US President-elect Donald Trump has spoken frequently of his interest to work with Russia to fight IS, and he suggested he is inclined to cut US support for Syrian rebel groups that oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. By contrast, the... Obama administration, while avoiding direct escalation against the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian backers, has steadfastly refused... cooperation with the Assad regime and has said it believes he lost the legitimacy to govern Syria.

Trumps... strong stance on fighting Isis and “Islamic terrorism” means he is unlikely to hand control of a country... to a scarcely less hardline group. The Baltic states are nervous about whether a Trump administration would defend them in the event of a Russian attack. Trump’s win certainly makes a president Le Pen more plausible. Trump has promised to reverse decades of US policy by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the American embassy there.

Yemen’s 18-month civil war has killed about 10,000 people, and now it is pushing the country to the brink of famine. More than 21 million Yemenis — 80% of the population — are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Much of Yemen’s poverty is due to dire water shortages. Yemen’s conflict has been characterized as a proxy war between Shi’ite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia. Yemen’s domestic conflict over the inability to produce consensus... has now escalated into an intractable multi-party war.

In many nations, transportation fuels are as cheap as soda. Electricity rates are so discounted in the Persian Gulf states that some residents do not bother to turn down their air-conditioners while away on vacation. By some estimates, the consumption subsidies may be responsible for more than 10 percent of total global emissions of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas. They also contribute to traffic jams and air pollution in cities across the developing world.

Anything that eases Iran’s chronic brain drain is welcomed by officials, who have struggled to find solutions ... 150,000 “educated brains” leave the country each year, calculating the cost to Iran to be tens of billions annually. Official statistics in 2012 indicated that 64 percent of Iran’s International Science Olympiad winners in the previous 14 years had left the country. Another official source that year stated that 90 of Iran’s 125 medal winners from 2008 to 2011 had immigrated to the US

Hamas has recently further raised taxes after a drop in financial support from allies, such as Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, and the collapse of its tunnel trade with people in Egypt ... Consumers and businesses in Gaza are hit three times by tax. Israel collect taxes on imports into Gaza and the West Bank on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and transfers the money to the PA after deducting a small administrative fee.

science diplomacy—whereby experts collaborate scientifically to address common problems and build constructive international partnerships—has more potential than is often recognized. Science diplomacy can of course help countries solve on-the-ground challenges and improve standards of living for their citizens. But it can also lay groundwork for improving relations in a region often defined by tension (if not outright conflict) through functional, scientific cooperation that is less politicized.

According to a 2015 report ... Iran probably started providing small amounts of weapons to the Houthis in 2009 — five years after the first round of fighting between the Houthis and government forces ... The Houthi’s takeover of Sanaa, Yemen's capital, in September 2014 prompted Iran to increase its support ... This assistance, however, remains limited and far from sufficient to make more than a marginal difference to the balance of forces in Yemen, a country awash with weapons

it's undeniable that the Saudis are violating international law as they carry out attacks with no apparent military target and use banned weapons, such as cluster bombs. Aerial strikes have hit schools, hospitals, markets and homes. According to the U.N., they account for 60% of the 3,200 civilians killed in the conflict... the U.S. and Britain are contributing to the war effort as the lead providers of the Saudi coalition's arsenal. Saudi Arabia...is now the world's largest purchaser of weapons

Iran is a large country – bigger than Iraq, Turkey and Syria combined – and every Iranian election throws up a complex mix of regional, tribal and local factors. Voters have many reasons for voting as they do. The single biggest issue in most elections in most countries is the economy - but this is a catch-all that can lump together jobs, prices, housing and urgent environmental issues like water management. The generalisations of ‘left’ versus ‘right’ of the 1980s ... no longer work.