Special Correspondent, Middle East
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Feb 10, 2013

Tunisian president’s party quits Islamist-led government

TUNIS, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Tunisian President Moncef
Marzouki’s secular party withdrew on Sunday from an Islamist-led
government already reeling from last week’s assassination of
secular opposition leader Chokri Belaid.

Belaid’s killing on Wednesday – Tunisia’s first such
political assassination in decades – has thrown the government
and the country into turmoil, widening rifts between the
dominant Islamist Ennahda party and its secular-minded foes.

Feb 10, 2013

Tunisian Islamists rally to show “power of street”

TUNIS (Reuters) – Thousands of Islamists marched in Tunis on Saturday in a show of strength, a day after the funeral of an assassinated secular politician drew the biggest crowds seen on the streets since Tunisia’s uprising two years ago.

About 6,000 supporters of the ruling Ennahda movement rallied to back their leader Rachid al-Ghannouchi, who was the target of angry slogans raised by mourners at Friday’s mass funeral of Chokri Belaid, a rights lawyer and opposition leader.

Feb 9, 2013

Tunisian Islamists rally in show of strength

TUNIS (Reuters) – Thousands of Islamists marched in Tunis on Saturday in a show of strength a day after the funeral of an assassinated secular politician drew the biggest crowds seen on the streets since Tunisia’s uprising two years ago.

About 6,000 partisans of the ruling Ennahda movement rallied in support of their leader, Rachid al-Ghannouchi, who was the target of angry slogans raised by mourners at Friday’s mass funeral of Chokri Belaid, a rights lawyer and opposition leader.

Feb 8, 2013

Tens of thousands mourn slain Tunisian opposition leader

TUNIS, Feb 8 (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of mourners
chanted anti-Islamist slogans on Friday at the Tunis funeral of
secular opposition leader Chokri Belaid, whose assassination has
plunged Tunisia deeper into political crisis.

Crowds surged around an open army truck carrying Belaid’s
coffin, draped in a red and white Tunisian flag, from a cultural
centre in the slain leader’s home district of Jebel al-Jaloud.
Demonstrators with flags and banners packed surrounding streets.

Feb 8, 2013

Crowds await funeral of slain Tunisian opposition leader

TUNIS (Reuters) – A general strike gripped Tunis on Friday as mourners gathered for the funeral of opposition politician Chokri Belaid, whose assassination has plunged Tunisia into a deep political crisis.

In chilly, showery weather, about 3,000 mourners waited outside the city’s Cultural Centre, where Belaid’s body lay before the funeral. “Belaid, rest in peace, we will continue the struggle,” they chanted, holding portraits of the slain leader.

Feb 1, 2013

Jordan staggers under fallout of Syria conflict

AMMAN (Reuters) – Jordan has every reason to worry about the conflict in Syria, its bigger neighbor to the north.

A flood of Syrian refugees and disrupted trade due to the 22-month-old revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad burden a frail economy that has already had to turn to the IMF.

Jan 31, 2013

Jordan Islamist sees clash with secular Syrian rebels

AMMAN (Reuters) – A Jordanian Muslim preacher who encourages a flow of militants to Syria predicts an eventual showdown between Islamists and secular rebel groups should President Bashar al-Assad fall.

Mohammed Shalabi, better known as Abu Sayyaf, said Islamist fighters with groups such as the Nusra Front, which the United States lists as a terrorist organization, had refused offers to join the rebel Free Syrian Army in return for pay and weapons.

Jan 24, 2013

Israeli voters force Netanyahu to seek centrist partner

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s next government must heed voters and devote itself to bread-and-butter issues, not thorny foreign policy problems such as Iran’s nuclear plans and the Palestinian conflict, senior politicians said on Thursday.

Israelis worried about housing, prices and taxes have reshaped parliament, forcing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to woo their centrist champion as his main coalition partner.

Jan 24, 2013

Israeli voters punish Netanyahu but keep him in power

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Benjamin Netanyahu set about forging a new ruling coalition on Wednesday after Israeli voters fed up with state coddling of ultra-Orthodox Jews chastised him by propelling an upstart centrist party to prominence.

Tuesday’s vote crystallised demands for attention to bread-and-butter issues over the ambitions of religiously fired hardliners, and largely sidelined foreign policy issues such as Iran’s nuclear plans and Palestinian aspirations.

Jan 23, 2013

Netanyahu turns to Iran after narrow election win

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed victory in Israel’s parliamentary election, shrugging off surprise losses to center-left challengers and vowing to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Exit polls showed the Israeli leader’s right-wing Likud and the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu would remain the biggest bloc in the 120-member assembly, but with only 31 seats, 11 fewer than the 42 the two parties held in the last parliament.

    • About Alistair

      "I cover the Middle East, with an emphasis on political analysis, region-wide stories and in-depth features. I live in Beirut and have been in my current post since June 2006. Outside my main Middle Eastern beat, I have covered Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan."
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