1. Gulf states have complicated relationship with Iran
    Editor’s note: David Andrew Weinberg is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. You can follow him @DavidAWeinberg. The views expressed are his own.
  2. U.S. allies, Iran begin a 6-month race to reach deal on nuclear program
    WASHINGTON — After more than a decade of stalemate and threats, the clock starts Monday on the six-month initial phase of a deal that negotiators for Iran, the United States and five other world powers say could lead to a permanent agreement to defuse tensions over Iran’s nuclear program.
  3. Iraqi terrorists execute their 14 kidnap victims
    Fourteen Iraqi civilians who were kidnapped Thursday morning by suspected members of al-Qaeda in Iraq, a/k/a Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), were later in the day found dead in a wooded area outside of Baghdad, according to Moshe Ashar, a security and counterterrorism consultant for a number of police agencies.
  4. Iraqi Forces Retake Areas Seized by Gunmen in Anbar Province
    TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iraqi security forces backed by tribesmen carried out offensive attacks on Thursday against al-Qaeda-linked gunmen in the Western province of Anbar, security sources said.
  5. Syrian Army Kills Dozens of Takfiri Terrorists, Saudi Bombers
    TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian troops killed dozens of Takfiri terrorists across the Muslim country as the army continues to carry out operations against foreign-sponsored militant groups.
  6. Bahrain arrests 183 protesters, including 31 children in one month – opposition
    A report issued by a Bahraini human rights body says the country saw 745 protests in just December alone. The government’s reaction to dissent, according to the study, included arrests of 31 children, home raids and enforced disappearances.
  7. Exclusive: Iran steps up weapons lifeline to Syria’s Assad: envoys
    (Reuters) – Iran has significantly stepped up military support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in recent months, solidifying its position alongside Russia as the government’s lifeline in an increasingly sectarian civil war, Western diplomats said.
  8. Shells fired from Syria kill 4 in Lebanon town: Security
    Baalbek: Shells fired from war-torn Syria killed four people, including a child, when they rained down on the Lebanese border town of Arsal on Friday, a Lebanese security official said.
  9. Damascus softens its stance as next Geneva talks near
    (CNN) — Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem announced Friday moves that appear to be intended to ease the strife in Syria and show that Damascus is amenable to changes, just before a peace conference scheduled for Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland.