Middle East & North Africa

Iraq Looking for an ‘Independent’ Sunni Defense Minister

Iraqi President Fouad Massoum said this past week that the government was looking for an independent Sunni Muslim to fill the post of defense minister in an effort to improve chances of reunifying the country and defeating the group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS).

OPINION: ISIS Appeals to a Longing for the Caliphate

When, all of a sudden, ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) emerged on the scene and in a matter of days occupied large swathes of mainly Sunni-inhabited parts of Iraq and Syria, including Iraq’s second city Mosul and Tikrit, birthplace of Saddam Hussein, and called itself the Islamic State, many people, not least Western politicians and intelligence services, were taken by surprise.

ISIS Complicates Iran’s Nuclear Focus at UNGA

Iran’s foreign minister arrived in New York last week with his sights set on a final deal on Iran’s nuclear programme. But a pressing regional conflict is hanging heavily over the already strained negotiations as Iran and world powers resume talks on the sidelines of this week’s U.N. General Assembly.

Geographical Divide in Maternal Health for Syrian Refugees

At the largest refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan, young Syrian mothers and pregnant women are considered relatively lucky.

OPINION: Fighting ISIS and the Morning After

As the wobbly anti-ISIS coalition is being formed with American prodding, the Obama administration should take a strategic look at the future of the Arab world beyond the threat posed by the self-declared Islamic State. Otherwise, the United States would be unprepared to deal with the unintended chaos.

Nuclear Deal with Iran Likely to Enhance U.S. Regional Leverage

A successful agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme could significantly enhance U.S. leverage and influence throughout the Greater Middle East, according to a new report signed by 31 former senior U.S. foreign-policy officials and regional experts and released here Wednesday.

U.N. Launches Ambitious Humanitarian Plan for Gaza

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees has launched an ambitious recovery plan for Gaza following the 50-day devastating war between Hamas and Israel which has left the coastal territory decimated.

U.S. Ground Troops Possible in Anti-ISIS Battle

U.S. combat troops may be deployed against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) if the strategy announced by President Barack Obama last week fails to make substantial progress against the radical Sunni group, Washington’s top military officer warned here Tuesday.

FILM: From Hamas Royalty to Israel’s Spy

The son of one of the founders of the biggest Palestinian militant group decides to work with Israel. He spends a decade working undercover with the Israeli security service, the Shin Bet, thwarting dozens of Palestinian attacks and contributing significantly to the arrest or elimination of dozens of leading Palestinian militants.

U.S. Bypasses Security Council on Impending Invasion of Syria

The U.N. Security Council (UNSC), the only international body empowered to declare war and peace, continues to remain a silent witness to the widespread devastation and killings worldwide, including in Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Ukraine.

OPINION: Bishop Appeals to U.N. to Rescue Minorities in Northwestern Iraq

For decades, the minority Christian population of Iraq has been suffering hardships. But in the summer months of 2014 - and since the beginning of the military campaign by ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, also known as ISIL or Islamic State) - the situation has gone from bad to intolerably worse.

Obama’s Anti-ISIS Strategy Met with Scepticism

U.S. President Barack Obama’s new strategy to “degrade, and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is being met with widespread scepticism among both hawks and doves, as well as regional specialists.

Hamas Rocket Launches Don’t Explain Israel’s Gaza Destruction

Israel and its supporters abroad have parried accusations of indiscriminate destruction and mass killing of civilians in Gaza by arguing that they were consequences of strikes aimed at protecting Israeli civilians from rockets that were being launched from very near civilian structures.

OPINION: From Schools to Shelters in Iraq

Using schools for shelter was a natural. When the Islamic State drove waves of people from the Sinjar area of Iraq in early August, most of them members of the Yazidi minority group, they fled first to the mountains and then to the relative safety of Iraqi Kurdistan. They camped out in whatever unoccupied structures they could find.

War Over but Not Gaza’s Housing Crisis

“When the [Israeli] shelling started, I gathered up my family and headed for what I though was a safe place, like a school, but then that became overcrowded and lacked sanitation, so we ended up in the grounds of the hospital.”

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