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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.

Mar 14, 2013

Protesters, policemen injured in Bahrain clashes

DUBAI, March 14 (Reuters) – At least 10 civilians and
several policemen were injured in Bahrain on Thursday, an
opposition group and the government said, during protests to
mark the second anniversary of the arrival of Saudi forces which
helped crush a pro-democracy uprising.

Home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, the tiny state has been hit by
unrest since the revolt in early 2011, becoming a front line in
a region-wide tussle for influence between Shi’ite Muslim Iran
and Sunni Arab states such as Saudi Arabia.

Feb 14, 2013

Teen killed in protests on Bahrain revolt anniversary

DUBAI (Reuters) – Bahraini security forces killed a teenager and injured dozens more protesters on Thursday, an opposition website said, during clashes on the second anniversary of an uprising to demand democratic reforms in the U.S.-allied Gulf Arab state.

Several hundred demonstrators, mostly youths from largely Shi’ite villages, blocked roads around the capital Manama and hurled stones and fire bombs at police, who responded with birdshot and tear gas, witnesses said.

Feb 14, 2013

Teenager killed as Bahrain marks uprising anniversary

DUBAI (Reuters) – Bahraini security forces killed a teenager on Thursday, an opposition website said, as activists demonstrated on the second anniversary of an uprising to demand democratic reforms in the U.S.-allied Gulf Arab state.

The protests could mar reconciliation talks that began on Sunday between mostly Shi’ite Muslim opposition groups and the Sunni-dominated government to try to end political deadlock in the island kingdom, which is home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

Jan 23, 2013

Bahrain prepares for reconciliation talks

DUBAI, Jan 23 (Reuters) – Bahrain on Wednesday asked
pro-democracy opposition parties to nominate delegates to
prepare for talks to try to break nearly two years of political
deadlock in the Gulf Arab state.

The small island state has been in turmoil since protests
erupted in early 2011 led by majority Shi’ite Muslims demanding
an end to the Sunni-led monarchy’s political domination and full
powers for parliament.

Jan 22, 2013

Bahrain opposition welcomes king’s invitation to talks

DUBAI (Reuters) – Bahrain opposition groups demanding a parliamentary democracy in the Gulf Arab state gave a cautious welcome on Tuesday to an invitation from the king to talks aimed at breaking nearly two years of political deadlock.

King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa made the reconciliation gesture late on Monday, authorising the Justice Ministry to invite “political societies and independent members of the political community” to try to revive discussions that ended inconclusively in July 2011.

Jan 16, 2013

Gulf activists step up campaigns despite quiet crackdown

DUBAI, Jan 16 (Reuters) – When security forces raided the
home of one of his friends in eastern Saudi Arabia one day last
August, Ali al-Fardan felt a net tightening around him.

“Dear friends, I think I am at risk,” the 37-year-old
activist, who uses a pseudonym to avoid arrest, wrote in a
message to his email contacts.