MENASource|Following the Arab Transitions

With rebel forces facing the prospect of a crushing defeat by Syria's Russian-backed regime, their allies Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, and Turkey may send in limited numbers of ground troops, analysts say.

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Saudi Arabia will need to invest $133.3 billion in electricity projects over the next ten years to cope with rising power demand, its Electricity and Water Minister Abdullah al-Hussayen said Sunday.

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Libya has had its voting rights United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) suspended because it has not paid its UN membership dues. In a letter to the UNGA a fortnight ago, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that to have the ban lifted, Libya would have to pay a minimum of $1,369,638 towards reducing its debt.

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World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim announced Thursday that the World Bank Group will triple its commitment to the Middle East and North Africa over the next five years to nearly $20 billion.

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The Syrian regime, backed by Russian airstrikes, severed the main overland supply route from Turkey to Aleppo on Wednesday, February 3. The loss of this territory directly impacts Turkish interests in northern Syria and may portend a scenario whereby the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a militia comprised mostly of Syrian Kurds, unite Kurdish-held territory east of the Euphrates with Efrin, an isolated canton bordering Turkey’s Hatay province. Turkey has threatened to attack the SDF, should it take steps to consolidate control over territory west of Euphrates.

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A regime offensive near Aleppo continues from Monday with Russian air support, accompanied by Iran-backed Shia militias and Hezbollah forces, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) on Thursday. The operation broke an opposition siege on two regime held towns.

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Tens of thousands of Yemenis gathered in the capital Sana’a to express their anger toward the government on February 3, 2011 in what was dubbed the “Day of Rage.” Five years later, a failed transitional process has led to open war between competing factions and their regional backers. As the war in Yemen enters its eleventh month, it behooves those hoping to see the conflict reach a peaceful end to reflect on those unknowns that would have a significant impact on the sustainability of a post-conflict Yemen.

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said Wednesday is planning to invest EUR 900 million euros ($986 million) as part of international efforts to tackle the refugee crisis.

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In the second installment of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center Podcast, Senior Fellows Aaron Stein and Faysal Itani discuss the implications of the latest Syrian regime gains on the battle field and the potential impact on US-Turkish relations, the anti-ISIS coalition, and the negotiations in Geneva.

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Rebels said the new assault on Aleppo, backed by heavy Russian air strikes, was unprecedented and that the divided northern city might soon be encircled. Russia will not stop its air strikes on Syria until armed groups are defeated, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.

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