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Obama defends not using force in Syria WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama on Friday defended his administration's decision not to use military force in Syria, saying that the United States has its limits.The US leader's comments came in an interview taped ahead of his visit to Saudi Arabia, which was angered by his 11th-hour decision last year to pull back from strikes against the Syrian regime over its use of chemical weapons in the country's civil war."It is, I think, a false notion that somehow we were in a position to, through a few selective strikes, prevent the kind of hardship we've seen in Syria," Obama told broadcaster CBS in Rome."It's not that it's not worth it," he added. "It's that after a decade of war, the United States has limits."Obama went on to suggest that the US military would not have been able to have much impact without committing itself long-term."Our troops who have been on these ...

Iraq parties jump the gun on election campaign BAGHDAD: Despite the disarray caused by the sudden mass resignation of election chiefs ahead of next month's polls, candidates for seats in the Iraqi parliament are pressing ahead with unofficial campaigning.Keeping the printing houses whirring, they have been putting up posters and distributing leaflets.But wary of breaking the rules, their early propaganda only obliquely refers to the polls, scheduled for April 30, or skirts election regulations by praising the security forces alongside party insignia.Iraq's Independent ...
Saudi king aims for smooth succession in troubled region RIYADH: Saudi King Abdullah's unprecedented decision to appoint a second heir to his throne appears aimed at ensuring a smooth succession in a region thrown into turmoil by the Arab Spring.It also opens the door for the next generation to step up in an ultra-conservative state ruled for decades by ageing monarchs.The 90-year-old monarch took the surprise measure Thursday naming his youngest half-brother Prince Moqren bin Abdul Aziz as a second heir, next in line ...
Deadly shooting sparks new clashes in Tripoli TRIPOLI: Gunmen killed an Alawite in Lebanon's second city Tripoli on Wednesday, triggering renewed sectarian clashes which killed an 11-year-old boy in a Sunni Muslim neighbourhood, a security source said.The slain man's car crashed after the shooting, killing a woman bystander, and injuring her son and a street vendor, the source said.Hours afterwards, armed exchanges erupted between neighbouring Alawite and Sunni districts of the northern port city, where an uneasy calm had lasted just days ...
Iraq election chiefs quit as attacks kill 37 BAGHDAD: The board of Iraq's electoral commission resigned en masse on Tuesday in protest at political and judicial "interference", throwing a general election due next month into disarray.The sudden decision comes with doubts already swirling over whether the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) could organise polling nationwide on April 30 with anti-government fighters in control of a city on Baghdad's doorstep.Much is at stake in the election, as Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki bids for a ...
Kerry to meet Palestinian leader Abbas in Amman ROME: US Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Amman Wednesday, interrupting a visit to Italy to meet with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas as a deadline looms for reaching a peace deal with Israel.Kerry's surprise trip aims "to continue to narrow the gaps between the parties", State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday, a tacit acknowledgement of the difficulties bogging down the negotiations.The US diplomatic chief would also be in touch with Israeli Prime ...
Arab summit to back rejection of 'Jewish state' KUWAIT CITY: Arab leaders meeting on Tuesday in Kuwait are expected to back a Palestinian refusal to recognise Israel as a Jewish state, an Israeli demand that threatens to derail peace talks.The summit stresses a "categorical rejection" of the demand for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, according to a draft statement endorsed by foreign ministers.The statement also rejects "all pressures exerted on the Palestinian leadership" to force it into agreeing.The Arab League has ...


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