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President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s 19 December decrees brought Yemen’s counterterrorism operations under one roof for the first time, making it clear that, in line with US wishes, Hadi considers the fight against terrorism a military affair.

Yemen
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The Iraqi government’s 20 December raids on staff of finance minister Rafi Al-Issawi triggered the strongest protests Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki has faced since coming to power in 2006. The surge of anger in restive Al-Anbar combined with that over army presence and alleged prison rapes in Nineveh, and later spread to Salah Ad-Din and Sunni parts of Baghdad. In the weeks since, tens of thousands of Sunnis have poured onto the streets to express a range of frustrations, blocking the main trade route to Jordan and Syria, and sharpening the sectarian divide.

Iraq
Free

Yemen is nine months into a transition period envisaged to last two years and intended to steer the troubled state towards multi-party democratic elections. But the country remains wracked with violence. A strong Al-Qaeda presence in the south, tensions within the military, immense poverty and malnutrition are just some of the challenges facing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi,who took over in February after 33 years of rule by Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Yemen
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A series of bomb explosions in central Manama killed two young Asians on 5 November. The attacks came just days after the government banned all rallies and gatherings – the opposition says they must not be used as an excuse for further crackdown.

Bahrain
Issue 933 - 12 October 2012

More protests in Eastern Province

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There have been mass protests in Eastern Province after security forces killed two men in a raid on a house in Awamiyah on 26 September.

Saudi Arabia
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Inspired by events in North Africa, hundreds of angry Yemenis stormed the US compound in Sanaa on 13 September. The violence was nominally in protest at a film insulting Islam, and has been encouraged by terrorist groups, but at its heart lies a far more fundamental – and more problematic – frustration.

Yemen
Issue 930 - 31 August 2012

Yemen: Kidnapped Italian freed

Free

A member of Italy’s Carabinieri military police who was kidnapped on 29 July has been freed by his captors.

Yemen
Free

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has exploited the weakness of central government, and last year seized several southern areas. The US has been backing a major offensive against AQAP in recent months, with considerable success: in June, security forces regained control of regions held by Ansar Al-Sharia, an AQAP affiliate.

Yemen
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The authorities in Bahrain have long sought definitive proof that Iran and its Gulf proxy network, Hizbollah Al-Hejaz, are actively undertaking militant actions inside Bahrain. Based on contacts within Bahrain’s security services, GSN has periodically reported the thin gruel of evidence that has built up over time, largely consisting of 1990s-era arms caches unearthed by new building activity or occasional evidence of Bahrainis travelling to Iran, Lebanon and Iraq to receive training or money from Tehran’s intelligence services.

Iran | Bahrain
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A US Navy supply ship fired on a fishing boat just off the coast of the UAE on 16 July, according to UAE state news agency Wam.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Saudi Arabia has reopened an old pipeline built by Iraq to bypass Gulf shipping lanes, according to industry sources quoted by Reuters. On 28 June, the news agency said Riyadh had taken the measure as a precaution against Iran blocking the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran | Saudi Arabia
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Lebanon is a second major source of Sunni fighters after Syria’s home-grown and returning jihadists in the current conflict. In another example of ‘blowback’, the Syrian regime is now paying for its fostering of Sunni terrorist factions within northern Lebanon.

Syria | Lebanon
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With UN envoy Kofi Annan’s peace effort on the verge of collapse, Sunni Arab and Turkoman opponents of the Assad regime are becoming ever more radicalised, and foreign jihadists are looking to add to Syria’s poisonous blend of communal and factional conflicts. A multifaceted conflict is unfolding which could push Syria into a full civil war, with the capacity to spread sectarian conflict that is filling an increasingly polarised region with alarm

Saudi Arabia | Iraq | Qatar | Syria
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The presence of a major Al Qaeda affiliate to the east is another factor that could make a full-fledged jihad in Syria more likely. Yet there has been surprisingly little evidence of Iraqi involvement in the conflict.

Iraq | Syria
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Simpler tactics, softer targets and waves of recruits emerging from US detention have led to a resurgence of Al Qaeda in Iraq, demonstrated by the group’s ability to stage major co-ordinated attacks on an increasingly regular basis

Iraq