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US releases military aid to Egypt, cites national security

March 31st, 2015 No comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Tuesday released military aid to Egypt that was suspended after the 2013 overthrow of the government, in an effort to boost Cairo’s ability to combat the extremist threat in the region.
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Mideast powers trade blame as Yemen teeters

March 31st, 2015 No comments

A Yemeni man looks at the ruins of his house in Sanaa after it was destroyed in an air strike by Saudi-led coalition warplanes, on March 31, 2015Regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran traded accusations Tuesday over the escalating conflict in Yemen, which the UN rights chief warned was on the brink of "total collapse". The Huthi rebels and their ally, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, "decided with the support of Iran to destabilise Yemen," Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said. Tehran hit back, accusing Riyadh of putting the entire Middle East in jeopardy. Iranian state media rejected as "utter lies" claims Tehran had sent arms to Yemen, but said it had dispatched non-military aid, including food and medicine.

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Statement ‘expected from Iran talks’

March 31st, 2015 No comments

Nuclear talks between world powers and Iran could go on past a midnight deadline, US officials say, as delegates prepare to issue a general statement.
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APNewsBreak: France seizes moment to push for Mideast talks

March 31st, 2015 No comments

FILE - This Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015 file photo shows from left : Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, EU President Donald Tusk and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas marching during a rally in Paris, France. France sees a window of opportunity after Israel’s elections to get the United States on board with a new push for Mideast peace, and is preparing to present a draft U.N Security Council resolution in about 12 days, according to French diplomatic officials. The draft would define the pre-1967 frontier as a reference point for border talks but allow room for exchanges of territory, designate Jerusalem as a capital of two states and call for a fair solution for Palestinian refugees, one official told The Associated Press on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Philippe Wojazer, Pool, File)PARIS (AP) — France sees a window of opportunity after Israel's elections to get the United States on board with a new push for Mideast peace, and is preparing a draft U.N Security Council resolution in about 12 days, according to French diplomatic officials.

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Iraqi forces in ‘major Tikrit push’

March 31st, 2015 No comments

Iraqi forces have made major advances against Islamic State (IS) in Tikrit – retaking the government headquarters, officials say.
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Another Round of Views on the Latest War

March 31st, 2015 No comments

 I had barely posted yesterday’s post with nine links, called “Many Voices on the Region’s Newest War,” when I discovered my Inbox, Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds, etc. were filling up again. (I haven’t posted links in Arabic because right now they’re running very biased.) I’m assembling the links, not endorsing the views:

I’m sure there will be more.
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‘Good chance’ of Iran nuclear deal

March 31st, 2015 No comments

Russia’s foreign minister says prospects of a preliminary agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme are “very good” on the final day of intense talks.
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Experts caution reality check on joint Arab force

March 31st, 2015 No comments

Smoke and flames rise from an alleged weapons storage depot at a Shiite Huthi rebel camp after an airstrike by the Saudi-led alliance on March 30, 2015 in the Yemeni capital SanaaDespite an agreement at a weekend Arab summit to establish a joint military force, serious doubts remain that it will become a reality on the ground, experts say. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced the accord on Sunday at the end of the summit he hosted in the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, setting a four-month timeframe for the 22-member Arab League to decide on the composition and rules of engagement of the joint force. "The notion of a truly joint Arab military force still remains an aspiration rather than a reality," said Frederic Wehrey, an expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "Despite the statements of unity, there are vast differences between the Arab states and that was evident with the situation in Yemen," he said.

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Tunisians Respond with Humor to Silly Claim ISIS is in Tataouine

March 31st, 2015 No comments

One of Tunisia’s niche tourist attractions is the fact that the first Star Wars film was filmed in and around the southern Tunisian town of Tataouine, which also gave its name to Luke Skywalker’s home planet. After some Western media reported (wrongly) that  pro-ISIS forces had taken control of the area, Tunisian social media started having fun with the idea, which isn’t true. See the link but here are three of the best samples:

“Tataouine: the niqab is already obligatory”



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Dozens dead near Yemen refugee camp

March 30th, 2015 No comments

At least 40 people have died in a blast near a refugee camp in western Yemen, aid workers say, but officials deny Saudi air strikes were the cause.
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