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Three elections, three reactions: Ukraine, Egypt and Syria

- As it happens, there have been elections in all the three countries in June, and it is useful to study the circumstances surrounding those elections and the West's reactions to those elections. -Farhang Jahanpour - 7/21/14

"Indiscriminate" Bombing in Gaza Pushes Death Toll Beyond 500

- In the Gaza City suburb of Shuja'iyya on Sunday, more than 120 Palestinians-at least 40 of whom where women and children-were killed during intense and reportedly "indiscriminate" bombing by Israeli forces. The Ma'an News Agency reports that overall, 150 Palestinians were killed across the territory on Sunday. -Jon Queally, Common Dreams - 7/21/14

Iran Plays a Waiting Game in Afghanistan

- It has been a worrisome few weeks for Iran. The negotiations with world powers over its nuclear program are seeing significant differences, there is chaos in Iraq to Iran's west, and more recently, the political transition in its eastern neighbor, Afghanistan, hit a serious bump with allegations of fraud threatening to derail the process. -Sumitha Narayanan Kutty - 7/21/14

Planned Chaos in the Middle East-and Beyond

- Geopolitical observers of the Middle East turbulence tend to blame the raging chaos in the area on the presumed failure of the "incoherent," "illogical" or "contradictory" policies of the United States. Irrefutable evidence (some of which presented in this study) suggests, however, that in fact the chaos represents the success, not failure, of those policies-policies that are designed by the beneficiaries of war and military adventures in the region, and beyond. -Ismael Hossein-zadeh - 7/20/14

'Death and horror' in Gaza as thousands flee Israeli bombardment

- Palestinian government condemns attack on Gaza's Shejaiya neighbourhood as 'war crime' as Israel widens ground offensive -Guardian - 7/20/14

Iran, World Powers Agree to Extend Nuclear Talks

- World powers and Iran have agreed to extend a deadline for reaching an agreement aimed at limiting Iran's nuclear program until mid-November, citing progress made, but nowhere near enough to reach a deal. The announcement came early Saturday morning in Vienna after the latest set of marathon talks between Iran and world powers. -Lisa Bryant, VOA - 7/19/14

Covert war against Iran's nuclear scientists: a widow remembers

- The wife of the first scientist to be assassinated speaks about her husband's growing fear of a net closing around him - and of meeting his Israeli-trained assassin before his execution. -Scott Peterson, CSM - 7/18/14

Iranian Commanders on Front Line of Iraq's Fight

- A powerful Iranian general has emerged as the chief tactician in Iraq's fight against Sunni militants, working on the front lines alongside 120 advisers from his country's Revolutionary Guard to direct Shiite militiamen and government forces in the smallest details of battle, militia commanders and government officials say. -AP - 7/18/14

Column: Extension Looks Likely for Iran Nuclear Talks

- That the sides cannot quite close all the gaps is as much a function of politics as are technical concerns over aspects of the Iranian nuclear program. So much is riding on these negotiations that for either side to give in too quickly would likely be viewed negatively by key constituencies around the world and back home. -Barbara Slavin - 7/17/14

Breakout, Shmeakout: The Wrong Way to Assess a Nuclear Deal with Iran

- There is a preoccupation with "breakout" - a scenario in which an Iran supposedly determined to violate an agreement suddenly races to build a nuclear weapon - and with stripping away Iranian capabilities in order to lengthen the time required under such a scenario for Iran to produce enough fissile material for a weapon. The fixation with breakout, with the repeated references to it as a supposed reason to be wary of any agreement with Iran, is misplaced for several reasons. -Paul Pillar - 7/16/14

Kerry, Iran's Zarif In 'Very Tough' Nuclear Talks In Vienna

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he is engaged in "very tough" negotiations in Vienna with Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif over Iran's nuclear program. Kerry's comments on July 14 come six days before a deadline for a deal curbing Iran's controversial nuclear program is to expire. - 7/15/14

Kerry: 'Real Gaps' Remain in Iran's Nuclear Talks

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says diplomats from Iran and a group of six world powers have made progress in talks about Iran's nuclear program, but that "very real gaps remain" on key issues. Kerry spoke Tuesday in Vienna after the latest meeting in an effort to find a long-term agreement to ensure Iran's nuclear program is peaceful. - 7/15/14

Iraq's Disintegration Would be Contagious and Destabilizing

- When the Soviet Union fell in 1991, there was hope that a main barrier to implementing the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and creating a more law-based international system and order had been removed, offering the chance that states, both great and small, would endeavor to organize their relations on the basis of law and principle and not sheer power and ambition. -Shireen T. Hunter - 7/15/14

No Breakthrough In Iran Nuclear Talks

- There appeared to be no breakthrough in talks between world powers and Iran, a week before the deadline to strike a momentous nuclear deal. The European ministers left late on July 13 saying no breakthrough had been made, although Kerry remained for further discussions with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif that are expected to continue on July 14. - 7/14/14

Israeli Propaganda and the Politics of Revenge against Gaza

- Well, the Palestinians who live in the Gaza Strip are 80 percent refugees--80 percent of them are descended directly from those who were forced off their land in what is now Israel in 1947 in 1948. And now they're being told to leave again. And they have nowhere to go. There are no bomb shelters in the Gaza Strip. There is nowhere for these refugees to flee. -The Real News Network - 7/14/14

Iran sees no benefit in developing nuclear weapons: Foreign Minister Zarif

- "I will commit to everything and anything that would provide credible assurances for the international community that Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons, because we are not. We don't see any benefit in Iran developing a nuclear weapon." - 7/13/14

U.S., Iran Warn Major Disputes Remain At Nuclear Talks

- The United States and Iran are both warning that major disputes remain in the Vienna talks over Iran's nuclear program. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in Vienna on July 13 that "obviously we have some very significant gaps still, so we need to see if we can make some progress." - 7/13/14

Ed Levine Dissects Royce-Engel Letter on Iran Deal

- Ed Levine has now written a second memo, this one on the Royce-Engel letter to President Barack Obama, which I wrote about last night and which had been signed by 344 House members as of Thursday. Like its predecessor, it details the problematic and unrealistic nature of many of the key demands contained in the letter and thus deserves the widest possible circulation. -Jom Lobe - 7/13/14

The Map: A Palestinian Nation Thwarted & Speaking Truth to Power

- As part of my original posting, I mirrored a map of modern Palestinian history that has the virtue of showing graphically what has happened to the Palestinians politically and territorially in the past century. -Juan Cole - 7/13/14

Spoiler Alert: Iran Hawks Take Wing Against Nuclear Deal

- After a period of relative (and blissful) quiescence, the Iran hawks are springing back into action, preparing the groundwork for sabotaging any nuclear deal that may be reached by Iran and world powers by July 20 or shortly thereafter. -Jim Lobe - 7/12/14

The Hopes and Fears of an Agreement with Iran

- Over the last century, July 20 was more than once a consequential date, for good and ill. The ill was in 1944: the unsuccessful plot to kill Adolph Hitler. The good was in 1969: the first manned landing on the moon. Success on the former July 20 might have spared at least some of the terrible suffering that continued for another 10 months; the latter ushered in a new era of expectations. -Robert E. Hunter - 7/12/14

US Backing Israeli War of Choice In Gaza

- The moral high ground is always a tenuous piece of property. It is difficult to obtain and is easily lost. It is seen, however, as crucial because most people, all over the world, cannot accommodate the notion that life is composed of shades of grey; they desperately need to see black and white, good guys and bad guys, heroes and villains, in every situation. Nowhere is this truer than in the Israel-Palestine conflict. -Mitchell Plitnick - 7/12/14

How a U.S.-Iran nuclear deal could help save Iraq

- A new strategic relationship between the United States and Iran may seem impossible and risky, yet it is also necessary and in the interests of both. While an alliance is out of the question, mutually informed parallel action is essential. -Ryan Crocker, William Luers and Thomas Pickering, Washington Post - 7/12/14

Israel's Groundhog Day: Reverse Snowballs and the Horror of Lawn-Mowing

- As in the Bill Murray science fiction vehicle "Groundhog Day," the Israelis, the Palestinians and the world are doomed to relive these periodic slaughters over and over again, until slowly, inexorably, they further corrupt the Israeli soul and make the Zionist enterprise so unlovely in the eyes of the world that it loses crucial support, and the snowball rolls uphill, getting smaller and smaller. -Juan Cole - 7/12/14

Iran may cooperate with U.S. on Iraq: Rafsanjani

- "Iran and the United States have common interests in Iraq. And there is no obstacle to cooperation. If the two countries deem it necessary that there is a need for cooperation, they may make planning in this regard," Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said in an exclusive interview with the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun on July 7. - 7/10/14

Iran: From 'axis of evil' to last best hope in the Middle East

- By easing sanctions and fostering economic growth in Iran, the U.S. can ultimately promote a sustainable relationship based on mutual needs and benefits. Now more than ever, the opportunity for just such a partnership exists in Iran's budding technology market. -Arezo Yazd, CNN - 7/10/14

On Israel-Palestine and BDS

- The misery caused by Israel's actions in the occupied territories has elicited serious concern among at least some Israelis. One of the most outspoken, for many years, has been Gideon Levy, a columnist for Haaretz, who writes that "Israel should be condemned and punished for creating insufferable life under occupation, [and] for the fact that a country that claims to be among the enlightened nations continues abusing an entire people, day and night." -Noam Chomsky, Nation - 7/10/14

US Diplomat: Bahrain 'Undermining' Reform Talks With Expulsion Threat

- The Bahraini government Monday accused visiting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski of interfering in internal affairs and called for his immediate departure after he met with opposition members, who have been advocating reform since a 2011 uprising. - 7/9/14

Iran Sends 3 Attack Planes to Iraqi Government

- Deepening its involvement in the crisis in Iraq, Iran has sent three Russian-made attack planes to the Maliki government that could be deployed against the Sunni militants who have wreaked havoc on Iraqi military forces, American and Iraqi officials said Tuesday. -NY Times - 7/9/14

Benjamin Netanyahu's Excellent Adventure

- The last few months have gone rather well for the right-wing Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu, in the sense of advancing its prime objective of indefinitely extending the occupation and colonization of Palestinian territory by ensuring failure of any diplomatic efforts to end the occupation. -Paul Pillar, LobeLog - 7/8/14

Israeli Police Caught On Video Beating Palestinian U.S. Citizen

- It is a nightmare day for the Khdeir family, in East Jerusalem and in Tampa, Florida. It's worth taking a close look at the conditions they are facing in light of crimes committed against some of their youngest members that most of us will, thankfully, never have to come close to experiencing. -Mitchell Plitnick - 7/6/14

Rafsanjani calls for Saudi-Iranian effort against extremists

- Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Chairman of Iran's Expediency Council, has called on Iran and Saudi Arabia to cooperate in the fight against extremism in the region. Meeting in Tehran with the Saudi ambassador to Iran, Hashemi Rafsanjani said: "Differences among Islamic countries in the region are giving terrorist groups an opportunity to escalate their activities, and this in turn has weakened the Islamic world." - 7/6/14

Iran News Agency Reports Death Of Iranian Pilot In Iraq

- Iran's official IRNA news agency says an Iranian pilot has been killed while fighting in Iraq. The news agency said Colonel Shoja'at Alamdari Mourjani was killed while "defending" Shi'ite Muslim holy sites in the city of Samarra, north of Baghdad. It did not say whether the pilot died while flying sorties or fighting on the ground. - 7/5/14

Iran and the Six Powers Must Make a Good Deal, But Can They?

- Verifiably trusting Iran may be the best option. After all, if a country the size and geography of Iran intended to clandestinely build a bomb, no amount of inspection and verification will ever be able to detect or stop it. Even if Iran had the intention to build bombs it could be better diverted by other means than sanctions and inspections - like regional security cooperation, trade and foreign investment, and political reform in Iran, all of which will build trust and confidence. -Hooshang Amirahmadi - 7/4/14

Explainer: How Iran Could Help Iraq Fight ISIL

- To help Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government battle militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Iran could potentially offer significant assistance through its powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which reportedly has been active in Iraq during the past decade, analysts say. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 7/4/14

Iranian Warplanes Reportedly Deployed In Iraq

- Areport by a London-based think tank suggests that Iran has supplied Iraq with warplanes to bolster its forces as it fights an offensive by Sunni-led Islamist militants. The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) says imagery analysis of a video released by the Iraqi authorities suggests the Sukhoi jets delivered on July 1 originated from Iran. -RFE - 7/3/14

"Bad Deal" Better Than "No Deal"?

- "No deal is better than bad deal:" that's the mantra that has been heard ad nauseam in the recent past and presented as self-evident of U.S. toughness in the negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. -Francois Nicoulaud - 7/2/14

Iraqi Turmoil And the Global Oil Market

- According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), Iraq has the fifth largest proven oil reserves in the world. Yet 90 percent of its resources are unexplored, mainly due to years of war and sanctions. Production costs in Iraq might be some of the lowest in the world, yet its production has never exceeded 4 million barrels a day (mb/d). -Sara Vakhshouri - 7/1/14

Which Is Worse for Saudi Arabia, ISIS or Maliki?

- Has King Abdullah backed away from his longstanding refusal to have anything to do with an Iraqi government that includes Nouri al-Maliki? Reporters who were in Jeddah when Abdullah met with Secretary of State John F. Kerry Friday seemed to think so, based on a background briefing by the ubiquitous "senior official." -Thomas Lippman - 6/30/14

U.S.: What Is the Greatest Threat of Them All?

- This month's stunning campaign by Sunni insurgents led by the radical Islamic State of Syria and the Levant (ISIL) against the mainly Shi'a government of Iraqi President Nouri Al-Maliki is stoking a growing debate here about the hierarchy of threats facing the United States in the Middle East and beyond. -Jim Lobe - 6/29/14

Iran General: Ready to Help Iraq Against Militants

- Iran is ready to help Iraq fight an armed revolt using the same methods it deployed against opposition forces in Syria, an Iranian general said, suggesting Tehran is offering to take a larger role in battling Sunni militias threatening Baghdad. -Reuters - 6/29/14

Education opens doors for Afghan refugees in Iran

- Afghan refugee Nasibah is now an obstetrics surgeon in Iran, an achievement she and her family never felt possible. The 32-year-old faced tremendous obstacles in pursuing her dream. - 6/28/14

Reaching a Compromise on Iran's Enrichment Program

- Right now the buzz around Iran is related to Iraq, but the July 20 deadline to reach a final nuclear deal set by last year's interim accord is fast approaching, and as of July 2 representatives from Tehran and the P5+1 will be in Geneva for a marathon round of talks. -Derek Davison - 6/27/14

An Alliance of Convenience with Iran? Baghdad as "Exhibit A"

- The violence in Iraq has provoked serious considerations by the West as to whether cooperation with Iran is worth testing to secure regional stability. In the last decade, both sides have avoided expanding their dialogue beyond the nuclear issue in fear of giving the other side leverage or poisoning the talks. -Ellie Geranmayeh - 6/27/14

Syria, Iran Join Fight Against Iraq's Militants

- The Syrian and Iranian fight against the militants linked to ISIL has produced an extraordinary confluence of interests with the United States, which otherwise is staunchly opposed to the Damascus regime of President Bashar al-Assad and is engaged in contentious negotiations with Iran over its nuclear development program. -VOA - 6/27/14

The US in the Middle East: Back to First Principles

- What do we, the United States, need - as opposed to want - in the Middle East? It's no secret that the region is in a mess. But as Hamlet could have said about US responsibilities: "O cursed spite, that ever I was born to set it right." -Robert E. Hunter - 6/27/14

At a bar in Tel Aviv, Israelis root for Iran

- The last great era of Israeli-Iranian friendship might have ended with the fall of the ancient Persian empire, but from the mood at one of Wednesday night's World Cup watch parties, you wouldn't have known it had been more than 2,000 years since the two peoples last hung out. -Michael Mitchell, Haaretz - 6/26/14

Advancing U.S. Interests Through Cooperation With Iran

- Alarm about the advance in Iraq by the group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has led even as inveterate a hawk as Lindsey Graham to see some advantage in cooperating with Iran. The United States and Iran may indeed seem like the ultimate in strange bedfellows, but that is only because of rigid thinking that divides the world into allies and adversaries and rejects having anything to do with the adversaries. -Paul Pillar - 6/25/14

Three Iranian Guards Killed Near Iraq Border

- Unidentified gunmen have reportedly killed three members of Iran's security forces in the western province of Kermanshah. Iranian media reported that the three were killed overnight while patrolling near the village of Taze-Abad, about 50 kilometers from the border with Iraq. - 6/25/14

What Iran Wants in Iraq and Why

- For some time, the problems of Iraq and indeed of all of the Middle East have been blamed on Iran for its interference and meddling, especially for exporting its ideology and attempting to establish hegemony over the region. -Shireen T. Hunter - 6/23/14

Fear of a Decrease in Fear of Iran

- Many participants in debate on U.S. policy in the Middle East have a lot invested in maintaining the idea of the Islamic Republic of Iran as a bogeyman forever to be feared, despised, sanctioned, and shunned, and never to be cooperated with on anything. -Paul R. Pillar, National Interest - 6/23/14

Sign this petition to reject Sunni-Shia violence

- Sectarian violance between Shia and Sunni muslims is escalating. The violance is intensifying and it is spreading to more regions of the world every year. Unfortunately millions of tolerant Shia and Sunni muslims are silent and do not realize how dangerous this situation is. -Nader Habibi - 6/23/14

Iranian President Warns 'Petrodollar' States About Supporting Militants

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani has said in a speech that those who "spend their money and oil dollars to help terrorists today [should] know that tomorrow is your turn." - 6/22/14

Sunni-Led Militants Capture More Iraqi Towns

- Sunni insurgents led by Al-Qaeda offshoot the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have captured three strategic towns in western Iraq and the first border crossing with Syria. - 6/22/14

Iran: Obama Not Serious in Fighting Terrorism

- President Barack Obama's plan to send advisers to Iraq to help Baghdad counter Sunni Islamist militants shows the United States is not serious about fighting terrorism, an Iranian official was quoted by official media as saying on Friday. -Reuters - 6/21/14

Pro-Diplomacy Groups Call for Congress to Clarify Iran Sanctions Letter

- Washington, DC - Twenty-six organizations called on the leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee today to clarify a pending Congressional sign-on letter to the President concerning nuclear negotiations with Iran. - 6/20/14

Israel: The Silent Stakeholder in Northern Iraq

- One of the more remarkable aspects of the recent news coverage of Iraq - the Maliki government's loss of control over the northern region of the country, the deadly confrontations taking place between Iraqi Shia and Sunnis, and the clashes between Kurds and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIL or ISIS) - is the absence of any mention of Israel. -Marsha B. Cohen - 6/20/14

Pivot to Persia

- On New Year's Eve 1977, President Jimmy Carter famously toasted the Shah at the Saadabad Palace in Tehran and declared, "Iran ... is an island of stability in one of the more troubled areas of the world." Less than two years later, Iran was in chaos as the revolution swept the country and brought down the 2,500-year-old monarchy... -Trita Parsi - 6/20/14

Explainer: How Could Washington And Tehran Cooperate Over Iraq?

- The United States and Iran have long been adversaries in Iraq, though both are Baghdad's allies. Now, as insurgents have swept across the north of the country, Washington and Tehran have reasons to work together. But could they? Here are five things to consider. -Charles Recknagel, RFE - 6/19/14

Is Qatar plundering Iran's share in the South Pars joint gas field?

- The South Pars gas field, which is the largest single gas field in the world, is a joint gas field in the Persian Gulf in the borders of Iran and Qatar. While Qatar has succeeded to use these resources in the line of achieving the highest per capita income in the world, Iran had hardly been able to do anything other than supplying gas to its own domestic consumers in subsidized prices. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 6/19/14

With War at Doorstep, Iran Sees Its Revolutionary Guards in a Kinder Light

- War and conflict in the Middle East have been a distant nightmare as seen from Iran's safe capital, the seat of power of the Shiite world. But the successes of the Sunni extremists of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS, have brought the dead to its doorstep. -Thomas Erdbring, NY Times - 6/19/14

Iran's Qasem Soleimani wields power behind the scenes in Iraq

- A few years ago, it was almost impossible to find a photograph of Qasem Soleimani. Now Iranian TV channels show documentaries about him, and his picture is on the front page of many newspapers. For Gen Soleimani the time has come to emerge from the shadows and reap what he has been sowing for decades as head of the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. -Bozorgmehr Sharafedin, BBC - 6/19/14

U.S. Congress Divided Over Working With Iran

- WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with congressional leaders on June 18 at the White House to discuss the situation in Iraq, with senators divided on whether to work with Iran to resolve the crisis. -Luke Johnson, RFE - 6/18/14

Insurgents Attack Iraq's Largest Oil Refinery, Iran Vows Action

- On June 18, Iranian President Hassan Rohani said Tehran would do whatever it takes to protect revered Shi'ite shrines in Karbala, Najaf, Kadhimiyah, and Samarra against ISIL fighters. Speaking in a live televised address in Khoram-abad, near the Iraq border, Rohani said "Dear Karbala, Dear Najaf, Dear Kadhimiyah and Dear Samarra, we warn the great powers and their lackeys and the terrorists, the great Iranian people will do everything to protect them." - 6/18/14

European MEK Supporters Downplay ISIS Role in Iraq

- While the world watched in horror as jihadist extremists from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seized the Iraqi city of Mosul, some members of the European Parliament (MEPs) claimed that these actions were not carried out by ISIS, but were "part of a popular uprising" against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. -Eldar Mamedov - 6/18/14

Panel discussion in San Francisco: Impact of War on Women and Children in the Middle East

- Senses Cultural is presenting a panel discussion on the Impact of War on Women and Children in the Middle East to be held on June 28th from 2-5 pm at San Francisco State University. - 6/18/14

Iran Deal: Could a Concerned Congress Hinder Negotiations?

- As the complex interplay of issues and actors that will determine the outcome of the ongoing negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 heats up, many questions still remain unanswered. One of the important actors, whose role has been relatively underanalyzed and is often not properly acknowledged or understood, is the United States Congress. -Ehsan M. Khah, National Interest - 6/18/14

Iran IRGC's First 'Martyr' Versus ISIL?

- Several hard-line Iranian websites and blogs are reporting that Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has lost one of its members as the result of the fighting in Iraq. The reports claim IRGC member Alireza Moshajari thus became the first Iranian "martyr" in the fight against the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 6/17/14

Pentagon: No Plans to Consult Iran Over Possible Action in Iraq

- PENTAGON, STATE DEPARTMENT - The Pentagon is downplaying speculation about U.S. and Iranian military cooperation in Iraq, hours after Secretary of State John Kerry made the suggestion in an interview. A military spokesman told reporters Monday the U.S. is not planning to work with Iran militarily to protect its troubled neighbor - Jeff Seldin, Scott Stearns, VOA - 6/17/14

Why Iran Is America's Best New Partner in the Middle East

- It's stunning that, as we witness the spectacle of a crumbling Iraq and wonder what to do about it, the media turn for wisdom to the junkyard oracles who helped spawn the mess to begin with. Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, L. Paul Bremer-no one should care a whit what they think, they've been so consistently wrong about everything. -Fred Kaplan, Slate - 6/17/14

US, Iran Reportedly Prepared for Direct Talks on Iraq

- As international talks on Iran's nuclear program resume Monday in Vienna, the Obama administration is reportedly ready to open direct talks with Tehran on how they might blunt a Sunni militant offensive in Iraq. While one U.S. lawmaker indicated a need for Washington to work with Iran, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States is reaching out to the international community, including Iraq's neighbors. - 6/16/14

The Real Causes of Iraq's Problems

- The beleaguered Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, is the latest in the long list of the West's favorite political leaders turned into pariahs. The conventional wisdom now is that Maliki's flaws and wrong policies, especially his alienation of the Sunnis and dictatorial style of governance, are at the root of Iraq's problems, including its latest troubles with extremist Islamic militants. -Shireen T. Hunter - 6/16/14

U.S. Lawmaker Says Iran's Help Unavoidable In Iraq

- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said the United States needs Iran's involvement in Iraq, and Washington should open talks with Tehran, a step he described as unattractive but perhaps unavoidable. - 6/16/14

U.S. Sends Carrier To Gulf, Urges New Iraqi Government

- Washington has sent an aircraft carrier into Persian Gulf to provide U.S. President Barack Obama with military options if the security situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the aircraft carrier - along with a guided-missile cruiser and a guided-missile destroyer - would be in position on June 15. - 6/15/14

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) - update by

- The National IHR Focal Points of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Islamic Republic of Iran recently reported additional laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) to WHO. - 6/15/14
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