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Inside the Middle East
April 14, 2009
Posted: 756 GMT

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen explains why a war torn country is bucking the world wide trend.

Fred Pleitgen reports. Click here to watch
Fred Pleitgen reports. Click here to watch

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Filed under: CNN Coverage •Economic crisis •Iraq •Video


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April 10, 2009
Posted: 739 GMT

With Baseball season about to begin, CNN's Fred Pleitgen looks at how the sport is empowering women in Iraq.

Fred Pleitgen reports. Click here to watch.
Fred Pleitgen reports. Click here to watch.

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Filed under: CNN Coverage •Iraq •Video


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April 9, 2009
Posted: 814 GMT

CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports on a Doctors Without Borders project that helps wounded Iraqis.

Fred Pleitgen reports. Click here to watch
Fred Pleitgen reports. Click here to watch

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Filed under: CNN Coverage •Iraq •Video


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April 8, 2009
Posted: 745 GMT

11 suspected Al Qaeda cell members arrested in Saudi Arabia
(CNN) — Eleven people believed to be members of an al Qaeda cell were arrested in the mountains of southern Saudi Arabia, government officials said Tuesday.

New York DA alleges plot to smuggle nuclear technology to Iran
NEW YORK (CNN) — A Chinese businessman has been charged with using American banks to facilitate the supply of illegal missile and nuclear technology to the government of Iran, according to the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

Israeli minister grilled in fraud probe
JERUSALEM (CNN) - Israeli fraud investigators Tuesday questioned Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for a third time regarding a long-standing probe over business dealings, a police spokesman said.

Iraqi Shoe-thrower's jail sentence reduced
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - Iraq's federal appeals court has reduced the sentence for the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at then-President Bush at a news conference in December, his lawyer said Tuesday.

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Filed under: CNN Coverage •Iran •Iraq •Israel •Saudi Arabia


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Posted: 726 GMT

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen on how the financial crisis is threatening Iraq's security.

Fred Pleitgen reports. Click here to watch.
Fred Pleitgen reports. Click here to watch.

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Filed under: CNN Coverage •Economic crisis •Iraq •Video


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Posted: 702 GMT
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images. US President Barack Obama (R) greets troops during a visit to Camp Victory, just outside Baghdad, on April 7, 2009.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images. US President Barack Obama (R) greets troops during a visit to Camp Victory, just outside Baghdad, on April 7, 2009.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images. US President Barack Obama speaks during a visit to Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images. US President Barack Obama speaks during a visit to Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq.
Iraqi President's Office via Getty Images. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (R) speaks with U.S. President Barack Obama (L) as an interpreter sits (C) April 7, 2009 in Baghdad, Iraq. Obama made a surprise visit to Iraq and spoke about the transition of power to the Iraqi government.
Iraqi President's Office via Getty Images. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (R) speaks with U.S. President Barack Obama (L) as an interpreter sits (C) April 7, 2009 in Baghdad, Iraq. Obama made a surprise visit to Iraq and spoke about the transition of power to the Iraqi government.
Iraqi Prime Minister office via Getty Images. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (L) shakes hands with U.S. President Barack Obama (R) on April 7, 2009 in Baghdad, Iraq. Obama made a surprise visit to Iraq and spoke about the transition of power to the Iraqi government.
Iraqi Prime Minister office via Getty Images. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (L) shakes hands with U.S. President Barack Obama (R) on April 7, 2009 in Baghdad, Iraq. Obama made a surprise visit to Iraq and spoke about the transition of power to the Iraqi government.
High-end clothing boutique, KashMIRI, took to the catwalk to showcase collections of some of the region’s leading designers that they stock in all three of their Dubai stores. Pictured, a dress from Pakistani designer, Hassan Sheheryar Yasin.
High-end clothing boutique, KashMIRI, took to the catwalk to showcase collections of some of the region’s leading designers that they stock in all three of their Dubai stores. Pictured, a dress from Pakistani designer, Hassan Sheheryar Yasin.
Another dress from the KashMIRI show.
Another dress from the KashMIRI show.
L’Oreal’s head make-up artist, Alexis Dralet, showcased the new make-up trends for Autumn/Winter 09. There were heavy brows, nude eyes and bronzed cheeks with deeply stained lips.
L’Oreal’s head make-up artist, Alexis Dralet, showcased the new make-up trends for Autumn/Winter 09. There were heavy brows, nude eyes and bronzed cheeks with deeply stained lips.
Mariam Al Mazro shifted the focus of Dubai Fashion Week A/W 09 to prints. Flamboyancy mixed with a carefree attitude was represented in her collection of panelled ankle-length dresses.
Mariam Al Mazro shifted the focus of Dubai Fashion Week A/W 09 to prints. Flamboyancy mixed with a carefree attitude was represented in her collection of panelled ankle-length dresses.

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Filed under: Iraq •Obama •Pictures


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April 7, 2009
Posted: 817 GMT
MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images. Ultra-Orthodox Jews fill their plastic containers with water from an ancient mountain spring near Jerusalem on April 6, 2009 during the Maim Shelanu (rested water) ceremony in preparation for the Pesach holiday (Passover). The water is used in baking the unleavened bread, known in Hebrew as Matzoh, which religious Jews throughout the world eat during the eight-day holiday. This year, Passover --commemorating the Israelites' exodus from Egypt some 3,500 years ago -- will begin at sunset on April 8.
MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images. Ultra-Orthodox Jews fill their plastic containers with water from an ancient mountain spring near Jerusalem on April 6, 2009 during the Maim Shelanu (rested water) ceremony in preparation for the Pesach holiday (Passover). The water is used in baking the unleavened bread, known in Hebrew as Matzoh, which religious Jews throughout the world eat during the eight-day holiday. This year, Passover –commemorating the Israelites' exodus from Egypt some 3,500 years ago - will begin at sunset on April 8.
MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images. Ultra Orthodox Jews knead the dough before baking the Matzoth (unleavened bread) on April 6, 2009 in Jerusalem. Religious Jews throughout the world eat matzoth during the eight-day Pesach holiday (Passover), which begins on April 8, with the sunset to commemorate the Israelis' exodus from Egypt some 3,500 years ago. Due to the haste with which the Jews left Egypt, the bread they had prepared for the journey did not have time to rise. To commemorate their ancestors' plight, the religious avoid eating leavened food products throughout Passover.
MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images. Ultra Orthodox Jews knead the dough before baking the Matzoth (unleavened bread) on April 6, 2009 in Jerusalem. Religious Jews throughout the world eat matzoth during the eight-day Pesach holiday (Passover), which begins on April 8, with the sunset to commemorate the Israelis' exodus from Egypt some 3,500 years ago. Due to the haste with which the Jews left Egypt, the bread they had prepared for the journey did not have time to rise. To commemorate their ancestors' plight, the religious avoid eating leavened food products throughout Passover.
PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images. Iraqi students wearing Iraqi folkloric outfits dance during a graduation party at the Baghdad IT and Technology University as they celebrate on April 06, 2009. There were 57,500 students and 5,300 lecturers at Baghdad University in 2005 -- before the violence spun out of control, taking students, lecturers and staff members with it over the abyss.The last figures give 162 teachers killed by insurgents -- who have targeted academics, journalists, poets and intellectuals in particular -- since the US invasion in 2003.
PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images. Iraqi students wearing Iraqi folkloric outfits dance during a graduation party at the Baghdad IT and Technology University as they celebrate on April 06, 2009. There were 57,500 students and 5,300 lecturers at Baghdad University in 2005 - before the violence spun out of control, taking students, lecturers and staff members with it over the abyss.The last figures give 162 teachers killed by insurgents - who have targeted academics, journalists, poets and intellectuals in particular - since the US invasion in 2003.
PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images. Iraqi female students wearing Arab folkloric dresses and Bedouin masks take part in a graduation party at the Baghdad IT and Technology University as they celebrate on April 06, 2009.
PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images. Iraqi female students wearing Arab folkloric dresses and Bedouin masks take part in a graduation party at the Baghdad IT and Technology University as they celebrate on April 06, 2009.
ATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images. Iraqi students wearing masks take part in a graduation party at the Baghdad IT and Technology University as they celebrate on April 06, 2009.
ATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images. Iraqi students wearing masks take part in a graduation party at the Baghdad IT and Technology University as they celebrate on April 06, 2009.
 Uriel Sinai/Getty Images. Plastinated bodies are posed up around a poker table at the 'Body Worlds' international exhibit April 6, 2009 in the northern Israeli city of Haifa . Haifa's Cheif Rabbi She'ar-Yashuv Cohen has called on the public to boycott the exhibition due to issues relating to kavod adam (human dignity) and Halacha (Jewish law) of burying a corpse. Dr Gunther von Hagens' travelling exhibition of plastinated human bodies and body parts will be on display in Israel for about three months.
Uriel Sinai/Getty Images. Plastinated bodies are posed up around a poker table at the 'Body Worlds' international exhibit April 6, 2009 in the northern Israeli city of Haifa . Haifa's Cheif Rabbi She'ar-Yashuv Cohen has called on the public to boycott the exhibition due to issues relating to kavod adam (human dignity) and Halacha (Jewish law) of burying a corpse. Dr Gunther von Hagens' travelling exhibition of plastinated human bodies and body parts will be on display in Israel for about three months.
Uriel Sinai/Getty Images. A plastinated body is displayed at the 'Body Worlds' international exhibit April 6, 2009 in the northern Israeli city of Haifa .
Uriel Sinai/Getty Images. A plastinated body is displayed at the 'Body Worlds' international exhibit April 6, 2009 in the northern Israeli city of Haifa .

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Filed under: Iraq •Israel


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April 6, 2009
Posted: 1427 GMT

32 dead in bombings across Baghdad, Interior Ministry says
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - At least 32 Iraqis were killed and 123 others wounded in six car bombings and a roadside bomb attack in Baghdad by mid-day Monday, an Interior Ministry official said.

Six gay men shot to death in Iraq by tribe members
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - Six gay men were shot dead by members of their tribe in two separate incidents in the past 10 days, an official with Iraq's Interior ministry said.

U.S. soldier charged with murder in contractor's death
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - A U.S. soldier has been charged with murder in connection with the shooting death last month of a contractor in Taji, Iraq, the military said in a statement Sunday.

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April 3, 2009
Posted: 1548 GMT

From Mohammed Tawfeeq
CNN Producer

BAGHDAD – It took me a week to get the permission letter for CNN to cover the National Museum story.

Fred our correspondent, Ben the cameraman and I went directly to the halls where the artifacts are on display. There we met a class from a local girls' school and many of the 12 to 15 year old pupils were taking a tour of the museum for the first time.

Fred Pleitgen Reports. Click here to watch.
Fred Pleitgen Reports. Click here to watch.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen filed this story.

Mohammed Tawfeeq/CNN. Iraqi schoolgirls discover their National Museum.
Mohammed Tawfeeq/CNN. Iraqi schoolgirls discover their National Museum.

The museum used to display some of the world's most important ancient artifacts in 20 halls, but many of the priceless pieces were looted in April 2003 after the coalition invaded Baghdad and now only eight halls are open to the public. According to Museum officials some 15,000 irreplaceable artifacts were stolen – only about 6,000 have been recovered.

Mohammed Tawfeeq/CNN. CNN Correspondent Fred Pleitgen and Cameraman Ben Adams during the shoot
Mohammed Tawfeeq/CNN. CNN Correspondent Fred Pleitgen and Cameraman Ben Adams during the shoot

We spent almost three hours in the museum to get beauty shots of the artifacts and other elements that we needed for the story. Every time I entered a hall it was like a journey back in time. I remember how busy Iraq’s National Museum was in 1989 when I first visited it with my family. This Museum was considered to somehow embody Iraq’s national identity and we were all very proud of our history spanning many ages from the Ashurian kings to the Islamic era.

Mohammed Tawfeeq/CNN
Mohammed Tawfeeq/CNN

All that came back to me as we were filming. I hadn’t been to the museum in years because it was closed after the looting. But now it seemed like only yesterday I was walking the halls with amazement gripping my father’s hand. I could see the same amazement and awe on the faces of the young ladies from the school, now gazing at the historical treasures for the first time in their lives.

Mohammed Tawfeeq/CNN.
Mohammed Tawfeeq/CNN.

The school girls kept asking the Museum’s guide questions about the artifacts and I could see that they wanted to know more and more. One of the girls said to me “I wish I could have visited the Iraqi National museum years ago , I do not like reading about history, but now, after seeing all of these amazing artifacts and the great stories behind them I will definitely read more about the ancient history of Iraq.”

Mohammed Tawfeeq/CNN
Mohammed Tawfeeq/CNN

Our reporter Frederik Pleitgen interviewed one of the school girls and asked her about her first experience in the museum. I could tell how proud she was of the museum, but also of this country that brought the world such amazing civilizations, a fact often forgotten with daily reports of violence and killings.

We spent more than three hours in the museum, but to me it felt like time was just flying by. And our cameraman Ben seemed to feel the same way, as the staff asked us to leave because they needed to close the building, he argued for more time, because he wanted to get as many shots of the artifacts as possible. Ben probably could have gone on filming for days.

When I left the museum I felt happy to see the new generation able to visit the museum once again. Maybe it will help Iraqis understand that we are not Sunni or Shia, Christian or Kurd, but that we are Iraqis and have done great things for mankind.

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Filed under: CNN Coverage •Iraq •Video


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April 2, 2009
Posted: 749 GMT

Israeli foreign minister spurns Annapolis peace process
JERUSALEM (CNN) - Israel's new hard-line foreign minister immediately distanced himself Wednesday from the 2007 relaunch of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians adopted by his predecessor, Tzipi Livni.

Iranian film industry thriving, Hollywood learns
(CNN) - It appeared an unlikely meeting: Earlier this month, representatives from Hollywood, home of the anything-goes lifestyle and anything-can-happen film, traveled to Iran, where censorship and constant government supervision are a fact of life for the film industry.

New Israeli PM says 'extremist Islam' trying to destroy his country
JERUSALEM (CNN) - Incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Tuesday that "extremist Islam is trying to bring us down through terrorism from north and south" as his Cabinet prepared to take office.

British troops begin Iraq withdrawal
LONDON, England (CNN) - British troops began their formal withdrawal from southern Iraq Tuesday, "marking the beginning of the end of the UK's six-year combat mission in Iraq," the Ministry of Defence announced.

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Filed under: CNN Coverage •Iran •Iraq •Israel


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About this blog

Welcome to the Inside the Middle East blog where CNN's journalists post news, views and video from across the region. This is also a place where you can start the discussion so please keep your comments coming. We highlight not only current news stories but also anecdotes and issues that don't always make the top of the headlines.

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Inside the Middle East airs the first week of every month on the following days and times:

Wednesday: 0930, 1630,
Saturday: 0430, 1830,
Sunday: 1130

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