Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki: he claimed the Emirates and Bahrain had established “the foundations for an era of capitulation to the enemy”. Photograph: AFP via Getty Images

Blockade of Gaza described as ‘almost a death sentence during the pandemic’

From left: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel; US president Donald Trump; foreign ministers  Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani,   Bahrain, and   Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan,  UAE, during a signing ceremony for the Abraham Accords at the White House.  Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

Normalisation without peace is seen by most Arabs as breaking Arab ranks

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun and prime minister-designate Mustapha Adib: Popular rejection of the political elite has intensified since the Beirut port blast. Photograph:  Dalati and Nohra

No ministers named in Beirut amid calls for reform and access to $21bn in pledged funds

 Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz: remains committed to the Saudi-authored peace plan adopted by the 2002 Beirut Arab summit.  Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia unwilling to normalise relations with Israel until it withdraws from conquered Arab territory

 Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas holds a placard showing the diminishing size of Palestinian territory since the  1947 United Nations partition plan  as he addresses a video conference from Ramallah. Photograph: Alan Badarneh/AFP/Getty

Concern rising over stark implications of deal between UAE and Israel

The damaged Sursock Palace in Beirut, home of the late Lady Yvonne Cochrane Sursock, her Irish-born son Roderick and his family. Photograph: Anwar Amro

Married in 1946 to Ireland’s honorary consul, she was both grande dame and caretaker

Lebanese prime minister Mustapha Adib has to form a government quickly.  Photograph: AP

Mustapha Adib must satisfy international donors and also deal with warring camps

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo meeting  with Bahrain’s crown prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa in Manama this week. Photograph:  AFP via Getty Images

Mike Pompeo’s tour of the Middle East failed to gain support for normalising ties with Israel

 Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. Photograph: Al-Manar TV/EPA

One-time revolutionary Shia movement now a status quo party opposing popular protests

Saudi foreign minister prince Faisal bin Farhan reiterated Saudi characterisations of Israel’s  settlement construction in the West Bank as ‘illegitimate’. Photograph: John MacDougall - Pool/Getty

Saudi minister says ‘peace must be achieved’ on the basis of international agreements

 A statue of Lebanon’s former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri is seen near the site of the 2005 bombing that killed him  in Beirut, Lebanon. Photograph:  Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Court rules there is no proof Syria was involved in Hariri’s assassination

Palestinian demonstrators hold slogans reading in Arabic “normalisation is betrayal” during a demonstration in Gaza City  against a US-brokered deal between Israel and the UAE to normalise relations. Photograph:  Mohammed Abed/AFP/via Getty Images

Thursday’s announcement underlines split in Arab world on Palestinian question

Firefighters carry the coffin of their colleague Joe Noun, who was killed in the city’s massive blast, during his funeral at the fire station in Karantina neighbourhood near the port on Wednesday. Photograph: Getty

With 200 dead, 6,000 injured and 300,000 destitute, the mood in Beirut is unbending

Beirut port six days after an explosion there rocked the city,  killed at least 200, and injured thousands. Photograph: Wael Hamza/EPA

Resignation of government could enable international donors to sideline corrupt administration

 Anti-government protesters rally in Beirut, Lebanon. Photograph: Nabil Mounzer/EPA

Beirut blasts convince more and more that they live in a failed state

An aerial photograph shows the huge damage done to Beirut port’s grain silos and the area around it, on Wednesday. Photograph:  AFP via Getty Images

Devastating blast will widen political divisions and send many more into poverty

Displaced children from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State. “Many child survivors have returned from captivity with debilitating long-term injuries, illnesses or physical impairments,” according to an Amnesty report. Photograph: Rodi Said/Reuters

Survivors of horrific crimes face a legacy of terror, says Amnesty International

The Southern Transitional Council has also pledged to honour a ceasefire with government forces. File photograph: Getty

Agreement also reached to join forces with the military in conflict with Houthi rebels

Chinese president Xi Jinping and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani at a meeting at Saadabad Palace in Tehran, Iran, in January 2016. File photograph: Iranian Presidency/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Grouping of countries looking east called ‘axis of the sanctioned’

An elderly Palestinian man during clashes in the West Bank city of Hebron. Photograph: Abed al Hashlamoun/EPA

King Abdullah warns move could destabilise not only the kingdom but the entire region

 American University of Beirut employees with anti-government protesters gather in front of the entrance of the American University of Beirut Medical Center in Beirut, Lebanon. Photograph: Nabil Mounzer/EPA

Rampant inflation and 30 per cent unemployment places huge strain on society

The control room of the Mars mission at the Mohamed bin Rashid Space Centre, in the Gulf city of Dubai. Photograph: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty

Endeavour intended to stoke Arab and Muslim pride over rich heritage of discovery

A Syrian boy in a camp for displaced Syrians from Idlib and Aleppo provinces, near the town of Maaret Misrin in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province. Photograph: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP

Cases confirmed in doctors and nurse with concern virus will move fast through camps

Iranian army Maj Gen Mohammad Bagheri and Syria’s defence minister Ali Ayoub exchange gifts after signing a bilateral military deal in Damascus. Photograph: Sana/AFP

Bilateral military deal driven by Tehran fury at bombs and arson blamed on US and Israel

Anti-government protesters  in front of  the central bank  in Beirut, Lebanon,  protesting at the  dire state of the economy. Photograph: EPA/Nabil Mounzer

The country is on its knees with unemployment at 30%, power cuts lasting 16 hours a day, and hunger driving many to revolt

Palestinian protesters (unseen) fly a giant national flag in front of Israeli troops during a demonstration in the village of Kfar Qaddum in the occupied West Bank. Photograph:  Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP

Israel’s move on West Bank and Trump peace plan blocked by Palestinian rivals

Buildings destroyed by prior bombardment in the town of Ariha in Syria’s rebel-held northwestern Idlib province. Photograph: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP via Getty

Some 9.3m Syrians are now food insecure, an increase of 1.4m in past six months

 Muslim pilgrims gather inside the Sacred Mosque, in Mecca, last year.  This year’s hajj will not be cancelled, but  only ‘very limited numbers’ of people will be allowed to perform the major Muslim pilgrimage. Photograph:  EPA

Only under-65s can take part and pilgrims will be quarantined before and after pilgrimage

A demonstration in the  centre of  Tripoli on Sunday. Photograph: Mahmud Turkia/AFP via Getty Images

UN-backed administration condemns Egyptian president’s remarks as ‘declaration of war’

A Palestinian national flag flies over buildings in the village of Fasayil, facing farms in the Jewish settlement of Tomer, in the Jordan valley. Photograph: Jaafar Ashtiyeh

World community urged to reject move to intensify ‘profound human rights violations’

International outrage stirred by the widely televised plight of the Yazidis and the conquest of Mosul compelled the US-led western powers to intervene with the aim of crushing Islamic State. Photograph: Adam Ferguson/The New York Times

Ample evidence uncovered of movement’s widespread persecution of Yazidi minority and other ethnic minorities

Syrian president Bashar Assad: likely to be particularly concerned about Sweida, a byword for kidnappings, murders and robberies.  Photograph: Sana via AP

Demonstrations against prices and wages erupt in Sweida and spread to Deraa

Protesters in face masks hold up placards with messages rejecting a new civil conflict during an anti-government rally in front of the government palace in Beirut, Lebanon, at the weekend. Photograph: Nabil Mounzer/EPA

Government pressed to speed up talks with IMF and donors to secure funds and halt slide

 Tehran, Iran: The surge in cases of Covid-19 has overtaken Iran’s lifting of lockdown on shops, mosques, schools, businesses and travel. Photograph: EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh

Health authorities confirm more than 3,000 new cases on two consecutive days

Yemenis collect clean water from a charity tap due to disruption of water supplies in Sanaa. Photograph: Yahya  Arhab

War and coronavirus-ravaged country to get $1.35bn from UN and Saudi Arabia

Palestinians  at a market  in  the West Bank city of Ramallah, after the authorities relaxed some of the restrictive measures that had been imposed  to stem the spread of the Covid-19 virus.  Photograph: Abbas Momani/AFP via Getty Images

Given lack of other options, authorities used restrictions as main tool to fight pandemic

 Mohammed bin Nayef:  downfall of the former  Saudi crown prince led to the defection to Canada of his former cabinet minister and intelligence chief Saad al-Jabri. Photograph:  AFP

Former cabinet minister Saad al-Jabri was strategic architect of Saudi counter-terrorism efforts

Faithful in protective masks attend Friday prayers during Ramadan at a mosque in Gaza City on Friday. Photograph: Mohammed Saber/EPA

Islam’s three holiest mosques have been shut and pilgrimages curtailed due to Covid-19

Children on  a mini truck with a Joker cutout as the Covid-19 pandemic rages in Sanaa. Photograph: Yahya Arhab

WHO forecasts coronavirus will kill 42,000 and infect most of 28 million population

An Iraqi fighter with Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation Forces) inspects the site of an  Islamic State attack on  the paramilitary force 180km  north of Baghdad. Photograph: Getty Images

Arab and foreign jihadis ambush military convoys and assassinate officials as Baghdad and Damascus try to contain coronavirus

Yemeni policemen prevent people on a motorcycle entering a neighbourhood during an emergency curfew arising from the coronavirus pandemic, in Sanaa. Photograph: Yahya Arhab

Politics and division facilitate virus in country with just 208 ventilators and scant testing

  Syrian president Bashar al-Assad meets members of the government team tasked with handling the   coronavirus pandemic in the capital Damascus. Photograph:  Sana/AFP via Getty Images

President fears country’s 44 cases and three deaths could ‘suddenly spike in few days or weeks’

Protesters wave the Lebanese flag in front of riot police in Beirut on April 28th. Photograph: Patrick Baz/AFP via Getty

Accelerating economic meltdown has left country’s poorest without work and income

Palestinian children walk past a mural depicting the coronavirus and a prison cell, in Gaza City during the coronavirus pandemic on April 28th. Photograph: Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty

Cases in region limited to 17 with no deaths recorded thanks to effective quarantine

Yemenis read the Koran on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at a mosque in Sana’a, Yemen, April 24th. Photograph: Epa/Yahya Arhab

Move coincides with Ramadan as Saudis seek to renew UN-mediated peace talks

  Iraqis shop for food ahead of the first day of   Ramadan at the Shorjah market in central Baghdad, Iraq. Photograph: EPA

Lockdown during this time of family and communal gatherings is particularly painful

Saudi nurse checks a patient at a mobile clinic catering for the residents of Ajyad Almasafi district in the holy city of Mecca. Photograph: Bandar Aldandani/AFP

House of Saud efforts to contain Covid-19 under scrutiny in Arab and Muslim worlds

Tens of thousands of internally displaced Syrians are returning to their homes to avoid Covid-19.  Photograph: Reuters/Khalil Ashawi

Doctors warn of serious outbreak at overcrowded camps near Turkish border

A worker sprays disinfectant inside a mosque ahead of the weekly Friday prayers in Sana’a, Yemen, on Friday. Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA

Yemenis at major risk of infection in country that has lost half its hospitals to bombing

Volunteer barbers wear masks as they cut hair  at a camp for displaced Syrians from Idlib and Aleppo provinces, near the town of Maaret Misrin in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province. Photograph: Omar Haj Kadour

Halt to hostilities between Russian and Turkish sides a window to fight mass infection

Police tape closes the entrance of Dubai old market and gold market after the full lockdown. Photograph: Mahmoud Khaled/EPA

Lack of social safety nets could lead to devastating poverty and food shortages

Egypt’s Great Pyramid at Giza is illuminated with  the words “Stay safe” and “Stay home”. Photograph: EPA/Khaled Elfiqi

Lack of official transparency leaves Egyptians to rely on rumours about Covid-19

A member of Iranian red crescents test passengers of a bus for possible coronavirus   symptoms, as police blocked Tehran to Alborz highway to check every car following orders by Iranian government,  Photograph: EPA

Trump under pressure to ease sanctions on country lacking funds to buy medical supplies

A scooter driver gets his temperature taken before going out with an order, amid the coronavirus  outbreak, in Beirut, Lebanon. Photograph: Reuters/Mohamed Azakir

The country has had more than 330 cases and six deaths but lacks funds and medical supplies for a larger outbreak

 Syrian Arab Red Crescent members conduct  sterilisation to help prevent coronavirus in  Damascus. Photograph: Youssef Badawi

War-hit countries in Middle East get scant aid from outside as Covid-19 contagion looms

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani: Tehran accuses the US and Israel of sowing coronavirus to prompt people to demand regime change. Photograph: Reuters

Aid flows to Tehran from Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar amid reported 1,300 deaths

A health worker checks the temperature of a child at a UN school at al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza city on Wednesday, in preparation for the spread of coronavirus. Photograph: Mahmoud Hams/AFP via Getty Images

Isolation is impossible with large families confined to a few rooms, living in close quarters with neighbours

Displaced Syrian women at a camp in Kafr Lusin village on the border with Turkey in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib. Photograph: Ozan Kose/AFP via Getty

With the eastern Arab world hollowed out, a return to prewar conditions is impossible

A Yemeni child stands among women lining up to get free food rations from a charity group in Sanaa, Yemen. Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA

UN envoy has called for ‘an immediate and unconditional freeze’ of hostilities

Saudi crown prince  Mohammed bin Salman’s record as Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader has not inspired confidence. Photograph: Pavel Golovkin/Pool/File

Salman has fomented tension among royals by violating established order of succession

Russian president Vladimir Putin and Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan. Photograph: Pavel Golovkin/Pool via Reuters

Turkish-backed jihadis and insurgents based in Idlib squeezed into a reduced area

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades: ‘We acknowledge human suffering. But at the same time, we must take measures against efforts to alter the demographic character of our country.’ Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

President criticised for closing gates between south and north for first time since 2003

Russian president Vladimir Putin and  Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan will meet in Moscow to discuss the ongoing conflict in Syria’s north-western war-torn Idlib province.  Photograph: Umit Bektas/Reuters

President Erdogan to meet Russian counterpart Putin for talks in Moscow

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s move violates the 2016 deal with Europe to continue hosting 3.6 million Syrian refugees upon payment of $6 billion (€5.4 million) for their upkeep. Photograph: Turkish Presidential Press Office/Handout via Reuters

Turkish president agrees to reduce tensions in region following consultation with Putin

Princess Reema bint Bandar, the head of the Saudi Federation for Community Sports, third from left, at a match between local rivals Al-Ahli and Al-Batin in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the first soccer match women were allowed to attend at a public stadium in the country, January. 12, 2018. Photograph: Tasneem Alsultan/The New York Times

Women still must obtain permission to marry, divorce and seek shelter from domestic abuse

Syrian children are evacuated from the scene of a pro-regime forces air strike in Maarrat Misrin in the Idlib province. Photograph: Abdulaziz Ketaz/AFP

Russian warplane-backed Syrian army fights Turkish troops close to M5 and Neirab village

 Supporters of former late president Hosni Mubarak hold his photos outside a military hospital where his  body is kept, in Cairo, Egypt, on  February 25th. Photograph: Khaled Elfiqiepa/EPA

Obituary: Hosni Mubarak Born: May 4th, 1928. Died: February 25th, 2020

Russian president Vladimir Putin  listens to Turkish president Recep Tayip Erdogan  in Istanbul,Turkey. File photograph: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Erdogan’s policies have left Ankara isolated, with Moscow one of its most reliable partners

Boys unload food provided by the World Food Programme at an aid centre in Sanaa. More than 24 million desperately need humanitarian aid. Photograph: Photograph: Yahya Arhab

Up to 1,400 captives to be traded in wake of fighter plane downing and village bombing

An Iranian campaign worker distributes electoral fliers for the February 21st  parliamentary elections, near the Mosallah Mosque during Friday prayers in Tehran. Photograph: Abedin Taherkenareh

Ban on reformists and moderates suggests hardliners will win majority in assembly

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas holds a document while speaking during the UN Security Council meeting. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

White House urged members to shelve resolution rejecting US proposal to end conflict

 Wounded Syrian children receive treatment at a makeshift hospital following a reported airstrike on the industrial area of Idlib, in Northern Syria. Photograph: Abdulaziz Ketaz/AFP/Getty

Turkey bolsters Idlib outposts as Syrian government forces make gains

A girl looks from behind a door before boarding on a United Nations plane to bring her to  Jordan in Sanaa, Yemen on Monday. Photograph: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

Critically ill patients fly on UN plane to Jordan but tens of thousands more need care

 A Turkish military convoy passes through the town of Dana, east of the Turkish-Syrian border in  Idlib province on Sunday. Photograph:  Aaref Watad/AFP via Getty Images

Deadly exchange with Syian army raises stakes in strategic northwestern province

Demonstrators hold pictures of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas during a protest against Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Photograph: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters

Abbas fears being ousted by a figure prepared to accept Trump's plan despite it being rejected by Palestinians

US president Donald Trump and Israelai prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu take part in an announcement of Mr Trump’s Middle East peace plan in  the White House in Washington, DC on January 28th. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty

Michael Jansen: Arab world delivers mixed reaction to Trump’s Palestinian-Israeli plan

Syrians drive with their belongings through Ariha in the northern countryside of Syria’s Idlib province as they flee an ongoing offensive by regime forces. Photograph: Aaref Watad/AFP via Getty

Russian and Turkish inability to end war in Syria has implications for the truce in Libya

 Thousands of Iraqis demonstrate in the heart of Baghdad on Friday  to demand the ousting of US troops from the country. Photograph:  Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP via Getty Images

Protest at behest of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr comes in wake of Suleimani killing

Demonstrators are sprayed by a water cannon during a protest against the newly formed government in Beirut, Lebanon, on Wednesday. Photograph: Reuters

New PM Hassan Diab refers to his cabinet as ‘rescue team’ to help avert economic disaster

German chancellor Angela Merkel, regional leaders and Russian president Vladimir Putin (front right) gather during a peace summit on Libya at the chancellery in Berlin. Photograph: Getty

Summit leaders call on all parties involved to accept ceasefire and resume political process

Anti-government protesters block a main highway in Beirut, Lebanon, on Friday. Photograph: AP

Demonstrators mark start of uprising ’s fourth month and call for big protest on Saturday

 Iranian students protest following the shooting down of a Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800, at  Tehran university. Photograph: Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA

Protests in Iran over targeting of Ukraine aircraft go to the heart of rifts in its society

Khalifa Haftar, the military commander who dominates eastern Libya, has turned down a truce put forward by Russia and Turkey. File photograph: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

In show of strength, Khalifa Haftar snubs truce as his forces continue western advance

 Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif looks on during a meeting with Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow in December. File photograph: Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

The US should take seriously Tehran’s efforts to put an end to the cycle of violence

A British teenager convicted of falsely accusing a group of Israelis of gang-rape at the Famagusta district court in Cyprus on Tuesday. Photograph: Iakovos Hatzistavrou/AFP via Getty Images)

British teenager’s conviction for false rape claim raises troubling questions for police

Iraq’s caretaker prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi (wearing cap): Iraqis must  demonstrate or attack. Photograph: Murtaja Lateef

Tensions soar as Baghdad views any US role other than fighting Isis as reoccupation

Maj Gen Qassem Suleimani: his killing has united pro- and anti-regime Iranians against the US.  Photograph: Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via New York Times

Iran’s militarist will not be forgotten and the US will not be forgiven for assassinating him

An Iranian man holds a poster of slain Iranian Revolutionary Guard major general Qassem Suleimani during a mourning prayer in Tehran on Friday. Photograph: Atta Kenare/AFP

Killing of Iranian military commander certain to prompt wide-ranging repercussions

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Argues that Turkey’s interests are under threat from the advance into Tripoli’s suburbs of rebel forces. Photograph: Denis Balibouse/Reuters

Extraordinary session of parliament on Thursday to decide on controversial deployment

Pro-Iranian militiamen and their supporters set a fire during a sit-in in front of the US embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, on New Year’s Day. Photograph: AP

Pro-Iranian demonstrators withdraw after violence at US embassy in Iraq

Iraqi protesters at Baghdad’s Tahrir Square as demonstrations against the political system continue for the third month across Iraq. Photograph:  Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP

Barham Salih refusing to designate Asaad al-Eidani out of ‘desire to stop bloodshed’

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman: Turkish authorities and the US Central Intelligence Agency have blamed him for the Khashoggi murder.   Photograph: Reuters/Ahmed Yosri

The Saudis may expect that the public executions of the five sentenced to death will put an end to the Khashoggi affair

Hassan Diab arrives at the presidential palace in Baabda after being named Lebanon’s new prime minister. Photograph: Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

Engineering professor Hassan Diab received only slender majority in vote by legislators

The Bayraktar TB2 drone is pictured on December 16th at Gecitkale Airport in Famagusta in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Photograph: Birol Bebek/AFP via Getty

Armed drones deployed in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus to escort drilling vessels

Lebanese riot policemen react to firecrackers  fired by the supporters of the Shiite Hezbollah and Amal Movement groups, as they try to attack the anti-government protesters squares, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Clashes come on the eve of attempts to form a government led by reformists

Supporters of Lebanon’s Shia Hizbullah and Amal groups clash with riot police in central Beirut. Photograph: Getty

‘No aid package ... no bailout,’ says US unless any new government ‘capable of reform’

Iraqi mourners carry the coffin of a protester and citizen journalist killed at demonstrations in Baghdad. Photograph:  Haidar Hamdani/AFP

Amnesty urges Iraq to investigate unknown attackers as drone bombing also takes place

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: If he had not intervened Syria would have emerged with a limited number of victims, little damage,few internally displaced and fewer refugees. Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan would also have escaped the negative human, economic and political impacts of the war across their borders.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to get involved had disastrous consequences

Patriarch of the Chaldean Church, Louis Raphael Sako: “There will be no decorated Christmas trees in churches or streets, no celebrations and no reception at the patriarchate.” Photograph:  Safin Hamed/AFP via Getty Images

Chaldean Catholic patriarch’s announcement after at least 430 killed in protests

 An Iraqi protester sits next to a wall painted with graffiti  in central Baghdad. Photograph: Murtaja Lateef/EPA

Adel Abdel Mahdi steps down after months of protests that have left 420 dead

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