William's Feed
Jul 23, 2014

Young Islamic State robs al Qaeda of militant prestige

DUBAI (Reuters) – In hiding, targeted by drone strikes and unable to land a blow in the West, al Qaeda’s ageing leaders are losing a power struggle with ultra-radical young militants in Iraq and Syria who see themselves as the true successors to Osama bin Laden.

The shadowy network that targeted the West and its Arab allies for almost a generation is increasingly seen as stale, tired and ineffectual on the hardcore jihadi social media forums and Twitter accounts that incubate potential militant recruits.

Jun 26, 2014

Insight – Divergent visions could split Iraq’s Sunni revolt

BAGHDAD/DUBAI (Reuters) – The militants dismantling Iraq’s borders and threatening regional war are far from united – theirs is a marriage of convenience between ultra-hardline religious zealots and more pragmatic Sunni armed groups.

For now, they share a common enemy in Shi’ite Islamist Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whom Iraq’s Sunni minority accuse of marginalising and harassing them.

Jun 26, 2014

Divergent visions could split Iraq’s Sunni revolt

BAGHDAD/DUBAI (Reuters) – The militants dismantling Iraq’s borders and threatening regional war are far from united — theirs is a marriage of convenience between ultra-hardline religious zealots and more pragmatic Sunni armed groups.

For now, they share a common enemy in Shi’ite Islamist Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whom Iraq’s Sunni minority accuse of marginalizing and harassing them.

Jun 13, 2014

Iraq militant push shrinks scope for Saudi-Iran detente

DUBAI (Reuters) – This week’s advance by Sunni insurgents in Iraq provides a powerful argument for why Iran and Saudi Arabia should bury their Cold War-style feud, but is nonetheless likely to set back detente between the Gulf’s dominant Sunni and Shi’ite powers.

After decades of often overt Saudi-Iranian hostility that polarized the Middle East – and three years of proxy war in Syria – the Sunni monarchy and Shi’ite revolutionary state had gingerly begun in recent months to explore ways to reach out.

May 23, 2014

Egypt’s Brotherhood struggles to regroup in exile

DOHA/DUBAI (Reuters) – Exiled leaders of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood are struggling to regroup, targeted by hostile Arab powers, cut off from senior colleagues imprisoned back home and challenged by angry young followers tempted to seek change by violence.

Gathered over the past 10 months in Qatar, Turkey, Britain and elsewhere, hundreds of activists have set about trying to isolate Egypt’s army-backed government diplomatically for last year’s removal of an elected Brotherhood-backed administration.

Apr 9, 2014

Troubled Mideast peace effort compounds U.S. policy woes in region

WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) – Addressing the United Nations General Assembly in September, President Barack Obama declared the pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian peace one of the two main U.S. foreign policy priorities for his second term.

Fast-forward to today, the Obama administration faces a stark choice: expend more energy on a faltering peace process or absorb the hit to an already-troubled record in the Middle East and walk away from negotiations.

Apr 9, 2014

Analysis – Troubled Mideast peace effort compounds U.S. policy woes in region

WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) – Addressing the United Nations General Assembly in September, President Barack Obama declared the pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian peace one of the two main U.S. foreign policy priorities for his second term.

Fast-forward to today, the Obama administration faces a stark choice: expend more energy on a faltering peace process or absorb the hit to an already-troubled record in the Middle East and walk away from negotiations.

Apr 1, 2014

Al Qaeda says security steps show Saudi rulers controlled by U.S.

DUBAI (Reuters) – Al Qaeda’s Yemen branch has mocked tough new counter-terrorism measures adopted by neighboring Saudi Arabia, saying they would not deter the Islamist group’s fighters and that they proved the kingdom was in the pay of the United States.

In an online statement, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) also said Riyadh’s designation of the Muslim Brotherhood – a group whose political wings have contested elections in several countries – as a terrorist organization proved that secular authorities would never tolerate Islamist groups.

Mar 30, 2014

Obama-Saudi king talks may ease friction but no breakthrough seen

DUBAI/RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s leaders hope U.S. President Barack Obama and their King Abdullah understand each other better after talks and can stabilize a close regional security alliance after months of rockiness over Middle East policy, diplomats said.

Friday’s two-hour exchange at Abdullah’s desert camp did not yield a shared statement or any evidence of policy changes, leading some Saudis to question whether differences over Syria’s war or Iran’s nuclear programme were closer to being resolved.

Mar 17, 2014

Iran seeks banned nuclear items, uses China trader for missile parts: U.S.

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran has pursued a longstanding effort to buy banned components for its nuclear and missile programs in recent months, a U.S. official said, a period when it struck an interim deal with major powers to limit its disputed atomic activity.

Vann Van Diepen, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for international security and non-proliferation, added that a Chinese businessman indicted in the United States in 2009 over sales of missile parts to Iran continued to supply such items despite U.S. pressure on China to tighten export controls.