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Dec 21, 2012

Moroccan road film subverts Hollywood stereotypes

DUBAI (Reuters) – When director John Slattery first visited Morocco, the familiarity was jarring – and as removed from the images of an exotic Orient conjured up by Hollywood as possible.

That dichotomy between the representation and the reality of Morocco drives Slattery’s charming paean to a country he clearly loves and makes “Casablanca, Mon Amour” a thoughtful rejoinder to U.S. popular culture.

Dec 20, 2012

Israeli Arab wrestles with grief, guilt in suicide bomb film

DUBAI (Reuters) – When Universal Studios took a disliking to the script for Ziad Doueiri’s Israeli-Palestinian suicide bombing drama, the Lebanese director thought his career was over.

Six years later “The Attack” is garnering interest on the festival circuit, winning praise in Toronto, an award in Marrakech, and wowing audiences at the Dubai international film festival in the United Arab Emirates this week.

Dec 10, 2012

Morocco opposition says monarchy still calls the shots

RABAT (Reuters) – Reforms that took the wind out of Arab Spring protests in Morocco last year have proven hollow and real power still lies with King Mohammed and his advisors, the north African country’s main opposition group said.

The king appointed an Islamist as prime minister last year after holding early elections and instituted constitutional reforms that, on the face of it, limited royal control to military, security and religious affairs.

Dec 5, 2012

Morocco under pressure to plug budget gap, avert more protests

RABAT, Dec 5 (Reuters) – Almost every day without fail,
hundreds of unemployed graduates storm through downtown Rabat
calling for the government to fall. La st month, they went a step
further, crossing a red line by targeting their anger at the
royal family’s spending.

“Shame on you, you have squandered the budget!” a small
group of several dozen chanted during one march a few days
before parliament voted on the first draft of next year’s
budget.

Nov 15, 2012

Brotherhood cannot dominate post-Assad Syria: deputy leader

DOHA (Reuters) – The Muslim Brotherhood has no intention of monopolizing the revolt in Syria, the group’s deputy leader said, despite fears its close ties with Qatar and Turkey would help it eventually impose a Sunni-dominated government based on sharia law.

Ali Sadreddine al-Bayanouni said in an interview in Doha that the Brotherhood would hope to reach a consensus on the introduction of sharia but would not impose it.

Nov 12, 2012

Mistrust of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood lingers

DOHA (Reuters) – Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood finally swung behind a new opposition unity deal in Qatar, but some Syrians fear it will work in the new entity to replicate the influence it wields in the narrower Syrian National Council.

The SNC, dominated by the Qatar-backed Brotherhood, agreed under intense U.S. and Qatari pressure on Sunday to become a minority player in a wider body, the Syrian National Coalition.

Nov 9, 2012

Assad says will live and die in Syria

DOHA (Reuters) – President Bashar al-Assad said he would “live and die” in Syria and warned that any Western invasion to topple him would have catastrophic consequences for the Middle East and beyond.

Assad’s defiant remarks coincided with a landmark meeting in Qatar on Thursday of Syria’s fractious opposition to hammer out an agreement on a new umbrella body uniting rebel groups inside and outside Syria, amid growing international pressure to put their house in order and prepare for a post-Assad transition.

Nov 8, 2012

Assad says will die in Syria;opposition meets in Doha

DOHA, Nov 8 (Reuters) – President Bashar al-Assad scotched
any suggestion he might flee Syria and warned that any Western
military intervention to topple him would have catastrophic
consequences for the Middle East and beyond.

Speaking in an interview with Russia Today (RT) television
to be broadcast on Friday, Assad said he did not see the West
embarking on a military intervention in Syria and said the cost
of such action would be unbearable.

Nov 5, 2012

Five bomb blasts hit Bahraini capital, two killed

DUBAI, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Five bombs exploded in the heart of
the Bahraini capital Manama on Monday, killing two Asian street
cleaners, officials said, prompting mutual accusations from
activists and a government trying to put down a mostly Shi’ite
pro-democracy uprising.

The Interior Ministry said the bombs were homemade and
described the blasts as “terrorist acts” – its term for violence
by opposition activists.

Oct 23, 2012

Qaeda goes underground in Yemen against U.S.-driven crackdown

ADEN (Reuters) – A U.S.-backed military onslaught may have driven Islamist militants from towns in Yemen they seized last year, but many have regrouped into “sleeper cells” threatening anew the areas they vacated, security officials and analysts say.

The resilience of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), despite increased U.S. drone strikes to eliminate militants, is worrying for top oil exporter Saudi Arabia next door and the security of major shipping lanes in the seas off Yemen.

    • About Andrew

      "I write on Iranian and Gulf Arab politics, based in Dubai. I was previously based in Riyadh, in charge of Reuters Saudi small but growing editorial operation, and before that was based in Egypt. I have also reported for Reuters from Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, Israel and the Occupied Territories. I am the author of two books, "Popular Culture in the Arab World" and "What the Arabs Think of America", and read Arabic, Farsi and French."
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