Both Hadi al-Amiri, above, and his nominee are backed by Tehran, while Muqtada al-Sadr is a nationalist who opposes foreign interference in Iraq. Photograph: Khalid al-Mousily/File Photo/Reuters

Six months after elections, appointment of an interior minister is bone of contention

Then US president George HW Bush talking to supporters in St Louis in October 1992. Photograph: Peter Newcomb/AFP/Getty Images

Regional rulers have praised the former US president but he has a controversial legacy

This grab from a video shows Syrian workers of a Raqqa group carrying human remains at the site of a mass grave believed to contain the bodies of civilians and Islamic State militants in Raqqa. Photograph: AP Photo

Amnesty says US-led coalition that did most of the bombing did not try to protect civilians

Mohamed bin Salman: since the advent of the Trump administration, bin Salman has been charged with making deals under the table with Israel and the US with the aim of removing Palestine and Palestinians from the world map. Photograph: Getty Images

The Khashoggi murder has focused existing Arab anti-Saudi antagonism on Mohamed bin Salman

Tunisian women hold up saws and signs showing pictures of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with a caption below reading in Arabic “no welcome, Tunisians against the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince to Tunisia”, during an anti-Saudi Crown Prince protest  in the capital, Tunis on November 27th Photograph:  Fethi Belaid/ AFP/Getty

Mohammed bin Salman will soon travel to Argentina for G20 summit

US president Donald Trump and Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman at a meeting in Riyadh in May 2017. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

US president’s refusal to blame MBS for Khashoggi killing is bad news for Middle East

 Yemeni pro-government forces on the eastern outskirts of Hodeida on Wednesday. Photograph:  Saleh Al-Obeidi/AFP/Getty Images

Hopes rise for breakthrough in conflict as UAE calls for early UN peace talks

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a press conference at the Canadian embassy in Paris, France. Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Pressure mounts on White House to take action against those linked to the killing

A displaced child from Hodeidah province carries water supplies on a donkey: a child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen from preventable diseases. Photograph: Essa Ahmed/ AFP

Discussions between Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels were due to begin this month

Democrat Ilhan Omar, an immigrant born in a Kenyan-Somali refugee camp, was elected. Photograph: Craig Lassig

Approval for success of Muslim women, and for Democrats taking House of Representatives

US secretary of defence James Mattis:  envisages continuing Saudi air raids on Yemen in the next 30 days. Photograph:  AFP/Getty Images

Analysis: Washington offer is not even-handed and invites Saudis to expand offensive

  People wait with their vehicles to cross Jaber-Nassib border crossing to Syria from Jordan on October 29th. A total of 344 refugees were said to have returned to Syria early this week Photograph:  Andre Pain/EPA

Although towns are no longer battlefields, many Syrians remain reluctant to return

Elderly men talk to each other in downtown Amman. Photograph: Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

Economy sags in country with scant agriculture, tourism, energy and rule of law

Syrian refugees after crossing into Jordan territory with their families in 2015. Photograph: Muhammad Hamed/File Photo/Reuters

Debt problem and high unemployment threaten small Middle Eastern nation

A class that lost pupils in an August 2018 Saudi-led air strike on a school bus in Saada province in Yemen. Photograph: Naif Rahma/Reuters

As world focuses on Khashoggi, UN warns of 13 million Yemenis facing starvation

 Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas stated: ‘Palestine was – and shall remain – on the side of Saudi Arabia.’ Photograph:  Abbas Momani / AFP

Saudi Arabia denies leaks that Khashoggi was killed at the consulate

A Syrian rebel fighter from the National Liberation Front. Photograph: Aaref Watad/AFP/Getty Images

Russia and Turkey negotiated deal for buffer to avert bloody conflict in civilian-heavy area

Jamal Khashoggi: a man who knew too much. Photograph: Mohammed al-Shaikh/AFP/Getty Images

Not even royals are exempt from being ‘disappeared’ by despotic Wahhabist regime

Syrian rebel-fighters from the National Liberation Front (NLF) secure a tank, part of heavy weapons and equipment withdrawn from a planned buffer zone around Idlib Photograph: Omar Haj Kadolur/AFP/Getty

Date set by Russia and Turkey aiming to impose lasting ceasefire in Syrian province

Girls perform a dance at the Unrwa-funded school in Nuzha, Jordan. Photograph: Michael Jansen

Nuzha secondary school in Jordan faced closure due to US withdrawal of $300m funds

A celebratory welcome for Khlifa bin Jassim al-Kuwari, director of the Qatar Fund for Development, which donated €43m to finance schools such as the Baqa’a elementary school in Jordan

Unrwa will have to launch a supreme effort to make up for the lack of US funds

President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian National Authority addresses the 73rd United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York. Photograph: Chang W Lee/The New York Times

Mahmoud Abbas tells assembly Trump has reneged on all previous US commitments

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is shown on a large screen as he addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, this week. Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Tehran replaces North Korea as US administration’s choice for primary external target

A Turkish military vehicle drives southwards along the main Damascus-Aleppo highway  in Syria’s mostly rebel-held northern Idlib province. Photograph: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP/Getty Images

Moscow and Ankara seek demilitarised buffer zone in Syrian province to avert disaster

Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addresses  supporters on a screen in Beirut, Lebanon. Hizbullah will maintain a presence in Syria “until further notice”. Photograph: Aziz Taher/Reuters

Militant leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warns Israel of potential ‘unexpected fate’

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin following their talks in Sochi on Monday.  Turkish-US relations have soured, encouraging Moscow to establish a bilateral regional strategic alliance.  Photograph: Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via Reuters

Demilitarised zone around Syrian province agreed by Russia and Turkey cannot last

A Yemeni child stands among armed supporters of Houthi rebels during a gathering to mobilise more fighters into the Hodeidah battlefront, in Sanaa, Yemen, last week.  Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA

Yemen conflict, dubbed the ‘forgotten war’, is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe

On September 13th, 1993, US president Bill Clinton stands between PLO leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli prime minister Yitzahk Rabin as they shake hands. Photograph: J David Ake/AFP/Getty Images

September 1993 was the best of times for Palestinians. Now they face the worst of times

Iraqi protesters wave a national flag outside the burnt-down local government headquarters in Basra, after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. Photograph:  Haidar Mohammed Ali

Sadr’s call for Abadi to step down will stall government formation and thwart coalition

Supporters of Yemen’s Houthi rebels raise Kalashnikovs and signs depicting children killed in a Saudi-led coalition air strike on a bus in August, at a rally in Saada. Photograph: Stringer/AFP/Getty

Houthis concerned Saudis may strand them outside Yemen during Geneva peace meeting

Syrian children at a camp for displaced civilians fleeing from advancing Syrian government forces in Idlib province. Photograph: Amer Alhamwe/AFP/Getty Images

As tensions rise, clashes between Russian and Turkish forces cannot be ruled out

 Palestinian students attending a class at Haifa School, which is run by the United Nations Works and Relief Agency for Palestinian Refugees (Unrwa) in Beirut, Lebanon. Photograph: Nabil Mounzer/EPA

Trump administration’s withdrawal of funding from UN agency Unrwa a bitter blow

The late  Republican senator John McCain: Considered a great friend of Saudi Arabia. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

The late US senator advocated multiple pre-emptive wars to project US global power

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman aka MBS: Since his father became king in early 2015, MBS has made powerful enemies. Photograph: Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images

The shelving of Aramco’s $100bn IPO heaps pressure on crown prince Mohammed

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas: Donald Trump’s actions may show he has transformed personal animus toward the Palestinians into US policy. Photograph: Atef Safadi

US financial pressure seen as part of force exerted to accept ‘deal of century’ with Israel

A Syrian soldier stands guard as people  ride in a vehicle at the Abu Duhur crossing on the eastern edge of Idlib province on Monday. Photograph: George Ourfalian/AFP/Getty Images

Al-Qaeda-linked group vows to fight on but insurgents in Syria province are increasingly divided

A customer views jewelry alongside a display of international currency values at an exchange in Istanbul. Photograph: Ismail Ferdous/Bloomberg

Muslims have curbed spending at a time of year when they normally hold lavish religious celebrations

A bus transporting Syrian refugees home on the border between Syria and Lebanon. Photograph: Getty Images

Damascus says repatriation a top priority and urges foreign fiscal aid for resettlement

Jordanian emergency services and security forces at a damaged building during a police raid on a house sheltering terrorists suspected of detonating  a bomb under a police van. Photograph:  Getty Images

Bomb was detonated under a police car and four security men were killed in shoot-out

Syrians gather at a site of car bomb in the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib. Photograph: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP/Getty Images

Fears that many thousands of civilians could be displaced in event of devastating battle

Counting Iranian Rials as Washington reimposed sanctions on the Islamic republic, triggering a mix of anger, fear and defiance in Tehran. Photograph: Getty Images

Tehran cuts imports of non-essential goods and introduces subsidies on food, medicine

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas: has dismissed the Trump administration’s plan as the “slap of the century” and declared he will not commit “treason” by discussing it. Photograph: Mohamad Torokman

Almost two-thirds back Palestinian Authority’s rejection of US as mediator, poll reveals

Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci: “Afrika” paper’s prosecution  demonstrates Ankara is determined to export to northern Cyprus its mainland crackdown on dissent. Photograph: Petros Karadjias/AP

OSCE and European Commission defend freedom to write ‘Zorba the Cypriot’ article

 Samar Badawi receiving the 2012 International Women of Courage award from first lady Michelle Obama and  secretary of state Hillary Clinton. File photograph:  Gary Cameron/Reuters

Despite outward show of social reforms, Saudi authorities are cracking down on dissent

US president Donald Trump holds a chart of military hardware sales as he welcomes Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Washington in  March 2018. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

King Salman clarifies rejection of Jared Kushner’s plan in wake of heir’s ambiguity

A Palestinian Unrwa  employee at a protest against job cuts at its headquarters in Gaza City, July 25th, 2018. Photograph: Mohammed Salem

Trump decision to reduce funding to UN body aiding Palestinians will hit jobs and services

Damages after a suicide bomb attack  in Sweida. Photograph: Sana/Handout via Reuters

The attack, the first major Isis strike in Syria, targeted country’s Druze community

Demonstrators attend a rally to protest against the Jewish nation state Bill in Tel Aviv. Photograph: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

In Arab eyes the ‘racist’ provisions have finished off the two-state solution

Buses  transferring Syrian rebel fighters and civilians to opposition territory in Idlib.  Photograph: AFP Photo

Buses to bring insurgent fighters and civilians to Idlib under agreed deal with Russia

Iraqi protesters hand over job requests to government employees in Basra, Iraq. Photograph: Essam al-Sudani/Reuters

Southern Shias to take to the streets to demand water, jobs, and an end to corruption

A picture taken  from the Israeli-annexed Syrian Golan Heights shows displaced Syrians going back to their camp near the Syrian village of Burayqah, after being turned back by the Israeli forces at the border fence between Syria and the  Golan Heights, where they were trying to seek refuge.  Photograph: Jalaa Marey/AFP/Getty Images

US has conceded key Russian demands but Trump has not recommitted to troop pullout

A woman holds a Syrian flag in Deraa, where the uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime began in 2011. Photograph: Omar Sanadiki/Reuters

Putin and Trump to discuss Syria at summit, as Kurds seek to make deal with Damascus

Displaced Syrians at a Jordanian military medical outpost, near Nasib border crossing between Jordan and Syria. Photograph: Ahmad Abdo/EPA

Kingdom already hosts 1.3m Syrians fleeing war, straining country’s slim resources

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan reviewing a military guard of honour with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in the Turkish Cypriot northern part of the divided city of Nicosia on Tuesday. Photograph:  Andreas Manoli/EPA

Most secular community in Muslim world opposed Turkish president’s opening of huge new mosque

A Syrian child rides his bike after Syrian government forces recently recaptured the village of Ghariyah ash Sharqiyah from the rebels, in the province of Deraa. Photograph:  AFP/ Youssef Karwashan/ Getty Images

Attack on airbase coincided with a Syrian army victory over insurgents in the south

Protesters wave Palestinian flags as they demonstrate against Israel at the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar on July 6th, 2018. Photograph: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty

Israel planned to demolish Khan al-Ahmar and transfer 181 residents to toxic landfill

UN special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths (centre): called this week’s talks with rebel leader Abdel Malik al-Houthi “positive and constructive”. Photograph: Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty

‘Relentless conflict in Yemen has pushed a country on the brink deep into the abyss’

Internally displaced people from Deraa province arrive near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in Quneitra, Syria. Photograph: Alaa Al-Faqir/Reuters

Some 270,000 Syrians who have fled fighting are stranded on border with Jordan

Israeli defence minister Avigdor Lieberman, Cypriot defence minister Savvas Angelides  and Greek defence minister Panos Kammenos. Photograph: Yiannis Kourtoglou/Reuters

Deal would require ‘agreement and co-operation of all stakeholders’

Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr: has allies in Hadi al-Amiri and Haidar al-Abadi. Photograph: Alaa al-Marjani/Reuters

Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s bond with Hadi al-Amiri could remove Tehran’s obstruction

Relatives of a Palestinian, who was killed at the Israel-Gaza border, react at a hospital in Gaza on Monday. Photograph: Mohammed Salem/Reuters

UN agency UNRWA says it is ‘weeks away from painful cuts’ due to lack of funds

A man fills up the tank in Cairo on June 29th, 2017. Egypt has raised fuel prices three times since austerity was adopted in 2015. Photograph:  Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

Startling contrast between reactions to austerity in Jordan and Egypt

Mohammad bin Salman,  Fifa president Gianni Infantino and Russian president Vladimir Putin at the World Cup opening ceremony. Photograph: Alexei  Druzhinin/EPA

Russia and Saudi Arabia have co-operated on crude oil supplies since 2016

Workers unload wheat provided by Unicef at Hodeidah: the Red Sea port  is a key entry point for aid to war-torn Yemen. Photograph: Abdo Hyder/AFP/Getty

UN among those warning move on Houthi rebels may kill and maim 250,000 civilians

Syrians displaced from the city of Afrin display pictures of their homes. Photograph: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty

Syrian Democratic Council would have to break with US to achieve rapprochement

 Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney   with Cypriot foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nicosia, Cyprus, on Friday. Photograph: Katia Christodoulou/EPA

Tánaiste holds discussions with Israeli and Palestinian officials on trip to Middle East

A monument dedicated to the 47 Irish troops killed while keeping the peace near Tibnin in south Lebanon.

Lebanon Letter: there are 10,500 troops from 41 countries in this strategic territory

Men  stand in line to cast their votes during a special voting day for members of the security forces on Thursday, ahead of Iraq’s parliamentaryh elections this weekend. Photograph: Ali Abbas/EPA

Election campaign dominated by sectarian forces that emerged after US war

 Iranian MPs burn a US flag in the parliament in Tehran following  US president Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear accord. Photograph: AFP

Reformist president Hassan Rouhani has vowed to continue abiding by the agreement

Supporters of Lebanon’s Hizbullah and Amal celebrate results in Marjayoun: some fear, particularly in south Lebanon, that Israel may carry out a new campaign to eliminate Hizbullah. Photography: Aziz Taher

Israel’s education minister responds to poll outcome by saying ‘Hizbullah = Lebanon’

Supporters of the Progressive Socialist Party carry  party flags and  shout slogans during the Lebanese parliamentary elections  in the town of Moukhtara, at Chouf district in Mount Lebanon. Photograph: Wael Hamzeh/EPA

Thousands of Lebanese braved traffic, confusion and chaos to take part in long overdue election

 Election posters  on buildings in the Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen neighbourhoods of Tripoli in  northern Lebanon. Photograph: Getty Images

Several ‘firsts’ in the Middle East country’s first parliamentary election in nine years

Syrian opposition fighters and members of their families from the Yarmouk camp, on the outskirts of Damascus, arrive at the al-Eis checkpoint in Aleppo province on Tuesday. Photograph: George Ourfalian/AFP/Getty Images

Washington risks conflict with Russia and Iran, President Assad’s chief backers

Displaced people who fled the Syrian war stand near the Lebanese-Syrian border as they prepare to return to their village of Beit Jinn in Syria.Photograph: Ziad Choufi/AP

Donors’ conference clocked just over half of the €6.5bn needed to help Syria in 2018

A couple sit in a park in Damascus after the US, UK and France attacked three sites said to be related to Syria’s chemical weapons programme. Photograph: Ali Hashisho

Damascus Letter: Residents alternate between ‘normal’ and ‘war normal’ lives

Suspected Islamic State members imprisoned just south of Mosul, in Iraq, in July 2017: Isis reveals it has taken into account the defeat of the “caliphate”. Photograph: Ivor Prickett/New York Times

Isis focus on Arab world may starve western intelligence as affiliate groups go dormant

Kurdish people living in Greece  protesting at    EU offices in Athens on April 11th,  They were calling for international intervention for Kurds in the Syrian city of Afrin.  Photograph: Getty Images

Jihadis in villages of non-Muslim Yazidi Kurds persecute them for their faith and ethnicity

Syrians gather  in  Umayyad Square,  Damascus, on April 14th to condemn the strikes by the US, Britain and France against the Syrian regime. Photograph: Getty Images

Military action against Syria brings warnings from Iran and most Arab governments

An aircraft landing at the British air   base at Akrotiri,  Cyprus. The same base  was used during the 1991 and 2003 US-led wars to mount attacks on Iraq. Photograph: AP Photo/Petros Karadjias

Britain asks Cyprus to reserve airspace in preparation for possible air strikes on Syria

“It is unlikely the US and its allies will deploy war planes over Syria since Syrian and Russian air defences could shoot down aircraft. Low-flying cruise missiles are also not immune to interdiction.” Photograph: Ford Williams/US navy via Getty Images

Retaliation for suspected gas attack could prompt Russian and Iranian moves

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin   in Ankara for talks about the future of Syria. Photograph: Tolga Bozoglu/via AP

Erdogan’s show of force in Afrin means that even his allies do not trust him

Krac des Chavaliers: The Krac’s thick stone walls withstood artillery fire and aerial bombardment.

Foreign archaeologists no longer come and there are no funds for reconstruction

A convoy transporting Jaish al-Islam fighters and their families from the  town of Douma  to the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Russian-brokered deal allows Jaish al-Islam fighters and their families to leave

Christians attending a Holy Thursday service at the Maronite Catholic Church of St Anthony in Damascus.  Photograph: Michael Jansen

Damascus faithful celebrate Easter – with Orthodox ceremonies next week

Syrian children are evacuated from eastern Ghouta on a bus on the outskirts of Damascus. Photograph: Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty

Traumatised Syrians seek refuge in government-held areas as brutal conflict continues

 Workers unload an aid truck that was part of a humanitarian convoy that arrived in  Douma, Syria, earlier this month. Photograph: Mohammed Badra/EPA

Artillery and aerial bombardment kill 1,600 in eastern Ghouta over the past five weeks

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi casting his ballot during the first day of the presidential election at a polling station in Cairo on Monday. Photograph:  EPA/Egyptian Presidency

With opponents of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi forced to stand down, presidential election is no contest

An ambulance carrying Syrians wounded in a rebel rocket attack on a busy shopping area in the Jaramana suburb arrive at a hospital in Damascus on Wednesday.  Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Rebels target families shopping in Jaramana as Syrian army advances into eastern Ghouta

  Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman: will by welcomed by president Trump at the start of his visit to the USA. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty

Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman begins a busy schedule of meetings in USA

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad  talking with government troops in eastern Ghouta in the leader’s first trip to the former rebel enclave outside Damascus in years. Photograph: AFP /  Syrian presidency Facebook page

Exodus continues with number displaced rising above 270,000 in the last week

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad waving at supporters after addressing parliament in Damascus in March 2011. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

While regime changes were made in Egypt and Tunisia, Syria’s conflict is more complex

A Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army soldier with machine gun during an offensive, at Der Mismis Village, southeast of Afrin, Syria, on Tuesday. Photograph: STR/EPA

Thousands flee Turkish military forces and surrogate Free Syrian Army militia

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammad bin Salman is welcomed by British PM Theresa May on the first of his three-day visit to the UK. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA

London’s weapons deals worth £4.6bn since the war on Yemen launched three years ago

Syrians receive treatment for breathing difficulties at a clinic in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta on March 7th  after regime air strikes which medics said  were consistent with a toxic attack. Photograph: Getty Images

Analysis: Pressure from UN will not stop fighting

Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters carry  a wounded colleague in Afrin, Syria. Photograph: Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

Ankara’s taking of Syrian Kurdish enclave proof of strategic power in embattled region

 A Syrian woman  in a make-shift clinic following reported regime bombardment, in the rebel-held town of Douma, in  the eastern Ghouta region.  Photograph: Hamza Al-Ajweh/AFP/Getty Images

Syrians have little respite since Russia’s limited ceasefire came into effect on Tuesday

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the graduation ceremony of the 93rd batch of the cadets of King Faisal Air Academy, in Riyadh  on February 21st. Photograph:  Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Royal Court/Reuters

Shake-up of armed forces aimed at tightening Crown Prince Mohammed’s grip on power

Syria Civil Defence members help an unconscious woman from a shelter in the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria, on Thursday. Photograph: Bassam Khabieh/Reuters

Analysis: Gulf powers have interests in eastern Ghouta that are not humanitarian

A Syrian man holds a wounded child at a makeshift hospital in the rebel-held town of Douma, following air strikes by regime forces on the besieged eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of Damascus. Photograph: Hamza Al-Ajweh/Getty Images

Why Syria's government is bombing east of Damascus, and Turkey's role in the north

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