Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, the country’s first Kurdish head of state who has sought to balance the nation’s rival ethnic and religious factions, was hospitalized late on Dec. 17 after suffering a stroke, a Kurdish lawmaker said.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits Egypt and Tunisia this week to show support for their democracy movements, while the Obama administration considers how much to help the insurgency against Muammar Qaddafi in Libya.
A year after the so-called Arab Spring blossomed in Tunisia and spread with enthusiastic Western support, developments in the region signal a protracted crisis that could threaten Arab-Israeli peace, world oil supplies and the U.S. fight against terrorism.
The assassination of three Syrian military leaders loyal to President Bashar al-Assad may hasten the end of his family’s four-decade rule, an upheaval that would affect the security and influence of Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and other neighboring states.
The Egyptian government’s decision to press criminal charges against American pro-democracy workers is creating the deepest rift between the two nations in almost four decades and underscoring the shrinking U.S. influence in a rapidly changing Middle East.