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Beyond the Headlines

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Dive deeper into the week's biggest stories from the Middle East and around the world with The National's foreign desk. Nuances are often missed in day-to-day headlines. We go Beyond the Headlines by bringing together the voices of experts and those living the news to provide a clearer picture of the region's shifting political and social landscape.
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The US has upped the pressure on Iran and since the start of May, tensions across the Middle East have risen. Officials on both sides are publically saying they don’t want a war (https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/threats-from-iran-remain-high-but-have-been-put-on-hold-pentagon-chief-says-1.864604) but have released numerous statements warning of the devastating consequences if the other starts one.In recent weeks, there has been an uptick in rockets and weaponized drones launched towards Saudi Arabia from Iran-backed rebels in Yemen, four ships were sabotaged off the coast of the UAE (https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/uae-welcomes-allies-participation-in-tanker-sabotage-investigation-1.865117) , and a rocket landed in the secure Baghdad Green Zone where the US embassy is located.Analysts are concerned that despite no one wanting war, a regional game of brinksmanship could lead to a conflict.Iran has dozens of proxy forces across the region from Lebanon to Yemen and an increase in US forces in the region being implemented, there is a lot of room for mistakes.It doesn’t appear that anyone in the region wants to see the situation spill over (https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/iraq-emerging-as-an-unofficial-iran-us-go-between-1.864538) and several intermediaries – including Iraq and Oman – are stepping forward even if Washington and Tehran say that the time’s not right for talks.This week on Beyond the headlines, we’re joined by The National’s Washington Correspondent Joyce Karam (https://www.thenational.ae/topics/Author/Joyce%20%20Karam) to discuss what’s next for the US and Iran and how do parties cool tensions when neither side appears set to talk.
Yemen's floating bomb

Yemen's floating bomb

2019-05-1700:14:46

Moored off Yemen’s Red Sea Coast is a rusting oil tanker, with a million barrels of crude aboard. It has been described as a 'floating bomb'.After going without maintenance for the duration of Yemen’s four-year civil war, the UN says it is now at risk of exploding, potentially unleashing an environmental catastrophe on an historic scale.But, with 80 million dollars’ worth of oil involved, Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government have disagreed on what is to be done.
For months, the headlines have revolved around the winding down of the Syrian war and what the next phase looks like. In April, US backed and Kurdish led forces retook the once sprawling so called caliphate of ISIS in eastern Syria. Across much of the rest of the country, the regime was consolidating control.  But talking about the future has overlooked the fate of nearly 3 million civilians living in the last rebel-held territory that is now largely controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a group of hardline extremists once affiliated to Al Qaeda. In recent weeks, the regime and its backers in Tehran and Moscow have turned their attention to the North eastern province of Idlib. Over 150,000 people have already been displaced and 100 civilians killed in a campaign that those who fled Aleppo and Deraa say is as intense.
For three decades, Omar Al Bashir ruled over Sudan. But in April, in the face of growing protests, he was removed from office and the future of the country was suddenly up in the air.In this week's episode of Beyond the Headlines, we talk about the changes sweeping Sudan.Hamza Hendawi, The National’s Cairo correspondent, has been on the ground in Sudan this week. She tells foreign editor James Haines-Young about the mood in the streets of Khartoum, where since December demonstrations have drawn millions and eventually helped lead to a dramatic end to the ruinous reign of Mr Al Bashir.Now, the military along with the main protest group – dubbed the Freedom and Change Forces – are working together to oversee the transition into Sudan's new future.
Suicide bombs, 359 dead and an ISIS claim of responsibility. On Sunday, Sri Lanka was hit by the single largest terror attack in its history. Hundreds attending Easter Sunday mass or at high-end Colombo hotels were killed and wounded in a coordinated wave of bombings.In the wake of the blasts, communities have undoubtedly rallied together. But the shared grief belies the underlying communal tensions that have existed for years.Amid the pain, there is also anger. It appears intelligence received by some government officials could have helped police prevent the attacks. But the documents were not shared with everyone.Jack Moore, Deputy Foreign Editor at The National, talks us through the last week in Sri Lanka where he has been reporting.
The scale of India’s ongoing election is staggering – nearly 900 million people are registered to cast their ballots.And there are many issues at stake, with India's economy on pace to become of the world's five largest this year.While many have been concerned about the economy and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s track record of reforms, national security, the rural economy and Hindi nationalism are all issues that have played a central role as Indians go to the polls.The National's Ramola Talwar Badam was in Uttar Pradesh, and she brings perspective and analysis with foreign editor James Haines-Young in this week's episode of Beyond the Headlines.
Benjamin Netanyahu has won a fifth term in office and looks set to be Israel’s longest serving Prime Minister, after a campaign which saw him pledge to annex the occupied West Bank.
After weeks of mounting protest, Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika has stepped down, ending 20 years as the country’s ruler.   While the moment is historic, protesters – many of whom won’t remember a time before Mr Bouteflika was their president – are not finished. Fear that a younger, healthier version of the ailing 82-year old will step into his place or that the army may co-opt power, they say they will push on to ensure a real democratic transition. After years of economic stagnation after oil revenue – the backbone of the economy – collapsed when oil prices fell in 2014, people are calling for a brighter future. Unemployment is high, costs are rising and many felt that there would be no future if Mr Bouteflika had won a fifth term in the election that was supposed to take place in April. But now, they say they are turning a new page in their country’s history.In this week’s Beyond the Headlines, The National’s Foreign Editor James Haines-Young speaks to Chellali Khalil who has been part of the protests since the start, and Algerian researcher Tin Hinane El Kadi from the London School of Economics to ask how the country got here and what comes next.
The Untied Kingdom’s march towards Brexit has been postponed but questions about the fate of the country’s place in the world continue to swirl.Prime Minister Theresa May has been given extra few weeks to breath but the UK remains no closer to any solutions.On this week’s edition of Beyond the Headlines The National’s Editor-in-Chief Mina Al Oraibi sat down with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss how the divide nation can move forward.
It's been one week since the terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch New Zealand. The mass shooting was the worst peacetime attack in New Zealand’s history, and has shaken the country to its core.In the week that followed the slaying of 50 people by a white supremacist gunman at two separate mosques, New Zealanders rallied around the victims, while grappling with shock, grief and anger. The government, meanwhile, has moved swiftly to announce stricter gun laws. _The National_'s journalists and expatriated New Zealanders, Ashleigh Stewart and Campbell MacDiarmid, discuss how their homeland is responding to the tragedy, and bring stories of some of the victim's families.
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