Latest Middle East News

Qatar emir not attending annual Gulf summit in Saudi Arabia

Dec. 10, 2019 5:48 AM EST

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Qatar’s ruling emir is not attending the annual summit of Arab Gulf states being held Tuesday in Saudi Arabia, the country’s state media reported. The Qatar News Agency said that Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is instead sending Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin...

Egyptian whistleblower gets 5-year sentence in absentia

Dec. 10, 2019 12:15 AM EST

CAIRO (AP) — A self-exiled Egyptian businessman whose allegations of corruption against the country's military sparked rare protests has been sentenced in absentia to five years in prison for tax evasion. Mohamed Ali had released a series of viral videos from Spain earlier this year, pitching himself as a...

Natan Sharansky receives Israel's prestigious Genesis Prize

Dec. 9, 2019 11:49 PM EST

JERUSALEM (AP) — Former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky has been awarded Israel's prestigious 2020 Genesis Prize for a lifetime of work promoting political and religious freedoms, organizers announced Tuesday. The $1 million award is granted each year to a person recognized for outstanding professional...

African countries set meetings to resolve Nile dam dispute

Dec. 9, 2019 8:36 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — Officials from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan say they have agreed to hold two technical meetings in coming weeks in an effort to resolve a number of issues revolving around a $5 billion dam project on the Nile River. The foreign ministers of the three countries met in Washington Monday with...

Syria's Assad: OPCW faked a report on attack near Damascus

Dec. 9, 2019 4:26 PM EST

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad said in an interview aired Monday that the global chemical weapons watchdog has faked and falsified a report over an attack near the capital Damascus last year "just because the Americans wanted them to do so." Assad's comments to Italy's Rai News 24 came after...

Syrian president's uncle faces Paris money laundering trial

Dec. 9, 2019 2:43 PM EST

PARIS (AP) — The trial of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s uncle, who is accused of illegally using Syrian state funds to build a French real estate empire, opened Monday in Paris. The trial opened five years after Transparency International and French anti-corruption group Sherpa filed a complaint...

Saudi Arabia's deficit widens to $49B ahead of Aramco sale

Dec. 9, 2019 2:33 PM EST

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia will reduce spending in 2020 as the budget deficit widens to $49 billion amid sluggish oil prices and deeper curbs on oil production by the heavyweight producer. King Salman announced Monday expenditures will reach $272 billion next year, a nearly 8% decrease from...

Lebanon protesters scuffle with lawmaker's bodyguards

Dec. 9, 2019 12:57 PM EST

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese soldiers had to separate protesters and the bodyguards of a member of parliament after scuffles broke out under heavy rain Monday evening between the two sides in the northern city of Tripoli, leaving at least one person injured. Tripoli has witnessed some of the largest protests...

Iran ready for more prisoner swaps with US, not negotiations

Dec. 9, 2019 12:40 PM EST

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran is ready for more prisoner swaps with the United States, the Cabinet spokesman said Monday even as he reiterated the Iranian leadership's stance that there will be no other negotiations between Tehran and Washington. The remarks by the spokesman, Ali Rabiei, were the first after a...

Concerned EU weighs response to Turkey-Libya border deal

Dec. 9, 2019 12:11 PM EST

Brussels (AP) — The European Union's top diplomat said Monday that some EU countries are concerned over Turkey's controversial maritime border agreement with Libya but that the bloc will continue studying the deal before deciding whether to take action. The maritime deal, endorsed by the Turkish...