The Guardian - Middle East Sun Feb 25 6:15 AM
Nissim Baruch Black: the rapper who gave up bling for Jewish redemption
The former drug dealer tells of his journey from a tough Seattle neighbourhood to an ultra-orthodox family life in Jerusalem. Once he rapped about gangs, guns and drugs. But since swapping his gold jewellery for a black hat, the message of Nissim Baruch Black's music has been one of hope and redemption.
Feb 25 12:04AM Guardian-MiddleEast

The Observer view on the UN failure to stop slaughter in eastern Ghouta | Observer editorial
As war in Syria enters its eighth year with an upsurge in death and destruction, the future of global governance looks bleak The world has come to expect brutality from the regime of Bashar al-Assad. As Syria's civil war enters its eighth year next month, the suffering of the besieged people of eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, is as extreme as anything seen since this appalling conflict began. Less expected, perhaps, is the shaming inability, or unwillingness, of the international community to put a stop to this latest upsurge in death and destruction.
Feb 25 12:02AM Guardian-MiddleEast

Waiting for Putin and Assad to run out of people to kill. Is that our plan? | Ian Bond
The response to years of atrocities enacted by the Syrian leader and his allies has been shameful. We should reconsider the use of force on them. It has been a quieter than average week in Syria.
Feb 25 12:01AM Guardian-MiddleEast

UN security council votes unanimously for month-long Syria ceasefire
United Nations votes to allow humanitarian access and evacuationsMoscow mired in Syria as Putin's gameplan becomes bogged down. The UN security council voted unanimously on Saturday for a month-long ceasefire across Syria to allow for humanitarian deliveries and medical evacuation. Related: Syria death toll over 500 as eastern Ghouta bombing continues Continue reading.
Feb 24 8:35PM Guardian-MiddleEast

Two car bombs kill at least six and wound 43 in Yemen city of Aden
Isis says it carried out attacks, aimed at anti-terrorism camp and office of the separatist STC Two car bombs killed at least six people and wounded 43 in Yemen's southern city of Aden on Saturday, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State. The first bomb targeted an anti-terrorism military camp with detention facilities for suspected militants, while the other targeted an office for the separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) which is also the residence of Aden's former governor, Aidarous al-Zubaidi, witnesses and officials said. Al-Zubaidi was not present when the bomb went off.
Feb 24 6:39PM Guardian-MiddleEast

Syria death toll nears 500 as eastern Ghouta bombing continues
Scale of attacks preventing recovery of bodies as medics struggle to treat injured Bombing raids have killed more Syrians in the besieged enclave of eastern Ghouta before a delayed UN vote on a ceasefire to allow medical and food aid to reach civilians. Nearly a week into one of the most fierce assaults of Syria's long civil war, nearly 500 people were dead and hundreds more injured, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Related: 'We can change this reality': the women sharing news of war in Ghouta In an attempt to convey the desperate and unyielding misery, the United Nations Children's Fund released a blank statement on 20 February.
Feb 24 1:23PM Guardian-MiddleEast

The Syrian teenager tweeting the horror of life in Ghouta - video
Muhammad Najem, a? 15?-?year?-?old ?resident of the ?devastated rebel enclave on the outskirts of Damascus, is using social media to share videos of daily bombardments, and food and medical shortages. With hundreds of civilians killed this week alone, Muhammad's latest posts have called on the international community to take action and accused President Bashar al-Assad of killing his childhood'We can change this reality': the women sharing news of war in GhoutaUN security council fails to agree on Syria ceasefire after second day of talks Continue reading..
Feb 24 8:56AM Guardian-MiddleEast

'We can change this reality': the women sharing news of war in Ghouta
As bombs fall on the besieged area of Syria, women's voices are at the forefront When the bombs start falling, two dozen adults and children gather in one room in Bayan Wehan's home in besieged eastern Ghouta, Syria. They hold hands, hug each other and try to find hope. I put my brother's daughter in my lap, she is five-years-old, and I try to make her forget the shelling noises.
Feb 24 7:00AM Guardian-MiddleEast

US brings forward Jerusalem embassy opening to May
Ceremony timed to coincide with 70th anniversary of Israel's independence The US expects to open its Israeli embassy in Jerusalem in May, officials have said, bringing forward Donald Trump's contentious plan forward by at least a year. US officials said the move was to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel. The country declared independence on 14 May 1948, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned at the embassy in mid-May.
Feb 23 5:45PM Guardian-MiddleEast

Why are world leaders backing this brutal attack against Kurdish Afrin? | David Graeber
Islamist militants - with Turkish army support - are wreaking havoc with a pocket of peace and sanity in the Syrian war. Three years ago the world watched a ragtag band of men and women fighters in the Syrian town of Kobane, most armed only with Kalashnikovs, hold off a vast army of Islamist militants with tanks, artillery and overwhelming logistical superiority. The defenders insisted they were acting in the name of revolutionary feminist democracy.
Feb 23 5:10PM Guardian-MiddleEast

Eastern Ghouta: Macron and Merkel urge Putin to back ceasefire
UN security council to vote on resolution to end bloodshed in rebel-held Syrian enclave Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel wrote to Russia's Vladimir Putin on Friday urging him to back a UN security council resolution for a ceasefire in Syria to end one of the deadliest bombing campaigns of the war, France's presidency said. The letter, sent while the French president and the German chancellor were at an EU summit in Brussels, asked Russia to support the draft resolution calling for a 30-day truce, mainly to allow aid to reach besieged eastern Ghouta and allow evacuations. Eastern Ghouta is the last rebel-held enclave bordering the Syrian capital, Damascus.
Feb 23 3:09PM Guardian-MiddleEast

Saudi Arabia to spend billions on expanding entertainment sector
Kingdom wants to reverse the trend of Saudis splurging in neighbouring Dubai and Bahrain Saudi Arabia has announced plans to spend billions on building new venues and flying in Western acts, in a total overhaul of its entertainment sector that would have been unthinkable not long ago. Long known for its ultra-conservative mores, the kingdom has embarked on a wide-ranging program of social and economic reforms driven by its crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Related: Saudi Arabia holds first women-only car show Related: Saudi Arabia claims anti-corruption purge recouped $100bn Related: 'Worrying' clampdown on human rights: UN condemns Saudi Arabia Continue reading.
Feb 23 1:39AM Guardian-MiddleEast

Medical crisis in east Ghouta as hospitals 'systematically targeted
Syrian government and allies accused of deliberately destroying civilian healthcare The medical system in eastern Ghouta is near collapse, medics and doctors say, after nearly a week of airstrikes that have hit 22 hospitals and clinics and led to widespread claims that civilian healthcare in the besieged area is being systematically annihilated. Medics inside Ghouta claimed only three medical facilities remained fully operational and all were overwhelmed with mass casualties that continued to arrive throughout Thursday - the fifth day of a blitz by Russian and Syrian jets across the opposition enclave. Mdecins Sans Frontires said 13 hospitals it supported had been destroyed or damaged in the past three days alone.
Feb 22 6:47PM Guardian-MiddleEast

New Russian stealth fighter spotted in Syria
Deployment of two Su-57 fighter aircraft marks the latest high-tech military system that Russia has shown in Syria conflict Moscow appears to have deployed an advanced new stealth fighter to its airbase in Syria, reports in Russian news media and online videos of the aircraft indicated on Thursday, in what analysts say could be a risky attempt to gain publicity and operational experience for the jet in one of the world's most tangled conflicts. Their appearance comes at a fraught moment in the seven-year war, as the US and Russia occasionally scramble jets to intercept each other over Syria and pro-regime warplanes pound the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta despite protests from the UN. More than 330 people have been killed there since the bombing began on Sunday, according to reports.
Feb 22 4:14PM Guardian-MiddleEast

My staff are trying to save lives in the rubble of Ghouta. Who will help us? | Raed Al Saleh
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been abandoned to starvation and bombing. How dare the world turn its face away As Syrians, we have experienced death in so many more ways than we ever dared to imagine: we have been killed by barrel bombs, chemical weapons, starvation, drowning, torture, napalm and cluster munitions. This month, in eastern Ghouta, another encounter with death was added to the list: a mother's corpse dug from under the rubble by her own son, a White Helmet volunteer.
Feb 22 11:36AM Guardian-MiddleEast

Bombs continue to pound eastern Ghouta as UN pleads for ceasefire
More than 335 have been killed in Syrian rebel enclave, with 13 civilians dying in latest strikes Warplanes have pounded the last rebel enclave near the Syrian capital for a fifth straight day, as the UN pleaded for a halt to one of the fiercest air assaults of the seven-year civil war. More than 335 people have been killed in the besieged rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus since Sunday, with 13 more civilians killed in the latest strikes on Thursday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Where is it and why is it important? Continue reading.
Feb 22 10:24AM Guardian-MiddleEast

Ghouta's desperate civilians say they've been abandoned to their fate
With aid groups denied access to the devastated Syrian enclave, children pay the heaviest price There was a time in Ghouta, amid the planes, bombs and hunger, when ways to ease the suffering remained within reach. Even as the siege closed in, residents in the suburb near Damascus had access to smuggled food and medicine, and a drip-feed of weapons and money kept the militants among them in the fight. That came to a halt late last year.
Feb 22 5:00AM Guardian-MiddleEast

Israel foiled alleged plot to blow up plane from Sydney, Benjamin Netanyahu says
Intelligence about bomb disguised as meat mincer prevented 'unimaginable slaughter', PM says The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has claimed intelligence provided by his country foiled an alleged plot by the Islamic State group to blow up a plane from Sydney using a device smuggled inside a meat mincer. The Israeli intelligence services thwarted the downing of an Australian plane, an unimaginable slaughter, the Israeli leader told an American Jewish conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Related: Israel ready to act against 'dangerous' Iran, Netanyahu warns Related: Lebanese police helped foil alleged Sydney airport terrorist plot, interior minister says Continue reading.
Feb 21 11:16PM Guardian-MiddleEast

The Guardian view on eastern Ghouta: the powerful compete, Syrian civilians pay | Editorial
Deaths mount in the besieged opposition enclave, but there is no end to Syria's enmeshed wars in sight. Bloodied children. Maimed children.
Feb 21 6:28PM Guardian-MiddleEast

Thousands of Gazans rush to border as Egypt opens crossing
Scores, many sick, wait for their names to be called out as Rafah crossing point is opened for four days for humanitarian cases Egypt opened its border with Gaza on Wednesday, providing rare passage for thousands stuck in the coastal enclave who have lived under blockade for more than a decade. Thousands of Palestinians - some sitting since dawn next to suitcases packed in the hope that Egypt will allow them in - gathered at a stadium before being sorted on to buses. They raised their identification papers as their names were called out from a list.
Feb 21 5:08PM Guardian-MiddleEast