WNPR

Middle East

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote this week on a resolution introduced by Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy to block a small part of the massive arms sale the Trump administration has agreed to with Saudi Arabia. 

Manal al-Sharif's path to activism began simply enough: In 2011, the Saudi woman filmed herself driving a car, then uploaded the video to YouTube. Ordinarily such a video might not get much notice, but because it's not socially acceptable for women to drive in Saudi Arabia, where there is a de facto ban, Sharif's video went viral.

Two teams of attackers used gunfire and explosives to strike Iran's parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran on Wednesday, according to state media. The twin attacks killed at least 12 people and wounded 42 others.

"Deputy Interior Minister Hossein Zolfaqari said that the terrorists had entered the parliament in [women's] dress," Iran's state news agency reports. It adds that a female assailant detonated herself outside the mausoleum.

U.S.-backed fighters have launched an operation to try to seize control of ISIS' so-called capital, the city of Raqqa in northern Syria.

Raqqa is the most important stronghold for the militant group in Syria and fell under its control in 2014. Together with the ongoing fight for Mosul in Iraq, seizing control of the city is seen as a crucial goal in the fight against ISIS.

Saudi Arabia and at least four other Arab nations are cutting all ties with Qatar, citing concerns over terrorism and regional stability and igniting debate over the rift's impacts among key U.S. allies in the Middle East.

Qatar's government "expressed deep regret over the decision" and said it was the victim of "an instigation campaign" that is meant to hurt the nation.

"Such measures are unjustified and are based on baseless and unfounded allegations," the government's foreign ministry said in a statement.

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