Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir  and US Secretary of State John Kerry: there has been a decades-long relationship between the spy services of Saudi Arabia and the United States. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AFP/Getty Images

When President Barack Obama secretly authorised the Central Intelligence Agency to begin arming Syria’s embattled rebels in 2013, the spy agency knew (...)

Iraqi security forces and allied Sunni tribal fighters evacuate an injured woman after she was shot by Islamic State fighters in Ramadi, Iraq, on Monday. Photograph: AP Photo

The fighting has finally stopped in Ramadi, a major city in the Sunni heartland. Islamic State has been ousted, and the Iraqi flag is flying once aga(...)

President Barack Obama meeting King Salman of Saudi Arabia in the Oval Office of the White House last September. The relationship between the countries has become increasingly strained, but the US seems a long way from abandoning it. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

The Obama administration on Monday confronted the fundamental contradiction in its increasingly tense relationship with Saudi Arabia. It could not bri(...)

An Iraqi man holds a portrait of Shia Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr during a demonstration against his execution by Saudi authorities in Baghdad on Sunday. Photograph: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr could escalate tensions in the Muslim world even further. In the Shia theocracy Iran, the(...)

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gives a thumbs up to supporters in the crowd as Senator Bernie Sanders (left) and former Governor Martin O’Malley (3rd left) shake hands with moderators Martha Raddatz (2nd left) and David Muir (right) at the end of the the Democratic presidential candidates debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

Hillary Clinton largely looked past her Democratic rivals in Saturday night’s debate, instead repeatedly assailing the Republican field, led by Donald(...)

Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad during an interview with  Sunday Times journalist Hala Jaber in Damascus on December 2nd. Photograph: EPA/Syrian Arab News Agency

Syrian political and armed opposition figures are set to gather on Tuesday in the Saudi capital Riyadh in an effort to form a united front ahead of ne(...)

Alpaslan Celik, a deputy commander in a Syrian Turkmen brigade (C), holds handles believed to be parts of a parachute of the downed Russian warplane near the northern Syrian village of Yamadi, near the Turkish-Syrian border. Photograph: Reuters

Russia sent an advanced missile system to Syria on Wednesday to protect its jets operating there and pledged its air force would keep flying missions (...)

 French president Francois Hollande and US president Barack Obama shake hands during a joint news conference at the White House, November 24th, 2015 in Washington, DC. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday the United States and France have agreed to step up strikes in Syria and Iraq to target Islamic Sta(...)

Military investigators from Russia stand near the debris of a Russian airliner at the site of its crash at the Hassana area in Arish city, north Egypt. File photograph: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters

Russia said on Tuesday it had stepped up air strikes against Islamist militants in Syria with long-range bombers and cruise missiles after the Kremlin(...)

Officers with the Russian ministry for emergency prepare to unload an airliner with the bodies of victims of a Metrojet Airbus 321-200 that crashed on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, at Pulkovo International Airport in Saint Petersburg. Photograph: Dmitry Lovetsky/The New York Times

Investigators have started examining the black boxes from the Russian Metrojet plane that crashed in the Sinai desert, as Egypt warned that there migh(...)