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Marines Join Fight to Retake Raqqa From ISIS

They'll provide support for local forces, special ops: officials

(Newser) - US Marines have joined the fight to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa from the Islamic State, defense officials say. The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which departed San Diego in October, has been deployed to ISIS' de facto capital and will fire artillery guns, including M777 Howitzers, from an outpost... More »

The World's 10 Richest Countries

The US just makes the list

(Newser) - While some countries are rich in culture and history, others are actually rich. 24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of the world's 25 wealthiest countries based on gross national income, which it says is a "more useful measure of national wealth" than gross domestic product. The site... More »

100 US Citizens Stuck in Kuwait

Military contractors barred from leaving base after contract dispute

(Newser) - Well this is one way to handle a corporate dispute. US military translation contractor Global Linguist Solutions ended its contract with its sponsoring Kuwaiti subcontractor, Al Shora, in February. So Al Shora—which just happens to be run by the Kuwaiti prime minister's sister-in-law, sources tell Fox News —... More »

CIA Nabs bin Laden's Son-in-Law

With a little assist from Turkey

(Newser) - The CIA quietly captured Osama bin Laden's son-in-law last week and spirited him away to the US, a Turkish newspaper reported today. Turkish authorities first seized Sulaiman Abu Ghaith last month at a luxury Ankara hotel thanks to a CIA tip-off, the AFP reports. The CIA had asked Turkey... More »

Kuwait Man Gets 2 Years for Tweet Insulting Emir

Country is cracking down on social media

(Newser) - A Kuwaiti man will spend the next two years of his life in prison over a tweet, as the Gulf nation continues its crackdown on dissent in social media. The man, who has 5,700 Twitter followers, received a 2-year sentence for a tweet deemed to have "stabbed the... More »

What's the US to Do After Exiting Iraq? Stay in Kuwait

13.5K soldiers will help secure the region: report

(Newser) - The US has no combat force in Iraq and a wary eye on Iran: What's a nervous country to do? Maintain a force in neighboring Kuwait, apparently. The AP obtained an advance copy of a congressional report by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, set to be released today, that... More »

Oops: Kuwait Plays Borat's Spoof Anthem for Athlete

It runs during medal ceremony for Kazakhstan woman

(Newser) - After Kazakhstan's Maria Dmitrienko won gold at the Arab Shooting Championships, she mounted the podium to hear her national anthem played. Problem was, Kuwaiti officials used the obscene spoof version from the Borat movie, reports the Telegraph . (Sample lyric: "Kazakhstan's prostitutes cleanest in the region.")... More »

Accused Soldier Flown Out of Afghanistan

Massacre suspect moved to 'appropriate detention facilities' in Kuwait

(Newser) - The American soldier accused of massacring 16 Afghan civilians in a pre-dawn shooting spree has been flown to Kuwait, angering Afghans who want him to stand trial in their country. He was whisked out of Afghanistan because of "our own policies and regulations, and for his own safety and... More »

Arab Nations Poised to Arm Syrian Rebels

But US worries about protracted civil war

(Newser) - Members of the Arab League signaled this week that they're about to arm Syrian rebels. But American officials fear that strategy will thwart their more cautious approach, and could fuel a bloody, protracted civil war. Saudi Arabia and Qatar aim to aid the opposition "as soon as they... More »

US Boosting Persian Gulf Forces

America warns Iran that closing Strait of Hormuz would be 'red line'

(Newser) - Some of the US troops who left Iraq last month didn't move very far. As tensions with Iran rise, the US military has been quietly boosting its strength in the Persian Gulf, reports the Los Angeles Times . The move comes as US officials have warned Iran that closing the... More »

As US Leaves Iraq, It Eyes a Beefier Gulf Presence

US military looking to increase defense ties with states around region

(Newser) - The United States may be pulling out of Iraq by the end of 2011 , but that doesn't mean it's getting out of the Persian Gulf—in fact, the US military is looking to boost its combat presence in Kuwait and increase its military ties to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait,... More »

Saudi King Condemns Syrian Violence

Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia withdraw ambassadors

(Newser) - With tanks continuing an onslaught against Syria’s uprising, Saudi Arabia’s king voiced harsh criticism of the crackdown and withdrew his ambassador to the country. “What is happening in Syria is not acceptable for Saudi Arabia,” King Abdullah said in a televised statement, calling on authorities to... More »

In Mideast Desert, a Risky, Costly Hunt for Heavy Crude

As easy oil supplies dwindle, project launched along Saudi-Kuwaiti border

(Newser) - Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have embarked on a risky, expensive hunt for heavy crude—and that might be a bad sign for global oil supplies. For decades these countries have fueled the world with its easy-to-drill light oil supply, but now those reserves are drying up, one Middle East energy... More »

Mideast Regimes Use US Software to Censor Web

Firms cite lack of control over how products are used

(Newser) - Behind Middle Eastern governments' censorship of the Web, an uncomfortable reality—US products help do the dirty work. Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia use filtering programs by McAfee; other US and Canadian firms have sold Web-filtering technology to Yemen and Qatar, among other countries, the Wall Street Journal reports. The... More »

Saddam Sought Soviet Help in '91

Declassified records reveal attempt to head off US attack

(Newser) - A frustrated Saddam Hussein pleaded with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for diplomatic assistance as the Operation Desert Storm ground battle began in 1991, reveal newly declassified records from Iraqi archives. The records—part of a huge archive containing millions of documents and thousands of hours of video footage captured after... More »

Iraq to Pay $400M to Saddam's US Victims

Deal will help lift UN sanctions

(Newser) - Iraq has quietly agreed to pay $400 million to Americans who say they suffered at the hands of Saddam Hussein’s regime after the invasion of Kuwait. The settlement will resolve an almost two-decade legal battle, and will allow the US to help Iraq emerge from UN sanctions dating back... More »

Last US Combat Brigade Leaves Iraq

Military mission ending after 7 years, 5 months

(Newser) - The US military mission in Iraq is essentially rolling to a close tonight as the last combat brigade rolls across the border into Kuwait, reports the AP . For the record, it's the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. The departure comes 7 years and 5 months after the US invasion.... More »

Missing Picasso Found in Iraq?! Probably Not.

The Naked Woman likely not missing, nor a Picasso, say experts

(Newser) - Iraqi security forces have secured a purported Pablo Picasso painting believed stolen from a Kuwaiti museum during the 1990 invasion, the Times of London reports. Only it’s probably not a Picasso. “It bears absolutely no relation to any Picasso that I can think of,” says one expert.... More »

Kuwait Wedding Fire Linked to Groom's Ex

(Newser) - The fire that engulfed a wedding tent in Kuwait and killed 43 women and children in less than 3 minutes was set by the groom's ex-wife, local media reported today. A government spokesman confirmed that the arsonist has confessed, according to the AP, but offered no further details. The incident... More »

41 Women, Kids Die in Kuwait Wedding Blaze

Guests stampeded to party tent's only exit

(Newser) - A fire at a wedding near Kuwait City claimed the lives of 35 women and six children today, the BBC reports. Another 60 women and children were also injured as a tent holding the wedding caught fire and caved in over the course of just 3 minutes, causing a brutal... More »

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