Jordan

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Old Stone Circles Baffle Archaeologists

"Big Circles" in Jordan date back at least 2K years

(Newser) - Archaeologists have snapped aerial photos of ancient stone circles as part of an ongoing effort to figure out why the structures exist, LiveScience reports. The images (taken in Jordan and viewable here ) show that 10 of the 11 structures are roughly 1,300 feet in diameter, but their purpose... More »

War-Scarred Lions Find New Home

Israel-Hamas war killed 80 of Gaza zoo's other animals

(Newser) - A trio of scrawny lions was brought into Israel from Gaza yesterday en route to a better life at a wildlife sanctuary in Jordan after their zoo was damaged in the recent Israel-Hamas war. The three, a pair of males and a pregnant female, were sedated at Al-Bisan zoo in... More »

Jordan Acquits bin Laden's 'Right-Hand Man'

Abu Qatada will soon be a free man, lawyer says

(Newser) - Radical Muslim preacher Abu Qatada spent a decade fighting deportation from Britain to his native Jordan—but the country has now acquitted him on the terror charges he was brought back to face. A civilian court decided there was not enough evidence to find the man once described as Osama... 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 »

Cairo Gets First Snow in 100+ Years

Storm brings winter to much of Middle East

(Newser) - Cairo saw a rare and wonderful sight today: Snow. Much of the Middle East has been blanketed by the white stuff in recent days thanks to a region-wide cold snap and winter storm. According to local news reports, Cairo hasn't gotten snow in more than a century, the LA ... More »

Dead Sea to Be Saved ... by Red Sea?

But Red-Dead plan has environmentalists worried

(Newser) - Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority have put aside their differences in an effort to keep the Dead Sea from going belly-up. The famously salty sea is dropping by more than 3 feet a year as the River Jordan is sucked almost dry by agriculture, and the new water-sharing pact... More »

Life for Syrian Refugees, at $500K a Day

The Zaatari camp isn't bad, but Jordan grumbles about the cost

(Newser) - Nicknamed the Champs-Elysées, this line of shops offers everything from vegetables to slabs of meat to footwear and clothing. Only, the shops are all tents in a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, where 100,000 people—half of them under 18—live in exile and face pressure to go... More »

Syrian Rebels Recruit New Fighters at Refugee Camp

Jordan and the UN claim they're unaware

(Newser) - Syrain rebels in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan freely acknowledge recruiting fighters in the camp, trying to bolster rebel ranks in the face of stepped up offensives by President Bashar al-Assad's forces just across the border in southern Syria. Recruiting is banned in Zaatari, and the rebel activities... More »

Brothels and Pizza Joints: Inside a Syrian Refugee Camp

A visit to Jordan's Za'atari, the 2nd-largest refugee camp in the world

(Newser) - Though the world's focus is squarely on Syria right now, journalist David Remnick shifts his focus outside the country, which over 2 million Syrian refugees have fled since the civil war began. In the New Yorker, Remnick visits the world’s second-largest refugee camp, Jordan's Za'atari. The... More »

UK Deports Radical Cleric to Jordan After Decade Fight

Abu Qatada will finally face trial in Jordan

(Newser) - A radical Muslim preacher suspected of being a key al-Qaeda operative in Europe arrived in Jordan today to face retrial on terrorism charges after his deportation from Britain, ending a decade-long legal battle over his fate. The return of 53-year-old Abu Qatada was viewed as a victory in Jordan, whose... More »

200 US Troops Headed to Jordan—and It's a Big Deal

LAT explains it's the first acknowledged step toward military involvement in Syria

(Newser) - Some 200 US troops are headed to Jordan, where some US troops are already stationed. So why is this deployment notable? How it's being played:
  • The Los Angeles Times pulls no punches in its explanation: "The move marks the first deployment that Pentagon officials explicitly described as a
... More »

Syria Rebels Free 21 UN Peacekeepers

Rebel faction held them 4 days, gave in to pressure

(Newser) - Syrian rebels today freed 21 UN peacekeepers after holding them hostage for four days, ending a sudden entanglement with the world body that earned those trying to oust President Bashar Assad a flood of negative publicity. The Filipino peacekeepers, part of a force that has spent four decades monitoring an... 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 »

Rape a 'Weapon of War' in Syria

And a main reason people are fleeing the country, activist group says

(Newser) - Rape is "a significant and disturbing feature of the Syrian civil war," and a major reason refugees are fleeing the country, according to a report released today by a US-based activist group. The International Rescue Committee interviewed refugees in Lebanon and Jordan, and found that many identified rape... More »

At Camp for Syrians, Foreign Suitors Seek Brides

Relief officials say matchmakers are preying on desperation

(Newser) - Many of the Syrians flooding into a refugee camp in Jordan are war widows with young children, a phenomenon that has attracted hordes of matchmakers and older Arab men from other countries looking for brides, reports the Washington Post . Some see it as a blessing—one 19-year-old, for example, accepted... More »

Radical Cleric Leaves UK Prison

Abu Qatada out on bail after deportation effort nixed

(Newser) - As expected, radical cleric Abu Qatada was released on bail from a British prison today, the BBC reports. He had been held for the majority of the past decade; yesterday, however, judges ruled that he couldn't be deported to Jordan for a terror trial because of the country's... More »

Jordan Busts 11 in '9/11 (2)' Terrorist Plot

11 men arrested

(Newser) - Jordan has foiled what it calls a "major terrorist plot," arresting 11 men who were planning a series of attacks they dubbed "9/11 (2)." The men, described as being "associated with the ideology of al-Qaeda," planned to start by attacking diplomats in hotels; then... More »

Eyes on Syria, US Military Now in Jordan

Outpost is closest American presence to Syria

(Newser) - The US military now has a presence in Jordan, less than 35 miles from the Syrian border, that it secretly set up this summer; more than 150 specialists are stationed there. Right now, the mission is focused on helping Jordan deal with tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, but it'... More »

Panetta: Aleppo Attack Is 'Nail in Assad's Coffin'

Hundreds of thousands flee onslaught

(Newser) - As brutal fighting continued for control of Syria's largest city, a furious Leon Panetta vowed that the regime's assault on Aleppo would be a "nail in the coffin" of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Some 200,000 residents have fled the besieged city as rebels battle to hold... More »

US: Syria Mobilizing Chemical Weapons

It's unclear why, but intelligence says part of its stockpile is on the move

(Newser) - Syria is pulling many of its chemical weapons out of storage facilities, for reasons that aren't entirely clear, US officials tell the Wall Street Journal . Some believe Assad is simply moving the weapons to a safer location, or attempting to spook rebel-friendly Sunnis. But others believe he intends to... More »

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