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Middle East Briefs

Middle East Stories


Aug 6 2014 Egypt To Build New Suez Canal

CAIRO - Egypt plans to build a new Suez Canal alongside the existing 145-year-old historic waterway in a multi-billion dollar project aimed at expanding trade along the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia.
The Suez Canal earns Egypt about $5 billion a year in revenues, a vital source of hard currency for a country that […]


Jul 8 2014 US Destroys Syrian Chemical Weapons

WASHINGTON - An American naval crew has begun destroying Syrian chemical weapons on board a U.S. container ship in the Mediterranean.
The Pentagon says it will take about two months to destroy the 600 metric tons of chemical agents, which include mustard gas and the raw materials for sarin nerve gas.
The ship Cape Ray is equipped […]


Jun 22 2014 Iranian Official: Obama Not Serious About Fighting Terrorism

DUBAI - President Barack Obama’s plan to send advisers to Iraq to help Baghdad counter Sunni Islamist militants shows the United States is not serious about fighting terrorism, an Iranian official was quoted by official media as saying on Friday.
Obama on Thursday offered up to 300 Americans to help coordinate the fight against Islamic State […]


Jun 8 2014 Abdel Fattah el-Sissi Sworn In As Egyptian President

CAIRO - Former Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi has been sworn in as Egypt’s new president, little more than a week after winning a landslide victory that was never in doubt.
The ceremony took place Sunday at the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo.
Sissi comes to power nearly a year after he and the army toppled […]


Jun 7 2014 Hezbollah Voices Support For Bashar al Assad

DAMASCUS - The head of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah says this week’s re-election of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad proves that any political solution to the country’s bloody conflict “begins and ends” with Assad.
Hassan Nasrallah said Friday those who desire a political solution must negotiate with Assad.  He said the resignation of the Syrian president […]


May 27 2014 Jordan Expells Syrian Ambassador

AMMAN - Jordan has expelled Syria’s ambassador, prompting Damascus to retaliate by barring Jordan’s top diplomat.
A spokeswoman for Jordan’s foreign ministry said Monday that Syrian Ambassador Bahjat Suleiman has been given 24 hours to leave the country.
In a statement carried by the state-run news agency Petra, she said Suleiman used his platform in Jordan to […]


May 21 2014 Hosni Mubarak Convicted Of Embezzlement

CAIRO - An Egyptian court has sentenced ousted president Hosni Mubarak to three years in prison on charges of embezzling public funds.
The former president looked on from a cage as the judge Wednesday also sentenced to Mubarak’s two sons to four years in jail on the same charges.
Mubarak was ousted in a 2011 uprising deemed […]


May 6 2014 Egyptian Court Bans Mubarak Political Party

CAIRO - An Egyptian court has banned leaders of ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s party from taking part in future elections, a day after presidential frontrunner Abdel Fattah el Sissi said the Muslim Brotherhood will not exist if he wins.
Under the Egyptian Court of Urgent Matters ruling, officials of the National Democratic Party would be barred […]


May 1 2014 Jordan Opens Syrian Refugee Camp

AZRAQ - Across the desert horizon of eastern Jordan rows of iron skeleton structures rise from the sand, marking what the United Nations says could become the biggest camp for Syrian refugees in the Middle East.
Azraq refugee camp, 100 km (62 miles) east of the capital Amman, was formally opened on Wednesday after 10 months […]


Apr 25 2014 Syrian Airstrikes Kill 27 In Crowded Market

DAMASCUS - Syrian government airstrikes killed at least 27 people and injured many others at a market near the northern city of Aleppo.
Activist groups, including the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, say government jets hit the crowded market in the town of Atareb, located in Aleppo province, early Thursday.
The strikes are the latest in […]


Apr 22 2014 US Investigates Syrian Chemical Attack

WASHINGTON - U.S. officials say they have indications that toxic chemicals were used in a rebel area of Syria this month.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday that the alleged attack in the western village of Kafr Zita involved an industrial chemical that was probably chlorine.
“We are examining allegations that the government was responsible. We […]


Apr 20 2014 Airstrikes Kill Al-Qaida Militants In Yemen

ADEN - A number of suspected al-Qaida militants were killed when an air strike hit their training camps in a remote mountainous region of southern Yemen on Sunday, the defense ministry said, the second attack of its kind in two days.
On Saturday an air strike killed 10 suspected al-Qaida militants and three civilians in central Yemen, […]


Apr 17 2014 Saudi Arabia Replaces Prince Bandar As Intelligence Chief

CAIRO - Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, has stepped down from his post. His resignation came at “his own request,” according to Saudi state media.  The 65 year old prince is being replaced by his deputy, General Youssef al Idrissi.
Bandar had been spearheading Saudi efforts to unseat Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in […]


Apr 14 2014 Deadly Virus Plagues Saudi Arabia

WASHINGTON  - Saudi Arabia says a deadly virus is rippling through the kingdom as additional cases were reported over the weekend in the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
Confirmed cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, have been seen at two major hospitals in the port city of Jeddah.
Saudi health authorities are embarking on a […]


Apr 12 2014 Poison Gas Attack Injures Several In Syria

DAMASCUS - The Syrian government, rebel forces and a rights group say poison gas has injured several people in a central village. The government and rebels are blaming each other for the incident.
The Syrian National Coalition and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday that government air raids resulted in dozens of injuries and […]


Apr 9 2014 Syrian Forces Recapture Border Town

BEIRUT - Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad recaptured the rebel-held Syrian border town of Rankous on Wednesday, military sources and state television said, consolidating their control over a former rebel supply line from neighboring Lebanon.
The capture of Rankous was the latest stage of an offensive by the army and Hezbollah fighters to seal off […]


Apr 2 2014 Death Toll In Syrian Civil War Exceeds 150,000

BEIRUT - At least 150,000 people have been killed in Syria’s three-year-old civil war, a third of them civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday.
The UK-based Observatory, which monitors violence in Syria through a network of activists and medical or security sources, said that real toll was likely to be significantly higher […]


Apr 2 2014 Kerry Cancels Meeting With Abbas

BRUSSELS - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he is resuming a bid to win more United Nations recognition, breaking an agreement that already is threatened by Israel’s refusal to release more Palestinian prisoners. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has cancelled plans to meet with Abbas on Wednesday.
President Abbas says Palestinians are immediately restarting efforts […]


Mar 28 2014 Obama Visits Saudi Arabia

JERUSALEM - President Barack Obama arrives in Saudi Arabia Friday at the end of a weeklong trip to Europe. High on the agenda are Syria, the turmoil in the region and the faltering Middle East peace talks.
President Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia comes amid growing strains in relations with the United States and rifts among […]


Mar 27 2014 Arabs Continue To Reject Israel Despite Reality

KUWAIT CITY - Arab leaders say they will continue to regard Israel as an illegitimate state and have put all blame for troubled peace efforts on the Israelis as the 25th Arab League Summit in Kuwait City concluded Wednesday.
This year’s meeting was marked by deepening divisions among member countries, but a united stance on the Israeli-Palestinian […]


Mar 27 2014 Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi Makes Bid For Egyptian President

CAIRO - Egyptian Defense Minister and army commander Abdel Fattah al-Sissi announced in a televised address Wednesday night that he was resigning his defense posts to run for president in an election expected to take place next month. The announcement ended weeks of speculation that he was planning to run.
Field Marshal Sissi said he was […]


Mar 24 2014 Arab League To Hold Summit In Kuwait

DUBAI - Foreign ministers from across the Arab world have finalized an agenda for the 25th Arab League Summit, which begins Tuesday in Kuwait.
Organizers say the summit comes at a critical time in the region and collaboration among member states is needed to move forward.
One of the most pressing issues is Syria’s civil war, which […]


Mar 24 2014 Egypt Issues Death Sentences To 529 Morsi Supporters

CAIRO - In what is being called the biggest capital punishment verdict by Egypt’s judiciary, 529 supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi have been sentenced to death.
The condemned were convicted of killing a policeman, attacking others and destroying property.
The sentencing, believed to be the biggest mass death sentencing in history, came after just two court […]


Mar 24 2014 Turkey Shoots Down Syrian Warplane

ISTANBUL - Turkey has shot down a Syrian warplane during pitched fighting between Syrian rebels and government troops near the border.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the Syrian plane violated Turkish airspace.  Syrian state TV says the plane was pursuing rebels in Syrian territory.
A Syrian military source said the pilot was able to eject.  […]


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