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Sep 13, 2012

Analysis: Weeks before U.S. election, Mideast gives Obama perfect storm

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An eruption of violent unrest across the Middle East is confronting President Barack Obama with the most serious challenge yet to his efforts to keep the Arab Spring from morphing into a new wave of anti-Americanism – and he has few good options to prevent it.

Less than two months before the U.S. presidential election, a spate of attacks on embassies in Libya, Egypt and Yemen poses a huge dilemma for a U.S. leader who took office promising a “new beginning” with the Muslim world but has struggled to manage the transformation that has swept away many of the region’s long-ruling dictators.

Jul 27, 2012

Kurdish worries drag Turkey deeper into Syria war

LONDON/ISTANBUL (Reuters) – - Turkey may be some way from acting on Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s threat to strike Kurdish separatists in Syria, but week by week it finds itself sucked ever further into its neighbor’s worsening war.

The shooting down of a Turkish reconnaissance jet last month was seen by many as a turning point, prompting Ankara to join Saudi Arabia at Qatar in semi-covert support for the Free Syrian Army fighting against President Bashar al-Assad.

Jul 26, 2012

Syria could see prolonged endgame, ensuing chaos

LONDON (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s days may be numbered but his fall could be slow and chaos could ensue.

Few analysts, foreign governments or intelligence agencies believe Assad himself faces any fate other than negotiated flight or death at the hands of his own people. But for Western officials, the challenge has become much more complex than forcing Assad out or pushing Russia to abandon him.

Jul 19, 2012

Syria rebels push forward but foreign worries rise

LONDON (Reuters) – Rising violence in Damascus and a lethal bombing at the heart of Bashar al-Assad’s government might be good news for Syria’s rebels, but the ever murkier situation puts foreign powers in a tough position.

The US, Britain, France and others remain adamant Assad must go. But there is still little clarity on who if anyone could run the country in his stead, while the recent crop of bomb attacks raise their own worries about a perhaps growing jihadi presence.

Jul 12, 2012

No longer just a U.S. toy, drones go global

FARNBOROUGH, England (Reuters) – Having revolutionized warfare for the United States in the last 15 years, unmanned aerial drones are going global as the number of countries building and operating them soars.

Until now, such systems have largely been the exclusive purview of the U.S. and a handful of allies. Washington allowed Britain, Italy and Turkey to buy U.S.-built drones and operate them usually alongside U.S. forces, but largely rejected requests from other nations keen to acquire the same capability.

Jul 12, 2012

Airshow – No longer just a U.S. toy, drones go global

FARNBOROUGH, England (Reuters) – Having revolutionised warfare for the United States in the last 15 years, unmanned aerial drones are going global as the number of countries building and operating them soars.

Until now, such systems have largely been the exclusive purview of the U.S. and a handful of allies. Washington allowed Britain, Italy and Turkey to buy U.S.-built drones and operate them usually alongside U.S. forces, but largely rejected requests from other nations keen to acquire the same capability.

Jul 11, 2012

U.S. firm sees unarmed Predator drone exports soon

FARNBOROUGH, England (Reuters) – Defense firm General Atomics expects the first sales of an unarmed export version of its Predator drone within months, seeing the Middle East and Latin America as particularly fertile markets.

So far, almost all of the more than 500 drones sold by the firm have gone to the U.S. military, a handful of other U.S. civilian government agencies, plus Britain, Italy and Turkey.

Jul 11, 2012

In modern scandal, an e-mail is forever

LONDON (Reuters) – When ousted Barclays CEO Bob Diamond says he felt “physically ill” reading e-mails of his traders crowing over interest rate manipulation, he is almost certainly telling the truth.

The veteran banker says it was the first he knew that employees had worked to artificially inflate the London interbank rate LIBOR. Whatever the reality, he must have realized that the saved messages – with employees glorying in their activities and promising each other champagne – could only add to the damage.

Jul 6, 2012

Gulf sabers rattle as Iran sanctions bite

LONDON (Reuters) – Iran and the United States might be talking up their readiness for war in the Gulf but beneath the rhetoric, all sides are appear keen to avoid conflict and prevent accidental escalation – at least for now.

This week, a string of hawkish Iranian statements – including a renewed threat to close the Strait of Hormuz and destroy U.S. bases “within minutes” of an attack – helped push benchmark Brent crude oil prices above $100 for the first time since June.

Jul 2, 2012

Diplomacy failing, West faces tough Syria choices

LONDON (Reuters) – There are few signs diplomacy can stem Syria’s worsening conflict, leaving Western leaders – and even more so their Arab and Turkish allies – pushed ever further towards backing Bashar al-Assad’s ouster by force.

In Geneva on Saturday, world powers attempted a vague show of unity by committing to support for a transitional government. But diplomats led by United Nations envoy Kofi Annan failed to bridge differences between the West and Russia – backed by China – on whether or not that meant that Syria’s president must go.

    • About Peter

      "Peter Apps is political risk correspondent for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, covering a range of stories on the interplay between politics, economics and markets. Previously, he was emerging markets correspondent based in London after postings in southern Africa and Sri Lanka. His neck was broken in a vehicle smash on assignment in Sri Lanka in 2006, leaving him largely paralysed from the shoulders down."
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