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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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

US Takes Heat as Bahrain Protests Die

US did little to help movement against allied government

(Newser) - Thanks to a violent crackdown and an assist from Saudi troops, the government of Bahrain has just about silenced the protest movement—and that’s left the US facing some hard questions. Even as it fights to free Libya, the Obama administration has done next to nothing to help Bahrain’... More »

Secret Hand in Syria Crackdown: Iran

And it may soon help protesters in Bahrain, Yemen

(Newser) - Iran has a hand in the revolutions currently sweeping the rest of the Arab world. In Syria, Iran is secretly assisting President Bashar al-Assad to quell the pro-democracy demonstrations, US officials say. But in Bahrain and Yemen, Iran is looking to aid Shiite protesters, thus destabilizing the countries—both US... 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 »

Looking for a Safe Land? Hello, Estonia

Natural disasters are a rarity there, as well as in Qatar

(Newser) - With a devastating earthquake in Burma following on the heels of the one in Japan , which itself followed one in New Zealand , Slate's Explainer blog digs into the question of just which nations are safest from natural disaster. Your winners, based on data from a Belgium center that analyzes such... More »

Bahrain: Foreign Plot Has Failed

Manama, Tehran trade diplomatic expulsions

(Newser) - Following an aggressive crackdown on protesters last week, Bahrain’s king has announced the “failure” of a foreign plot against his country, and thanked Sunni allies for sending troops into Bahrain. “An external plot has been fomented for 20 to 30 years until the ground was ripe for... More »

US Silent as Bahrain Acts Just Like Libya

Just because they're allies doesn't make the crackdown right: Nicholas Kristof

(Newser) - Bahrain's crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators is getting more and more violent , and the regime is now getting help from another US ally, Saudi Arabia. Where, wonders Nicholas Kristof, is the outrage from American officials? It's easy to condemn the likes of Moammar Gadhafi, but things get pretty quiet when our... More »

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