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  • President Barack Obama, right, talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside the Oval Office.

    President Barack Obama heads into his second term weighed down by an unproductive relationship with the leader of Israel, the bedrock U.S. ally in the Middle East.

    LAST UPDATE : Jan 14, 2013, 3:48 AM EST
  • A Bahraini protester holds a placard bearing the name of jailed rights activist Nabeel Rajab on June 7 2012.

    Dozens of bloggers, online activists — and even a poet in Qatar — have been detained or prosecuted across the Western-allied Gulf.

    LAST UPDATE : Jan 09, 2013, 12:01 PM EST
  • FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2011 file photo, a construction worker works on a new housing unit in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of

    Israel is planning its biggest construction surge in east Jerusalem in decades in a move that critics argue would further complicate any prospects for peace with the Palestinians.

    LAST UPDATE : Dec 27, 2012, 5:48 PM EST