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July 16, 2017

Hossein Fereidoun, brother of Iran’s president, arrested

Hassan Rouhani’s supporters see his brother’s arrest as part of efforts to undermine him during his second term in office

The brother of Iran’s moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, has been arrested amid escalating tensions between the government and the country’s hardline judiciary ahead of his swearing-in ceremony next month.

Hossein Fereidoun, a top presidential aide who played a senior role in more than two years of high-level negotiations between Iran and the west over Tehran’s nuclear programme, was taken to prison after failing to secure bail on Saturday, local agencies reported.

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June 24, 2017

Kurds see chance to advance their cause in ruins of Islamic State

With the defeat of Isis close, its opponents scent opportunity in the region. Can Kurdish forces win more autonomy?

As what remains of Islamic State crumbles, the would-be victors have started circling. In Mosul, Iraqi forces have begun preparing for peace in the city where the now-encircled marauders took root three years ago. Across the border in Raqqa, with five of its neighbourhoods under their control, Kurdish forces are contemplating what comes next for them and their cause.

Related: Ever-closer ties between US and [...]

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June 22, 2017

Rival groups vie for supremacy as fight against Isis reaches tipping point

With Isis close to defeat in Mosul, its various opponents are already competing to define what will happen next

Iraqi forces have advanced to the base of the toppled minaret of Mosul’s Great Mosque of al-Nuri, hours after it was destroyed by Islamic State militants, as the bitter eight-month battle to recapture the city reached a tipping point.

Related: Destroying Great Mosque of al-Nuri 'is Isis declaring defeat'

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May 22, 2017

Donald Trump focuses fire on Iran’s support for ‘terrorists and militias’

Theme emerges as US president visits Israel during first international trip, saying Iran must cease ‘funding terrorists’ and never obtain nuclear weapons

Donald Trump, on his first presidential visit to Israel and the West Bank, has escalated his war of words against Iran, demanding that Tehran immediately stop its financial and military support for “terrorists and militias” and reiterating that it must never be permitted to possess nuclear weapons.

Trump referred to the Iran issue repeatedly on Monday, expanding on his speech in Saudi Arabia the day before

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