NYT > Middle East


Saudi Police Arrest Woman Who Wore Miniskirt in Online Video

NYT > Middle East

Update: The woman was released by police without charges hours after her arrest. The police in Saudi Arabia arrested a woman on Tuesday who appeared in a video posted online in which she wears a miniskirt and crop top, exposing her legs and midriff in violation of the country's strict dress code for women. The video of the woman, identified online only as Khulood, prompted a debate on social media soon after it was uploaded to Snapchat over the weekend. The police in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, turned her over to the public prosecutor's office, the kingdom's state-run Alekhbariya television reported on its Twitter feed, using an Arabic hashtag that translates to "We demand a trial for the model Khulood."


Video Shows Mosul Civilians Trapped in a Fight Clearly Not Over

NYT > Middle East

The civilians crowd together in a narrow alleyway, stranded near house-to-house fighting and surrounded by the stark devastation of western Mosul, where the battle against the Islamic State was supposed to be over. Video taken from a drone on Monday quickly confirmed that the battle to seize Mosul from the Islamic State continues, and that at least 100 civilians were still trapped by the fighting. For days since the government officially declared victory in the city, Times journalists and other witnesses in Mosul had confirmed that the sounds of intense fighting could still be heard from pockets within Western Mosul. Now, these drone images have provided the clearest account yet of a grinding battle that continues against the Islamic State's holdout force.


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NYT > Middle East

An American F-15E fighter jet shot down an Iranian-made armed drone on Tuesday over southeast Syria that was flying toward American-backed Syrian fighters and their advisers, Pentagon officials said. American officials said that the aircraft was a Shahed 129, the same type of Iranian drone that an American warplane blasted on June 8 after it dropped a bomb near American-supported Syrian fighters and their coalition advisers. Tuesday's episode occurred shortly after midnight local time as the drone approached a so-called deconfliction zone the Americans have declared around the town of al-Tanf, the same place where the first drone had ventured. A garrison of Syrian fighters and their American and allied advisers are based near the town, which is near the intersection of the Syrian, Iraqi and Jordanian borders.


Trump Promotes Original 'Travel Ban,' Eroding His Legal Case

NYT > Middle East

Last week, lawyers in the solicitor general's office filed polished briefs in the Supreme Court. In calling the revised order "politically correct," Mr. Trump suggested that his goal throughout had been to exclude travelers based on religion. The Supreme Court has asked people and groups challenging the executive order to file their responses to the government's briefs next Monday. The revised executive order, which the president criticized on Monday, took Iraq off the list of countries that would be affected and made clear that the restrictions did not apply to those who held green cards or valid visas.


What Was That Glowing Orb Trump Touched in Saudi Arabia?

NYT > Middle East

Bill Kristol, a prominent conservative critic of Mr. Trump, likened the group to the conclave of witches in "Macbeth." Brian Klaas, a political scientist who has been critical of Mr. Trump, likened the leaders to the evil wizard Saruman from J. R. R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings." The design felt to a pool reporter who was present like a hybrid of a game-show set and a television thriller's idea of a counterterrorism operations control room. An unnamed official who narrated the features of the new control center said the displays used artificial intelligence to track, in real time, news reports and online statements.


Witnessing an ISIS Drone Attack

NYT > Middle East

Embedded with Iraqi special forces, Ben C. Solomon was on the front lines in Mosul when a threat came from above: An ISIS drone dropping a grenade.