December 16, 2009 |
As their superiors inspected a car mangled by one of three blasts that rocked Baghdad's government center Tuesday, two Iraqi soldiers nearby scoffed at the military's shortcomings in protecting the capital. For one thing, they said, checkpoints don't stop those who are -- or appear to be -- influential. The soldiers, who declined to provide their names because they were not authorized to talk to journalists, watched as authorities huddled over the burned-out car in an exclusive parking lot for government employees, just around the corner from the Defense Ministry.
March 4, 2010 |
A year after peace talks collapsed, Israelis and Palestinians appear headed back to the negotiating table -- just not the same table. A U.S.-backed proposal to launch so-called proximity talks moved forward Wednesday when the Arab League gave its blessing for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to join the effort. Under the American plan, U.S. Middle East envoy George J. Mitchell will meet separately with Israelis and Palestinians in hopes of narrowing their differences and getting both sides back in the same room.
February 3, 2010 |
Hundreds of candidates accused of having ties to the outlawed Baath Party will be allowed to participate in Iraq's upcoming election after a decision Wednesday by judges to defer hearing their appeals until after the poll. The step may help ease political tensions in the run-up to the elections, and closely matches a U.S. proposal pressed recently by Vice President Joe Biden. The 500 or so candidates affected could still be barred from taking their seats if they are elected to parliament, potentially creating a fresh political crisis.
April 4, 2010 |
Iranian scientists have submitted plans to start work on at least one new nuclear facility by September, a top official was quoted as saying Saturday, in a move that could inflame tensions with the West. Ali Akbar Salehi, who oversees Iran's complex of nuclear installations, told the semiofficial Iranian Labor News Agency that his Atomic Energy Organization has taken steps to commission "one or two" new sites pending the approval of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He said the new installations were in line with a 2009 policy to expand the nation's nuclear technology infrastructure.
February 9, 2010 |
As Iran moved to enrich uranium to a higher level of purity and build new nuclear-fuel plants, U.S. and French defense officials suggested Monday that sanctions were needed to force Tehran to curb its nuclear program. Speaking in Paris, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates again dismissed military action but said that given Iran's rejections of Western proposals, the international community needed to apply some pressure. "We must still try and find a peaceful way to resolve this issue.
March 27, 2010 |
George Ishak has been battling the political repression of the Egyptian government for years, so it seemed odd recently when he mentioned, perhaps with a bit of slyness, that he was praying for the good health of President Hosni Mubarak. Ishak hasn't gone soft. His concern is rooted in opposition strategy, not a sudden pang of empathy for Mubarak, who is in Germany recovering from gallbladder surgery. The president's absence has reminded Ishak and his countrymen of their deep unease over who will eventually replace the man who has ruled the nation since the days when short skirts were as prevalent as veils.
February 2, 2010 |
Past the wild dogs and poor boys selling charred corn and party hats, the road turns to dirt and stone and dips toward an ancient riverbed the colors of butterscotch and bone. Fossils underfoot, foxes on the ridges, this is Cairo at the edge of the Eastern Desert, where the canyon cuts the sky and the smiling man in the entrance hut writes in a ledger and listens to chants from the Koran on his radio. " Assalam alaikum ." "Peace be upon you, too." My brother. The city falls away, standing distant, a ragged sentinel in the smog.
December 27, 2009 |
The Iranian capital erupted in small sporadic clashes Saturday, beginning in the morning and ending after darkness fell, spreading from the south to the far north of the city, as the peak of a 10-day religious holiday approached. The latest confrontations between security forces and largely peaceful demonstrators broke out on Tasua, the ninth day of the Islamic calendar month of Muharram and the day before Ashura, which is the annual commemoration of the 7th century martyrdom of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the prophet Muhammad and a revered figure in Iran's majority Shiite Muslim faith.
December 19, 2009 |
A top Iranian nuclear official sought Friday to ease international worries about his nation's nuclear program days after Tehran test-fired an upgraded medium-range missile that alarmed the West. Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the country's Atomic Energy Organization, said Iran won't have a new generation of more efficient centrifuges for the production of nuclear fuel until 2011 and won't have its heavy-water plant in Arak operational for "three or four years." His statement was a possible attempt at reassuring world powers that there was no hurry to place new sanctions on Iran.
January 30, 2010 |
A high-ranking Iranian cleric close to both supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sharpened the rhetoric against opposition supporters by giving religious justification for their killings in a fiery Friday sermon. Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, head of the hard-line Guardian Council of jurists and clerics that ratified Ahmadinejad's disputed reelection in June, likened the opposition to Jewish tribes which he said long ago defied the founder of Islam.