Middle East

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Iran Admits the Truth About Burned Nuclear Site

Iranian officials had tried to downplay the blaze at Natanz

(Newser) - Iran on Sunday confirmed that a damaged building at the underground Natanz nuclear site was a new centrifuge assembly center, the official IRNA news agency reported, per the AP . Iranian officials had previously sought to downplay the fire , which erupted early on Thursday, calling it only an "incident" that... More »

The 'Ring of Fire' Eclipse Looked Like This

People in the eastern hemisphere saw the sun 85% covered by the moon

(Newser) - Stargazers in Africa, Asia, and parts of the Middle East looked to the skies this weekend to witness a partial solar eclipse, the AP reports. It was known as a "ring of fire" because the moon covered most, but not all, of the sun. It started at at 11:... More »

Country in Crisis Mode Finally Picks a Leader

In Iraq, a former spy chief is now prime minister

(Newser) - Iraq's former spy chief was sworn in as prime minister by lawmakers early Thursday after weeks of tense political negotiations as the country faces a severe economic crisis spurred by plummeting oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic, the AP reports. The majority of 255 legislators attending the session approved... More »

Notes Pulled From Western Wall, With a Twist

Hazmat suits were required this time around due to coronavirus

(Newser) - He stood at one of the world’s holiest sites and prayed for those who've contracted COVID-19. Then Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of Jerusalem's Western Wall, watched as thousands of written prayers crammed into the crevices of stone were removed. This happens twice a year before Passover and Rosh... More »

Disney Gives the World Good Coronavirus News

But sadly the world has its youngest coronavirus case: a newborn

(Newser) - Amid all the negative COVID-19 stories, a good one from Disney: Frozen 2 will be available for streaming three months earlier than expected, CNN reports. New Disney CEO Bob Chapek says the movie's "powerful themes of perseverance and the importance of family" are "incredibly relevant during this... More »

US Official: American Casualties in Afghanistan

Several US personnel were either injured or killed

(Newser) - American and Afghan military personnel were fired on while conducting an operation in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, the US military said Saturday. Several US personnel were either injured or killed, but the exact number and other details were not provided, said a US official who agreed to discuss the... More »

Bloomberg 'Just Went There' With Trump

And there's other political chatter on Sunday

(Newser) - In Politico 's words, "Mike Bloomberg's campaign just went there." Facing a wave of attacks from President Trump, the Democratic candidate fired back Sunday with "pathological liar"—not an unusual retort for Dems—then dared to engage in a game of personal insults. "... More »

Politically Charged Nativity Scene Appears in Bethlehem

A Banksy piece is displayed at the Walled Off Hotel

(Newser) - The mysterious street artist known as Banksy has displayed a politically charged Nativity scene in Bethlehem, the town revered as Jesus' birthplace, just in time for the busy Christmas season, the AP reports. The artwork, named "Scar of Bethlehem," depicts the birth of Jesus under Israel's West... More »

Israel's Government Throws In the Towel

New elections are set for March 2

(Newser) - Israel’s parliament on Wednesday dissolved after failing to meet a midnight deadline for forming a new government, triggering an an unprecedented third election in a 12-month period while giving scandal-plagued Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a welcome break as he fights to save his political career, the AP reports. After... More »

Navy 'Hero' Died Helping First Responders

Joshua Kaleb Watson was only 23

(Newser) - Among three victims in Friday's Navy air base shooting, a name has emerged—and he's being hailed as a hero, USA Today reports. "Joshua Kaleb Watson saved countless lives today with his own," his brother, Adam Watson, posted Friday on Facebook . "After being shot multiple... More »

Thousands More US Troops Could Be Sent to Middle East

Esper 'intends to make changes' to counter Iran, official says

(Newser) - The Pentagon is considering sending several thousand additional troops to the Middle East to deter Iranian aggression, amid reports of escalating violence in Iran and continued meddling by Tehran in Iraq, Syria and other parts of the region. John Rood, defense undersecretary for policy, told senators Thursday that Defense Secretary... More »

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 »

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