Inside the Middle East
December 30, 2009
Posted: 1742 GMT

Iraq's war widows defy tradition to search for new fathers for their children. CNN's Diana Magnay reports.

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Filed under: Culture •General •Iraq

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December 28, 2009
Posted: 942 GMT

From CNN's Paula Hancocks

The first thing that strikes me when I meet Samia Almanaya is how shy she is. A sixteen year old Gaza girl who doesn't want attention, who doesn't want to be different and stand out from the crowd. But she is different. Scarred from her feet up to her waist... the legacy of an Israeli airstrike on 3rd January during Israel's offensive to stop militant rocket attacks.

She was asleep with her mother in one room, her mother was also wounded. The family says they slept in different rooms so that even if some members died some would survive. A devastating practicality they tell me many families employed at the time. Samia is not a militant, she tells me she has no political aspirations, she just wants to finish school. She is one personal face of that most impersonal of phrases... collateral damage.

Her doctor tells me up to one centimetre of her skin was burned off by the chemical white phosphorous. Whether you believe Israel or you believe human rights groups as to the legality of its use in Gaza, the effects are devastating.

Two skin grafts later, Samia is still disfigured, she has to medicate daily and smooth cream onto the deep purple burn three times a day. Her mother tells me Samia worries she will never get married now – she asks who would want her. At its worst she can only stand for five minutes and she still refuses to go back into the room where she was injured.

Plastic surgery could help, her doctor says, but some scars will always be there. Samia tells me she is praying for someone to take her out of Gaza to treat her. Most of all she wishes she hadn't been asleep during the night-time attack thinking maybe she could have done something to prevent it.

Filed under: Gaza •Video

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December 23, 2009
Posted: 1056 GMT

CNN's Ben Wedeman reports on Egypt's efforts to regain lost artifacts plundered during the age of European domination.

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Filed under: Archaeology •Egypt •General

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December 21, 2009
Posted: 840 GMT

Play-in-page video:

Filed under: Christianity •Jerusalem

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Posted: 832 GMT

Beirut, Lebanon (CNN) - The leaders of Lebanon and Syria vowed to improve cooperation between their two countries Sunday, tying up a meeting aimed at thawing frozen relations.

Syrian President Bashar Assad greets Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri (left) on his arrival in Damascus.
Syrian President Bashar Assad greets Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri (left) on his arrival in Damascus.

"We want to open new horizons between the two states," Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said at a news conference at the end of the two-day meeting, which happened in Damascus, Syria.

"We had good and excellent discussions based on mutual clarity and honesty," he added. "We are betting on a better future for both countries and peoples, in economy, trade as well as all other levels."

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was not at the news conference. Official Syrian news agency SANA reported that both al-Assad and Hariri "saw the visit as a starting point to restore cooperation between the governments of Syria and Lebanon."

"Both sides agreed that the institutions and ministries in both countries directly coordinate and communicate to remove all obstacles to the cooperation on all levels," SANA reported.

Hariri has previously blamed Syria for the 2005 assassination of his father, Rafik Hariri, a former Lebanese leader who was a prominent figure opposing Syria's continuing presence inside Lebanon.

A United Nations investigation found indications of Syrian involvement, but Syria denies responsibility. A U.N.-backed tribunal has been created to investigate the killing.

The two leaders did not discuss that issue or the assassinations of other anti-Syrian figures in Lebanon, Hariri said Sunday. They also did not discuss requests by a Syrian court to question Lebanese officials.

Asked whether any guarantees were exchanged regarding the Lebanese-Syrian relationship, Hariri responded, "I don't want to go into details." He added that the meeting proves "a relationship is being built in both countries' interest and in the benefit of future openness."

A popular uprising after the elder Hariri's killing in 2005 helped lead to the withdrawal of Syrian forces after almost 30 years of military and political domination of Lebanon.

Under international pressure, Syria opened an embassy in Beirut almost a year ago, and a Lebanese ambassador arrived in Damascus a short while later. It was the first time the two foes established diplomatic ties since their independence more than six decades ago.

The United States, which also accused Syria of involvement in Rafik Hariri's assassination, withdrew its ambassador four years ago. President Obama decided to make an effort toward reconciliation and announced earlier this year that he was returning a U.S. diplomat to Damascus.

Filed under: Lebanon •Syria

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December 13, 2009
Posted: 1419 GMT

CNN's Cal Perry reports from Dubai on the impact the financial crisis is having on the migrant worker population.

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Filed under: Culture •Dubai •General •Inside The Middle East

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December 8, 2009
Posted: 1315 GMT

Dear all,

A reminder that you can join in discussions on by becoming an IME fan on Facebook.

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Filed under: Inside The Middle East

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December 7, 2009
Posted: 858 GMT

Young Iraqis use film to fight fear and reclaim Iraq's streets. CNN's Isha Sesay reports

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Filed under: General •Inside The Middle East •Iraq •Video

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December 3, 2009
Posted: 1059 GMT

Iraq's National Museum is partnering with Google to offer a virtual tour of the museum. CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom reports.

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Filed under: Archaeology •Iraq

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Posted: 1043 GMT

The United Arab Emirates celebrated on Wednesday 38 years of independence with nationwide celebrations from concerts to exhibitions and a grand finale firework display in the capital Abu Dhabi.

Emirati boy celebrated National day. ADACH-Abu Dhabi
Emirati boy celebrated National day. ADACH-Abu Dhabi
Fireworks finale along Abu Dhabi coast. ADACH-Abu Dhabi
Fireworks finale along Abu Dhabi coast. ADACH-Abu Dhabi
Emirati traditional celebratory dance. ADACH-Abu Dhabi
Emirati traditional celebratory dance. ADACH-Abu Dhabi

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Filed under: UAE

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Welcome to the Inside the Middle East blog where CNN's journalists post news, views and video from across the region. This is also a place where you can start the discussion so please keep your comments coming. We highlight not only current news stories but also anecdotes and issues that don't always make the top of the headlines.

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