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Hagel hearings reinforce congressional support for whatever Israel does

Commentary: GOP senators opt to grandstand rather than ask serious questions on defense policy.
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Former US Senator Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama's nominee for US Secretary of Defense, testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on Jan. 31, 2013. Facing tough questions from some senators at his confirmation hearing, Hagel said in his opening remarks that he wanted to keep America's armed forces the strongest in the world and that he supported using military force to safeguard the country's interests. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
The Senate Armed Services Committee — surely one of the most important committees in what we euphemistically refer to as the Upper House of our Congress — gave a nice, day-long display at the end of last week as to why Congress's approval rating, in a new survey, remained in single digits.
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Embattled Morsi seeks to burnish image at Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit in Cairo

Syria is expected to dominate the meeting, which brings together the Gulf states that oppose President Bashar al-Assad, and Iran, his closest regional ally.

Mali: Tuareg rebels capture 2 Islamist militant leaders

"We chased an Islamist convoy close to the frontier and arrested the two men the day before yesterday," Ibrahim Ag Assaleh, spokesman for the MNLA, told Reuters from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso.

French warplanes pound north Mali

French warplanes slammed rebel positions in northern Mali on Saturday night.

Meet the unlikely group that saved Timbuktu's manuscripts

BAMAKO, Mali — Timbuktu is no stranger to foreign invaders, so it’s librarians, curators and museum directors had a plan in place to save the city’s cultural heritage. Their testimony has convinced many that the vast majority, if not all, of Timbuktu’s manuscripts have in fact been saved from the depredations of vandals who attacked and destroyed Timbuktu’s UNESCO-designated graveyards, mausoleums and tombs.

Mali: French troops take last rebel stronghold in Kidal

French President Francois Hollande is planning to visit Mali on Saturday, accompanied by his defense and foreign ministers.

Mali: First the war, now the crisis

BAMAKO, Mali — In a little over two weeks around 3,000 French soldiers with armored vehicles and air support have ousted the fighters of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and its allies from every town in the desert north, meeting little resistance along the way.

Foreign policy reality: changed circumstances require new answers

Commentary: Kerry has an opportunity to look anew at the world and US response to crises.
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US President Barack Obama answers a question during a joint press conference with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai in the East Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 11, 2013. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)
If we need a debate on Obama's domestic agenda do we not need an equally public discussion on how to deal with an exploding Middle East?
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Mali elections to be held in July

Traore said he was determined "to organize as soon as possible...or before July 31, 2013, clean elections that are transparent and credible."

Obama’s cautious foreign policy has proved right so far

Commentary: Events, not intentions, will shape his record in the second term.
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US President Barack Obama waves to supporters after his victory speech at McCormick Place on election night Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago, Ill. The president was sworn in for his second term in office on Jan. 21, 2013, at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
President Obama’s first term failed to live up to the expectations of the left wing of his party, which hoped for a more radical change in domestic policy. His second term is likely to disappoint another important constituency — the media and foreign policy elites in Washington, D.C.
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