Amal Clooney's dilemma over al-Jazeera trial

In a packed Cairo courtroom, a nervous quiet reigned on Saturday as Judge Hassan Farid read his long delayed verdict in the retrial of three al-Jazeera journalists.

Then, there was a stunned silence shattered by the sobbing of Marwa Omara, as she learned that the defendants, including her husband Mohamed Fahmy, were about to return to jail convicted on charges ranging from broadcasting "false news" to operating from a local hotel without a licence.

As a media forest of cameras and microphones turned towards Marwa who slumped down, head in hands, they also caught in their glare the British-Lebanese barrister Amal Clooney placing a comforting arm around her.

It was the first move by the prominent human rights lawyer in the immediate wake of the controversial verdict condemned by human rights groups, as well as foreign governments including the UK and the US.

Then Ms Clooney was swallowed in a media scrum as she embarked on her next steps in a tough, highly politicised battle on behalf of her client, the Egyptian-born Canadian Mr Fahmy.

Image caption Mohamed Fahmy with Amal Clooney in court

Read full article Amal Clooney's dilemma over al-Jazeera trial

Mullah Omar: The myth and the movement

  • 29 July 2015
  • From the section Asia
Mullah Omar
Image caption Mullah Omar had not been seen in public since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001

Whether or not Mullah Omar is dead or alive, his long absence from public view is posing a growing threat to the strength of his splintering Afghan Taliban movement.

"Where is Mullah Omar?" is a question sources say is being increasingly and angrily directed at the commander regarded as the acting head, Akhtar Mohammad Mansour.

Read full article Mullah Omar: The myth and the movement

Tehran despatch: Iran rolls out red carpet after nuclear deal

Federica Mogherini and Mohammad Javad Zarif
Image caption Ms Mogherini was greeted by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

When a city suddenly moves to the top tier of foreign ministers' travel itineraries, you know it has notched up new political significance.

Such is the status of Tehran.

Read full article Tehran despatch: Iran rolls out red carpet after nuclear deal

Iran nuclear deal: Turning point or transformation?

US President Barack Obama gestures during a speech at the 116th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (21 July 2015)
Image caption US President Barack Obama insists the deal will keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon

Everyone agrees last week's landmark deal on Iran's nuclear programme marked a significant turning point.

This week, fundamental disagreements over what kind of turn it will take are centre stage in Washington, Tehran and many other capitals.

Read full article Iran nuclear deal: Turning point or transformation?

Is this the moment of truth for an Iran deal?

Iranian officials gather on a balcony of the Palais Coburg Hotel, Vienna. 11 July 2015
Image caption The world's media watches Iranian officials on the balconies of the Palais Coburg in Vienna

It's been called the last mile, the last, most difficult stretch of scaling the highest peak, even the last chance.

As hard as it is, nobody wants to be the first to walk away from the best hope in many years to secure a long-term deal with Iran on its nuclear programme.

Read full article Is this the moment of truth for an Iran deal?

The children scarred by war

Syed, aged 12

A wasteland of rubble still bears testament to last summer's conflict between Israel and Gaza. But there are deeper scars - damage that can't be seen and may never heal.

A week after the fighting began, Syed's life was shattered on the day the 12-year-old, his 11-year-old brother Mohamed, and their six cousins went to Gaza's beach to play football.

Read full article The children scarred by war

Can powers meet the 'real' deadline on Iran's nuclear programme?

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at a hotel in Vienna, Austria June 30, 2015.
Image caption US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have led the marathon talks

Will Vienna be the venue for the end of a 12-year standoff over Iran's nuclear programme?

"We're not there yet," cautions a Western official, as talks continue into the first week of July and past a self-imposed deadline of 30 June.

Read full article Can powers meet the 'real' deadline on Iran's nuclear programme?

Afghanistan's leaders face battle for peace

Afghan security personnel run at the scene of a suicide attack by Taliban militants on the Afghan parliament building in Kabul on 22 June 2015
Image caption The timing of the attack on the parliament in Kablul was hugely significant

Will there be more and more months of horrific violence in Afghanistan, or will there be historic negotiations?

This year has already seen some of the most important Taliban gains on the battlefield, and the most significant period of informal talks.

Read full article Afghanistan's leaders face battle for peace

Yemen conflict: A passport out of war

  • 21 May 2015
  • From the section Africa
Refugees from Yemen arrive in Djibouti port - May 2015

A human tide reaches the shores of Djibouti almost every day.

Waves of Yemenis are taking to the sea in packed yachts or wooden dhows meant to ferry fishermen or livestock, not a people fleeing for their lives.

Read full article Yemen conflict: A passport out of war

Countdown to Iran nuclear deal - but resistance remains

Delegates at nuclear talks in Lausanne (02/04/15)
Image caption The so-called p5+1 and Iran agreed a framework deal this month after marathon talks

A historic deal with Iran over its nuclear programme is now within reach - but it's still uncertain whether this rare chance to resolve a major security challenge of our time through diplomacy will be grasped.

This week, the prospect of a final deal, which must be reached by the end of June, could be pulled in two different directions.

Read full article Countdown to Iran nuclear deal - but resistance remains