The last time an Arab-led force marshaled armies from across the region against a common enemy - Israel -- the result was a resounding defeat that would shape the Mideast for decades to come.
Analysts say the nascent military alliance, whose planned formation was announced over the weekend by Arab leaders meeting in Egypt, could usher in new regional crises and intensify existing ones, sharpening sectarian differences between Sunni and Shiite Muslims and complicating already tangled national conflicts.
In a policy shift, President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he will slow the planned drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and keep the remaining 9,800 troops there through the end of this year, although he still plans to end America's longest war before he leaves office. The Obama administration previously had planned to cut the U.S. military force to about 5,500 troops this year as part of a phased withdrawal of nearly all U.S. troops by the end of next year. But he said he had decided to leave the additional U.S. troops in place this year "so we don't have to go back, so we don't have to respond in an emergency because terrorist activities are being launched from Afghanistan." read more
TV exit polls Tuesday night showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud set to retain the Israeli leadership at the end of a bitter election campaign. Netanyahu claimed victory early Wednesday morning, though his rival Isaac Herzog did not concede defeat.
Unlike years past, analysts had said the race between Likud and Zionist Union, the two leading factions, was too close to call with confidence, but the exit polls showed Netanyahu clearly better placed to build the next coalition.
Once a popular minister from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud party, Moshe Kahlon could well find himself in the position of kingmaker after Tuesday's general election.
Kahlon's center-right Kulanu party, which he formed after leaving Likud, is projected to win between eight and 10 seats in the 120-member Knesset -- trailing a fair distance behind his former party's 21, and the 24 of the center-left Zionist Union.
There are 25 lists contesting the polls but under Israel's complex electoral system, the task of forming a new government does not automatically fall to the party that wins the largest number of votes.
The winner will be the one who can succeed in cobbling together a coalition commanding a parliamentary majority of at least 61 seats. read more
Without a letter reminding the White House, Congress and the American people that a deal must be approved by the Senate in order to be binding, we might never have learned from Secretary of State John Kerry that "we are not negotiating a legally binding plan." Oh, really?