MENASource|Following the Arab Transitions

The United States and Egypt are returning to a "stronger base" in bilateral ties despite tensions and human rights concerns, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday after talks with his Egyptian counterpart.

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Tunisian firms are preparing to issue Islamic bonds as the government finalizes rules covering the sector. The bonds will create a new funding option for companies in an economy buffeted by labor unrest and militant attacks.

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The temptation to heap scorn on the US-led “train-and-equip” program seeking to create an anti-Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) Syrian ground force by recruiting Syria rebels will no doubt increase due to the kidnapping (by the Nusra Front) of the commander of the unit into which new trainees have been funneled.

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The Nusra Front launched an offensive on the headquarters of the US-formed “Division 30” rebel group in Aleppo on Friday. Monitoring groups reported that the Nusra Front launched the attack to seize weapons “given by Washington to the rebels,” but they were unable to enter the base.

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a $1.24 billion emergency loan for Iraq on Thursday, saying the country needs extra support as it confronts the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) and depressed oil prices.

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The US-backed “Division 30” Syrian rebel group released a statement Wednesday accusing the Nusra Front of abducting its leader Nadim al-Hassan and a number of his companions in northern Aleppo, urging the group to release them. The men were reportedly abducted Tuesday night when returning from a meeting in Azaz to coordinate efforts with other rebel factions.

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Electricity is being rationed more in government controlled areas in Syria after an escalation in attacks on power plants by Islamist militants.

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It has become common wisdom in Western capitals that Tunisia is the Arab Spring’s only (partial) success story. Yet more needs to be done to protect the country from the instability that surrounds it and threatens to reverse its vulnerable democratic progress.

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Turkish jets launched their heaviest assault yet on Kurdish militants in northern Iraq Tuesday night, striking six Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets including shelters, depots, and caves.

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Conflict in Libya has led European oil companies including British Petroleum (BP) and France’s Total SA to write off millions of dollars in investments in the country.

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