Middle East News – August 1st

Ultra-Orthodox Jews previously exempt from Israel’s military conscription are no longer exempt with the passing of new legistlation

- An interactive guide to track officials who have defected from Assad’s regime in the past few months – Al-Jazeera

- A new Egyptian cabinet has been officially declared, over a month after Mohammad Morsi became Egypt’s president – Al-Bawaba

- Kofi Annan has resigned as the UN’s special envoy to Syria, citing disappointment with the lack of change he has been able to exert from that position – CNN

- Israel’s army has been told to begin preparations to draft ultra-orthodox Jews who were previously exempt from military conscription – Al-Jazeera

- New videos show that Syrian rebels have performed public executions of soldiers still loyal to Assad’s regime – Al-Jazeera

- Hamas is resisting pressure from the UN that Holocaust history be taught in schools run by the UN in Palestinian territory – BBC

- President Obama has signed a secret order allowing the CIA to provide aid to Syrian rebels and those trying to leave the Syrian civil war – Al-Bawaba

- Brunei, Qatar and Saudi Arabia all sent their first women in history to the London Olympics, see how they are doing – CNN

Middle East News – July 31st

Mitt Romney has been accused of racist comments against Palestine after his recent visit to Israel

- Four people tried in the biggest bank fraud in Iraq’s history have been sentenced to death in a historic ruling – Al-Jazeera

- Iran has warned Turkey that it will not idly sit by if Turkey intervenes in the Syrian civil war – Al-Bawaba

- Palestinians have accused Romney of being a ‘racist’ after comments where he implied that Palestinian ‘culture’ was to blame for its economic inferiority to Israel – BBC

- A new report has indicated that the United States ‘wasted’ over $200 million on an unwanted and unneeded Iraqi police program – Al-Jazeera

- Even as the government offensive enters its fourth day the Syrian rebels continue to hold substantial areas in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city – CNN

Middle East News – July 29th

The Syrian armies offensive into Aleppo has been met with the most violent fighting in the year long civil war

- An exchange of prisoners in Syria grew contentious and nearly resulted in further violence – CNN

- The Syrian army offensive into Aleppo has been met with unprecedented bloodshed, leaving almost 20,000 dead in the last couple days – Al-Bawaba – The Syrian Foreign Minister also announced that the rebels defending Aleppo would surely be crushed in the coming days – Al-Bawaba

- A Kurdish leader in northern Iraq has declared that any cuts in funding to the Kurdish sections of the country would amount to a ‘declaration of war’ – Al-Jazeera

- Though the firepower of the Syrian rebels has increased exponentially in the past few months it still remains far short of what is necessary to fully combat the Assad regime’s forces – CNN

- Jordan has opened its first official refugee camp for Syrians fleeing that countries’ civil war – The camp will house nearly fifty thousand refugees in the coming months – Al-Bawaba

- An Italian embassy staffer has been kidnapped in Yemen, further proof that security in that country is quickly unraveling – Al-Jazeera

- In a speech yesterday in Jerusalem Mitt Romney declared the United States has a moral duty to block Iran’s building of nuclear power plants – BBC

Middle East News – July 28th

A group of dedicated Star Wars fans have restored the ranch from Episode IV: A New Hope in a remote Tunisian desert

- President Obama has signed into law a bill that will sent $70 million to Israel in the next year to build a state of the art missile defense system – The signing was timed to overshadow Mitt Romney’s visit to Jerusalem – Al-Jazeera

- A group of hardcore Star Wars fans have restored the Tunisian ranch that was used for the Tatooine scenes in the original trilogy – CNN

- Syrian rebel and government forces are preparing for a climactic battle in the city of Aleppo in what could be the decisive battle of the civil war – BBC

- Libyan rebels who fought against Gaddafi’s regime have moved to Syria to help the rebels there in their fight against the Assad regime – CNN

- Saudi Arabian security forces opened fire on Shi’ite protesters in the western part of the country yesterday – Al-Jazeera – In the western Qatif region government forces have arrested a number of protesters who were on a short list of trouble makers the government wished to arrest – CNN

- Dubai’s police chief has warned Gulf states that there may be a vast conspiracy to overthrow the existing governments in that region, though he did not cite his source – Al-Bawaba

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Middle East News – July 24th

Hesham Qandil, the newly appointed prime minister of Egypt tasked with forming a new coalition government

- Assad’s forces have launched a counterattack in the important city of Aleppo, large areas of which were recently seized by rebel forces – BBC

- Egyptian president Morsi has named former irrigation minister Hesham Qandil as the new Prime Minister and tasked him with forming a new government – Al-Jazeera

- Yesterday was the deadliest day of 2012 in Iraq as 103 people were killed around the country in a series of clashes – CNN

- The trial of Iraq’s ex-vice president Tariq al-Hashemi, accused of running death squads under Saddam Hussein, has been delayed after the prosecutions attempts to call the reigning president of Iraq to the stand was denied – Al-Jazeera

- Bulgarian officials have announced that the bomber implicated in last week’s Burgas bombing was part of ‘a group’ – BBC

- Libyan diver Soyan al Gadi is hoping to be the first Libyan olympian to earn a medal in the upcoming 2012 Olympics – Al-Bawaba

- Iraqi officials have announced that Al-Qaeda members are again fomenting civil unrest in Iraq – CNN

- Another Syrian diplomat (this one to Cyprus) has defected from the Assad regime, becoming the third diplomat to defect in the last month – Al-Jazeera

Middle East News – July 23rd

Syria’s recent admission of having chemical weapons stockpiles has prompted stern international consternation.

- Members of the Arab League have offered Syrian president Assad a ‘safe haven’ if he hands over power to a new government in the coming days – Al-Bawaba

- Syria has announced that it will not use its chemical weapons stores against its own civilians, but only against foreign powers should they choose to intervene in the countries’ civil war – BBC – CNN

- Saudi parents have begun asking for sex education classes in schools, another sign that the conservative leanings of the state are slowly beginning to unravel – Al-Bawaba

- In addition to the devastating civilian losses Damascus residents are mourning the loss of the symbolic cactus forests on the outskirts of town that were seen as one of the last vestiges of normalcy in the war torn capital – BBC

- Many Muslims who are otherwise not devoutly religious grow more spiritual and filled with faith as the holy month of Ramadan descends on the Muslim world – Al-Bawaba

- A wave of bombings in Iraq have killed 107 in the past couple days, further signs that the Iraqi regime is not yet stable or wholly in control of the country – BBC

- Hundreds of Egyptian farmers are bringing the reigning agricultural minister to court over lands that were seized from them in the 90’s.  The farmers say they were never compensated for this illegally taken land while the agricultural minister says they were compensated long ago – Al-Jazeera

- A disabled Israeli veteran is in critical condition after lighting himself on fire in an act of self-immolation yesterday in Tel-Aviv.  The soldier was protesting the mal-distribution of wealth in present-day Israel and the lack of reforms as promised by current prime minister Netanyahu – BBC

- In an unprecedented move Egypt has announced the lessening of restrictions on Palestinians hoping to travel from the Gaza Strip into Egypt – Al-Jazeera

Middle East News – July 20th

Rafik Hariri, the prime minister of Lebanon assassinated in 2005

- A UN backed court has set a date to begin the trial (March 25th, 2013) concerning the 2005 assassination of Lebanon’s ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri – Al-Jazeera

- Assad forces have regained control of a key Damascus suburb after the bloodiest day yet of fighting during the Syrian civil war – Al-Bawaba

- An opinion column from CNN warning the United States to heed its previous experience interfering in Lebanon in the early 1980’s when considering Syrian intervention – CNN

- Soldiers in the Free Syria army have taken control of key border crossings on the Syria-Iraq border, including the crucial Damascus-Baghdad highway – Al-Jazeera

- Israel has released Aziz Dweik, a senior Hamas official and a member of Palestine’s Parliament.  Aziz had been held without charges since early January – Al-Jazeera

- The United States and United Kingdom have issued stern rebukes to Iran after Iran closed the strategic Straits of Hormuz – Al-Bawaba

- The UN has agreed to extend the observation mission in Syria that is supposed to oversee and help along the peace process – Al-Jazeera

- The use of drones and how they will affect the future legality of warfare – Al-Jazeera