February 13, 2010 |
It isn't often that cynical singles and religious police find themselves on the same side, but in Saudi Arabia they are standing united against a common threat: Valentine's Day. Saudi Arabia's religious enforcers, backed by the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, are doing their annual purge of anything Valentine-related: flowers, gifts, candy -- even the color red. The broader region, however, is not so sure. And Saudis themselves are far from unanimous.
February 22, 2010 |
Whenever I walk past a window I feel a stab of fear. Traffic scares me because I think that any one of the cars could blow up. Sudden sounds terrify me. It's been several weeks since the suicide bombing last month of the Hamra hotel, where I was working as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times' Baghdad Bureau. Yet I still keep reliving the moment the bomb exploded outside our window and a 2-inch shard of glass penetrated my chest, leaving a bloody gash. It was only a split second of terror, a fragmentary flash of sound, fury and pain, but it replays over and over in my mind, haunting me with reminders of how close I was to death.
March 14, 2010 |
Lacking witnesses but blessed with hundreds of hours of video, the cops and spooks worked the case of the slain weapons smuggler like a movie in reverse. Dubai's cameras never blink. The security system allows law enforcement to track anyone, from the moment they get off an airplane, to the immigration counter where their passport is scanned, through the baggage claim area to the taxi stand where cameras record who gets into what cars, which log their locations through the city's automated highway toll system, all the way to their hotels, which also have cameras.
April 2, 2010 |
Men crowded small metal tables in outdoor tents and checked off their choice for prime minister. Among the options were the incumbent, Nouri Maliki, and his main rival, Iyad Allawi. Iraq held parliamentary elections less than a month ago. But the unofficial balloting held across the country Friday was less about who will rule the country than a demonstration of the staying power of Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr's populist movement. Backers of Sadr, who organized the vote, said they hoped it would allow ordinary Iraqis to have a say as Maliki, Allawi and other political figures bargain over the formation of the next government.
January 14, 2010 |
Yemeni special forces killed a suspected Al Qaeda leader and captured four fighters as the country increased pressure on the militant network operating in several key tribal provinces, officials said Wednesday. Yemen's government, juggling a civil war in the north and a secessionist movement in the south, had been slow to react to a widening Al Qaeda threat. Its stepped-up raids come amid international concern over the country's ability to defeat a branch of Yemeni and Saudi fighters that has claimed responsibility for the failed Christmas Day attack on a Northwest airliner.
March 11, 2010 |
Vice President Joe Biden, winding up a disconcerting trip to the Middle East, struggled Thursday to keep hopes alive for new peace talks amid Palestinian anger over Israeli plans for new housing construction in a disputed Jerusalem neighborhood. Despite earlier pledges to take part in talks scheduled to begin next week, Palestinian officials threatened to stay away unless Israel abandons announced plans for a 1,600-unit project in East Jerusalem. Palestinians pressed for the United States to persuade Israel to change its stance on the project.
March 19, 2010 |
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton hailed "useful and productive" signs from Israel on Friday as the so-called quartet of Middle East peacemakers called on Israelis and Palestinians to resume stalled negotiations. Diplomats said indirect peace talks would start soon. "We are all committed to the launching of proximity talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians," Clinton told reporters. Clinton declined to say what concessions, if any, were offered by Israel during a Thursday night telephone conversation she had with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
December 11, 2009 |
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki on Thursday emerged virtually unscathed from a parliament session called over this week's car bombings in the capital and a series of explosions since August that have caused lawmakers to publicly question his handling of the security situation in Iraq. As Maliki parried with lawmakers for nearly six hours, the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group for insurgents that includes Al Qaeda in Iraq, claimed responsibility for Tuesday's bombings, which killed 127 people.
April 1, 2010 |
A recently elected parliament member was in hiding Thursday after the Iraqi security forces raided his home this week on a warrant connected with a bombing case that had been settled in 2008 through a tribal mediation process. The attempted arrest of Sheik Qais Jabouri, who had worked closely with the Iraqi government on sectarian reconciliation issues, has elicited charges from the secular Iraqiya election slate, on which he was a candidate, that Prime Minister Nouri Maliki is carrying out politically motivated arrests to stay in power after his own Shiite Muslim-led slate finished a close second in national elections March 7. The arrest attempt was among a series of raids directed against Iraqiya candidates in Baghdad and Diyala provinces.
March 8, 2010 |
With an air of practiced efficiency, Iraqis strolled down the potholed, trash-strewn streets of this oil-rich city to vote Sunday. Far from the explosions that marred voting in Baghdad, the mood in Iraq's second largest city was much like the day's weather: bright and full of sunshine. In the country's fifth exercise in democracy since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, turnout here was pegged at a respectable 60%. "I've got a good feeling that the coming years are going to bring us prosperity and a good life," said Bushra Younes, 33, after casting her ballot and dipping her finger in the ink that has become a symbol of Iraq's fledgling democracy.