Syrian opposition groups gathered in Istanbul, Turkey, on Monday, as the factions attempt to form a more unified front. This Sunday, the opposition factions, including the main Syrian National Council, will be joined by diplomats in a meeting of the "Friends of Syria."
U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan says the Syrian government should be the first to enact a cease-fire, but there was no sign of that on Friday. More violence erupted in several Syrian cities as diplomats prepared for Sunday's meeting of the "Friends of Syria" in Istanbul, Turkey.
The gathering comes at a time of growing disaffection with diplomatic efforts and an increase in attacks by Syrian opposition fighters.
Palestinian artist Mohammed al-Dairi paints a mural of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (right) and late Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin (left), in Gaza City. Hamas leaders are divided on what direction to take the Islamist movement, with some calling for reconciliation with Arafat's Fatah movement.
The Islamist movement Hamas, which rules Gaza, is a house divided. Its leaders say there are divisions among the ranks as they try to grapple with where to push the movement: toward moderation or a continued commitment to armed resistance against Israel.
Omar Shaban, a Gaza-based political analyst, wonders where Hamas is headed in the next two to three years. He says the changes in the region after the Arab Spring not only shook the world, but they also forced groups like Hamas to reassess where they stand, in terms of old alliances and future direction.
Sam LaHood, the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood, spent four weeks holed up at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, sleeping on an air mattress part of the time and trying to fathom why the Egyptians wanted to prosecute him and his pro-democracy colleagues.
Eventually, LaHood's organization and others with employees facing prosecution paid more than $300,000 a person in bail to get them off the Egyptian travel ban, and the U.S. government flew most of them home.
The final results for Egypt's parliamentary elections are in, and while there are no surprises, the Muslim Brotherhood exceeded expectations by capturing 47 percent of the vote.
The final election results were read out Saturday with little ceremony, but the final tally cemented what most people in Egypt already know: Islamist groups are the new political powerhouse in post-revolutionary Egypt.