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Egyptian president Sisi is set to meet Pope Francis

THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE – Holy See spokesman Federico Lombardi confirmed this Saturday that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will meet with the Pope on Monday on what will be Egypt’s president first visit to the Vatican in eight years. The Vatican also confirmed that President al-Sisi will be accompanied  by …

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Assad says “real cooperation” needed to crush IS

THE LEVANT – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Thursday that “international cooperation” was necessary to crush the Islamic State group, which is the target of a US-led campaign. “The region is going through decisive times” and the most important factor in determining the outcome is whether there is “real …

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Al Qaeda says Houthis will pay for their defiance

THE LEVANT  – Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, reacting to the loss of its strongholds to Shi’ite Houthi fighters, has accused its opponents of acting as a proxy for the United States and threatened renewed violence against them. In an audio message on jihadist websites, al AQAP’s military commander …

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Iran Frees Activist Blogger Hossein Derakhshan

THE LEVANT – An activist known as the “blogfather” of Iran has finally been released from prison in his homeland after six years. Iranian-Canadian blogger Hossein Derakhshan has been pardoned by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. He was arrested in 2008 on suspicion of spying for Israel, then sentenced to …

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MERS strikes again in Saudi Arabia

THE LEVANT – Three more Saudis have died of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), while a new case has surfaced, the Ministry of Health said on Thursday. Two of the deaths took place in Al-Kharj, 60 kilometers away from Riyadh, and the third in Taif. The latest casualties were …

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Bahrain releases pro-democracy activist awaiting trial

THE LEVANT – Bahraini authorities released pro-democracy activist Zainab Al Khawaja from detention on Wednesday, her lawyer and sister said, as she awaits trial over a charge of insulting Bahrain’s king by tearing up his picture. Zainab, daughter of jailed activist Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, fell foul of the judge last …

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Palestinian and international activists cross makeshift bridges over the separation wall

THE LEVANT – Friday morning around 50 Palestinian and international activists used makeshift bridges to cross the Apartheid wall between Qalandiya and Northern Jerusalem. This non-violent direct action was in response to the restrictions Israel had placed on Palestinian worshippers wishing to access Al-Aqsa Mosque in the past months. Activists scaled the wall one by …

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Iran: Ruling on Official Linked to Protester Deaths

THE LEVANT – An Iranian Supreme Court ruling barring from government positions a former judiciary figure linked to protester deaths after the disputed 2009 presidential election is a step toward justice, but far from adequate. In 2010 a parliamentary committee had found Mortazavi responsible for the deaths of three persons due …

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Yemen: Civilian Toll of Fighting in Capital

THE LEVANT – The Houthi armed group and the Yemeni armed forces’ Sixth Regional Command appear to have committed violations of the laws of war during fighting in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, from September 17-21, 2014. The government should investigate alleged violations by both sides and appropriately punish those responsible. Human Rights …

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Blast kills senior Islamist politician in Yemen

THE LEVANT – A car bombing on Tuesday killed a leading member of Yemen’s powerful Sunni Al-Islah party whose supporters have been battling Shiite militias, a security official said. Al-Islah assistant secretary general Sadeq Mansur died “immediately” when a device inside the door of his car exploded in the country’s …

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The Holy Grail

By Kevin Galalae – Controlling human life on the planet A flood of revelations hit me a few days ago.  Their significance will undoubtedly change society and ultimately history.  To help you follow my thought processes I will write them down in the order my mind unraveled them by going …

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The Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra: A Looming Grand Jihadi Alliance?

THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE – By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi – The international coalition- led by the U.S.- against the Islamic State [IS], with additional American airstrikes targeting the ‘Khorasan’ al-Qa’ida group in Syria (in reality just al-Qa’ida veterans from the Afghanistan-Pakistan embedded with Syria’s al-Qa’ida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra [JN])- has prompted media speculation …

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Syrian hero boy video is a hoax

THE LEVANT – A viral video showing a Syrian boy rescuing a girl under gunfire, watched online by millions of viewers, was faked by a Norwegian film crew, according to its director. Posted on YouTube on Monday, the “Syrian hero boy” video was shot on location in Malta last summer …

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340 dead in month-old battle for Libya’s Benghazi

THE LEVANT – At least 340 people have been killed in fighting for Libya’s second city Benghazi since the launch of a government-backed offensive against Islamist militias a month ago, medical sources said Saturday. At least 356 people have been killed in fighting for Libya’s second city Benghazi since the …

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Iraqi forces push Daash out of Baiji

THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE  – By Hussain Choukri – Iraqi forces broke a months-long siege by jihadist fighters of the country’s largest oil refinery Saturday as the top US officer flew in to discuss the expanded war against the Islamic State group. Iraqi forces broke the Islamic State group’s months-long siege …

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Fearing backlash, Jordan asserts Al-Aqsa custodianship

THE LEVANT – Jordan’s tough stance towards Israel over Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque reflects a determination to preserve its custodianship of the flashpoint site as well as its own stability, analysts say. By recalling its ambassador to Israel, the Hashemite kingdom sent a message that deploying police inside the mosque compound …

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Jerusalem, a sanctuary for all

By Prince Hassan bin Talal –  For Al-monitor- What is to be done about Jerusalem? Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, this region is witnessing new walls being built in vain attempts to contain problems between people. When will we realize that walls for separating cultures and people only …

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Denmark sends 25m in emergency aid to Gaza

THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE – Denmark is to send a further 25m kroner to Gaza to help the Palestinian children, announced Trade and Development Minister Mogens Jensen. The minister said that the latest funding, which is in addition to the 11m kroner sent in July, was to help the children of …

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Assessing trauma in Gaza

THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE – By John Simmens – The Gaza Strip is not a place most world travelers would eagerly visit. But Olympia clinical psychologist John Van Eenwyk, 68, is not your typical world traveler. He founded the International Trauma Treatment Program in Olympia and has spent much of his …

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Tensions rise over Al Aqsa

THE LEVANT – The leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, has described the continuous violations of Al-Aqsa Mosque at the hands of Israel as “an indication of the occupation’s arrogance and its increased stupidity,” Al-Araby Al-Jadid news website reported on Tuesday. Salah further explained that, “the …

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Israel wants to imprison a toddler

THE LEVANT – Palestinian Jerusalemite Bassam Zeidani confirmed that Israeli forces stormed his Jerusalem home yesterday and ordered the arrest of his nephew Hamza Zeidani, a child who is only two years old. Zeidani added that Israeli forces entered his home with a warrant for Hamza’s arrest and when they …

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Arabs seem to have lost direction

THE LEVANT – By Sobhi Ghandour – Islam has once again taken centre stage in the western media, with headlines dominated by terrorist attacks carried out by Muslims. However, acts of terrorism committed by non-Muslims are just seen as violent crimes by individuals. The concept of “Islam and the West” in modern …

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The new era of combatting terrorism

The Levant Exclusive – By Dr.Amer Al Sabaileh –   The launch of the airstrikes against IS marks a turning point and a long road ahead for the region, full of new and complex challenges. The focus of the fight against regional terrorism on IS has increased global coverage highlighting …

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