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Jun 12, 2013

Gulf Shi’ites fear rising sectarian rhetoric over Syria

DUBAI, June 12 (Reuters) – Shi’ite Muslims in the Gulf,
alarmed by the shrill sectarian rhetoric of some Sunni clerics
after Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia entered Syria’s civil war,
fear they will be blamed and may be victimised for the
bloodshed.

“Hate language is on the rise, in the press, on social media
and even at lectures in mosques. Shi’ites in general are being
blamed for what’s happening in Syria,” said Waleed Sulais, a
researcher at the Saudi Adalah Centre for Human Rights.

Jun 10, 2013

Zawahri steps into row between Syrian and Iraqi al Qaeda wings

DUBAI (Reuters) – Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has intervened in a dispute between the Iraqi and Syrian branches of his network, telling both to “stop arguing”, Qatar-based Al Jazeera television reported.

Al Qaeda in Iraq announced in April that it had united with Syria’s Nusra Front, which now spearheads the fight against President Bashar al-Assad. This upset Nusra, which affirmed its loyalty to Zawahri but said it had not been told of any merger.

Apr 9, 2013

Iraqi al Qaeda wing merges with Syrian counterpart

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iraq’s al Qaeda wing has united with a kindred Syrian group in the frontline of a struggle to oust President Bashar al-Assad, sharpening a dilemma for nations that back the revolt, but fear rising Islamist militancy.

The leader of the Islamic State of Iraq), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, said his group had funded cells of fighters from Syria’s al-Nusra Front – which is blacklisted by the United States – since the early days of the two-year-old uprising.

Apr 9, 2013

Iraqi al Qaeda wing says Nusra Front is its Syria branch: SITE group

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iraq’s al Qaeda wing has united with a kindred Syrian group in the frontline of a struggle to oust President Bashar al-Assad, sharpening a dilemma for nations that back the revolt, but fear rising Islamist militancy.

The leader of the Islamic State of Iraq), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, said his group had funded cells of fighters from Syria’s al-Nusra Front – which is blacklisted by the United States – since the early days of the two-year-old uprising.

Mar 27, 2013

In snub to Assad, opposition takes Syria’s Arab summit seat

DOHA (Reuters) – To applause from Arab heads of state, a foe of Bashar al-Assad took Syria’s vacant seat at an Arab summit on Tuesday, deepening the president’s diplomatic isolation and diverting attention from rifts among his opponents.

Speaking at an annual gathering of Arab leaders in the Gulf state of Qatar, Moaz Alkhatib said he had asked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for American forces to help defend rebel-controlled northern parts of Syria with Patriot surface-to-air missiles now based in Turkey. NATO swiftly rebuffed the idea.

Mar 26, 2013

Arab leaders set up $1 billion Arab fund for Jerusalem

DOHA, March 26 (Reuters) – The Arab League on Tuesday
approved a Qatari proposal to set up a $1 billion fund for Arab
East Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as the capital of an
independent state under any peace deal with Israel.

Arabs say that Israeli settlement-building on land captured
in the 1967 Middle East war, including Arab East Jerusalem, has
made a two-state solution backed by the United States
unfeasible.

Mar 26, 2013

Syria opposition expected to take Syria seat at Arab summit

DOHA (Reuters) – An opposition coalition is expected to take Syria’s seat at an Arab Summit for the first time on Tuesday, giving a badly-needed boost to an armed uprising to topple President Bashar al-Assad following an outbreak of factionalism in rebel ranks.

Leading opposition figure Moaz Alkhatib, one of the most popular figures in the revolt against Assad, plans to speak to the gathering of Arab heads of state in Qatar, for whom Syria’s increasingly sectarian war is the main concern.

Mar 22, 2013

Yemenis voice cynicism and hope as powerbrokers discuss reforms

SANAA (Reuters) – For Fayez al-Absi, Yemen’s most important political gathering in 50 years will never manage to end the country’s political turmoil, as many of the powerbrokers participating are the cause of the very problems they are meant to solve.

In his more optimistic moments, the photography shop manager says dialogue should be given a chance to fix the conflicts tearing at Yemen’s stability and alarming its bigger neighbor, oil superpower Saudi Arabia.

Mar 18, 2013

Separatist rally challenges Yemen’s reform efforts

SANAA (Reuters) – Yemeni leaders seeking to end political upheaval started work on comprehensive reforms on Monday, with the scale of their task illustrated by the tens of thousands of protesters who marched in the south to demand their own state.

Stabilizing Yemen, a ally grappling with al Qaeda militants, southern secessionists and northern rebels, is an international priority due to fears of disorder in a state that flanks oil superpower Saudi Arabia and major shipping lanes.

Mar 18, 2013

Separatist marches challenge Yemen’s reform conference

SANAA (Reuters) – Yemeni leaders trying to end political upheaval and separatist demands met to chart a new constitution on Monday, the scale of their task underscored by protesters who marched in their tens of thousands in the south to demand their own state.

Stabilizing Yemen, a U.S. ally grappling with al Qaeda militants, southern secessionists and northern rebels, is an international priority due to fears of disorder in a state that flanks oil superpower Saudi Arabia and major shipping lanes.