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Iraq in Talks to Buy Hawk Jets from UK  
The Iraqi government is in talks to buy Hawk trainer jets from the UK in a deal that could be worth up to £1bn and would be a boost for BAE Systems, the defence contractor that manufactures the aircraft. It would be Iraq's biggest arms purchase from Britain for more than two decades. It is understood that officials from the Iraqi Air Force will be visiting the UK next month to test the Hawk, which is used to train fast-jet pilots. (Zawya)
Nasrallah: Egyptian Conviction - Source of Pride  
Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah hailed as a "badge of honour" an Egyptian court's conviction of 26 men for plotting attacks in the Suez Canal and Sinai resorts on behalf of his Lebanese movement. "The verdicts are a badge of honour for these noble brothers of the resistance," Nasrallah said in an interview to be broadcast on Thursday by Kuwaiti television channel Al-Rai. (Al Bawaba)
Iran, Egypt Ready for Battle at UN Nuclear Meeting  
Iran and Egypt are gearing up for battle against the United States and its allies over Israel and developing countries’ rights to atomic technology at a major meeting on the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to attend the conference, which opens on Monday and runs until May 28. He will be facing off with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who heads the U.S. delegation at the meeting at U.N. headquarters. (Khaleej Times)
How Iran and al-Qaeda Made a Deal  Syed Saleem Shahzad
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) regrouped in January 2009 through a merger between two regional offshoots of al-Qaeda in neighboring countries Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Led by a former aide to bin Laden, AQAP has vowed to attack oil facilities, foreigners and security forces in an effort to topple the Saudi monarchy and Yemeni government, and establish an Islamic caliphate. Iran has proxies in Yemen among the minority Shi'ite population and if the two factors - the Shi'ites and AQAP - develop ties, it would be a big blow for Saudi Arabia and other Arab states. (Asia Times)
Syria, Iran: Establishing Regional Economic Bloc Vital  
Syria and Iran stressed on the importance of the establishment of a regional economic bloc to achieve prosperity and contribute in stressing peace and stability. A Syrian presidential release said that came during the meeting of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and Iran's First Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi which was attended by Syrian Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Utri. (Kuwait News Agency)
UNIFIL Confirms 'Suspicious Material' Was Found in South Lebanon  
The spokesman of the United Nation Interim Forces in Southern Lebanon (UNIFIL), Neeraj Singh issued a statement on Wednesday confirming that "suspicious material" was found in a car parked at a peacekeeping force headquarters in southern Lebanon. "The material was found in the Marjayoun headquarters of the Spanish Battalion Last Friday during a routine inspection," the statement said. (Eathtimes)
Profiting from Political Chaos  Francis Matthew
Failed states in the Middle East are not just an invitation to increasing political chaos, but they are also havens for all sorts of organised crime and terrorist organisations. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has not taken action on many failed states in its region, but the problems in Yemen have prompted it to action. (Gulf News)
Hamas Slams Egypt for Tunnel Deaths  
The Hamas movement has criticised Egyptian security forces after four Palestinians were killed when a smuggling tunnel from the country's Sinai desert region into the Gaza Strip was destroyed. Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin said Egyptian authorities had warned the Palestinians that the tunnel would be destroyed, before using gas canisters and dynamite to blow it up on Wednesday. (Al Jazeera)
Iran…Sustained Bleeding  Tariq Alhomayed
The isolation of Iran, and its sustained bleeding, is apparent from Iran’s attempt not to miss a thing in order to show cohesion of its alliances in the region, especially after it received painful two blows in the form of the Lebanese and Iraqi elections. The clearest example of this came a few days ago when the official Iranian news agency broadcast statements attributed to the Syrian president about Iranian-Syrian ties, but what was striking was that the Syrian media did not broadcast any of those statements! (Asharq Alawsat)
Al Qaeda in Iraq Confirms Death of Two Leaders  
An al-Qaeda front group in Iraq said in a statement posted on the Internet Sunday that its two top figures have been killed. The statement by the Islamic State of Iraq provided the first confirmation of the April 19 claim by the Iraqi and U.S. governments that the two men died in a joint operation while hiding at a safe house near the city of Tikrit, north of Baghdad. (Al Bawaba)
British Embassy in Yemen Shut after Bombing  
Britain's embassy in Sana'a is shut and its citizens are being advised to "keep a low profile" after its ambassador to Yemen avoided injury in a bombing, the Foreign Office said. Ambassador Timothy Torlot was not hurt in the attack but a suicide bomber died as he targeted the ambassador's convoy, a security official in Yemen said. (Emirates Business)
The Gulf, the Arabs and the Iranian Threat  Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed
The truth must be told; all Arab territories should be treated equally without drawing a distinction between Jerusalem and the island of Abu Musa. Actually, the truth must be told on a much larger scale by condemning any aggressive act regardless of the nationality or ethnicity of the perpetrator. It is not enough to describe a military attack as aggression only if it is committed by Israel. We should not justify crimes committed against other Arabs just because the perpetrator’s stances are supportive of Arab rights. (Asharq Alawsat)
Iran Guards to Deploy 'Bomber Drone' by Next March that Could Hamper US Efforts in Afghanistan  
Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said on Saturday that by March next year it will deploy a domestically manufactured drone capable of carrying out air strikes. Iran's drone technology has caused concern in the United States, with Defence Secretary Robert Gates recently warning they could pose "difficulty" for the military in Afghanistan. (AFP)
Hamas Forces Break Up Gaza Hip-Hop Concert  Tom Gross
The Islamist group Hamas, which has already shut down Internet cafes and forced women to stop wearing jeans, continues to clamp down on anything fun as its security forces broke up the Gaza Strip’s first major hip-hop concert late last night. (National Review)
Clashes in Sudan Kill 58, Raise Tension on Border  
Clashes between south Sudan’s army and Darfuri Arab tribes killed 58 people, raising tension along the border with the north of the country as results of the first open elections in 24 years are released, officials said. Sudan’s oil-producing south was allowed to keep a separate army and form a semi-autonomous government in a 2005 peace deal ending more than two decades of civil war with the north. (Khaleej Times)
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