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World Criticism of Bahrain Mounts, But Is It Fair?

Bahrain is preparing for a roaring sporting event – the Formula One Grand Prix race – but the spectacle is suddenly being overshadowed by a barrage of criticism challenging any notion that the country’s government has adequately handled last year’s opposition protests and their aftermath. Gripped in February and March of 2011 by Arab Spring-inspired More »

Syrian Forces Widen Attacks as Truce Unravels

Activists say Syrian government forces widened their attacks on opposition strongholds Tuesday, killing two civilians and wounding dozens more as a U.N.-brokered ceasefire continued to unravel despite the presence of foreign observers. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the casualties occurred when army tanks shelled the town of Busra al-Harir, a stronghold of More »

Middle East Monitor: Afghan Fighting Flares in 18 Hour Kabul Gunbattle

Explosions and heavy gunfire shake the Afghan capital and three other Afghan provinces… a UN observer team takes on a difficult task in Syria while fighting there continues… Israel blocks a “fly-in” by hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists…  And a new “American Jewish Committee” study examines Latino attitudes toward the Jews in the More »

Syria Clashes Continue as UN Monitors Begin Mission

An advance team of six United Nations observers will begin monitoring a shaky ceasefire in Syria, as activists said government troops continue to shell rebel neighborhoods in the opposition stronghold Homs, and clashes persisted elsewhere. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Monday that security forces shot dead two people in the central city, More »

UN Chief Concerned Over New Violence in Syria

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced concern Sunday over the continuing violence in Syria, urging the government to do everything possible to maintain the fragile ceasefire. Following talks with Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo in Brussels,  Ban said he was “very much concerned” about the shelling by government forces of rebel-held areas in the flashpoint More »

Iran Signals Readiness to Discuss Enrichment Levels

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi says Iran will not give up its right to enrich uranium but hinted that the level of its enrichment is open to discussion. Fresh off weekend talks on the nuclear issue with the U.N. Security Council permanent members plus Germany, Salehi told Iranian state TV channel Jam-e Jam that More »

WATCH: US-Iranian Musician Fuses Persian Tunes With American Styles

Austin is the capital of Texas and the self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World.” In the 1970s, musicians in Austin mixed rock ‘n roll and country music. Now, Austin is one of America’s fastest growing cities and a place where music from around the world comes together. Iranian-American musician and songwriter Fared Shafinury is developing More »

Activists: Syrian Troops Shell Homs Ahead of UN Team Arrival

Syrian forces heavily shelled rebel-held areas in the flashpoint city of Homs Sunday, hours before a small advance team of unarmed U.N. observers is set to arrive in the war-torn country. Activists in the Khalidiya neighborhood of Homs, one of several districts attacked by government troops, reported widespread mortar and heavy machine gun fire. Rami More »

P5+1 Iran Nuclear Talks Hailed as 'Constructive'

Talks in Istanbul involving P5+1 countries and Iran over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program have ended with a commitment to further talks that are scheduled to take place in Baghdad next month.  Both sides described Saturday’s Istanbul meeting as being held in a positive and constructive atmosphere. After nearly 10 hours of talks in Istanbul between More »

US: Iran Must Demonstrate Peaceful Nuclear Intent

White House officials are describing Saturday’s talks in Istanbul between the P5+1 group of nations and Iran as constructive.  But officials say that in future discussions, Iran must take concrete steps to demonstrate that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. Officials with U.S. President Barack Obama, who is attending the Summit of the Americas More »

UN Approves Dispatch of Truce Observers to Syria

U.N. Security Council (Reuters Image)

The United Nations Security Council unanimously gave the go ahead Saturday for a small group of observers to be deployed to Syria to monitor a fragile truce between the government and armed opposition fighters.  Some last-minute negotiations were required to win the full 15-nation council’s approval. Resolution 2042 authorizes up to 30 monitors to be More »

Middle East Monitor: The Syrian Ceasefire Wobbles

There are signs the United Nations-brokered cease-fire in Syria is starting to fray after the opposition called for widespread protests.  Samir Al Husain, an opposition activist in Hama, speaks with us about security forces firing on anti-government protesters there today.  The “American Syrian Coalition” is created to work in a unified voice to support More »

Clashes, Protests Erupt as Syrian Cease-Fire Frays

Syrian security forces shot and killed at least three protesters on Friday and clashes erupted near the Turkish border, as a day-old ceasefire between the government and opposition showed signs of unraveling. Mass opposition protests swelled in several flashpoint areas across Syria, and activists say government forces fired on demonstrators at several locations, including in More »

Formula One Grand Prix Is On, Bahrain Protesters React

After much  deliberation over safety concerns, the International Automobile Federation has given the green light to move ahead with the Formula One Grand Prix which is scheduled to take place in Bahrain on April 22. Giving a statement in Shanghai at the Chinese Grand Prix, F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone said, “All the teams are happy More »

Scenarios for Iran Retaliation Vary if Israel Strikes Nuclear Targets

The outcome of talks set to begin Saturday between world powers and Iran over its disputed nuclear program could be a determining factor in whether Israel carries out threatened airstrikes against Iranian nuclear facilities. With Western patience running thin, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warns that time for diplomacy is not “infinite” and that More »

Signs Suggest Syrian Cease-Fire Starting to Falter

There are signs the United Nations-brokered cease-fire in Syria is starting to fray. Two activist groups reported clashes between Syrian troops and rebel force, near the Turkish border Friday.  Some of the fighting was reportedly heavy. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Syrian government deployed tanks to the northwestern village of Khirbel el-Joz More »

TRUCE WATCH: Friday Protests Test Ceasefire in Syria

President Bashar al-Assad announced on April 11 300,000 active duty military and hundreds of shabiha or armed and non-uniformed security personnel had stopped shelling rebel enclaves and suburban neighborhoods of several Syrian cities.  This came as part of a six-point peace plan, worked out by UN international envoy, Kofi Annan.   Middle East Voices has More »

TRUCE WATCH: Monitoring the Syrian Cease-fire

President Bashar al-Assad announced on April 11 that his security forces, estimated at 300,000 active duty military and hundreds of shabiha or armed and non-uniformed enforcers have stopped shelling rebel enclaves and suburban neighborhoods of several Syrian cities. We are creating this post to monitor the cease-fire and subsequent protests via social media to see More »

SYRIA WITNESS: On Eve of Cease-Fire, Hope in Daraya

Hope – a resident of Daraya writes about the final days of Syrian military efforts to shut down opposition political activity in Daraya, a southwestern suburb of Damascus, ahead of this week’s cease-fire.  The government did not meet an April 10 deadline to withdraw all forces from its cities, but promised to abide by More »

DIPLOMATIC NOTES: Clinton Says Syria Ceasefire Does Not Change US Support for Assad Opponents, Sanctions

Given what she calls President Bashar al-Assad’s “record of broken promises,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Washington is proceeding with caution as a partial ceasefire takes hold in Syria. Following a meeting of G8 foreign ministers in Washington, Secretary Clinton met separately on Syria with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, saying she is More »