Middle East

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A Big First for OPEC as One Nation Pulls Out

Qatar will be leaving the oil cartel in January, the first time a Mideast nation has done so

(Newser) - The tiny Arab nation of Qatar announced Monday it will withdraw from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, in January, mixing its aspirations to increase production outside of the cartel's constraints with the politics of slighting the Saudi-dominated group amid the kingdom's boycott of Doha.... More »

Top Navy Commander in Middle East Found Dead

Scott Stearney was found at his Bahrain residence

(Newser) - The admiral leading American Naval forces in the Middle East turned up dead at his Bahrain residence Saturday, CNN reports. Vice Adm. Scott Stearney's death is under investigation, but media reports say there's no evidence of foul play. "This is devastating news for the Stearney family, for... More »

After Gaza Rocket Exchange, Israel Makes a Threat

Threats to Iranian forces add a new dimension to the conflict

(Newser) - Palestinian militants ceased rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel and relative calm prevailed Saturday afternoon after a night-long exchange of fire that prompted Israeli threats against Iranian forces in Syria, the AP reports. The Islamic Jihad group, a militant faction operating in the Hamas-ruled Gaza but that has close ties... More »

Trump Reacts to 'Fistfight' Version of Khashoggi's Death

'There's been lies,' he concedes

(Newser) - President Trump is criticizing Saudi Arabia's version of Jamal Khashoggi's death—that the late journalist died in a fistfight gone wrong . "Obviously there's been deception, and there's been lies," he tells the Washington Post , but adds that "nobody has told me" Crown Prince... More »

Palestinians Are Sorting Through 8 Years of Mail

Israel has apparently withheld delivery since 2010

(Newser) - Palestinian postal workers in the West Bank are sifting through eight years' worth of undelivered mail held by Israel, the AP reports. In recent days the Palestinian postal staff in Jericho has been sorting through tons of undelivered mail in a room packed with letters, boxes, and even a wheelchair.... More »

US Pilots Face Even More Laser-Beam Attacks

A Wall Street Journal report says aircrews have seen a sharp uptick in laser pointers

(Newser) - Laser-pointer attacks are a serious and growing problem for US military pilots in the Middle East, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Pentagon is acknowledging for the first time just how much of a problem the simple devices have caused aircrews, predominantly in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, where the bulk... More »

After Trump's Israel Move, a Call for an Uprising

Meanwhile, US allies are speaking out

(Newser) - President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is a "war declaration against Palestinians" who should rise up, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said in a speech Thursday. Though Palestinian forces announced three "days of rage" beginning Wednesday, during which Palestinians are to protest at Israeli... More »

Lebanon President: Saudis Are Holding Our PM Hostage

It's Michel Aoun's strongest statement since Saad al-Hariri resigned

(Newser) - Lebanon President Michel Aoun said Wednesday that Saudi Arabia is holding Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and his family hostage. It's the first time since al-Hariri's sudden resignation earlier this month that Aoun has explicitly accused Saudi Arabia of holding him, Reuters reports. Al-Hariri resigned during a trip... More »

Canaanites Weren't Annihilated by Ancient Israelites After All

Researchers say they lived on to become the ancestors of today's Lebanese

(Newser) - The Bible suggests the Canaanites were wiped out by the ancient Israelites, but a new study says otherwise, claiming the people survived and went on to be the ancestors of those who today live in Lebanon, ScienceDaily reports. Per a study in the American Journal of Human Genetics , researchers from... More »

Cave Clues Point to Parched Mideast for 10K Years

Iranian stalagmites indicate rain isn't coming anytime soon

(Newser) - For anyone holding hope that the dry conditions in the Middle East are but a temporary drought, two cave stalagmites taken from Iran tell a long history of the region's precipitation and give a grim prognosis: not much rain for the next 10,000 years. Thanks to their chemical... More »

Arab Nations Cut Ties to Qatar

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, others accuse Gulf country of backing extremist groups

(Newser) - Six Arab nations cut diplomatic ties to Qatar early Monday, further deepening a rift among Gulf Arab nations over that country's support for Islamist groups. Bahrain and Saudi Arabia first made the move, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Yemen, and Libya, reports the BBC . The nations were... More »

Viral Anti-Terrorism Ad: 'Bomb Delusion With Truth'

Telecom firm in Kuwait planned music video to launch at start of Ramadan

(Newser) - As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan kicked off over the weekend, so, too, did an ad by a telecom company in Kuwait tackling terrorism. CNN reports on Zaid's three-minute music video , which has so far amassed more than 3.6 million views, showing a suicide bomber being confronted... More »

Trump Says He Thought Being President 'Would Be Easier'

'I loved my previous life,' he says

(Newser) - President Trump has been the most powerful person in the world for almost 100 days, and he seems to be finding it kind of a drag, according to a Reuters interview. "I loved my previous life. I had so many things going," Trump said in what Reuters describes... More »

Fashion House Woos 'Next Big Untapped' Market: Muslims

Dolce & Gabbana is out with designer hijabs and abayas

(Newser) - In what Clare O'Connor of Forbes calls "its smartest move in years," fashion house Dolce & Gabbana is dipping in to a market with massive potential: Muslim fashion. D&G has launched its first collection of abayas and hijabs for the Middle Eastern luxury goods market. While... More »

Irish Bones May Settle 'Archaeological Controversy'

What researchers learned from 4 sets of remains

(Newser) - It's a "long-standing archaeological controversy": whether the Irish shifted from hunter-gatherers to farmers because of adaptation or migration. A new DNA analysis of remains from several people, dating back thousands of years, may settle the question—as well as provide a better sense of where the Irish came... More »

Obama: ISIS Ground Fight Means 100 Dead Troops a Month

And a monthly bill of $10B, he reportedly said at private news columnist meeting

(Newser) - President Obama's reason for not sending ground troops to the Middle East to fight ISIS: The White House figures it would mean 100 US troop deaths per month, 500 wounded, and a monthly tab of $10 billion, all to fight a group that doesn't pose an "existential... More »

Hobby Lobby Clan Suspected of Looting Iraq Antiquities

4-year federal probe looks into whether ancient tablets were smuggled into US

(Newser) - The Museum of the Bible being built in DC by the Christian family behind one of the nation's biggest arts-and-crafts retailers is coming along nicely. Maybe too nicely, per law enforcement sources, who tell the Daily Beast that the Green family—the ones whose Hobby Lobby chain claimed a... More »

Pregnant Woman Killed in Israeli-Palestinian Violence

Random stabbings have Israelis on edge

(Newser) - A wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence showed no signs of abating Sunday, as three Palestinians, including a 2-year-old and a 13-year-old, were killed by Israeli forces, and four Israelis were wounded in an evening stabbing attack. The attacks have been primarily stabbings and shootings, but a Palestinian woman seriously injured herself... More »

One Country Starts Fence to Keep Out Migrants

It's not their first fence, either

(Newser) - Israel has begun building a fence along part of the country's eastern border with Jordan as Syrian civil war refugees and other migrants flee their countries. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today: "We see today what happens when countries lose control of their borders." He seemed to... More »

Saudis Say They'll Keep Up With Iran in Nuke War

Obama meeting with Arab leaders today to assure them of Middle East security

(Newser) - President Obama is convening with six Arab leaders today at Camp David, hoping to assure them that a deal between the West and Iran to contain the latter country's nuclear efforts won't compromise the security of the Middle East. But the Saudis already seem to be balking, announcing... More »

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