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Sep 13, 2013

Kerry, Lavrov meeting U.N. envoy on Syria

GENEVA/DUBAI (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet the United Nations special envoy on Syria in Geneva on Friday as they work on a deal that could avert U.S. military action.

Lakhdar Brahimi, who acts for both the world body and the Arab League, was to meet Kerry and Lavrov together at 9:30 a.m. (0730 GMT) on Friday, a U.N. official told Reuters.

Sep 3, 2013

In Mideast, view of US as hesitant superpower sharpens

BEIRUT, Sept 3 (Reuters) – The world’s most powerful man
decides to threaten Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“We will strike with all our might,” says U.S. President
Barack Obama, depicted in a cartoon in Saudi newspaper Alsharq.

Aug 28, 2013

U.N. inspectors in new Syria mission as West prepares to strike

BEIRUT (Reuters) – U.N. chemical weapons investigators crossed Syria’s front line into rebel-held territory on Wednesday for a second visit to the scene of a poison gas attack that has triggered Western plans for war.

U.S. President Barack Obama and his European and Middle East allies have already blamed President Bashar al-Assad for last week’s killing of hundreds of civilians. But the U.N. experts, who were first allowed to cross the front line by Assad’s forces on Monday, are still engaged in gathering evidence.

Aug 27, 2013

West readies attacks after Syria gas ‘obscenity’

BEIRUT (Reuters) – U.S. allies were drafting plans for air strikes and other military action against Syria on Tuesday, as President Bashar al-Assad’s enemies vowed to punish a poison gas attack that Washington called a “moral obscenity”.

Facing Russian and Chinese disapproval that will complicate hopes for a united front backed by international law, and keen to win over wary voters at home, Western leaders seem in no rush to pull the trigger. British Prime Minister David Cameron called parliament back from recess for a session on Syria on Thursday.

Aug 25, 2013

U.N. experts in Syria to visit site of poison gas attack

BEIRUT (Reuters) – U.N. weapons experts are due on Monday to inspect a site where poison gas killed many hundreds of people in Damascus suburbs, amid calls from Western capitals for military action to punish the world’s worst apparent chemical weapons attack in 25 years.

Syria agreed on Sunday to allow the inspectors to visit the site. The United States and its allies say evidence has been destroyed by government shelling of the area over the past five days, and the Syrian offer to allow inspectors came too late.

Jul 3, 2013

Smooth Qatar handover rooted in turbulent past of “Father Emir”

DUBAI (Reuters) – Qatar’s outgoing emir wanted to abdicate while he was still able to help his 33-year-old heir consolidate his authority, so ensuring minimal discord inside a family with a long record of palace intrigue.

While no one other than outgoing emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani can know his full motivations, foremost among them appears to have been a need for stability in a dynasty that has ruled for more than 130 years.

Jul 2, 2013

Insight: Smooth Qatar handover rooted in turbulent past of ‘Father Emir’

DUBAI (Reuters) – Qatar’s outgoing emir wanted to abdicate while he was still able to help his 33-year-old heir consolidate his authority, so ensuring minimal discord inside a family with a long record of palace intrigue.

While no one other than outgoing emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani can know his full motivations, foremost among them appears to have been a need for stability in a dynasty that has ruled for more than 130 years.

Jun 25, 2013

Young Qatar emir likely to remain Gulf Arab exception

DUBAI (Reuters) – Ageing Gulf Arab rulers swiftly congratulated Qatar’s young new emir on his accession on Tuesday, but will be in no rush to emulate his father’s abdication – for them, hereditary rule is for life.

The ascent to power of Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim, 33, provides a stark contrast to other Gulf Arab states whose youthful populations are ruled by kings or princes in their 60s, 70s and 80s, some with heirs of the same vintage.

Jun 24, 2013

Qatar readies new leadership, little policy change expected

DUBAI (Reuters) – Qatar appeared on Monday to be readying its population of nearly 2 million for new leadership that could see the emir and prime minister step down, a move analysts say would not herald big changes in energy, investment or foreign policies.

The tiny country, the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, is a global investment powerhouse, a growing force in international media and sport, and a financial backer of Arab Spring revolts in alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Jun 19, 2013

Taliban host Qatar pushes to forefront of Afghan peace broking

DUBAI (Reuters) – Qatar’s hosting of a Taliban office for peace talks with the United States is the latest in a series of foreign policy gambits stretching over a decade – some peace-broking efforts, but others, notably in Libya and Syria, involving armed support.

U.S. officials are expected to meet delegates from the Afghan Islamist insurgency in the Qatari capital Doha on Thursday to try to advance peace efforts in Afghanistan, where the United States has battled the insurgents for 12 years.