Ankara needs to explain its turnaround in dealings with PKK

As confrontations persist between Turkish government forces and the Kurdistan Workers Party, the government has remained mum about the reasons for the breakdown of the Kurdish peace process.
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 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on August 28

Have Israel, Hamas reopened backchannel to discuss swap deal?

A Palestinian source has claimed that in recent messages between Israel and Hamas over the communication channel established for the Gilad Shalit exchange, Hamas has admitted to holding Israeli civilian Avraham Mengistu.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on August 28

Israel needs new police chief, but is Gal Hirsch the one for the job?

With the deteriorating image of Israel's police force, it was necessary to appoint an outside candidate as police chief, but perhaps controversial reserve Brig. Gen. Gal Hirsch is not the right person for the task.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on August 28

Syrian Shiites take up arms in support of Assad's army

Syria's tiny Shiite community is taking greater steps toward arming itself as the civil war grinds on.
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Farahmand Alipour for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on August 27

Syrian mortar shells sow fear in Jordan border town

Many residents of Ramtha, northern Jordan, are calling for military action to contain the violence in Syria that is spilling over onto their city, where mortars fall on houses and parents are afraid to send their children to school.
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 Aaron Magid for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on August 27

Tens of thousands of Palestinians are on the verge of retirement, but why?

Government employees having served 15 years on the job are now grappling with the prospect of being forced into early retirement, as part of large-scale austerity measures in Palestine.
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 Iyad Qatrawi for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on August 27

Could Samarra become a city of Sunni-Shiite cooperation?

The city of Samarra, which holds many Islamic historical sites, has the potential to become a place for cooperation between Sunnis and Shiites, although both exchange accusations of destroying the city.
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 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on August 27

Why did it take Saudi Arabia 20 years to catch Khobar Towers bomber?

Reports have emerged that Saudi Arabia is holding Ahmed Ibrahim al-Mughassil, a Saudi Shiite who masterminded the 1996 attack on US military housing in Khobar that left 19 servicemen dead.
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 Bruce Riedel for Al-Monitor on August 26

Khamenei supports nuclear deal but warns of 'the enemy'

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, praises the conclusion of the nuclear deal and said if issues remain, he hopes they will be resolved.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on August 26

Erdogan’s war backfires

For the first time in 13 years, Turkey is headed into elections in an environment of bloody conflict with the PKK — a deliberate political choice on the part of the government.
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 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on August 26

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