept. 11 assault by scores of attackers on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans dead, the State Department’s former security chief for Libya told Congress Wednesday at a hearing surcharged with election-year politics. | 10/10/12 19:50:17 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

State Department rejected request for beefed-up security in Libya, official says

The State Department withdrew U.S. security personnel from Libya just weeks before suspected Islamist extremists killed the U.S. ambassador there despite warnings from the U.S. Embassy that the Libyan government couldn’t protect foreign diplomats, according to an email released Tuesday. | 10/09/12 19:06:32 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu calls early parliamentary elections

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday called early parliamentary elections for this winter, roughly eight months ahead of schedule, a move many analysts said was likely to allow him to strengthen his coalition. | 10/09/12 18:59:26 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Libya militias lay siege to pro-Gadhafi city in another sign of chaos

Thousands of Libyan security force members and hundreds of militiamen have massed around the Libyan town of Bani Walid in a show of force that underscores how tense and fragile the country’s security situation remains, nearly one month after an attack by Islamist militants on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. | 10/08/12 17:16:08 By - By Mel Frykberg

Turkey prime minister warns war is near as his forces pound Syria for third day

One day after winning blanket authority to send forces into Syria, Turkey’s prime minister warned Friday that his country is “not far from war” and said that it would be a “deadly mistake” for the Syrian government to test Turkey’s will. | 10/05/12 19:18:07 By - By Roy Gutman

Romney backer Sheldon Adelson drawing fire over plight of Israeli newspapers

The economic crisis that’s hit the newspaper industry in the United States and elsewhere is threatening some of Israel’s most influential publications and could soon leave the country with virtually no liberal-leaning printed newspapers. | 10/05/12 16:01:53 By - By Sheera Frenkel

State Department delay cited in seeking Pentagon protection for FBI agents in Libya

The State Department took nearly three weeks to formally request U.S. military protection for FBI agents assigned to investigate the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed the U.S. ambassador to that country and three other Americans, according to a senior U.S. official and a person familiar with the matter. | 10/04/12 20:38:18 By - By Matthew Schofield and Jonathan S. Landay

Turkey again opens fire on Syria as its Parliament authorizes military to act on its own

Stepping up its response to a deadly mortar attack launched from Syria, the Turkish government on Thursday easily won blanket approval from Parliament for military operations outside its territory as its military shelled targets across the border for a second day. | 10/04/12 19:51:35 By - By Roy Gutman

U.N. Syrian envoy Lakhdar Brahimi off to a rocky start

It took barely 10 minutes for things to go wrong at the first meeting between Syrian opposition activists and Lakhdar Brahimi, the new U.N. envoy to Syria, who’s charged with trying to find a way to end the bloody, 18-month-old crisis. | 10/04/12 18:08:13 By - By Hannah Allam

Reporters Without Borders says foreign journalists harassed in Libya

Since the attack Sept. 11 on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, Libyan authorities have made it more difficult for international journalists to work in the country. | 10/04/12 16:02:33 By - By Mel Frykberg

Syrian army pushing rebels out of Damascus, activists say

Anti-government activists in Damascus say rebels have lost ground there after a concerted offensive by the Syrian government. | 10/01/12 17:45:18 By - By David Enders

YouTube video shows McClatchy contributor Austin Tice alive after capture

Austin Tice, an American freelance journalist in Syria who hasn’t communicated with family and colleagues since mid-August, is shown alive and in the custody of armed men in a video posted on YouTube. | 10/01/12 18:36:56 By - By Hannah Allam

Clinton offers $45 million to Syrian rebels, who want more support

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday announced $45 million in additional aid for Syrian opposition activists, the latest U.S. push for influence in a civil war that’s raged beyond the international community’s control. | 09/28/12 18:41:40 By - By Hannah Allam

Clinton ties North African militants to attack on U.S. diplomats

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday tied the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya to the creation of an al Qaida haven in Mali, adding that Islamist militants there pose a threat to democratic transitions throughout northern Africa. | 09/26/12 21:10:44 By - By Hannah Allam and Jonathan S. Landay

Libyan who helped capture Gadhafi dies after torture, kidnapping

The Libyan man who purportedly discovered former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi hiding in a drainage pipe in his hometown died Tuesday after Gadhafi’s supporters kidnapped him. | 09/25/12 19:25:48 By - By Mel Frykberg

Ahmadinejad: We are ready to defend ourselves

On what is expected to be his last visit to the United States as president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday offered an expansive view of his nation’s place in history while dismissing Israel’s long-term viability as a state and its threat to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. | 09/24/12 18:19:14 By - By James Asher and Jonathan S. Landay

Libyan government challenged within hours of ordering disbandment of militias

The Libyan government said Saturday that all of Libya’s militias would be brought under government control or forced to disband within 48 hours, but was quickly challenged. | 09/24/12 06:21:18 By - By Mel Frykberg

Syria’s rebel groups united only by opposition to Bashar Assad

By one count, there are more than 600 rebel battalions, large and small, though fewer than 10 stand out as having significant organizational capability across large swaths of Syrian territory. The cost of weapons and ammunition remains a major obstacle. | 09/24/12 00:00:00 By - By David Enders

French insult to Prophet Muhammad draws little protest in Cairo, elsewhere

One week after violence swept across much of the Middle East over a YouTube video extremists blamed on the United States, there were only subdued demonstrations against France over cartoons published in a French magazine insulting the Prophet Muhammad. | 09/21/12 23:29:00 By - By Amina Ismail

Libyans target militants, denounce killing of U.S. ambassador

A protest Friday against Libya’s dependence on ragtag militias for security turned into an attack on militia headquarters throughout Benghazi, as thousands stormed militia buildings and demanded that armed rogue groups here disband. | 09/21/12 19:00:09 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Suliman Ali Zway

Obama struggles for unifying strategy post-Arab Spring

Three years after outlining his vision for better relations with the Arab and Muslim world, President Barack Obama finds his administration struggling to find its footing and a unifying strategy to deal with the fallout of an Arab Spring that dislodged dictators and touched off seismic shifts in the region’s politics. | 09/21/12 17:44:13 By - By Lesley Clark

Mohammed Morsi’s visit to U.S. shows changing relations with Egypt

Mohammed Morsi’s first visit Monday to the United States as the president of Egypt offers a timely example of all the ways relations between the countries have changed since Egypt held its first democratic election three months ago. | 09/21/12 17:24:27 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

U.S. official calls Benghazi consulate assault ‘terrorist attack’ amid tough questioning over security

The Obama administration acknowledged for the first time Wednesday that last week’s assault on the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi that left the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans dead was a “terrorist attack” apparently launched by local Islamic militants and foreigners linked to al Qaida’s leadership or regional allies. | 09/19/12 20:31:48 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

Security concerns in wake of embassy attacks end people-to-people programs

Weeks before Egypt’s landmark presidential election, the State Department invited Grammy-nominated singer Maiysha to mentor aspiring female vocalists in a very tense Cairo. | 09/19/12 06:18:15 By - By Hannah Allam

Despite focus on cities, Syria’s civil war grinds on in countryside

On what should have been the first day of school, children in the Syrian town of Khaweija helped pick through the remains of a shop, looking for anything salvageable. | 09/18/12 17:34:37 By - By David Enders

Coptic Christian who promoted anti-Muslim video drops from sight

An anti-Muslim activist who tipped an Egyptian newspaper reporter to the existence of an incendiary anti-Islam video, setting off a chain reaction that climaxed in the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo last week, has dropped from sight. | 09/17/12 20:12:44 By - By Lindsay Wise

U.S., Libyan officials offer vastly different version of Benghazi consulate attack that killed 4

U.S. and Libyan officials are giving significantly different accounts of the gunfire and rocket-propelled grenade attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. | 09/17/12 18:51:23 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

In Syria’s largest city, rebellion takes on an overtly religious tone

The battle for Aleppo that began with a rebel offensive in mid-July has settled into a stalemate. The rebels here control largely the same neighborhoods they took in the initial offensive. But there is something different here – a distinctly religious tone not heard elsewhere in more than seven months covering Syria’s rebellion. | 09/16/12 13:24:09 By - By David Enders

Anti-U.S. outrage over video began with Christian activist’s phone call to a reporter

A crude video about the Prophet Muhammad that triggered an unprecedented outbreak of anti-American protest last week moved from being a YouTube obscurity in the United States to a touchstone for anger across the world through a phone call less than two weeks ago from a controversial U.S.-based anti-Islam activist to a reporter for an Egyptian newspaper. | 09/15/12 17:07:19 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

U.S. push to put diplomats in danger zones challenges security

The Bush administration called it “transformational diplomacy,” an initiative that sent U.S. diplomats into war zones and other trouble spots to promote democracy and U.S. interests. But this week’s attacks on U.S. missions across the Muslim world and the killing of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Libya highlight the deadly risks and high costs involved. | 09/14/12 19:53:03 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

New violence sweeps countries across Islamic world

An unprecedented wave of anti-American violence swept across Africa, Asia and the Middle East on Friday, with protesters angered by an amateurish video that mocks the founder of Islam storming and scorching U.S. embassies in Tunisia and Sudan, ransacking a German embassy in Sudan, and setting a fast food restaurant ablaze in Lebanon. | 09/14/12 19:42:25 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Islamists targeted U.S. diplomats with gunfire, RPGs in planned assault, witness says

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other American officials died in a coordinated assault on the U.S. consulate by gunmen firing assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades and carrying the black flag of an Islamic extremist group, the property’s landlord said Wednesday. | 09/14/12 00:01:38 By - Nancy A. Youssef, Suliman Ali Zway and Jonathan S. Landay

No protest before Benghazi attack, wounded Libyan guard says

A Libyan security guard who said he was at the U.S. consulate here when it was attacked Tuesday night has provided new evidence that the assault on the compound that left four Americans dead, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was a planned attack by armed Islamists and not the outgrowth of a protest over an online video that mocks Islam and its founder, the Prophet Muhammad. | 09/14/12 00:17:20 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Suliman Ali Zway

U.S. military won't have role in probe of Libya consulate attack

American warships will prowl the waters off the Libyan coast and surveillance drones will buzz the skies overhead, but Defense Department officials said Thursday that catching the people who attacked the American consulate in Benghazi and killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans will involve an on-the-scene investigation led likely by Libyans. | 09/13/12 20:03:03 By - By Matthew Schofield

Bizarre YouTube clip ‘Innocence of Muslims’ infuriated faithful, baffled media

The mysterious movie that sparked furious protests at U.S. embassies across the Middle East this week might not even exist. | 09/13/12 19:52:01 By - By Lindsay Wise

Extremists finding new ground as Arab Spring ideals vanish

Right after NATO-backed rebels toppled Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, American flags and signs thanking the Obama administration popped up in Libyan cities, signaling what many had hoped was a new chapter between the United States and the Arab world. | 09/13/12 16:18:07 By - By Hannah Allam

Benghazi doctor: Stevens showed no signs of life when he arrived in emergency room

An alarm rang around 1 a.m. Wednesday, alerting Libyan emergency room doctor Ziad Bouzaid, 31, that an important patient was en route to Benghazi Medical Center. | 09/13/12 12:36:29 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Suliman Ali Zway

Death of Sean Smith at Benghazi consulate brings reality to online gaming world

State Department official Sean Smith was chatting on the computer with a fellow online gamer Tuesday when attackers began gathering outside the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. | 09/12/12 19:18:46 By - By Lindsay Wise

After the celebrations, Arab Spring a challenge for Obama

Nearly two years after President Barack Obama welcomed the Arab Spring uprisings as a historic opportunity akin to the American Revolution, attacks on U.S. posts in Libya and Egypt underscore that Islamic extremism, a lack of law and order, and dire economic conditions have combined to roil the region and leave its future uncertain. | 09/12/12 18:46:00 By - By Lesley Clark and William Douglas

Consulate attack was just latest in rising violence in Libya

The attack Tuesday on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was the climax to weeks of rising insecurity in Libya that saw assassination attempts against government officials, standoffs between militias, car bombings in the capital and threats against diplomats, including Americans. | 09/12/12 16:36:59 By - By Mel Frykberg

Obama mourns slain diplomats, pledges justice will be served

President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today paid tribute to what Obama called four "extraordinary Americans" who were slain in an attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya, vowing that their killers will be brought to justice. | 09/12/12 11:38:27 By - Lesley Clark

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, 3 other Americans die in Libya consulate attack

Libya's interior minister on Wednesday said U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was the State Department officer reported killed Tuesday when armed Islamist militants overran the U.S. consulate in Libya’s second largest city. | 09/12/12 00:03:22 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

In fourth attempt on Yemen’s defense minister, car bomb in Sanaa kills 12

A car bomb targeting Yemen’s defense minister exploded Tuesday outside the office of the prime minister in central Sanaa, missing its target but killing at least seven soldiers and five nearby civilians. | 09/11/12 19:12:01 By - By Adam Baron

Syria’s rebels counting on captured anti-aircraft guns to defeat air force

Ten days ago, rebels fighting to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad launched a two-day offensive against the air base at Abu al Dahour, overrunning a complex that housed air force officers. The government responded by bombing parts of the city to rubble, but the rebels say they plan to keep up their efforts to obstruct the air force. | 09/11/12 13:10:31 By - By David Enders

South Sudanese rapper Emmanuel Jal says police beat him

South Sudanese hip-hop artist Emmanuel Jal, a global peace activist who’s the subject of the book and movie "War Child," said Monday that he was brutally beaten and knocked unconscious over the weekend by police in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, as he was planning a peace concert. | 09/10/12 18:38:07 By - By Alan Boswell

Egypt says it’s destroyed 31 tunnels, killed 32 in Sinai security sweep

Egyptian officials announced Saturday that their first major military offensive into Sinai since the inauguration of President Mohammed Morsi led to the death 32 “criminals,” the destruction of 31 tunnels used for smuggling and coordination between Israelis and Egyptians. | 09/08/12 18:06:49 By - By Amina Ismail

Syria rebels say they killed leader of extremist group that kidnapped 2 journalists

Members of one of the largest groups fighting to topple the government of President Bashar Assad two weeks ago killed the leader of an extremist band thought responsible for the kidnapping in July of two European journalists, according to rebels encamped in this town near the border with Turkey. | 09/07/12 18:27:41 By - By David Enders

Analysts: Syrian army in no danger of collapsing from rebel assaults

Though degraded by a war of attrition against increasingly capable guerrilla militias, the Syrian military remains a cohesive force capable of continuing its operations for the foreseeable future, according to independent military analysts. | 09/06/12 17:26:19 By - By David Enders

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