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By Tammy Bruce
Topic - Washington Institute For Near East Policy
Iranian support for embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad is producing a violent backlash against Tehran's interests in the Middle East and fueling a proxy war with Saudi Arabia that threatens to further destabilize the region.
He was an obscure compromise candidate when unexpectedly elected prime minister in 2006. Against all odds, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is still on the job, and holds a worrying level of power in Iraq as he heads into a meeting Friday with President Obama to discuss the still-troubled state of his nation — a decade after the U.S.-led military action that ousted dictator Saddam Hussein.
Al Qaeda-linked extremists battling Syria's regime have established safe havens in the eastern part of the country, where they are plotting attacks throughout the Middle East.
The number of drone strikes approved by the Obama administration on suspected terrorists has fallen dramatically this year, as the war with al Qaeda increasingly shifts to Africa and U.S. intelligence craves more captures and interrogations of high-value targets.
A senior Muslim Brotherhood official who, until recently, had been employed by the William J. Clinton Foundation was arrested in Cairo on Tuesday and charged with inciting violence.
With its enormously unpopular involvement on the side of President Bashar Assad in the Syrian civil war against the regime's primarily Sunni opposition, the Shiite-based Lebanese Hezbollah now finds itself facing the most severe existential crisis since its creation in the early 1980s.
With the White House closer to launching a surgical military strike on Syria, questions swirl over the extent to which such an attack could trigger a wave of terrorism directed at the U.S. and Israel.
The Muslim Brotherhood — battered in Egypt and losing popularity in some Arab countries — remains a political force across the Middle East and North Africa where the Islamist group is the main beneficiary of Arab Spring protests that have toppled entrenched dictatorships since 2010.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, whose threats have prompted the closure of Western embassies throughout the Arab world this week, is enjoying a resurgence in Yemen despite U.S. training of Yemeni troops and American airstrikes against the terrorist network.
As Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met at a State Department dinner Monday night for their first direct talks in more than three years, some in Washington's foreign policy community said ongoing meltdowns in other Middle Eastern nations may have created a rare window for peace between the two sides.
Egypt's interim president on Tuesday appointed a liberal economist and former finance minister as prime minister and former U.N. atomic watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei as vice president for foreign affairs.
Washington is preoccupied with the political decisions surrounding last year's attack in Benghazi, but nine months later the who and why of the terrorist assault that left four Americans dead remains shrouded in mystery.
Put down the arms. The Middle East peace process demands talk, diplomacy and politics, not military involvement, said U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
Several Washington-based human rights groups are facing criticism for awarding two radical Egyptian Islamists who have endorsed terrorism and expressed hostility toward Israel.
Iran's nuclear ambitions may loom large, but lurking in the shadow of President Obama's highly anticipated visit to Israel this week is a protracted and secretive war already being waged between Jerusalem and Tehran.