While we were watching Boston, the Mideast did not lock-down: regional news roundup

Published April 21st, 2013 - 15:45 GMT

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Iraqi elections
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Image 1 of 10: Iraq ramped up security for the first polls since US troops left the country. Saturday’s provincial elections were seen as a key test of the country’s stability amid a spike in violence that left over 100 dead in the week leading up to the vote, including a bombing at a Baghdad billiards cafe that killed at least 27 on Thursday.

EU Syria oil embargo
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Image 1 of 10: Syria: Fierce fighting escalated in the oil-rich east of the country, as Nusra fighters clashed with tribal leaders over a stolen oil truck. Meanwhile European leaders wrote to the UN Secretary-General, saying they had evidence of chemical weapons used by Assad’s forces. “There is a strong case for amending the embargo,” said Britain.

Lebanon's Syrian shelling Qasr death
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Image 1 of 10: Lebanon- never one to keep the peace, Beirut may for once have had less war-zone kudos than Boston’s Watertown this weekend but it was not all quiet on the East Lebanon front. Residents of the Bekaa Valley spent their weekend ducking shells lobbed over from Syria.

Jordan Amman Brotherhood protest
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Image 1 of 10: Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood held a rally in the capital Amman on Friday. The protest was designed as a "show of force" after a crackdown the previous week on a pro-reform march in Irbid saw dozens injured. 3000 Muslim Brotherhood supporters took to the streets, in what is the largest outing by the group in three months.

Egypt clashes
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Image 1 of 10: Still seeking justice: 7 members of Egypt's 'Black Bloc', an Anarchist group, so-called due to black attire, have been issued 15 days detention by the State Security Prosecution department. The group formed on the 2nd anniversary of the Jan 25 revolution, as "a natural result of the absence of retribution" for those killed in the uprising.

Morsi with Putin in Russia
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Image 1 of 10: Embattled Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi visited his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi, cap in hand. If Morsi was expecting to strike an economic deal, he will have left disappointed. Instead, following the meeting, Putin called for a quick ceasefire in Syria.

Egypt Mubarak
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Image 1 of 10: Egypt’s forgotten man, the former President Hosni Mubarak has been cleared of charges related to ordering the killing of unarmed protestors, but remains behind bars over fraud charges.

Mahmoud Ahmadinijad and Mahamadou Issoufou
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Image 1 of 10: Iran’s show-man president, used to hogging center stage can’t have liked it much as the world’s media circus pivoted away from Persia and over to arch enemy US. While Boston was locked-down and commandeering all eyes and comments, Ahmadinijad was doing a spot of PR in Niger shaking off his bad nuclear rap.

F1 race Bahrain protests
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Image 1 of 10: Violence flared across the island nation of Bahrain in the run up to the Formula One Grand Prix. The race was cancelled in 2011 after pro-democracy protests against minority Sunni rule. On race day there were reports of clashes in villages away from the track. Opposition says the government is using the event to cover up human rights abuses.

Kuwait protests
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Image 1 of 10: Thousands of Kuwaitis have taken to the streets to protest against the five-year imprisonment of leading opposition figure Musallam al-Barrak on charges of insulting the emir. The outspoken former MP was arrested in October 2012 after a rally in Kuwait City where he argued that Kuwait risked becoming an autocratic state.

On the weekend of 19 April 2013 while all eyes were fixed firmly on the U.S.’s east coast, in the wake of the Boston marathon bombings, it was business as usual in the Middle East. Audiences tuned into the Bostonian drama unfolding, transfixed to every twist, turn, tip-off and tweet and the Massachusetts suburb of Watertown hogged the headlines from East to West. It’s no surprise we were gripped: just when we were sure it was a domestic issue, some Chechen flavor was thrown into the melting pot to re-awaken those global Jihad watchers. This was the most-wanted search of the century, second only to OBL’s 10 year ‘marathon’ manhunt and distilled into 48 hours of high-speed cop-chase. But there was no let-up in the Middle East news-ticker. From Baghdad to Bahrain, Syria to Saudi, it was all kicking off in the region where the camera crew never snoozes.




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