Middle East

Updated at 12 p.m. ET

Amid international outcry over an alleged poison gas attack in Syria over the weekend, Damascus said one of its air bases had come under attack, first blaming the U.S., but later Israel.

Meanwhile, President Trump says the White House will be making a decision on Syria in the next day or two, saying the reported attack was "atrocious" and "can't be allowed to happen."

Updated: 1:10 a.m. ET on Monday

Dozens of Syrians in Douma have died by suffocation, following reports of a chemical attack. Douma is the last rebel-held enclave in eastern Ghouta, near the capital Damascus. The alleged attack comes amidst days of heavy bombardment by government forces in an effort to assert control over the town.

Updated 5:22 a.m. ET Sunday

Israeli airstrikes in Syria killed at least six members of the Syrian military or allied militia members Saturday, a monitor group said Sunday, after Israel said an Iranian drone violated its airspace.

The protests that began last week in Iran are different from most unrest that has previously roiled the country since its 1979 revolution.

They have covered more geography, engulfing small and midsize cities across the country. But they also have reportedly drawn smaller turnouts than the massive 2009 election protests in Tehran. Although more information is needed about the makeup of the demonstrators, significant differences have emerged. Iranian reformists and middle-class residents in large urban areas are reported to have largely steered clear this time around.

Iran's Supreme leader Ali Khamenei, speaking for the first time since protests broke out in his country last week, accuses "enemies of Iran" of meddling in the country.

At least 21 people have been killed in the protests that broke out throughout cities across the country since last Thursday, over Iran's weak economy and rising food prices.

Updated at 2:30 a.m. ET Tuesday

A protester shot and killed an Iranian policeman on Monday, marking the first death among the security forces amid ongoing anti-government demonstrations, according to the police and media reports.

The U.S. blocked a United Nations Security Council vote Monday on a resolution that called on all states to refrain from building diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

U.S. Delegate to the U.N. Nikki Haley voted against the resolution, using the United States' veto power as a permanent member for the first time in more than six years. The Council's other 14 members, including France and Britain, all voted in favor.

Mazen Mahdi EPA / Landov

President Obama took time Wednesday to remember Steven Sotloff, the American journalist and South Florida native recently murdered by militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

During his visit to Estonia, Obama called Sotloff a “devoted and courageous” Middle East correspondent.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

 

Journalist Nathan Deuel grew up in South Florida, but in 2008 he and his wife, Kelly McEvers, moved to the Middle East. 

During their five years abroad, they had their first child and McEvers became NPR’s Baghdad bureau chief. The family moved around the region as the Arab Spring erupted. 

Deuel has written a memoir about that experience, called "Friday Was The Bomb." He’ll be speaking tonight at Books & Books in Coral Gables at 8 p.m. 

Forty years ago this week, the U.S. was hit by an oil shock that reverberates until this day.

Arab oil producers cut off exports to the U.S. to protest American military support for Israel in its 1973 war with Egypt and Syria. This brought soaring gas prices and long lines at filling stations, and it contributed to a major economic downturn in the U.S.

The embargo made the U.S. feel heavily dependent on Middle Eastern oil, which in turn led the U.S. to focus on instability in that region, which has since included multiple wars and other U.S. military interventions.