Middle East

Updated at 4:27 a.m. ET Friday

U.S. forces assassinated Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike early Friday near the Baghdad International Airport, an escalation of tensions between Washington and Tehran that is prompting concerns of further violence in the region.

Updated Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. ET

An angry mob protesting American airstrikes in Iraq and Syria tried to storm the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday, smashing through the main entrance and setting fire to a reception area as Marines guarding the compound fired tear gas to hold them back.

A 33-year-old U.S. Army Green Beret has become the 20th American service member to be killed by hostile fire this year in Afghanistan. His death on Monday makes it the deadliest year for U.S. forces since the official end of combat operations was declared in 2014.

Houthi rebels in Yemen released 290 detainees on Monday, a move seen as a hopeful sign amid the brutal civil war that has raged for years and devastated the country.

Those freed include 42 survivors of an airstrike earlier this month that hit a prison in West Yemen, killing more than 150 people. The strike was carried out by the Saudi-led coalition that has been bombing the Iran-aligned Houthis since they seized the capital city of Sanaa and forced out the Saudi-backed government in 2015.

When Aziz Rafiee heard that President Trump called off talks with the Taliban, he couldn't quite believe it. "My first question to myself was: What is really happening?" he says. Then Rafiee, who leads the Afghan Civil Society Forum in Kabul, says he felt a sense of relief.

And he says most of his friends also support Trump's decision.

The U.S. president's abrupt move over the weekend to scuttle a potential deal with the Taliban surprised many who had been following the multiple rounds of negotiations. It has also led to questions about what might come next.

Hamza bin Laden, the son of the late al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, is reported dead, according to multiple news organizations citing U.S. officials.

President Trump has vetoed a series of measures approved by bipartisan lawmakers that were aimed at blocking the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Trump said the three resolutions would "weaken America's global competitiveness and damage the important relationship we share with our allies and partners."

Lawmakers in support of the bills have criticized the Saudis' actions in the Yemen conflict where thousands of civilians have died, and the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Updated at 4:30 a.m. ET Tuesday

Hours after the White House imposed new sanctions against Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a televised speech, President Hassan Rouhani called the move "outrageous and idiotic."

Rouhani called the sanctions a sign that the Trump administration had "become mentally crippled." Earlier, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi tweeted that the latest "useless sanctions" marked "the permanent closure of the path of diplomacy."

The Defense Department announced it is deploying 1,000 more U.S. troops to the Middle East "for defensive purposes" amid growing tensions with Iran.

Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Monday in a statement that the action, meant to address air, naval, and ground-based threats, comes after "a request from the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) for additional forces."

The Trump administration has blamed Iran for a series of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

Updated at 6:27 p.m. ET

President Trump has ordered some 1,500 troops to the Gulf region to serve a "mostly protective" purpose for American forces and interests.

Trump made the announcement to reporters on the White House lawn before boarding Marine One.

In a Pentagon briefing on Friday, Vice Adm. Michael Gilday, the director of the Joint Staff, would not say where the additional troops would be sent, other than that they would not be heading to Iraq and Syria.

Autocracy and Chaos in Egypt

Aug 16, 2018
Ahmed Abd El-Fatah / Wikimedia Commons

The Arab Spring of 2011 in Egypt sent chilling images around the world. The people overthrew their autocratic leader, Hosni Mubarak. What resulted was chaos for the north African country. 

Two years later Egypt returned to authoritarian rule with Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who has taken more severe measures against dissent than his predecessor. 

New York Times Cairo bureau chief David Kirkpatrick details these events in his book, “Into the Hands of the Soldiers.” The book is a journalist-eye view of the conflict, examining where rebels and pro-government forces went wrong. 

Crisis in Yemen

Dec 12, 2017
Ibrahem Qasim / Wikipedia

Today at 10am

With the killing of deposed dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, warring sides in Yemen have lost their main exit strategy and go-between. What does Saleh’s death mean for the future of Yemen and U.S. involvement in the country? Experts in regional politics join us to discuss the unfolding situation.

President Trump said he would let his generals manage the fight against the Islamic State. And so far, he's done that.

The U.S. and its coalition partners carried out more than 5,000 airstrikes in Syria and Iraq combined in August. That's the highest monthly figure since the air campaign began three years ago.

Updated at 6 p.m. ET on Aug. 20

President Trump's calculation about Afghanistan boils down to a familiar question in U.S. national security: Of all the bad options, what's the least worst?

Trump will "provide an update on the path forward" in Afghanistan and South Asia on Monday night at 9 ET, the White House said on Sunday. The president will make the announcement at Fort Myer in Arlington, Va.

The Role of Arab States in Terrorism

May 24, 2017
President Donald Trump meets with King Hamed bin Issa of Bahrain during their bilateral meeting, Sunday, May 21, 2017, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Shealah Craighead / The White House

A day before the Islamic State claimed the terror attack at a concert in Manchester, England, President Trump spoke at the Arab-Islamic-American summit in Saudi Arabia where he urged Muslim world leaders to increase their efforts in combating terrorism. How will the Gulf states respond to the threat of international terrorism?

Join us today as we discuss this, the role of terror in the Middle East, and the U.S.-Middle East relations on terrorism. 

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