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7 Americans Freed in Middle East

3 went missing last month in Iraq; 4 were arrested recently in Bahrain

(Newser) - Seven Americans have recently been freed in separate incidents in Iraq and Bahrain. In Iraq, three Americans who were abducted last month in Baghdad have been freed by the Iraqi intelligence service, three anonymous officials tell the AP . They are now in the custody of the US Embassy in Baghdad.... More »

Bahrain Arrests 4 Americans in National Protests

Interior Ministry says alleged journos gave 'false info,' were in 'unlawful gathering'

(Newser) - Protesters took to the streets of Bahrain Sunday on the five-year anniversary of the kingdom's uprising, and officials say four Americans who were in the midst of it in Sitra were arrested, NBC News reports. The charges for the three men and one woman: giving "false information" to... More »

Fallout Deepens Over Saudi-Iran Rift

Bahrain severs ties with Tehran as US worries about effect on ISIS fight

(Newser) - The fallout in the Muslim world over Saudi Arabia's execution of a Shiite cleric is only getting worse. After Iranian protesters broke into the Saudi embassy in Tehran to protest, Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Iran, and now Bahrain has done the same, reports the BBC . The United... More »

Woman Gets Year in Jail for Ripping Up King's Photo

Human rights activist found guilty of 'insulting' Bahrain's King Hamad

(Newser) - The daughter of a well-known Bahraini human rights activist was sentenced Wednesday to a year in jail for delivering the ultimate insult to her country's king: ripping up a picture of him, Reuters reports. Zainab al-Khawaja, 32, lost her appeal on a conviction for tearing up a photo of... More »

New Pan-Arab News Channel Lasts a Few Hours

Early guest may have been too controversial for Bahrain

(Newser) - A new Pan-Arab news channel backed by a billionaire Saudi prince stopped broadcasting from its base in Bahrain today, just hours after it went on the air and carried an interview with a prominent opposition activist. The Alarab television station said on its official Twitter feed that it halted coverage... More »

US Pounds ISIS Targets in Syria

Airstrikes aimed at degrading group's capabilities

(Newser) - The US and five Arab countries launched airstrikes late Monday on ISIS targets in Syria, the Pentagon says. Using a mix of manned aircraft—fighter jets and bombers—plus Tomahawk cruise missiles, the strikes were part of the expanded military campaign that President Obama authorized nearly two weeks ago in... More »

Bahrain Bans Import of ... Guy Fawkes Masks

That should put an end to protests

(Newser) - Bahrain thinks it has found one way to stem the nation's 2-year-old protest movement: Ban the import of those ubiquitous Guy Fawkes masks. The nation's commerce chief announced this week that anyone caught bringing them into the country faces arrest, reports the Independent . Of course, protesters might be... More »

Bahrain Uses Tear Gas to Break Up Kardashian Protest

Protesters not happy with her visit to Middle East country

(Newser) - Kim Kardashian blogged about having "such a fun day in Bahrain" over the weekend, but apparently the feeling was not mutual. Moments before she opened a Millions of Milkshakes branch in the country Saturday, more than 50 protesters denounced her presence there, the AP reports. The hardline Islamic protesters... More »

Party Rocker Loses Bahrain Ambassador Gig

Diplomats decide against sending Andrew WK to Gulf nation

(Newser) - Some stuffed shirts at the State Department have decided that a rocker who sings about partying until you puke might not be an appropriate American cultural ambassador to a troubled Middle Eastern nation. "King of partying" Andrew WK says a government-sponsored trip for him to visit elementary schools, a... More »

Bahrain Bans All Protests

Kingdom moves to quash pro-democracy rallies

(Newser) - Bahrain has imposed emergency-style rules banning all protest gatherings and threatening legal action against groups considered to be backing escalating demonstrations and clashes in the strategic Gulf kingdom. The order, announced by the Interior Ministry, is the most sweeping attempt to quash the kingdom's anti-government uprising since martial law... More »

Bahrain Delays Verdict for 11-Year-Old Protester

Ali Hasan spent a month in jail already

(Newser) - A Bahrain court has adjourned the case of an 11-year-old boy accused of taking part in anti-government protests and says it will hand down a verdict July 5. The sixth-grade student, who was in court today alongside his father, spent a month behind bars and took his final school exams... More »

Bahrain to Retry Medics Jailed for Treating Protesters

Sentences drew international condemnation

(Newser) - Bahrain—apparently giving way to international pressure—has ordered retrials for 20 medical personnel who treated victims of the crackdown on anti-government protests earlier this year. The doctors and nurses, accused backing anti-government protests and attempting to overthrow the country's rulers, were sentenced to between 5 and 15 years... More »

Syria Pulling Injured Out of Hospitals

Military beating wounded as they're taken out, a doctor tells Human Rights Watch

(Newser) - The Syrian government is continuing to snatch patients from hospitals and prevent doctors from helping the wounded, now in the city of Homs, according to Human Rights Watch, which spoke with doctors and other witnesses. The tactic was also reported in Damascus last week , but Wednesday's crackdown in Homs... More »

Gadhafi's Fall Will Ripple Through Arab Spring

More than Libya, Syria will determine Middle East democracy

(Newser) - The fall of Moammar Gadhafi is demonstrating to people and regimes around the Middle East that even the most violent crackdowns cannot stop populations fed up with dictatorships and corruption—but even more important to the Arab Spring will be how Libya affects the uprisings in Syria, reports the Wall ... 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 »

Bahrain Sentences 8 Shiite Activists to Life in Prison

Harsh verdicts could lead to more unrest, say observers

(Newser) - The Bahrain government continues its crackdown on dissidents and the opposition, as eight Shiite activists were sentenced to life in prison today on charges of plotting to overthrow the Sunni royal family during protests earlier this year, reports CNN . Thirteen other protesters received sentences of two to 15 years. Upon... More »

Bahrain Woman Gets Year for Reading Protest Poem

Student, 20, 'did nothing wrong,' says heartsick mom

(Newser) - Bahrain's rulers are striving to make it seem as if all is well in their tiny Persian Gulf country, but a brutal crackdown on dissent continues as a 20-year-old student is sentenced to a year in prison for reading a poem critical of the government. Ayat al-Qurmezi was convicted... More »

Saudis Forming Anti-Shiite 'Club of Kings'

Royal family moves to form alliance against Iran, uprisings

(Newser) - Saudi Arabia is moving to firm up alliances with Sunni nations in a bid to limit Iran’s influence and stem the tide of revolts in the Arab world. It has asked several countries across the Middle East and Asia, including Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia, to join an informal alliance... More »

Bahrain's King to End Emergency Law

Announcement comes as trial against activists begins

(Newser) - Bahrain's king set a fast-track timetable to end martial law-style rule today in a bid to display confidence that authorities have smothered a pro-reform uprising even as rights groups denounced the hard-line measures. The announcement to lift emergency rule two weeks early on June 1 came just hours after... More »

4 Protesters Sentenced to Death in Bahrain

Three more, accused of killing policemen, get life in prison

(Newser) - Four Shiite protesters were sentenced to death in Bahrain today, convicted of killing two policemen during anti-government protests last month. Three other activists who were accused of purposely running down the policemen with a car were sentenced to life in prison. Human rights groups claim the trial, which was conducted... More »

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