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A reported blog about all things Middle East and North Africa.

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Iranian security agents are seen through a shattered window at the scene of a remote-controlled bomb explosion in which an Iranian university lecturer was killed outside his Tehran residence on January 12, 2010. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

In at least the third assassination of its kind, an Iranian nuclear scientist was killed today when a bomb stuck to his car exploded in Tehran. 


Israel to take in Syria refugees?

Israel's military chief says yes.
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Israeli soldiers operate along Israel's border with Syria. (Uriel Sinai/AFP/Getty Images)

What if the Syrian government fell, prompting an influx of refugees into neighboring countries?


Syria's president in rare speech

President Bashar al-Assad blames foreign conspiracies for the 10-month-long uprising, but welcomes the idea of expanding government.
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A Syrian woman holds up a picture of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as she follows his speech on television at a cafe in Damascus today. (JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images)

Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, made his first televised speech since June, blaming a foreign conspiracy for the 10-month uprising against his regime. 


Qatar clamps down on booze, hurting vendors

Revenues slump after restaurants forced to stop selling alcohol in the tiny Gulf emirate.
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Qatar's government issued a ban on alcohol sales at a popular entertainment complex, slumping revenues. (Sean Gallup/AFP/Getty Images)

Qatar's government has shut down the sale of alcohol in the affluent Pearl island development, popular with expats.


Egypt official ducks Interpol warrant at London lecture

Egypt's former finance minister, wanted by Interpol for fraud, was ushered out of a lecture at the London School of Economics last night after being exposed by one of the students.
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Egypt's former and convicted finance minister, Youssef Boutros-Ghali, ducked out of university lecture in London after students spotted him in the audience. Interpol has issued a warrant for the former official for fraud. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Students attending a lecture at the London School of Economics (LSE) recognized Egypt's pre-revolution finance minister, Youssef Boutros-Ghali, in the audience. Their calls for him to be arrested under an international police warrant prompted security to whisk him out of the building. 


In Israel, election season comes early

Elections are 18 months away, but new- (and old-) comers alike throw their hats into the ring daily.
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Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is comforted by Yair Lapid as he speaks during the funeral of Lapid's father, Yosef (Tommy) Lapid, a former cabinet member and journalist who succumbed to cancer at the age of 77 the day before, on June 2, 2008 in Tel Aviv. (Avi Ohayon/Getty Images)

Elections seem to be in the air in Israel, with new- (and old-) comers throwing their hats into the ring daily, even though the actual polling date, at least on paper, remains 18 months away.

Increasingly, Israeli political analysts anticipate that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will call for early elections, possibly as soon as six months from now, thus upending the electoral schedule currently calling for elections in late 2013.

Last month, in a surprise announcement, Netanyahu announced that his party’s primary election — a one-day affair in Israel — will take place later this month. Most observers agreed it was a successful gambit to cancel out a possible challenge by former Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, who was left with little time to prepare a serious campaign.


Hezbollah says UN chief not welcome in Lebanon

United Nations chief Ban-ki Moon will visit Lebanon on Friday -- but Hezbollah says he is not welcome.
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Peacekeeping soldiers with the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) inspect one of their damaged vehicle at the scene where a powerful bomb struck a UN peacekeeping patrol in the Lebanese coastal town of Tyre on December 9, 2011. UN chief, Ban-ki Moon, will visit Lebanon on Friday. (MAHMOUD ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images)

Can Hezbollah decide what international officials are welcome in Lebanon? Well, they do control the Beirut's international airport. 


Mideast credit card wars heat up

Israeli hackers claim to have obtained the credit card numbers of thousands of Saudis, a week after what are believed to be Saudi hackers leaked the credit card information of more than 400,000 Israelis.
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Israeli stock market traders work at their office in the Meitav investment house in Tel Aviv. The banking information of over 400,000 Israelis was released last week by the online hacking group Anonymous. (MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)

It would seem the credit card numbers of the entire Middle East population are online (not really), in a growing cyber-war between hackers of enemy countries.


Israel parliament: Labor leader takes glass of water in the face (VIDEO)

Right-wing rep Anastasia Michaeli threw water on Labor MP Ghaleb Majadele.
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Israel's Knesset, or parliament. (Gali Tibbon/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel’s parliament is often a lively and irreverent place, and almost universally bemoaned among the people it is supposed to represent for the crudeness and ineffectiveness of its proceedings.

The Knesset Speaker, Likud member Ruby Rivlin, the scion of one of Jerusalem’s great families, is often dismissed for his courtly ways.

This morning the house found itself at an unprecedented low when right-wing Israel Beiteinu representative Anastasia Michaeli, a crony of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, threw a glass of cold water at the face of Labor party member of parliament Ghaleb Majadele. The entire sorry episode was filmed by Knesset TV and became talk of the day.

Ironically, the event occurred during a debate on the conduct of a school principal from the southern Negev Beduin town of Arara, who took his students on a field trip to a human rights parade in Tel Aviv.


Bypassing the Strait of Hormuz? Not quite yet.

The United Arab Emirates delays the construction of a pipeline that would reduce U.S. reliance on the Strait of Hormuz, at the center of tension between Iran and the U.S. in recent weeks.
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An Emirati soldier stands guard in front of the French navy frigate in 2009. A new pipeline in the United Arab Emirates would help reduce reliance on the Strait of Hormuz for oil exports to the West. (ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

The previous deadline for the Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline, which would would bypass the Strait of Hormuz to carry most of the UAE's oil, to international markets, was set for April, Reuters reports