Death toll soars in Syria since U.N. monitors stopped their work

The number of people killed in violence in Syria has skyrocketed since U.N. efforts to broker a peace agreement fell apart in June, with the total number of dead, including both government loyalists and opponents, now likely surpassing 30,000 since demonstrations against President Bashar Assad began nearly 18 months ago, according to recently available statistics. | 09/04/12 16:46:10 By - By David Enders

McClatchy contributor Austin Tice may be held by Syrians

Austin Tice, an American freelance journalist covering the civil war in Syria who was last heard from in mid-August, remains unaccounted for and is likely being held by the Syrian government. | 08/30/12 17:59:01 By - By Hannah Allam

Syria’s Assad, in rare TV interview, says his army is winning civil war

Syrian President Bashar Assad, speaking publicly for the first time since a bomb in Damascus killed four of his top military advisers, said Wednesday that his forces are winning Syria’s civil war and that foreign governments are engaged in a conspiracy to destroy Syria. | 08/29/12 19:30:38 By - By David Enders

Islamists attack Libyan school, mosques in challenge to NATO-installed government

An estimated 200 heavily armed Islamists destroyed 30 graves at a historic Turkish school in Tripoli’s old city early Wednesday and an unspecified number of other mosques also were attacked, further signs that Libya’s NATO-installed government is facing a major challenge from extremists less than a month after the first elections in this country in 50 years. | 08/29/12 19:15:51 By - By Mel Frykberg

6 months after Hadi took over Yemen, some voice optimism

When Ali Abdullah Saleh handed over the presidency of Yemen six months ago, there were few who expected his successor, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, his longtime deputy, to bring about the revolutionary change that crowds of Yemenis had demanded during a year of street demonstrations. Hadi, after all, had come to power in an election in which he was the only candidate, with a reputation as a weak figure unlikely to make a decisive split from the former president and his powerful relatives. | 08/29/12 17:42:39 By - By Adam Baron

Surge of Syrian refugees prompts Turkey to impose new limits

Turkish government officials, alarmed by a surge in refugees from Syria, have told Syrian activists in Reyhanli and other cities in southern Turkey that their movement and activities will be restricted, an apparent change in policy toward the thousands of Syrians who’ve sought refuge here. | 08/28/12 18:46:52 By - By David Enders

Top Libyan officials implicated in mosque desecrations

Members of the Libyan government and its military have been implicated in the destruction by Islamists over the weekend of several mosques affiliated with the Sufi branch of Islam, an indication that the government that replaced Moammar Gadhafi after a months-long NATO bombing campaign is having difficulty controlling its extremist elements. | 08/27/12 16:43:31 By - By Mel Frykberg

Syrian army hitting anti-Assad rebels hard in furious offensive

The bombing last month that killed four top Syrian government figures and was followed by rebel offensives in Damascus and Aleppo that many hailed as a turning point in the battle to topple the government now looks more like a harbinger of worsening violence, not the beginning of the end. | 08/24/12 18:54:54 By - By David Enders

Libya to try Gadhafi son Saif al Islam, despite international concerns

Libya’s prosecutor general has announced that the central government and the militia that’s holding Moammar Gadhafi’s son Saif al Islam have agreed to try him in Zintan, 90 miles south of Tripoli, despite the International Criminal Court’s assertion that it will be impossible for him to receive a fair trial in the country. | 08/24/12 17:51:34 By - By Mel Frykberg

When Assad falls, Kurds in Syria say they’ll take back lands given to Arabs

With Syria convulsed by a civil war that shows no signs of ending soon, the country’s Kurdish region, fast against Turkey and Iraq, is surprisingly peaceful. But the history of relations between Syria’s Kurdish and Arab ethnic groups suggests that peace may be short-lived. | 08/23/12 17:46:15 By - By David Enders

Whereabouts of journalist Austin Tice, McClatchy contributor, unknown in Syria

Austin Tice, a freelance American journalist who has contributed to McClatchy, The Washington Post and other media outlets from Syria, has been incommunicado for more than a week, his whereabouts unknown since exchanging email with a colleague. | 08/23/12 17:20:27 By - By Hannah Allam

With economy in free fall, Egypt asks IMF for $4.8 billion

Facing an angry public spurred by a failing economy, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi formally requested a $4.8 billion emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday during a meeting with its president in Cairo. | 08/22/12 19:16:13 By - By Amina Ismail

Syrian ex-radio star Honey al Sayed struggles with exile, her country’s fate

Seven months ago, Sayed left Damascus under the pretense of pursuing her studies, though she knew she was fleeing both the regime of President Bashar Assad and a rebel movement that’s killed media personalities who are seen as pro-government. Now she’s telling her story, offering a rare portal into the regime’s propaganda machine and an explanation for why Assad remained attractive to so many Syrians for so long. | 08/22/12 15:20:18 By - By Hannah Allam

Car bombings rise in frequency as Libya marks a year since Gadhafi’s flight

One year after a rebel offensive in this capital city began the final push to end the long rule of Moammar Gadhafi, a string of car bombings has spurred concerns that the late dictator’s supporters remain strong enough to wreak havoc in this still recovering nation. | 08/21/12 19:53:47 By - By Mel Frykberg

Despite orders to turn back refugees, thousands of Syrians are flooding into Iraq

The 20 refugees who’d walked across the border from Syria refused to go back. | 08/20/12 19:32:46 By - By David Enders

With Ramadan power outages, Egypt begins to question its new president

The 2011 revolution was a call for a better Egyptian government. But since the election and the end of the Mubarak regime, Ali said, she believes it's time for a new revolution – one that demands the government bring back basic services like electricity, water and security. A major protest over the Morsi government’s overall performance is scheduled for Friday. | 08/19/12 13:18:50 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

With UN’s exit, Syria becomes more difficult to solve

The United Nations’ decision to end its monitoring mission in Syria on Sunday robs the international community of an important window into the war-torn country and leaves the diplomatic road ahead uncertain. | 08/17/12 18:47:14 By - By David Enders and Hannah Allam

Kurdish offensive in Turkey has indirect Syrian backing

Kurdish militants, who’ve been at war with the Turkish state for the past 30 years, tried out a new tactic this summer. As they cut the main road from the Iran and Iraq borders to the southeast Turkish market town of Semdinli, they declared that it wouldn’t be the familiar “hit and run” operation. This time it was “hit and stay.” | 08/16/12 13:55:51 By - By Roy Gutman

Competing senses of liberation, dread rule in Kurdish areas of Syria

The only place in the predominantly Kurdish city of Ammouda that’s still flying the Syrian flag is the police station, but people here say it means little. | 08/15/12 15:36:21 By - By David Enders

Research paper offers insight into Egypt’s new armed forces chief, Sedky Sobhy

The new commander of the Egyptian military, while a student at the U.S. Army War College seven years ago, wrote a lengthy paper in which he called for the U.S. to withdraw its military forces from the Middle East, encouraged it to revamp the way it provides aid to Egypt in order to foster economic development and criticized the U.S. as pursuing a “one-sided” policy in the region in which concern about Israeli security trumped all other interests. | 08/14/12 18:26:15 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Mohammed Morsi’s power grab leaves Egypt in one man’s hands again

For the first time since the toppling of then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak 18 months ago, Egypt is being governed by a person with zero ties to the previous regime, the result of a series of stunning personnel and constitutional changes that Mubarak’s successor, President Mohammed Morsi, announced Sunday. | 08/13/12 19:24:03 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Morsi dismisses key generals in Egypt in first show of strength against military

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Sunday made a series of decisive moves, including forcing into retirement several members of the military, that transformed him from a weak figurehead with little say over key security and constitutional matters into a ruler whose power appears now nearly absolute. | 08/13/12 07:43:26 By - By Nancy A. Youssef, Sheera Frenkel and Amina Ismail

Turkey, U.S. agree to joint contingency planning for collapse of Assad regime

The United States and Turkey on Saturday took a half step toward intervention in Syria, announcing that the two governments jointly would begin “in depth analysis and operational planning” for a possible no-fly zone. | 08/11/12 18:48:04 By - By Roy Gutman

U.S. Syria policy in shambles a year after Obama told Assad to step down

On Aug. 18 last year, President Barack Obama issued a statement that for the first time demanded that Syrian leader Bashar Assad step aside. Similarly worded statements came from Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the European Union that same day. | 08/10/12 19:47:47 By - By Hannah Allam

As war widens, Palestinians in Syria are caught in the middle

Like many of the approximately half a million Palestinians who live in Syria, Abu Abed tried to avoid taking sides when the uprising against the Syrian government began last year. | 08/10/12 17:48:36 By - By David Enders

Egypt launches air strikes in Sinai for first time since 1973 to avenge weekend attack

Deploying its air force for the first time in nearly 40 years, the Egyptian military launched an air offensive in the unruly Sinai Peninsula on Wednesday, three days after Islamists killed 16 Egyptian soldiers in an attack that threatened both the Egyptian-Israeli border and the political standing of Egypt’s new president. | 08/09/12 06:11:15 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Sheera Frenkel

Assad’s inner circle seen as intact despite defection of Syrian prime minister

Syrian President Bashar Assad’s administration struck a defiant tone Monday, renewing its counterattack on rebel forces in the country’s largest cities and vowing to stay in place, despite the defection of the country’s prime minister. | 08/06/12 19:34:00 By - By Hannah Allam and Sheera Frenkel

11 Afghan police defect to Taliban in Helmand province

Eleven U.S.-trained Afghan police officers defected to the Taliban on Monday in southern Helmand province, the spokesman for the province’s governor told McClatchy. | 08/06/12 19:33:10 By - By Ali Safi

Accounts of Syria rebels executing prisoners raise new human rights concerns

Syrian insurgents fighting to unseat President Bashar Assad face a growing list of accusations that they’ve carried out executions and torture, muddying the Western narrative of a heroic resistance force struggling against a vicious regime. | 08/03/12 18:57:12 By - By Hannah Allam and Austin Tice

Concern rises among Palestinians for their relatives in Syria

For the Hafeiz family in Ramallah, the violence raging in Syria is just a computer click away. | 08/03/12 16:37:30 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Kofi Annan quits peace mission; more Syrian bloodshed ahead

The resignation Thursday of veteran diplomat Kofi Annan and the collapse of diplomatic efforts on Syria by the United Nations and the Arab League all but assure a bloody finish to the uprising against President Bashar Assad. | 08/02/12 18:29:22 By - By Hannah Allam and David Enders

No radical changes seen in Egypt’s new Cabinet

Egypt’s new prime minister announced appointments of government ministers Thursday that left key Cabinet posts in the hands of officials who’d also served in the government of ousted President Hosni Mubarak. | 08/02/12 18:05:49 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Rebels give inside account of Damascus fighting, saying holding neighborhoods was never plan

Rebel fighters who planned and participated in intense fighting in the Syrian capital two weeks ago say they never intended to capture and hold portions of the city. They view the skirmishing, widely seen as a victory for the government, as just the opposite. | 08/02/12 17:13:16 By - By Austin Tice

U.S. eases arms purchases for Syrian rebels

The Obama administration quietly has cleared the way for U.S. residents to buy weapons for the rebels who are fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, granting a Washington-based advocacy group a rare license to collect money for arms and other equipment. | 08/01/12 17:44:02 By - By Hannah Allam

Syria government reportedly showing more restraint in Aleppo fighting

The government of Syrian President Bashar Assad appears to be taking a relatively restrained approach to the rebel presence in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, where fighting was reported to be continuing Tuesday, even as Syrian government media claimed to have pushed the rebels out of a key neighborhood. | 07/31/12 19:18:08 By - By David Enders

Dash to enter Damascus with rebels shows government still in control

I'd been trying for weeks to get into Damascus. This would be no triumphant entry, however. Government troops seemed to have beaten back, at least for now, the rebel offensive that erupted after a bomb killed four senior military advisers to President Bashar Assad nearly two weeks ago. | 07/31/12 17:57:55 By - By Austin Tice

Syria’s Aleppo reported tense, awaiting battle; journalists freed from extremists

Syrian aid workers said Friday that they have suspended their work inside Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, in anticipation of a bruising battle between rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar Assad in what would certainly be a climactic moment, if not the climax, in an increasingly complicated civil war. | 07/27/12 20:00:53 By - By David Enders

Behind dispute over military service, two very different views of Israel

Shmuel Aharon kept one hand on his prayer book and another on the shoulder of his 17-year-old son as they navigated the streets of Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim neighborhood one recent day. | 07/27/12 16:32:20 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Assad hands control of Syria’s Kurdish areas to PKK, sparking outrage in Turkey

President Bashar Assad, facing a growing rebel presence in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and its commercial hub, has turned control of parts of northern Syria over to militant Kurds who Turkey has long branded as terrorists, prompting concern that Istanbul might see the development as a reason to send troops across its border with Syria. | 07/26/12 20:16:54 By - By Roy Gutman

Political crisis over, Yemen now faces a lack of food

Life, Omar Abdullah Zaki says, has never been particularly easy. A day laborer who’s never had a truly reliable job, Zaki has seen two of his six children die before their first birthday, at least partially, he admits with shame, because of his inability to provide his family with enough to eat. | 07/25/12 16:04:41 By - By Adam Baron

Morsi picks water engineer with no Muslim Brotherhood links as prime minister

Egypt’s first democratically elected president on Tuesday named a prime minister, picking as his choice to lead the government a 40-something, U.S.-educated engineer who sports a beard and is believed to be an Islamist, though he does not belong to any of the country’s religious political groupings. | 07/24/12 17:15:32 By - By Amina Ismail and Hassan El Naggar

Fighting in Syria indicates Bashar Assad’s end isn’t imminent

Despite reports last week that suggested rebel forces were on the verge of major triumphs in Syria, the last few days of fighting there show that a long battle still looms. | 07/23/12 18:03:58 By - By David Enders

Muslim Brotherhood denounced at Cairo funeral for Egypt’s longtime spy chief Omar Suleiman

Angry mourners denounced the Muslim Brotherhood on Saturday at the funeral for Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s longtime top spy, in a ceremony that encapsulated the odd political dissonance that governs this country, where a democratically elected president newly in office shares power with a still-dominant military council. | 07/21/12 16:55:04 By - By Amina Ismail and Hassan El Naggar McClatchy Newspapers

Syria’s rebels gaining momentum, but U.S. officials still can’t identify a leader

As rebels rack up important victories that could hasten the fall of Syrian President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials are still struggling to identify a credible opposition authority to keep fragile Syria from civil war once the leader is gone. | 07/20/12 17:43:00 By - By Hannah Allam

Syria rebels seize 40 prisoners in assault they say was ordered from Turkey

One day after a bomb killed three top members of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, rebel forces in this town four miles north of the capital Damascus abruptly ended a de facto truce that had existed with government forces since the beginning of the anti-Assad uprising, storming two government positions, striking the government flag, and capturing significant stores of weapons and ammunition. The rebels also took more than 40 prisoners. | 07/19/12 20:29:47 By - By Austin Tice

Egypt’s military wins a round in struggle with Morsi over president’s powers

Egypt’s ruling military council won a preliminary round Thursday in its battle with newly elected President Mohammed Morsi when a key administrative court ruled it did not have jurisdiction to review the council’s amendment of the country’s constitution to strip the presidency of some critical powers. | 07/19/12 17:15:57 By - By Amina Ismail

Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s longtime spy chief, dies in U.S.

Omar Suleiman, Hosni Mubarak’s feared head of intelligence who was a close collaborator of both the United States and Israel, died Thursday in the United States, where he was undergoing unspecified medical treatment, Egypt’s official news agency said. He was 76. | 07/19/12 12:55:51 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

With failure of UN resolution, war in Syria likely to escalate

Diplomatic efforts to resolve Syria’s bloody crisis appeared to collapse Thursday with the failure of a U.N. Security Council resolution threatening sanctions against the Syrian regime and with slim chances that a U.N. monitoring mission would survive past this week. | 07/19/12 20:28:01 By - By Hannah Allam

U.S. piles more sanctions on Syria as hopes dim for peace plan

The Obama administration on Wednesday brought a new round of sanctions against Syrian companies and officials, including the man President Bashar Assad chose as his government’s negotiator in a United Nations peace plan that now appears defunct. | 07/18/12 18:52:52 By - By Hannah Allam

Bombing that killed Syrian officials signals new push to topple Assad, rebels say

A bomb targeting Syria’s military leadership killed the country’s defense minister Wednesday and at least two other high-ranking officials, sparking questions about how long the besieged government of President Bashar Assad can remain in power and highlighting the differences between the United States and Russia over what steps should be taken to curb the violence that’s sweeping Syria. | 07/18/12 19:46:27 By - By Austin Tice and David Enders

3 weeks in, Egypt still wondering what Morsi stands for

Three weeks after Egypt’s first democratically elected president took office, Egyptians are still awaiting answers on basic questions such as who will serve in his Cabinet and what constitutional authorities the president will have. | 07/17/12 19:26:55 By - By Amina Ismail and Hassan el Naggar

Israel sees Bashar Assad’s fall as certain, worries about al Qaida in Syria

The head of Israeli military intelligence told his country’s parliament on Tuesday that Syrian President Bashar Assad won’t be able to defeat the armed uprising that’s spread throughout Syria and that the conflict there has allowed what he called “radical Islam” to gain ground on Israel’s northern border. | 07/17/12 19:02:49 By - By Sheera Frenkel and David Enders

Fighters in Misrata, Libya, spoiling for a fight against last Gadhafi loyalists

Despite its recent elections, Libya remains an ungoverned state controlled not by elected officials but by the various armed factions that fought against Moammar Gadhafi’s forces a year ago. | 07/13/12 16:04:40 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Fresh killings in Tremseh draw condemnations for Syria’s Assad

U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan, the Obama administration and the Syrian opposition on Friday denounced President Bashar Assad after a massive military assault against a village involving tanks, artillery and helicopters a day earlier caused the deaths of possibly scores of civilians. | 07/13/12 17:20:57 By - By Roy Gutman and Hannah Allam

Bashar Assad reportedly names negotiator, but Syria peace talks seem far away

Syrian President Bashar Assad, attempting to seize the initiative after taking a clobbering in international forums over the conflict in his country, has named a member of his Cabinet as a negotiator in U.N.-sponsored talks to set up a transitional government to succeed his dictatorship. | 07/12/12 19:12:49 By - By Roy Gutman and Hannah Allam

Report: Violence against Palestinians by Jewish settlers rising

A video of a Jewish settler kneeling to fire his pistol at dozens of rock-throwing Palestinians was one of dozens of cases presented by human rights groups and United Nations agencies Wednesday in a report that documents a sharp increase in violence by Jewish settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank. | 07/11/12 17:38:35 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Attack on police cadets shows militants still a threat in Yemen

A suicide bomber attacked a crowd of police officers and cadets Wednesday afternoon at the entrance to a police academy in the Yemeni capital, killing at least 10 and wounding more than a dozen. | 07/11/12 16:35:57 By - By Adam Baron

Parliament meets in Egypt as court slams President Mohammed Morsi

Hours after Egypt’s Parliament met in defiance of a court order, the country’s highest court ruled Tuesday that President Mohammed Morsi had ordered the legislative body back in session illegally, a political tit for tat that underscored how the ruling military council, the court and Egypt’s first democratically elected president are embroiled in a public battle for power. | 07/10/12 19:00:28 By - By Amina Ismail

Muslim Brotherhood runs out of steam in Libya

While Muslim Brotherhood members lead in Tunisia and Egypt, and have made a strong showing in Yemen, Libya brought the electoral momentum of the world’s largest Islamic party to a screeching halt. | 07/10/12 17:44:49 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert cleared of most serious corruption charges

Ehud Olmert was found guilty Tuesday on one charge of corruption but cleared on two more serious charges in Israel’s first criminal trial of a former prime minister. | 07/10/12 15:02:59 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Egypt court won’t reverse dismissal of Parliament

Egypt’s ruling military council and highest court on Monday reaffirmed a decision to dissolve the country’s Parliament, defying newly elected President Mohammed Morsi and raising tensions between him and the military generals with whom he shares power. | 07/09/12 17:12:35 By - By Amina Ismail

Defying Egypt’s military rulers, Morsi orders parliament to reconvene

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi Sunday ordered the country’s dissolved parliament back in session in his first public challenge of the ruling military council that some consider an extension of the 30-year regime of former President Hosni Mubarak. | 07/09/12 06:15:21 By - By Amina Ismail and Hassan el Naggar

Youth coalition at heart of Egyptian uprising disbands

Egypt’s Revolutionary Youth Coalition, which drew thousands to Cairo’s Tahrir Square last year until former President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, officially announced its dissolution Saturday, raising questions over whether hopes of revolutionary change here were over. | 07/07/12 18:43:33 By - By Amina Ismail and Hassan El Naggar

Clinton slams Russia, China for delaying Assad’s ouster in Syria

Less than a week after agreeing with Russia and China on a roadmap for installing a transitional government to end the growing war in Syria, the United States on Friday slammed both governments for “holding up progress” in removing President Bashar Assad and urged the countries of the world to turn up the pressure. | 07/06/12 19:03:58 By - By Roy Gutman

For 3,700 candidates in Libyan election, winning means standing out in crowd

With so many candidates running in such a short election cycle, a vote slated to redefine Libyan politics in the post-Gadhafi era has very little to do with political vision. The winning candidates will largely consist of those with the most posters, the largest tribes, the best social network or the most number of friends, parliamentary candidates said. | 07/06/12 18:29:18 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Palestinian officials to exhume Arafat’s body

Palestinian officials said Thursday that they are planning to exhume the body of the late leader Yasser Arafat, as conspiracy theories reignited over his cause of death. | 07/05/12 18:40:05 By - By Sheera Frenkel

June was bloodiest month of Syrian uprising, with 3,000 killed

Violence in Syria reportedly killed nearly 3,000 people in June, making it the bloodiest month since rebels took up arms against the country’s government more than a year ago. The statistics also appeared to bear out the argument that the violence is moving closer to the Syrian capital, Damascus. | 07/05/12 18:13:25 By - By David Enders

Russia, China join US in calling for new government in Syria

Russia and China joined the United States Saturday in calling for a transitional government to replace the Bashar al Assad dictatorship in Syria, a major shift after a bloody conflict in which Assad has used the army and police to fight a pro-democracy uprising. | 06/30/12 19:35:49 By - Roy Gutman

Onetime aide to Muslim Brotherhood founder is witness to inauguration

Once the personal secretary to Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al Banna, al Khaleq said Morsi’s election was a culmination of the Muslim Brotherhood dream even as he conceded Morsi must share power with the ruling military council, that he governs with no parliament or permanent constitution, and that Egypt is far from the kind of state his one time mentor envisioned. | 06/30/12 17:20:51 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Morsi inaugurated in Egypt

Former Muslim Brotherhood member Mohammed Morsi was inaugurated Saturday as Egypt's first-democratically elected civilian president in a day filled with pomp, promise and a push by the new president to assert authority over the country's military council. | 06/30/12 17:24:50 By - Nancy A. Youssef and Mohannad Sabry

In Tahrir Square, Morsi challenges military, says he’ll seek U.S. release of Sheikh Abdel-Rahman

President-elect Mohammed Morsi addressed hundreds of thousands of people Friday in Tahrir Square in a dramatic appearance that symbolized the change his election represents in Egypt and highlighted the confrontation everyone is expecting with the military in the coming months. | 06/29/12 18:21:52 By - By Amina Ismail and Mohannad Sabry

How Muslim Brotherhood went from 7 members to Egypt’s presidency

On Saturday, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood will become Egypt’s president. It’s the most concrete example of how Hassan al Banna’s long-ago goal to save Islam from Western influences in his homeland came to define politics throughout the Arab world, engendering fear in the West and earning the Brotherhood the enmity of many Arab leaders. | 06/29/12 17:40:43 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Is talk about Morsi a sign Egypt will enjoy a new freedom to gossip?

Mohamed Morsi, the first Egyptian president to assume office without a military coup or the death or assassination of his predecessor, is a new experience for this country, which was ruled with an iron fist by Hosni Mubarak for three decades. | 06/28/12 18:03:53 By - By Mohannad Sabry

Egypt opens probe into Shafik’s role in land sales to Mubarak sons

Losing presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik flew to the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, hours after the country’s top prosecutor ordered an investigation into allegations that he’d wasted public funds. | 06/26/12 19:17:02 By - By Mohannad Sabry

Turkey warns Syria: ‘No more Mr. Nice Guy’

With the backing of the NATO alliance, which unanimously condemned Syria for shooting down an unarmed Turkish reconnaissance plane last week, Turkey warned Tuesday that its military will be prepared to attack any Syrian military element that crossed their common border. | 06/26/12 18:02:29 By - By Roy Gutman

Privately, Israeli officials wary of Morsi presidency in Egypt

Israeli officials are eyeing warily the ascendancy of Mohammed Morsi to Egypt’s presidency, but they say for now that they think Egypt’s military has effectively tied his hands in one of the areas of greatest concern to Israel: cooperation in isolating the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. | 06/26/12 16:27:26 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Some Egyptians remain troubled by Morsi’s history with Brotherhood

As Egypt’s freshly elected president, Mohammed Morsi, arrived Monday at the presidential palace that for 31 years was occupied by Hosni Mubarak and cordoned off by his guards, some Egyptians were openly worried about how closely the new head of state would adhere to the Islamist views espoused by his movement, the Muslim Brotherhood. | 06/25/12 17:52:27 By - By Mohannad Sabry

Weeks spent with Syrian rebels reveal a force of Sunni Muslim civilians

They are doctors, they are teachers. They are students and the unemployed. They are farmers and pharmacists. | 06/25/12 15:51:43 By - By David Enders

Egypt’s indigenous Nubians still battling to find a place

Nearly four decades ago, when Egypt built the vast High Dam at Aswan in the country’s south, dozens of centuries-old Nubian villages were submerged under what became Lake Nasser. Now they’re hoping that political change in Cairo will lead to a renaissance. | 06/25/12 00:00:00 By - By Hannah Allam

In reversal, Turkey now says plane Syria shot down was over international waters

Turkey on Sunday called for a meeting of its NATO allies after charging that Syria’s shoot-down of a Turkish F4 Phantom jet Friday had occurred over international waters without any warning. | 06/24/12 18:22:54 By - By Roy Gutman

Morsi calls for unity as he’s declared Egypt’s first non-military president

Mohammed Morsi, a twice-jailed member of the Muslim Brotherhood, was declared president of Egypt on Sunday, becoming this country’s first civilian, democratically elected leader, the region’s first Islamist president and the new official face of the 17-month-old uprising that has demanded, but not yet created, revolutionary change here. | 06/24/12 20:08:54 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

Competing Shafik, Morsi rallies show two Egypts ahead of vote result

Thousands of supporters of Egyptian presidential contender Ahmed Shafik on Saturday held their largest demonstration to date in support of their candidate and the country’s ruling military council, one day before the election commission is scheduled to release the official results of last weekend’s presidential balloting. | 06/23/12 16:39:09 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

Turkey admits downed plane had strayed into Syrian airspace

Turkey and Syria on Saturday pulled back from a possible confrontation over Syria’s downing of a Turkish fighter jet that had strayed across their common border into Syrian air space Friday. As their respective navies searched for the two missing Turkish crew, both sides said Friday’s clash had been accidental. | 06/23/12 15:37:02 By - By Roy Gutman

Egypt tense as news outlets claim Shafik to be named president

Although the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate appeared to have won the Egyptian presidency numerically, there were increased rumblings Friday that the election commission, at the direction of the country’s military leaders, would declare that Ahmed Shafik, a holdover from former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, had won. | 06/22/12 18:28:48 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Egypt on edge as election results delayed until Sunday

Egypt’s election commission announced Thursday that it would delay the official results in the nation’s first contested presidential election until possibly as late as Sunday, fueling already-rampant speculation that the ruling military council may be trying to rig the results. | 06/21/12 18:15:37 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Some rebels wonder if Syrian troops’ poor use of tanks, helicopters is intentional

The Syrian military, whose advantage in heavy equipment has been emphasized repeatedly by critics of the government of President Bashar Assad, rarely uses its tanks and helicopters effectively in combat against rebel forces, a shortcoming so consistent that it raises the question of whether some pilots and troops may be intentionally missing when they target rebel positions. | 06/21/12 17:51:48 By - By Austin Tice

Syrian rebels pushing back into Baba Amr in Homs, scene of heavy shelling

Rebels fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad have launched an offensive to recapture the Baba Amr neighborhood in the city of Homs, an area they lost to government forces in February after a 26-day siege that trapped civilians, left hundreds dead and destroyed scores of buildings. | 06/20/12 20:11:54 By - By David Enders

Reports of Mubarak’s near death untrue, his lawyers say, as Egypt awaits election results

Hosni Mubarak, the imprisoned former president of Egypt, was either near death or recovering well from minor injuries he suffered when he slipped in the bathroom, according to two of the many accounts of his health that swirled through Cairo Wednesday as the country’s election commission inched toward an official announcement of who would succeed him as president. | 06/20/12 18:17:46 By - By Mohannad Sabry

Syria’s refugee population swells with fighting between army, rebels

With fighting intensifying between the Syrian military and armed rebels seeking to topple President Bashar Assad, the number of people who’ve fled their homes for shelter elsewhere has skyrocketed, leaving humanitarian aid agencies and residents scrambling to provide food and water to an ever-growing population of the displaced that likely numbers more than a half million. | 06/20/12 17:52:18 By - By David Enders

Egypt officials deny reports that Hosni Mubarak is dead

Top security officials denied reports by Egyptian state media Tuesday that former President Hosni Mubarak – whose health reportedly had been deteriorating since he was sentenced earlier this month to life in prison – was “clinically dead,” saying instead that he was unconscious and had been placed on life support. | 06/19/12 19:34:49 By - Nancy A. Youssef, Amina Ismail and Mohannad Sabry

All sides jockey for power as Egypt braces for political showdown

As Egypt awaited the official results of its first free presidential election, the country appeared Monday to be entering a prolonged period of instability as the various bodies of government – the ruling military council, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Parliament and the assembly charged with writing a new constitution – competed for governing power. | 06/18/12 18:13:14 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

‘Huge lack of confidence’ as Iran nuclear talks open in Moscow

Iran and world powers on Monday began to “engage” in detail about Iran’s nuclear program for the first time, although fundamental differences could prove unbridgeable at a second day of talks Tuesday, which could jeopardize the diplomatic track and eventually risk another Middle East war. | 06/18/12 16:55:44 By - By Scott Peterson

Assassin kills Salem Ali Qatan, leader of Yemen’s fight against al Qaida

Gen. Salem Ali Qatan, the commander of Yemen’s southern military district, was assassinated early Monday morning, underscoring the continued threat of militants despite the army’s recent gains against al Qaida-linked fighters in the country’s restive south. | 06/18/12 16:22:31 By - By Adam Baron

In rebel-held Syria, revolutionary courts decide matters of life, death

Two months ago, Syrian rebel fighters arrested Ahmed Dayob over allegations of rape and murder-for-hire for the Syrian army. | 06/18/12 19:06:04 By - By Austin Tice

Muslim Brotherhood candidate declares victory in Egypt

Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi claimed a narrow victory early Monday in Egypt’s first free presidential election, hours after the ruling military council further expanded its control over the country by granting itself war powers, raising new questions about what authority the president would actually have. | 06/18/12 01:51:08 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

In western Egypt, Bedouin tribesmen break with Muslim Brotherhood

In the tribal lands of western Egypt, the Bedouins may appear the same – long dresses, turbans, and sun-burnt complexions – but their political allegiances have shifted like the sands. | 06/17/12 17:46:57 By - By Mohannad Sabry

On the offensive, rebels push Syrian military out of cities around Homs

This city is almost completely empty after a week of heavy shelling by the Syrian government. But it is empty of government forces as well. | 06/17/12 16:50:01 By - By David Enders

Expectations low as Iran nuclear talks reopen in Moscow

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili arrived in Moscow Sunday for critical talks with world powers, flying economy class with his team on Russia's state airline, Aeroflot. | 06/17/12 11:43:33 By - By Scott Peterson

Egypt returns to polls as military cements its control

As Egyptians returned to the polls Saturday to decide between two runoff candidates for president, the ruling military council officially dissolved Parliament, cementing its grip on the government and casting a pall over what was supposed to be Egypt’s first-ever chance to freely elect its leader. | 06/16/12 17:00:00 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

On eve of Egypt runoff election, revolution feels all but dead

In the hours before Egyptians head to the polls in a runoff presidential election, the revolutionaries whose movement prompted the vote were in disarray. With no candidate, and following a judicial ruling that dissolved the parliament elected last fall, some revolutionaries conceded Friday their failure to win real reforms has exposed a lack of organization and strategy. | 06/15/12 19:24:45 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Egyptian court rulings seen as reversal of last year’s ‘revolution’

With a pair of court rulings, forces aligned with fallen former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak succeeded Thursday in reversing many of what had been considered democratic gains that have taken place here in the 16 months since Mubarak was toppled from power. Critics denounced the developments as the equivalent of a coup. | 06/14/12 19:58:35 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Yemen’s defense minister visits Zinjibar, Jaar – freed from al Qaida-linked militants’ control

Soldiers celebrated Wednesday and civilians appeared to eager welcome the return of government control a day after the Yemeni military and its tribal forces allies pushed al Qaida-linked militants out of the provincial capital of Zinjibar, which the militants had held for more than a year. | 06/13/12 19:30:53 By - By Adam Baron

Egypt grants military wide arrest powers on eve of controversial ruling

Egypt’s Justice Ministry warned Wednesday that the military has broad powers to arrest civilians in what appeared to be preparations for potential protests ahead of two critical court decisions expected Thursday. | 06/13/12 18:45:59 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Syrian rebels now using EFPs in bombs, bane of U.S. in Iraq

Though they still lack the kind of heavy weaponry that might help them decisively drive back the military, rebels in central Syria are constructing bigger and more effective bombs, and a steady flow of money from the militants’ leadership in Turkey has allowed them to purchase sufficient amounts of small arms. | 06/13/12 16:57:24 By - By David Enders

New panel set to draft Egypt’s constitution 4 days before vote for president

Egypt’s Parliament on Tuesday selected a 100-member assembly to write a new constitution for the country, heading off a threat from the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces that it would impose its own charter if Parliament failed to act. | 06/12/12 20:01:40 By - By Mohannad Sabry and Nancy A. Youssef

Ansar al Shariah driven from Zinjibar in major blow to al Qaida affiliate in Yemen

Yemeni government forces, backed by local fighters, pushed al Qaida-linked militants from two of their primary strongholds in the country’s south Tuesday, marking the government’s most significant victory since Islamist militants seized control of Abyan province more than a year ago. | 06/12/12 18:55:47 By - By Adam Baron

Since Qubeir killings, Syrians fear rising violence between Sunnis, Alawites

The massacre at Qubeir underscores a widening sectarian conflict that pits Sunni Muslims against Alawite Muslims in a split that’s eerily similar to the Sunni-Shiite bloodshed that wracked neighboring Iraq. | 06/12/12 17:19:35 By - By David Enders

Syrian rebels’ arsenal includes remote-controlled truck bombs

Unlike the car bombs U.S. troops came to fear in the Iraq war, there’s no young fanatic at the wheel of one of the most innovative weapons rebels have deployed in their fight to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad. Instead, a controller concealed in a nearby house pilots the vehicle, packed with explosives, by remote control. | 06/11/12 16:27:32 By - By Austin Tice

If Egypt's revolutionaries boycott vote, will Mubarak holdover win?

The presidential runoff, which features two days of voting that begin Saturday, should easily go to the Brotherhood’s candidate, Mohammed Morsi, over Ahmed Shafik. But with less than a week to go, the major figures in the revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak haven’t endorsed Morsi, even though Shafik was Mubarak’s last prime minister. | 06/09/12 09:43:15 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Empty Tahrir Square underscores split between Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s revolutionaries

On what was supposed to be the “Friday of Isolating Ahmed Shafiq,” a call to protest the Egyptian presidential candidate who was Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, the crowd in Tahrir Square could be counted in the hundreds, a sign that despite a week of effort there was still no agreement on how to stop Shafiq between the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi, the other candidate in next week’s presidential runoff, and the mostly secular revolutionaries whose protests toppled Mubarak 15 months ago. | 06/08/12 19:20:24 By - By Mohannad Sabry

Survivor says slaughtered Syrian village had been warned not to shelter anti-Assad activists

A massacre that took as many as 80 lives in Qubeir may have had its origins in a warning that government sympathizers issued to the village’s residents against harboring known anti-government activists. | 06/08/12 18:30:01 By - By David Enders

In northern Syria, rebels now control many towns and villages

Amid a torrent of news coverage focused on massacres and sanctions, a major change in the Syrian political landscape has gone largely unremarked: All across northern and central Syria, in an area known as the Al Ghab Plain, a growing number of villages and towns effectively are outside government control. | 06/07/12 16:22:02 By - By David Enders

After 5 days of fighting, Syrian town devastated, no one claims victory

Five days of fighting over Kafer Zaita in northern Syria came to an ignominious end Wednesday, with the town devastated and empty of people but controlled by neither the government nor the rebels. | 06/06/12 18:48:57 By - By Austin Tice and David Enders

Rare inside view of a battle for a Syrian town

For four days, Syrian army units and armed rebels of the Free Syrian Army fought for control of Kafer Zaita in a battle that demonstrated both the strengths and weaknesses of both sides. In the end, the rebels abandoned their positions, but only after fighting off multiple assaults by the army. | 06/05/12 19:30:07 By - By Austin Tice

Sherif Mansour, U.S. citizen who faces NGO charges in Egypt, freed until verdict is reached

Lawyers for defendants in Egypt’s case against American nongovernmental organizations charged with operating illegally in the country accused the military government Tuesday of delaying the release of key documents the lawyers say are needed to defend their clients. | 06/05/12 16:25:55 By - By Mohannad Sabry

Thousands protest as Mubarak life sentence fails to satisfy Egypt’s revolutionaries

Tens of thousands of people converged on Cairo’s Tahrir Square Saturday night, not to celebrate the life sentence handed to deposed President Hosni Mubarak earlier in the day, but to try to resurrect a revolution that has suffered two major setbacks in a week – a presidential election in which no revolutionary candidate made it into the runoff and now a verdict that many feared would be overturned on appeal. | 06/02/12 18:19:12 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Mohannad Sabry

Syrian military casualties rose in May while death toll overall dropped

Despite the international outcry over recent massacres allegedly committed by backers of President Bashar Assad, statistics compiled by human rights activists show that violence in Syria has dropped since a United Nations peace plan went into effect in April and is down sharply from its peak in March. | 06/01/12 19:01:23 By - By David Enders

Widow of Egyptian protester expects no solace from Mubarak verdict

Soha Sayed has no delusions that Saturday’s expected verdict for deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will bring her any solace or her dead husband any justice. The days of rejoicing about democracy and justice have long passed, she said. | 06/01/12 18:52:06 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

U.N. observer frustrated by lack of cease-fire in Syria

A meeting between a U.N. monitor and a Syrian rebel commander, witnessed by a reporter who was there at the invitation of the rebels, displayed the difficulties of the U.N.’s task in a country where violence has declined but still is horribly constant. | 06/01/12 16:25:31 By - By Austin Tice

Sabahi, Aboul Fotouh won’t endorse in runoff, raising fears Egypt presidential vote will be polarizing affair

The refusal by Arab nationalist Hamdeen Sabahi and moderate Islamist Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh to endorse either Ahmed Shafik or Mohammed Morsi complicates the decision by their 8.9 million supporters on whether to vote in the June runoff. Their supporters say neither Morsi, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, nor Shafik, Mubarak’s last prime minister, satisfy hopes for democratic change. | 05/31/12 18:05:57 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

U.N.'s Kofi Annan meets with Syria's Bashar Assad as rebels say cease-fire plan has yielded nothing

United Nations special envoy Kofi Annan met Tuesday with Syrian President Bashar Asssad to express dismay over the killing last week of 108 people in the Syrian town of Houla, as evidence mounts that Syria's warring factions have hardened their positions a month and a half after a U.N.-backed cease-fire went into effect. | 05/29/12 17:40:50 By - By David Enders

New question arises over validity of Egypt election even as results are confirmed

Egypt’s election commission released final numbers from last week’s two-day vote, confirming that Mohammed Morsi will meet Ahmed Shafik in a June runoff. But uncertainty continued to plague the election process, as it remains unclear whether Shaifk will be allowed constitutionally to run. | 05/28/12 12:42:02 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Egyptians ask why a Mubarak holdover like Shafik did so well

There had long been clues that a rift between revolutionaries and ordinary Egyptians had always existed and had been fermenting since Mubarak left office. State media, the main source of information for most Egyptians, routinely blamed the state’s growing instability on the revolutionaries. In a nation where many voters had never met a revolutionary, they trusted state media more. | 05/26/12 17:30:57 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail McClatchy Newspapers

For U.S., Egyptian election results are simply 'flavors of bad'

The United States has been preparing for varying degrees of anti-Americanism with the election of a new Egyptian president. So even as the seeming chaos appears to calm, the future of American relations with the new democracy remains uncertain. | 05/25/12 18:44:29 By - By Matthew Schofield

Revolutionaries dismayed by apparent result of Egyptian presidential vote

Egyptians who stood in Tahrir Square 15 months ago demanding a revolution spent Friday stunned and shattered as the first democratic election here rejected their calls, instead producing a runoff between one candidate who wants an Islamic-based state and another who promises a return to the deposed regime. | 05/25/12 18:34:16 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Hannah Allam

Egypt balloting ends with even Mubarak’s hometown in suspense

In many ways, Kafr el-Meselha is like every other Egyptian community, wrestling with its feelings toward a revolution that has left them both free to live and imprisoned by the hardened life that comes with moving from autocracy to democracy. | 05/24/12 19:05:06 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Egyptian tribal leaders no longer command the votes of their clans

All of Egypt’s recent trends — the rise of political Islam, the revolutionary spirit of the young, a wariness of the Muslim Brotherhood and a resurgence of old-regime sympathy — have converged in southern Egypt to chip away at the once-unquestioned authority of tribal leaders. | 05/24/12 16:05:54 By - By Hannah Allam

One thing certain as Egyptians vote for president: The outcome will be a surprise

In poor Cairo neighborhoods, where residents might be expected to pick Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi, many instead said they’d voted for Ahmed Shafik, a former air force commander who was Mubarak’s last prime minister. Hamdeen Sabahi, who espouses the Arab nationalist philosophy of the late President Gamal Abdel Nasser, appeared to be the preferred candidate in some parts of the country. Reports of irregularities were few. | 05/23/12 19:21:33 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Hannah Allam

In Luxor, Egypt’s tourism center, voters shun Muslim Brotherhood candidate

Of the 13 candidates’ names on the ballot, the ones voters mentioned most were the pro-reform Islamist Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafik, and the Arab nationalist Hamdeen Sabahi. Conspicuously unpopular in Luxor was the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi. Voters said they shied away from him out of fear that an Islamist president would scare off foreign tourists. | 05/23/12 18:58:21 By - By Hannah Allam

Shafik? Aboul Fotouh? Morsi? Who knows? Egyptian outcome really is uncertain

Egypt has experienced many historic events since Hosni Mubarak was toppled from the presidency 446 days ago, but Wednesday marks a true first — the first presidential election in Egypt’s history where voters don’t already know who the winner will be before they cast their ballots. | 05/22/12 20:37:41 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

After bombing, Yemen’s Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi watches Unity Day ceremony from behind barrier

Yemen’s top officials attended a somber ceremony commemorating the country’s 1990 unification Tuesday, a day after a suicide attack killed nearly 100 soldiers in one of the bloodiest days in the nation’s history. | 05/22/12 19:36:19 By - By Adam Baron

Al Qaida-linked group claims massive Yemen bombing; dead were rehearsing for Unity Day parade

A rehearsal for a military parade to mark Yemen’s national day turned into a scene of bloody carnage Monday when a suicide bomber blew himself up near the presidential palace, killing nearly 100 soldiers and wounding scores more in one of the deadliest attacks in this conflict-wracked nation’s recent history. | 05/21/12 18:45:05 By - By Adam Baron

Muslim Brotherhood’s grip on Egypt in doubt on eve of presidential vote

Conventional wisdom in Cairo says the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party won’t be able to overcome their candidate’s lack of charisma, and polls predict that he won’t get enough votes to make it into a June runoff. But analysts caution against writing off the Brotherhood’s powerful organization, born of decades of underground work when the group was outlawed under Hosni Mubarak. | 05/21/12 14:18:22 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

4 Egyptian voters offer 4 viewpoints on who should be next president

Turmoil has prevailed in the 15 months since Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign after three decades of ruling Egypt with unchecked power. | 05/21/12 00:00:00 By - By Hannah Allam

In Egypt’s Sinai, tribesmen remain hostile to upcoming presidential vote

Last Wednesday, a pickup truck loaded with masked men raced past a major security checkpoint on the coastal highway near this northern Sinai town and opened fire. Soldiers and police officers fired back, and gunfire echoed for about 10 minutes before the shooting came to an end. | 05/20/12 15:45:24 By - By Mohannad Sabry

Ahmed Shafik, Mubarak’s last prime minister, is the surprise contender in Egypt’s presidential race

Egyptian presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafik, written off by many as a contender because of his service as Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, is enjoying renewed buzz around his candidacy, helped by favorable coverage on state TV, the results of a survey in a respected Cairo newspaper, and what appears to be growing disenchantment with his Islamist rivals. | 05/19/12 11:31:37 By - By Hannah Allam

Gallup survey finds support in Egypt for Muslim Brotherhood dropping as presidential vote nears

Support for Egypt’s Islamist political parties has plummeted ahead of this country’s presidential election next week, a Gallup survey released Friday has found, while early returns showed the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, thought to be Egypt’s dominant political group, running third among Egyptians voting overseas. | 05/18/12 18:29:37 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Aboul Fotouh could be Egypt’s next president because he’s many people’s second choice

Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, once a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, is considered a leading contender in next week’s first round of Egypt’s first-ever contested presidential election, matched against the former secretary general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, and 11 other candidates, including one fielded by the Muslim Brotherhood, considered universally to be Egypt’s most powerful political bloc. | 05/14/12 16:37:34 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Israeli activists worry that Netanyahu’s new majority will mean new measures against dissent

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cemented his power this week with a strategic coalition shift that makes him the most powerful head of government Israel has seen in nearly three decades. | 05/11/12 17:37:16 By - By Sheera Frenkel

For first time ever, Egyptians sees competing candidates debate

Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, 60, a former member of the once outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, and Amr Moussa, 75, the former secretary-general of the Arab League, dealt with many of the major issues that will face Egypt’s new leader: the role of religion and state; funding for the ruling military; and how to improve Egypt’s faltering economy. Throughout, each candidate asserted that he was the only proper custodian of the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak. | 05/10/12 19:11:43 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Palestinians press case of hunger strikers in Israeli prisons

There is no official word on how many Palestinian prisoners are now observing hunger strikes _ estimates vary from 1,500 to over 2,500 _ but there is little doubt that they account for a substantial minority, if not a majority, of the 4,700 Palestinians currently held by Israel. Two, Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahlah, are listed in critical condition after going without food for 72 days. | 05/10/12 17:10:46 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Egyptian candidates’ tough words on peace turn Israel wary

With less than two weeks to go before the first round of Egyptian presidential elections, many in both Israel and Egypt are wondering if peace will hold. Every Egyptian presidential candidate has publically questioned the peace deal, leaving many in both countries to wonder if an arrangement that ousted President Hosni Mubarak defended for three decades isn’t about to fade away. | 05/10/12 15:33:31 By - By Sheera Frenkel and Mohannad Sabry

Syrian troops say cease-fire hasn’t stopped rebel attacks

With a United Nations-sponsored peace plan nearly one month old, Syrian soldiers in the country’s north say rebel forces trying to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad are continuing to launch attacks on their positions daily in apparent violation of a cease-fire and are strong enough that government troops cannot enter several towns and villages near this city. | 05/09/12 16:52:35 By - By David Enders

Syrian views vary over value of parliamentary elections

Nearly 15 million Syrians were eligible to vote in Monday’s parliamentary vote, according to the government, though it seemed likely that only a fraction of those would actually cast ballots. | 05/07/12 17:00:25 By - By David Enders

Parliamentary vote in Syria can’t cover up country’s violent divisions

Nationwide parliamentary elections are scheduled for Monday in Syria, but in this city not far from the border with Lebanon, the only posters on the walls bear the faces of the dead. | 05/06/12 18:16:11 By - By David Enders

Rioting Egyptians at Defense Ministry say street protests are more effective than elections

The Egyptian military, which has ruled this country by decree for 15 months, “only responds to protests,” Emad Behnessy, 38, a nutritionist, said Friday as protesters and security forces clashed outside the Ministry of Defense. Nearly 300 people were injured and a soldier killed in the melee. | 05/04/12 17:14:19 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Egyptians wonder if a Muslim Brotherhood president would serve party or country

The Muslim Brotherhood, the most influential political bloc in Egypt, is confronting a new worry among some voters as the country’s presidential election nears: Would a president with Brotherhood roots be subservient to the group’s mourshid, or supreme leader, rather than to the interests of Egypt’s population of more than 80 million? | 05/04/12 15:27:28 By - By Mohannad Sabry and Hannah Allam

Head of U.N. force in Syria says monitors’ presence has cut government violence

The United Nations general leading the mission to monitor a U.N.-brokered cease-fire in Syria said Thursday that he believed the mission was beginning to have an effect. | 05/03/12 19:10:13 By - By David Enders

‘Thugs’ attack Islamists outside Egypt’s Defense Ministry, killing 11

In the deadliest outbreak of violence in weeks, at least 11 protesters were killed and at least 150 wounded early Wednesday outside the Defense Ministry in Cairo in clashes with civilian attackers, putting Egypt’s presidential election and already-fragile democratic transition in further turmoil. | 05/02/12 17:38:07 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

Final Egyptian candidates named, but election clouds remain

After weeks of disputes over candidate eligibility, Egypt’s election commission on Thursday announced the final list of names that will appear on the ballot next month in the first presidential election since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak last year. | 04/26/12 16:54:56 By - By Hannah Allam and Mohannad Sabry

Israel’s new ties to Azerbaijan worry neighboring Iran

The burgeoning relationship between Israel and Azerbaijan is raising eyebrows throughout the Middle East, not least of all because Azerbaijan is Iran’s neighbor to the north and shares close cultural and demographic ties with Iran. | 04/25/12 20:03:17 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Obama announces new sanctions on Syria and Iran

President Barack Obama took aim Monday at Syria and Iran, imposing new sanctions on the two regimes as well as the “digital guns for hire” that develop technology enabling the two governments to monitor, track and harass their own people. | 04/23/12 18:25:57 By - By Lesley Clark

Carter Center among 8 U.S. NGOs Egypt says it won’t license to work there

Egypt’s caretaker government on Monday denied licenses to eight U.S.-based civil society groups, effectively suspending their work here, on grounds that their activism posed a threat to national sovereignty. | 04/23/12 18:04:58 By - By Hannah Allam

Rare inside view of Syria’s rebels finds a force vowing to fight on

The story of the Katiba Farouq, or the Farouq Brigade, has been eclipsed over the past year by news coverage that’s remained focused on the Syrian government’s shelling of urban neighborhoods. But in the months since they took up arms last August, Farouq fighters have discovered the Syrian military’s weaknesses, and despite some reversals, still appear capable of inflicting heavy casualties whenever the Syrian army attempts to enter rebel-held areas. | 04/23/12 18:30:06 By - By David Enders

Sudan's Bashir, in Heglig, vows no peace talks as jets hit Bentiu in South Sudan

Sudanese war jets launched four missiles into this key South Sudanese state capital Monday, killing at least one and wounding 10 others as tensions continued to rise along the disputed South Sudan-Sudan border. | 04/23/12 16:38:56 By - By Alan Boswell

Egypt reportedly cuts natural gas supply to Israel

Egypt has terminated its contract to supply natural gas to Israel, ending a joint venture that served as a cornerstone of the peace process between the neighbouring states. | 04/22/12 18:28:56 By - By Sheera Frenkel

As divided as ever, Egypt’s revolutionaries return to Tahrir Square

From a distance, the massive demonstration Friday in Tahrir Square recalled what Egyptians consider the good old days of their uprising: thousands of protesters, Islamists and liberals alike, converging to demand the ouster of outdated authoritarians. | 04/20/12 17:58:08 By - By Hannah Allam

UN's Ban Ki-moon calls South Sudan's capture of Heglig an 'illegal act'

The secretary-general of the United Nations on Thursday blasted U.S. ally South Sudan for seizing an oil town on its border with Sudan, calling the military move “an illegal act” and demanding that the country, which split from Sudan last year under a U.S.-brokered peace accord, withdraw its troops. | 04/19/12 19:42:45 By - Matthew Schofield

Syria’s Farouq rebels battle to hold onto Qusayr, last outpost near Lebanese border

As representatives of the more than 70 countries dubbed Friends of Syria met in Paris Thursday to discuss aid to the country’s opposition, some of the rebel fighters in Qusayr wondered if it might already be too late. The fighters had fled Homs in late February. Now they worry they won’t be able to withstand Syrian army forays into Qusayr, a city that once held 35,000 people but is now largely abandoned. | 04/19/12 18:08:55 By - By David Enders

Egypt’s Salafists on edge of political exile as their candidates are disqualified

For the past year, Egypt’s ultra-conservative Salafist movement has been riding a rising wave of political influence. Then this week, the country’s election commission disqualified the candidates Salafists found most attractive. Now analysts are wondering how the Salafists will react. | 04/19/12 17:48:23 By - By Hannah Allam

In Israel, remembering the forgotten survivors of the Holocaust

According to the Israeli government, roughly 30 percent of Holocaust survivors in Israel live below the poverty line. There are still 198,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel, but every hour another one of them dies, say government officials. It’s an outrage to many Israelis that many survivors can’t live out their last days in dignity. | 04/19/12 15:48:48 By -

New Afghanistan war photos part of a long, controversial tradition

The photos released Wednesday of U.S. service members posing with fallen enemies in Afghanistan are ‘morally repugnant,’ officials say, but hardly the first to show soldiers behaving badly in wartime. | 04/19/12 14:21:51 By - By Matthew Schofield

U.S. envoy: South Sudan’s capture of Heglig went “beyond self-defense”

The seizure by South Sudan troops of an oil town inside Sudan has put Washington in a difficult position. U.S. policy has long favored South Sudan over Sudan, partly in response to a pro-South Sudan lobby in the U.S. that sees South Sudanese as victims of Sudan’s northern, Arab elites. But special envoy Princeton Lyman said South Sudan’s capture of Heglig went “beyond self-defense.” | 04/18/12 17:20:50 By - By Alan Boswell

Syrian army, rebels trade blows at Qusayr in cease-fire breach

Rebels at the city of Qusayr fought the military in a breach of a U.N.-sponsored cease-fire that was rare primarily because an independent journalist witnessed it. | 04/18/12 17:01:19 By - By David Enders

Syrian rebels, but not residents, have returned to contested area

When the Syrian government stepped up its offensive against rebels before a cease-fire took effect a week ago, the towns between Homs and the Lebanese border were hit especially hard. Thousands fled as the army pushed to cut rebels’ supply lines. Now, as the cease-fire sputters, the rebels have returned, but not many civilians or any semblance of normal life. | 04/18/12 16:19:43 By - By David Enders

Palestinians boycott meeting with Israel’s Netanyahu that would have been first in 20 months

Palestinian leaders failed Tuesday to show up for what was to have been the first high-profile meeting between Israeli and Palestinian officials in more than 20 months, signaling how distant the two sides have become. | 04/17/12 18:46:22 By - Sheera Frenkel

Egyptian panel confirms Suleiman, Shater and Abu Ismail can’t run for presidency

Egypt’s election commission on Tuesday upheld a ban on the country’s three leading presidential candidates - a former spy chief, a Muslim Brotherhood stalwart and a right-wing cleric - in a decision that immediately triggered demonstrations by some furious supporters. | 04/17/12 17:49:45 By - By Hannah Allam and Mohannad Sabry

Ban on Egypt’s top 3 presidential candidates gives hope to Hamdeen Sabahi’s campaign

Hamdeen Sabahi’s presidential campaign was considered unlikely to succeed, until Saturday, when the three leading candidates for Egypt’s top job were banned from the race. Now Sabahi may have a chance, as might several other candidates who were considered second tier. | 04/16/12 17:09:42 By - By Mohannad Sabry

Already, U.S. and Israel’s Netanyahu are at odds over progress at Iran nuke talks

Just two days after representatives of key world powers met in Istanbul with Iran to discuss its nuclear program, Israel has thrown cold water on the effort, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charging Monday that Iran was being given a “freebie.” | 04/16/12 15:12:32 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Reforms come slowly in post-Saleh Yemen

Seven weeks after the end of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's rule, what is the fate of the movement that spurred the end to his three decades in power? | 04/15/12 15:35:25 By - Adam Baron

Egypt election officials bar 3 top candidates from presidential race

In a move that could rechart the course of Egypt's landmark presidential polls, the election commission late Saturday barred the top three candidates from the race for failing to meet eligibility criteria. | 04/14/12 18:15:22 By - Hannah Allam and Mohannad Sabry

Egyptian lawmakers move to block former spy chief's presidential bid

Egyptian lawmakers voted Thursday to disqualify presidential candidates who served in senior positions in Hosni Mubarak's government, reflecting the anxiety in political circles over the campaign of Omar Suleiman, the country's longtime spy chief and a CIA ally. | 04/12/12 18:05:45 By - Hannah Allam and Mohannad Sabry

Now the debate begins: Is UN's Syria cease-fire working or not?

Syrian government forces appeared Thursday largely to have ended their attacks on anti-government strongholds, adhering to a United Nations-brokered cease-fire. | 04/12/12 17:15:17 By - David Enders

Accusations of massacres and continued fighting as Syria deadline looms

Syrian security forces on Wednesday undertook fewer military operations involving armor and heavy artillery ahead of Thursday's cease-fire deadline but conducted raids and arrests in the country's northern and central regions that left at least five people dead. | 04/11/12 17:04:14 By - David Enders

Violence drops in Syria, but cease-fire success far from certain

A U.N.-sponsored plan to end the violence in Syria got off to a rocky start Tuesday, with Syria's foreign minister claiming that soldiers had begun to pull out of urban areas while anti-government activists charged that military operations were continuing throughout the country. | 04/10/12 18:06:08 By - David Enders

Muslim Brotherhood candidate Khairat el Shater focused on Egypt's economy

The Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate — a self-made multimillionaire tycoon — on Monday emphasized free-market capitalism and reducing corruption as pillars of his long-term platform toward Egypt's "renaissance." | 04/09/12 18:00:31 By - Hannah Allam

Fighting reported in half of Syria's provinces as ceasefire deadline nears

Syrian soldiers battled anti-government rebels in half of the country's 14 provinces on Monday, three days before a United Nations-backed ceasefire is to take effect, anti-government activists said. More than 100 people were killed across the country Monday, according to the activists. | 04/09/12 17:52:06 By - David Enders

A Syrian rebel commander bemoans lack of international aid

After spending six and a half months in northern Syria commanding a ragtag local resistance force, whose small arms and homemade bombs are no match for the army's tanks, artillery and militia, Abdullah Awdeh crossed the border into Turkey late last month in search of aid. | 04/08/12 10:53:29 By - Roy Gutman

Survivors tell of bloody aftermath to fight in Taftanaz, Syria

Wounded Syrians being treated in hospitals here are providing detailed accounts of a bloody battle for the town of Taftanaz in northern Syria earlier this week that left the town devastated and scores of residents and an unknown number of soldiers dead. | 04/06/12 18:50:20 By - Anand Gopal

Egypt's presidential race shaken over mother's citizenship

Egypt's tumultuous presidential campaign, already roiled by the decision of the conservative Muslim Brotherhood to run a candidate after months of promises that it wouldn't, was in turmoil Friday over the possible exclusion of a popular Islamist candidate because his mother holds an American passport. | 04/06/12 18:41:48 By - Mohannad Sabry

With peace deadline nearing, Syria sends helicopters against rebels

The Syrian military stepped up its campaign against anti-government rebels Thursday as a deadline for the government to implement a U.N.-sponsored peace plan approached, while the country's fractured opposition took a step toward unity with representatives of Syria's Kurdish minority. | 04/05/12 16:38:33 By - David Enders

Wealth of Muslim Brotherhood's presidential hopeful worries some Egyptians

The Muslim Brotherhood's decision to nominate a prominent business tycoon, Khairat el Shater, for Egypt's presidency has raised concerns that another economically powerful dictatorship is about to take over the politically volatile nation. | 04/04/12 19:08:47 By - Mohannad Sabry

Israeli police evict Jewish settlers from house in Hebron

Israeli police evicted Jewish settlers Wednesday from a house in this volatile West Bank city, heading off what they feared was an attempt to expand settlement enclaves here. | 04/04/12 18:08:50 By - Joel Greenberg

Defectors: Torture of children, rape by Syrian army 'routine'

In addition to shooting unarmed civilians, Syrian military personnel routinely have raped women and girls, tortured children and encouraged troops to loot the houses they storm, former foot soldiers say. | 04/02/12 16:41:47 By - Roy Gutman

In rare interviews, Syrian ex-soldiers talk of killing civilians

Former Syrian soldiers who've escaped to northern Iraq are telling grisly stories of how their units executed unarmed civilians for demonstrating against the Assad regime and staged mass reprisals when residents shot back, on one occasion lining up and shooting 30defenseless civilians. | 04/02/12 16:36:28 By - Roy Gutman

Assad tightens grip on Syrian borders, cutting rebel supply routes

Syria has tightened control of its borders with Lebanon and Turkey in recent days, laying fresh fields of land mines and sweeping through areas critical to rebel smuggling operations in a development that raises questions about how aid, lethal or non-lethal, would reach the armed opponents of President Bashar Assad. | 04/01/12 19:27:17 By - David Enders

No accord on arming Syrian rebels at Friends of Syria meeting

The United States and more than 70 other countries Sunday announced modest new steps to counter Syria's brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, but they seemed unlikely to advance the U.S. goal of removing President Bashar al Assad from power anytime soon. | 04/01/12 19:25:20 By - Roy Gutman

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood names ex political prisoner as its presidential candidate

Egypt's powerful Muslim Brotherhood announced late Saturday that it had decided to nominate Khairat el Shater, a member of its ruling Guidance Council and a powerful business tycoon, to become Egypt's next president. | 03/31/12 19:00:32 By - Mohannad Sabry

One face of the Syrian revolt: a jihadi comes home

Abu Khalid, 28, was born and reared in Daraa, the Syrian city where the revolt against President Bashar Assad began last year. For months from Jordan, he's been providing weapons and other supplies to his comrades across the border. This is his story. | 03/31/12 15:20:36 By - David Enders

Islamist will chair panel that's writing Egypt's constitution

Hundreds of protesters marched through Tahrir Square on Wednesday after the speaker of the Parliament's lower house, an Islamist, was named to chair the commission that's charged with drafting Egypt's new constitution. | 03/28/12 19:44:20 By - Mohannad Sabry

Arab leaders expected to back U.N. peace plan for Syria

With its own initiatives having failed, the Arab League is expected Thursday to back a U.N.-led peace plan during a meeting in Iraq, where the crisis in Syria is expected to be the dominant topic. | 03/28/12 17:34:33 By - Hannah Allam

Syrian opposition seeks unity in Turkey as Assad tours ravaged Homs

Syria's fractured opposition, prodded by Turkey and Qatar, on Tuesday announced a set of principles that would be enshrined in a new constitution after the fall of the government of President Bashar Assad, a move intended to show a united front ahead of a critical international meeting on Syria to be held here next week. | 03/27/12 19:20:31 By - Ipek Yezdani

Sudan sends warplanes over South Sudan as border conflict rages

Sudan sent military aircraft over a key South Sudanese city Tuesday as part of a two-day bombing campaign that has targeted South Sudanese military positions along the two nations' disputed border. | 03/27/12 17:21:52 By - Alan Boswell

Muslim Brotherhood clashing with Egypt's military rulers

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has launched an all-out verbal assault on the country's military rulers in what many here fear could become a confrontation that would threaten the course of the country's political reforms, including the dissolution of its newly minted Parliament. | 03/26/12 19:41:34 By - Mohannad Sabry

Assad forces still battling Syrian rebels for control of Homs

The Syrian government, unable to quell an armed rebellion despite overwhelming firepower, issued new travel restrictions Monday for military-aged males as fighting continued across the country, especially in Homs, Syria's third largest city. | 03/26/12 17:40:01 By - David Enders

Israel sees new advantage in Iron Dome anti-missile system

Israel's newest weapon sits squarely along the border of this southern Israeli town. The Iron Dome, a rocket interception system built by Israel, guards many of the cities that lie within the range of rockets fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. | 03/26/12 15:08:51 By - Sheera Frenkel

A new generation of Syrians adapt to life in exile

Rima Flihan is just one of the tens of thousands who have fled Syria to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq since demonstrations against Syrian President Bashar Assad began a little more than a year ago. The peaceful demonstrations now have been supplanted by an armed insurgency; | 03/23/12 16:04:40 By - David Enders

Egypt's famous canal city symbolizes country's struggle for calm

After a bullet narrowly missed his head during last year's anti-government uprising, criminal defense attorney Khaled el Dakroury used his underworld connections to buy a Turkish-made 9mm handgun, just for peace of mind. | 03/22/12 16:09:07 By - Hannah Allam

Amid war fever, some Israelis and Iranians talk of peace

Hoping to counter the incessant saber rattling from their respective governments, some Israelis and Iranians have started an online campaign to exchange simples message of friendship and love. | 03/21/12 15:41:49 By - Sheera Frenkel

Worry about Iranian arms flights reveals U.S-Iraq differences over Syria

A diplomatic dispute over whether Iran is using Iraqi airspace to ship arms to the besieged regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad has highlighted differences between the Iraqi and American governments over what should happen in Syria. | 03/19/12 19:44:28 By - Sahar Issa

Experts: Sanctions squeeze Syrians, but are unlikely to change Assad's behavior

Syrians are losing their jobs as the country's economy increasingly feels the effects of civil strife and sanctions, but experts and Syrian citizens alike say the sanctions are unlikely to be felt in any real way by Syrian President Bashar Assad and his regime any time soon. | 03/19/12 15:33:28 By - David Enders

Mourning Pope Shenouda III, Egypt's Coptic Christians fear for their future

Thousands of Egyptian Christians converged on a landmark cathedral here Sunday to bid farewell to Coptic Pope Shenouda III, a protector and father figure to an ancient minority that's now struggling for a place in the new, Islamist-dominated Egypt. | 03/18/12 17:07:45 By - Hannah Allam

Twin blasts kill 27 in Syria's capital, Damascus

After weeks of punishing defeats in rebellious Syrian cities, anti-government insurgents struck at the heart of President Bashar Assad's regime Saturday with twin bombings in the capital that killed 27 and wounded more than 100. | 03/17/12 16:56:07 By - David Enders and Hannah Allam

Move blocks Iranian banks from world payments system

A move Thursday by a Belgian-based financial-transfers company to block Iran from global transactions is expected to isolate the country further and send it tumbling back toward a barter economy. | 03/15/12 18:43:39 By - Matthew Schofield

Tweets of misleading photos feed Israeli-Palestinian feud

Photographs posted on opposite sides of the Twitter divide are reigniting online tensions between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian activists, even as the recent spate of violence has calmed. | 03/14/12 16:49:54 By - Sheera Frenkel

Anger over NGO trial threatens Egypt's interim government

Just days after American civil society workers were whisked from Egypt to avoid a politically charged trial, outrage over the case has built into a push this week by the newly seated Parliament to bring down the caretaker government. | 03/12/12 19:05:44 By - Hannah Allam

Violence renews debate over Israel's targeted killings in Gaza

For the last four days, the area around Sarah Ziski's home has been the target of frequent rocket attacks by militants in the Palestinian territory of Gaza. Along with about 1 million residents of southern Israel, she's fallen into the range of an extended arsenal of rockets and missiles. Life as they know it, she said, has effectively stopped. | 03/12/12 18:45:14 By - Sheera Frenkel

Syria plants anti-personnel mines on Turkish border

The Syrian military in the past month planted a band of anti-personnel mines along stretches of the border with Turkey, where last year more than 10,000 Syrian refugees fled the Assad regime's crackdown on the pro-democracy "Arab Spring" uprising, Syrian witnesses said. | 03/11/12 22:01:06 By - Roy Gutman

U.S. officials: Assad could survive Syria revolt

Months after the United States sided with rebels against Syrian President Bashar Assad, senior U.S. intelligence officials acknowledged Friday that not only could Assad survive the uprising, but also that they couldn't say with confidence that the opposition represents a majority of the Syrian people. | 03/09/12 19:41:50 By - Matthew Schofield

Ex-Chalabi aide launches Arabic news channel, taking aim at Gulf perspective

In a media environment where television channels are frequently accused of taking sides, a new station based here and aiming to capture an audience across the Arabic-speaking world is promising a counterweight to the current giants of the industry, which are owned by conservative Persian Gulf governments. | 03/09/12 17:33:55 By - David Enders

Israelis express relief at lack of news from Washington meetings

Speeches given by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama that focused almost exclusively on Iran and its nuclear program broke little new ground in Washington this week. For some Israelis, that was a relief. | 03/07/12 18:53:39 By - Sheera Frenkel

Pentagon leaders reject military intervention in Syria

Any U.S. military effort to protect civilians in Syria zone would take weeks to implement, the top Pentagon civilian and military officials said Wednesday, underscoring the limited U.S. options for ending President Bashar Assad's violent campaign against Syrian rebels. | 03/07/12 18:09:57 By - Nancy A. Youssef

After years, uncertainty still colors talk of Iran's nuclear capability

On the morning of May 9, 2006, Amos Yadlin, Israel's head of military intelligence, walked away from his parliamentary committee meeting with a sense of triumph. He knew he had successfully shifted Israel's national agenda. That morning Yadlin had told the Knesset's Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense that Iran could have a nuclear weapon by 2010 if no "sanctions or roadblocks" were put in its path. | 03/07/12 17:58:34 By - Sheera Frenkel

Still no certainty on how, or if, Israel would strike Iran

On a drawing pad in his office, Alon, a senior Israeli military intelligence officer, sketches out the possible scenarios facing Israel and Iran. | 03/07/12 17:54:57 By - Sheera Frenkel

Israel push on Iran included a steady dose of media leaks

Nestled deep in the halls of Israel's defense headquarters, a man known as Agent 83 fingered with care his model of what a potential Iranian nuclear bomb might look like. The agent, who had become an expert on the Iranian nuclear program, was showing off the model to a group of foreign reporters, the third such time he had been asked to showcase his expertise in the second half of 2009. Such access to Israeli experts for international journalists has been critical to spreading Israel's view that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. | 03/07/12 17:54:38 By - Sheera Frenkel

Egypt's religious hardliners make a rocky debut in Parliament

Only five weeks into their historic foray into Parliament, Egypt's ultraconservative Salafists have earned a reputation as loose cannons for a series of actions that critics might dismiss as comical if it weren't for the group's deep grassroots support. | 03/07/12 17:54:07 By - Hannah Allam

Few military options for U.S. in Syria, general says

Facing questions over U.S. options to stem the bloodshed in Syria, top U.S. military leaders said Tuesday that creating "safe havens" for rebels or imposing a no-fly zone would be extremely difficult because of the Syrian regime's Russian-provided air defense weaponry. | 03/06/12 18:43:12 By - Matthew Schofield

Wounded from Syria finding refuge in Lebanon

Fighters battling the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad have smuggled more than 1,000 wounded Syrians to Lebanon for treatment as medical services become nearly impossible to find in areas sympathetic to the rebels. | 03/06/12 16:49:16 By - David Enders

U.S., EU, Russia and China agree to resume nuclear talks with Iran

The United States, the European Union, China and Russia have agreed to resume long-stalled negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program, the European Union said on Tuesday. | 03/06/12 10:24:37 By - Jonathan S. Landay

Netanyahu appears willing to give Obama more time on Iran

Despite different assessments of the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday appeared to give President Barack Obama more time to pursue a diplomatic resolution while reaffirming Israel’s right to take unilateral military action. | 03/05/12 14:04:12 By - Lesley Clark and Jonathan S. Landay

Obama says military force is option to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons

President Barack Obama insisted Sunday he'd call for military action to prevent Iran from securing a nuclear weapon, even as he urged Israel and its supporters to refrain from "loose talk of war" and allow diplomacy and "crippling sanctions" to work. | 03/04/12 16:02:44 By - Lesley Clark

Rebels in Syrian city are surrounded, braced for assault

This city of 35,000 is largely empty. Seven miles from the Lebanese border, Qusayr is the last rebel stronghold in this part of Syria. | 03/03/12 22:08:27 By - David Enders

Syria splits along sectarian lines, shaking Mideast

Resting in a safe house south of the shell-battered city of Homs, Syrian rebel Abu Abdo at first framed the conflict convulsing his country as a war between the Sunni Muslim majority and the authoritarian regime of President Bashar Assad. | 03/02/12 18:28:37 By - David Enders and Jonathan S. Landay

Obama tries to reassure Israel about U.S. stand on Iran

Iran's nuclear ambitions will take center stage Monday when President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid rising global fears that Tehran is pursuing nuclear weapons. | 03/02/12 17:52:49 By - Lesley Clark

Rebel ammo runs low as Syrian government presses attack

Commanders of the militia that's fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad say they're running low on ammunition here and won't conduct any offensive operations until they find a way to resupply. | 02/29/12 19:04:24 By - David Enders

Ending travel ban, Egypt signals NGO case may be dropped

Egypt on Wednesday lifted a travel ban on seven Americans who were on trial with 36 other civil society workers on charges of illegally receiving foreign funds, the first sign that a case that's chilled Egyptian-American relations may be nearing a resolution. | 02/29/12 18:34:51 By - Hannah Allam and Omnia Al Desoukie

Syria says new constitution received overwhelming support

Amid reports of fresh atrocities in the besieged city of Homs, the Syrian government said Monday that an overwhelming majority of voters — 89 percent — had approved a new constitution that's billed as President Bashar Assad's most serious concession yet in the nearly year-old uprising against his rule. | 02/27/12 17:49:59 By - Hannah Allam

U.S. military receives remains of last soldier missing in Iraq

The U.S. military has recovered the remains of the last U.S. service member missing in Iraq, ending a nearly six-year ordeal involving shadowy militants and a tragic love story, his family said Sunday. | 02/26/12 09:51:05 By - Hannah Allam

Egypt trial threatens future of U.S. pro-democracy NGOs

A trial set for Sunday in Egypt of at least 16 Americans could have far-reaching implications for the pro-democracy movement that has been sweeping the Middle East. | 02/24/12 19:28:12 By - David Goldstein

Syrian troops apparently halt Homs shelling as some wounded are evacuated

Syrian Arab Red Crescent workers rescued a small number of wounded civilians Friday from the hard-hit Baba Amr neighborhood of the city of Homs as representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian government negotiated over a ceasefire that would allow still larger evacuations. | 02/24/12 18:41:21 By - David Enders

'Top levels' of Syria regime responsible for war crimes, U.N. says

As the city of Homs shuddered Thursday from another day of Syrian army bombardments, U.N. investigators held regime officials and military commanders "at the highest levels" responsible for "crimes against humanity and other gross human rights violations" against civilians and opposition groups. | 02/23/12 18:52:03 By - Jonathan S. Landay

Assad commits nearly all his forces in race to crush uprising, experts say

Syrian President Bashar Assad is now using most of his regular ground forces in an intensified drive to crush the uprising against his family's four-decade-long rule in what could be a critical test of his minority-run military's cohesion, according to U.S. officials and experts. | 02/22/12 19:34:02 By - Jonathan S. Landay

Egypt's high court delays Mubarak verdict until June

Egypt's highest court said Wednesday that a verdict in deposed President Hosni Mubarak's murder trial won't be issued until June, presumably to prevent any disruption to presidential elections now scheduled for May. | 02/22/12 18:29:54 By - Omnia Al Desoukie

Yemenis fear there'll be no change with new president

When voting ends here Tuesday in early presidential elections, there's no doubt that something historic will have taken place: Ali Abdullah Saleh, who's ruled here for 33 years, no longer will be president, becoming the fourth veteran leader toppled over the course of the Arab Spring. | 02/20/12 18:42:58 By - Adam Baron

Divisions in Arab League hobble efforts to resolve Syria crisis

The Arab League's sharp internal divisions over how hard to push for regime change in Syria are hampering its ability to lead negotiations toward resolving the crisis, analysts said Monday. | 02/20/12 17:27:08 By - Hannah Allam

Southern Yemen's election boycott hints at trouble ahead

Yemenis will head to the polls Tuesday in a one-candidate election that's expected to make Vice President Abdo Rabbu Mansour Hadi the first president from southern Yemen since the country's two halves were unified in 1990. | 02/18/12 16:33:45 By - Adam Baron

With Egypt in turmoil, Israel builds fence to keep out trouble

Sparks flew across the desert sand as Mohammad Omar welded barbed wire to the top of a 16-foot fence that winds its way across the Israeli-Egyptian border. Against the brown and tan landscape, the gleaming white metal of the fence stands out, an ominous warning to those attempting to cross into Israel. | 02/17/12 15:14:03 By - Sheera Frenkel

Top U.S. intelligence officials confirm al Qaida role in Syria

Al Qaida's Iraqi affiliate appears to have infiltrated Syrian opposition groups and was likely responsible for recent suicide bombings in Damascus and the industrial capital of Aleppo, senior U.S. intelligence officials told Congress Thursday. | 02/16/12 19:12:18 By - Jonathan S. Landay

One year into revolution, Libya is beset by uncontrolled militias, rights abuses

Thousands of euphoric Libyans filled Tripoli's main square in September to hear Mustafa Abdul-Jalil's first speech since rebel forces chased Moammar Gadhafi from the Libyan capital. | 02/16/12 15:43:24 By - Hannah Allam

Egypt sets presidential elections for May amid rising tensions

Egypt will hold its first presidential elections since Hosni Mubarak's ouster in May, a month earlier than previously scheduled, as part of an accelerated transition to civilian rule demanded by revolutionary political factions, state news media and officials said Wednesday. | 02/15/12 18:06:51 By - Omnia Al Desoukie and Hannah Allam

Syria sets referendum for Feb. 26 as refugees flock to Lebanon

Syrian state media announced Tuesday that the country would hold a referendum Feb. 26 on a new constitution even as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees predicted that ongoing fighting in that country would drive growing numbers of Syrians to seek refuge inside Lebanon. | 02/15/12 15:09:39 By - David Enders

Egypt accuses U.S. of using NGOs to thwart revolution

Only days after a visit by the Pentagon's top general to smooth testy relations with Egypt's military rulers, the state news service on Monday released a months-old report that accuses the Obama administration of funneling cash to pro-democracy groups in Cairo after it was caught off guard by the uprising last year against longtime U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak. | 02/13/12 16:31:44 By - Omnia Al Desoukie and Hannah Allam

Arab League seeks joint U.N peacekeeping force for Syria

The Arab League voted Sunday to seek a joint U.N. peacekeeping force for Syria as regional diplomats met in Cairo to discuss their dwindling options for stopping the bloodshed in a nearly year-old uprising against President Bashar Assad. | 02/12/12 23:21:57 By - Omnia Al Desoukie

U.S. officials: Al Qaida behind Syria bombings

The Iraqi branch of al Qaida, seeking to exploit the bloody turmoil in Syria to reassert its potency, carried out two recent bombings in the Syrian capital, Damascus, and likely was behind suicide bombings Friday that killed at least 28 people in the largest city, Aleppo, U.S. officials told McClatchy. | 02/10/12 21:46:51 By - Jonathan S. Landay

Egypt vows to press NGO case despite U.S. threats

Egypt's government won't back off its criminal investigation of American and other civil society workers even if the U.S. withdraws its financial aid, Egypt's military-appointed prime minister said Wednesday, in a case that could spell the end of one of the United States' closest Arab alliances. | 02/08/12 17:02:02 By - Omnia Al Desoukie

U.S. Gen. Dempsey heads to Egypt with relations on line

With $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid and a three-decade relationship hanging in the balance, U.S. officials said Tuesday that Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would travel to Egypt to press for the criminal charges against at least 16 American nonprofit workers to be dropped. | 02/07/12 19:05:57 By - Nancy A. Youssef, Jonathan S. Landay and Hannah Allam

Fury over soccer deaths leads to new clashes, threats to Egypt's government

Thousands of angry sports fans besieged the Egyptian Interior Ministry on Thursday to avenge 74 deaths in riots over a soccer match the previous night, as political forces seized on the tragedy to renew demands for the ouster of the military-appointed interim government. | 02/02/12 07:05:33 By - Hannah Allam and Omnia Al Desoukie

Arab monitors were unprepared for Syria, report shows

The Arab League's mission to monitor the bloodshed in Syria was doomed from the start, with some observers seemingly oblivious to the gravity of their assignment and others lacking the expertise to do the job, according to a leaked internal report. | 02/01/12 17:05:43 By - Hannah Allam

U.S., allies mount pressure on Syria at U.N.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led a high-wattage diplomatic push Tuesday to persuade the U.N. Security Council to endorse an Arab plan for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down, but she couldn't break the steadfast objections of Russia and China. | 01/31/12 19:41:35 By - Nancy A. Youssef

Egypt's crackdown on U.S. groups finds support at home

The scenario is familiar to Egyptian political activists: Authorities harass pro-democracy groups, raid their offices, ban employees from travel and threaten criminal charges to smear them as foreign agents. | 01/31/12 17:55:52 By - Hannah Allam and Nancy A. Youssef

Egypt boosts aid to wounded protesters, but many still suffer

Egypt is stepping up efforts to treat thousands of wounded revolutionaries, but many of the injured say they've yet to receive compensation and feel their sacrifices for democracy are going unnoticed by the transitional government. | 01/30/12 16:33:00 By - Mohannad Sabry

With violence rising, Arab League suspends Syria mission

The Arab League suspended its Syria observation mission Saturday, saying it was too dangerous to continue, as battles between security and opposition forces raged just outside the capital, Damascus. | 01/28/12 18:31:39 By - Hannah Allam

Egyptians argue over fate of charred Mubarak party building

A year ago this week, flames swallowed the headquarters of now-deposed President Hosni Mubarak, a scene shown on live television that made the revolution real for millions of Egyptians. | 01/26/12 18:27:30 By - Hannah Allam

Egypt bars U.S. workers from travel, escalating crackdown

Egypt has barred at least 10 American and European civil society workers — including the son of a senior Obama administration official — from leaving the country in a sign that the ruling generals are extending their crackdown on foreign pro-democracy groups. | 01/26/12 17:33:18 By - Hannah Allam

Where Egypt toppled Mubarak, a modest candidate makes his own run

Chanting "Down with military rule," hundreds of thousands of Egyptians converged on Tahrir Square on Wednesday for the anniversary of the revolt that ended Hosni Mubarak's authoritarian rule and left the country in the hands of a few entrenched generals. | 01/25/12 19:06:07 By - Hannah Allam

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