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Saudi opposition reports King Abdullah has terminal lung cancer

Saudi King Abdullah

Special to WASHINGTON — Saudi King Abdullah was said to be dying of cancer. An opposition research group said Abdullah was diagnosed with lung cancer. The Washington-based Institute for Gulf Affairs, quoting sources in Saudi Arabia and the United States, said Abdullah was told he could be dead by the end of 2014. “The [...]

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Al Qaida bloodbath in Syria terminates Nusara Front commander, wife, daughter, brother and two assassins

Abu Mohammed Al Ansari

Special to NICOSIA — A leading rebel commander has been killed in the Al Qaida war in Syria. Abu Mohammed Al Ansari was killed in the northern Syrian province of Idlib on April 16 in the latest attack by the rival Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Al Ansari, a commander for Al [...]

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Kurdistan completes border trench to stop Al Qaida infiltration from Syria

3-meter-wide trench is to stretch along 17 kilometers of the Iraq-Syria border.  /AFP/Safin Hamed

Special to BAGHDAD — Iraq’s autonomous region of Kurdistan has sought to seal its border with Syria. The Kurdistan Regional Government has completed a barrier meant to block infiltration of Al Qaida from Syria. The barrier spans 17 kilometers and consists of a huge trench that blocks foreigners. “This is part of Iraqi government [...]

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Jordan air strike at Syrian border said to hit convoy of U.S.-trained rebels

This aerial photo shows a truck burning after a Jordanian air strike on a convoy at the border between Jordan and Syria on Wednesday, April 16.  /AP

Special to AMMAN — For the first time, Jordan has launched air strikes on neighboring Syria. The Jordanian military said fighter-jets attacked armored vehicles in southern Syria as they sought to cross the border into the Hashemite kingdom. A military statement said the camouflaged vehicles, identified as Land Rovers, were destroyed. Later, diplomatic sources [...]

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New radiation belt said to optimize survival in nuclear catastrophe

StemRad 360 Gamma

Special to TEL AVIV — Israel has overseen the development of a belt that protects against nuclear radiation. The Israeli company Stemrad has developed a belt designed to block harmful gamma radiation. The product, called “StemRad 360 Gamma,” was meant to protect the pelvic area, which contains most of the body’s renewable bone marrow. [...]

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Hamas military wing again stung: 4 die from ‘mysterious explosion’


Special to GAZA CITY — The Hamas military and its allies have been hampered by a series of explosions amid suspected weapons tests. Over the last month, at least four people were killed in two blasts in the Gaza Strip. The casualties, acknowledged by Hamas, were said to have included military commanders. On April [...]

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Putin plays the Iran card: Kremlin won’t be ‘bound’ by U.S. sanctions

В.Путин провел совещание с членами правительства РФ

Special to MOSCOW — Iran and Russia have been discussing the resumption of strategic relations. Officials said the Kremlin has been negotiating terms for Russian nuclear, military and energy projects in Iran. The officials said the projects would not violate United Nations sanctions, but would take into account the easing of measures by the [...]

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Israel shocked by ‘unacceptable’ U.S. concessions on Iran’s nuclear program

Israeli Strategic Minister Yuval Steinitz

Special to JERUSALEM — Israel has expressed alarm over the prospect of U.S. nuclear concessions to Iran. Officials said the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was dismayed by indications that Washington would enable Iran to continue its nuclear program, including those elements that could be used for weapons. The officials cited testimony to [...]

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Chechens played key role in Syria, honed skills before returning home

Omar al Chechen and fighters from the Muhajireen Brigade in Syria.

Special to WASHINGTON — Chechen fighters have been playing a major role in Syria. Opposition sources and Western analysts agreed that Saudi Arabia has facilitated the recruitment of more than 1,000 Islamist fighters from Russia’s autonomous Chechnya. They said the Chechens significantly bolstered their presence in the Sunni revolt in Syria since Riyad [...]

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Report: Germany to turn down $25 billion tank deal with Saudis

Germany's Leopard-2A7 main battle tank

Special to LONDON — Germany was expected to reject a request by Saudi Arabia for hundreds of main battle tanks. A leading German newspaper said the Berlin government would not approve a Saudi request for up to 800 Leopard-2A7 MBTs. The newspaper, Bild, said the deal was opposed by leading members of the government [...]

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