Nepotism flourishes under AKP

Turkey’s main opposition party has revealed a list of government workers who got public jobs through corrupt channels and created a website for citizens to report other cases.
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 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 18

Iran conference panelists criticize nuclear program

Panelists at a conference about Iran's nuclear program have spoken out publicly about its steep costs to the country.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on December 18

As Yemen changes, Russia's position stays the same

While Yemen has undergone upheaval, Russia has remained focused on containing Sunni Islamic extremism.
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 Paul J. Saunders for Al-Monitor on December 17

Who keeps bombing the French Cultural Center in Gaza?

The French Cultural Center in Gaza has been targeted twice in two months, raising suspicions about who is behind the attacks, since the center is located near Hamas security headquarters and the unity government's Interior Ministry.
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 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on December 17

Qom, Najaf call for improved relations with Saudi Arabia

Prominent religious authorities in both Qom and Najaf have called on political leaders in their countries to improve their relations with Saudi Arabia after the latter took a strict stance against Salafist jihadism.
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 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on December 17

Hamas asks Iran for money, weapons

A senior Hamas delegation visited Tehran last week to ask Iran to resume its financial and military aid to the beleaguered Palestinian Islamist movement.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 17

After Damascus talks, Moscow pressures Syria

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov’s Dec. 10-11 visit to Damascus and increased contact with Turkey signal a shift in Russian-Syrian relations as Moscow looks for a political solution.
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 An Al-Monitor Correspondent in Lebanon for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on December 17

Sanctions, sabotage, science delay Iran's missile program

Experts say Iran’s missile program should not be an impediment to a comprehensive nuclear deal, but that Iran should be encouraged to keep its pledges not to build long-range ballistic missiles.
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 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on December 17

IRGC responds to Rouhani's comments

Following the president's warning against the consolidation of power, the head of the IRGC has criticized interpretations of strife between the president and his organization, which he credits with maintaining Iran's opposition to the United States.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on December 17

Baghdad struggles in its role as mediator

The Iraqi government is still struggling to present itself as a neutral intermediary between the various sectarian and regional forces, while the United States has started talks with Sunni parties on security cooperation.
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 Mushreq Abbas for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 17

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