Middle East

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Pompeo: Saudi Oil Attack an 'Act of War' by Iran

As Trump hits Iran with new sanctions

(Newser) - President Trump may have hedged on officially naming Iran as the party responsible for the weekend attack on Saudi oil facilities, but he lowered the financial kibosh on Tehran on Wednesday morning, Bloomberg reports. "I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the... More »

The Middle East Has a New Kind of War

Israel, Iran, and Syria are involved in drone combat

(Newser) - From the vast deserts of Saudi Arabia to the crowded neighborhoods of Beirut, a drone war has taken flight across the wider Middle East, raising the stakes in the ongoing tensions between the US and Iran, the AP reports. Since the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal last year,... More »

US Unveils $50B Palestinian Plan That Palestine Rejects

The Trump administration says this will make peace possible

(Newser) - The Trump administration on Saturday unveiled a $50 billion Palestinian investment and infrastructure proposal intended to be the economic engine to power its much-anticipated but still unreleased "deal of the century" Middle East peace plan, the AP reports. The scheme, which calls for a mix of public and private... More »

Trump Orders Another 1K Troops to Middle East

Iran says it won't 'wage war against any nation'

(Newser) - The Trump administration has ordered another 1,000 troops to the Middle East for what acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan says are "defensive purposes." He cited fears of an increased threat from Iran following the latest attacks on shipping in the region, the Guardian reports. "The recent... More »

Israel's Government Is No More

Parliament dissolves, triggers another snap election

(Newser) - Israel's parliament voted to dissolve itself early Thursday, sending the country to an unprecedented second snap election this year as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition before a midnight deadline, the AP reports. The dramatic vote, less than two months after parliamentary elections, marked a... More »

Saudis Issue a Warning

A top minister addresses Iran

(Newser) - Saudi Arabia does not want war but will not hesitate to defend itself against Iran, a top Saudi diplomat said Sunday, after the kingdom's energy sector was targeted this past week amid heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf, the AP reports. On Sunday night, a rocket was fired into... More »

Netanyahu Will Be at the White House Monday

President Trump to host Israeli prime minister for two days

(Newser) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be at the White House for two days next week, the White House announced Wednesday. "The president and the prime minister will discuss their countries' shared interests and actions in the Middle East during a working meeting on March 25," says a... More »

Pompeo: Obama Made a Mess of the Mideast

Says policies led to rise of ISIS, problems with Iran

(Newser) - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a scathing rebuke of the Obama administration's Mideast policies Thursday, denouncing the former president for "misguided" and "wishful" thinking that diminished America's role in the region, harmed its longtime friends, and emboldened its main foe: Iran. In a speech to... More »

Israel, US to UN Agency: We're Outta Here

Now it's official: They're out of UNESCO

(Newser) - The US and Israel officially quit the UN's educational, scientific, and cultural agency at the stroke of midnight, the culmination of a process triggered more than a year ago amid concerns that the organization fosters anti-Israel bias, the AP reports. The withdrawal is mainly procedural yet serves a new... More »

Iraq Gives Christians a Gift

What's left of them, at least

(Newser) - For Iraqi Christians, it's a moment to enjoy: The government has made Christmas a national holiday, CNN reports. "Happy Christmas to our Christian citizens, all Iraqis and to all who are celebrating around the world," the government tweeted . The move marks an apparent respite for Iraqi Christians,... More »

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 »

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