Azerbaijan Wrestles with Rising Iranian Influence

Azerbaijan’s government is growing increasingly concerned about what it sees as growing Iranian manipulation of the country’s Shia Muslim believers.  Azerbaijan’s security services recently presented senior government officials with a report describing how Iran has “increased its capabilities in Azerbaijan’s regions,” one analyst close to the government told “Many more people are now under […]

Top Iraqi-Shiite cleric wants all weapons of the Iranian backed militia under government control

BY AMIR TOUMAJ Iraqi-Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani announced his support of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and “requested that all weapons come under government’s control” in a statement earlier this month. He also urged Shiite armed groups to stay away from political participation. While it appears that Sistani scored a win for Prime Minister Haider al […]

Apple and Amazon going to Saudi Arabia, as its Crown prince MBS goes high-tech

Apple and Amazon are in licensing discussions with Riyadh on investing in Saudi Arabia, two sources told Reuters, part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s push to give the conservative kingdom a high-tech look. A third source confirmed that Apple was in talks with SAGIA, Saudi Arabia’s foreign investment authority. Both companies already sell products […]

Syria’s FM slams Turkish leader after Assad comments

Syria’s Foreign Ministry said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan supports terrorism and bears “prime responsibility for the bloodshed in Syria.” The ministry fired back after Erdogan on Wednesday called Syrian President Bashar Assad a “terrorist” who should have no part in Syria’s post-conflict future. Erdogan’s comments were his sharpest against the Syrian president in months […]

Iran Recognizes Jerusalem as Palestinian Capital City in Response to Trump Declaration

In a symbolic pushback to President Donald Trump’s declaration on the status of Jerusalem, Iranian lawmakers on Wednesday voted to recognize the contested city as the capital of the Palestinians. The Iranian parliament voted in favor of a bill that recognized the city as the Palestinian capital, or the capital of the “State of Palestine,” […]

Syrian rebels and opposition reject Russia’s proposed peace talks in Sotchi

Syrian rebels and opposition groups on Tuesday rejected Russia’s proposed peace talks in Sotchi, accusing Moscow of failing to pressure its ally, President Bashar Assad, to end the conflict. In a series of statements, 40 rebel groups, including some of Syria’s most prominent, as well as political opposition groups, said the talks expected next month […]

Bahraini military court convicts six to death on terror charges

A Bahraini military court sentenced six men to death and revoked their citizenship after they were convicted on charges of forming a terrorist cell and plotting to assassinate a military official, Bahrain news agency BNA reported on Monday. The men, including one soldier, were accused of several “terrorist crimes” and of attempting to assassinate a […]

U.S. cuts funding to UN after losing the Jerusalem vote

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced Sunday that the United States had slashed the U.N.’s budget by more than $285 million for fiscal 2018. The international body’s budget for fiscal 2016 was $5.4 billion. The cut represents about 5 % of UN budget for 2018 Haley called the cuts a “historic reduction” […]