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Embattled Land

Dozens of wars, endless peace negotiations, terrorism and oil: The Middle East is a tinderbox of competing national and international interests beset by religious strife. The top international interests include stabilizing Iraq's fledgling democracy and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

SPIEGEL Interview with Foreign Minister Westerwelle: 'I Don't Want a German Europe'

SPIEGEL Interview with Foreign Minister Westerwelle: 'I Don't Want a German Europe'

SPIEGEL ONLINE - February 13, 2012

In a SPIEGEL interview, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, 50, discusses the "repulsive" violence in Syria, his concerns about Germany's standing in Europe as a result of the euro crisis and his disatisfaction with the recent political impasse in Greece. more... Comment ]

Mecca Turns West: Roads of Arabia Run Through Berlin

Mecca Turns West: Roads of Arabia Run Through Berlin

SPIEGEL ONLINE - January 27, 2012

It is a premiere for Germany. Never before have artifacts from Islam's holiest site, the Kaaba in Mecca, been on display in the country. A new exhibit in Berlin's famous Pergamon Museum traces history on the Arabian peninsula from the birth of civilization to the 20th century. By Aaron Wiener more...

Smuggler's Paradise: Iran Sanctions Good for Business in Tiny Omani Port

Smuggler's Paradise: Iran Sanctions Good for Business in Tiny Omani Port

SPIEGEL ONLINE - January 20, 2012

The West's sanctions against Iran have made it harder for people there to get their hands on various luxury goods. But, for the inhabitants of a tiny Omani port just across the Strait of Hormuz, the sanctions have been a goldmine. By Juliane von Mittelstaedt more...

Filming Syria's Women: 'It Is Difficult Making Anything Critical of the Regime'

Filming Syria's Women: 'It Is Difficult Making Anything Critical of the Regime'

SPIEGEL ONLINE - November 30, 2011

In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, the maker of a new film about two women in Syria discusses the role females have played in the Arab Spring, the equalizing effect of street protests and why it is hard to make documentaries that are critical of the regime in Damascus.   more...

An Ultimatum: Arab League Fed Up With Syrian Violence

An Ultimatum: Arab League Fed Up With Syrian Violence

SPIEGEL ONLINE - November 22, 2011

Eight months after the deadly uprising began in Syria, the country seems to be reaching a turning point. The Arab League, previously an obstacle to change, is now pushing for an end to the Assad regime. The Emir of Qatar is spearheading the movement. By Matthias Schepp, Wieland Wagner and Bernhard Zand more...

Halting Iran's Nuclear Program: Former Mossad Chief Seeks to Avert Israeli Attack

Halting Iran's Nuclear Program: Former Mossad Chief Seeks to Avert Israeli Attack

SPIEGEL ONLINE - November 08, 2011

Is Israel planning an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities? For months now, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan has been publicly warning against such prospects. He's hoping to prevent what he believes could be a catastrophe. His statements, however, have deeply angered the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. By Ronen Bergman and Juliane von Mittelstaedt in Tel Aviv more...

Interview with Syrian Grand Mufti: 'Assad Could Step Down After Free Elections'

Interview with Syrian Grand Mufti: 'Assad Could Step Down After Free Elections'

SPIEGEL ONLINE - November 08, 2011

Grand Mufti Sheikh Hassoun, the highest Islamic authority in Syria and a close confidant of embattled President Bashar Assad, talked to SPIEGEL about the threat of civil war, possible suicide bombings in Europe and his son's murder at the hands of Islamist insurgents. more... Comment ]

Settlement Protest: Germany Threatens To Halt Submarine Sale to Israel

Settlement Protest: Germany Threatens To Halt Submarine Sale to Israel

SPIEGEL ONLINE - October 31, 2011

The German government is threatening to halt the delivery of a submarine capable of firing nuclear warheads in protest of the Israeli government's recent decision to build new homes in the Arab part of Jerusalem. Earlier this year, SPIEGEL reported that Germany's subsidized submarine sales program is linked to World War II reparations. more...

Gilad Shalit's Return: 'Good To Have You Back Home'

Gilad Shalit's Return: 'Good To Have You Back Home'

SPIEGEL ONLINE - October 18, 2011

Gilad Shalit's release on Tuesday after five and a half years in captivity sparked celebrations across Israel. "I brought your boy home," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the soldier's parents. His freedom is likely to give a needed boost to the Israeli government. By Ulrike Putz in Jerusalem more...

Germany's Role in Soldier's Release: Berlin Provided Discreet Aid in Shalit Negotiations

Germany's Role in Soldier's Release: Berlin Provided Discreet Aid in Shalit Negotiations

SPIEGEL ONLINE - October 13, 2011

The deal reached this week between Israel and Hamas over the release of soldier Gilad Shalit has brought relief to the government in Berlin. For years, an envoy with the German foreign intelligence service worked as a mediator between both sides. In the end, however, the Egyptians played the decisive role, with the BND watching from afar in Germany. By Michael Gebauer and Ulrike Putz more... Comment ]