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Mideast Expects Big Changes under Trump

Donald Trump's all-but-dismissal of human rights as a foreign policy principle could land like an earthquake across a Middle East landscape beset by warring factions and beleaguered governments, with some players eyeing the prospect of once unimaginable new alliances.

Syria is the foremost test of Trump's promise of a return to a hard-headed realpolitik and could quickly show whether America is truly abandoning promotion of democracy and the rule of law in a way that could reshape much of the region's post-Cold War, post-9/11 order.

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IS Lost Nearly a Quarter of Its Territory in 2016

The Islamic State group lost nearly a quarter of its territory in Iraq and Syria last year, according to a report released Thursday by research firm IHS Markit.

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Key Dates in Battle for Mosul

Iraqi government forces launched a major offensive to recapture the city of Mosul from the Islamic State jihadist group on October 17, 2016.

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Syria Rebels, Regime Bitterly Divided on Aim of Astana Talks

Regime and rebel figures will head to Kazakhstan on Monday for negotiations on ending Syria's brutal war, but are arriving with diametrically opposed approaches to the aims of the talks.

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Race Relations: Hope and Disappointment of Obama Years

If Barack Obama was elected on a wave of optimism, eight years later, hopes of a post-racial America have soured amid recognition that it takes more than a black president to overcome centuries of racism.

A recent poll confirmed findings of a number of studies published in the final months of the Obama administration: 52 percent of Americans questioned by Gallup said the country had taken a step backwards on issues of race. Just 25 percent thought things had improved since 2009.

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Attempts at Peace in the Middle East

An international conference being held in Paris on Sunday is the latest of many bids to forge peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

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Five Questions on Paris Mideast Peace Conference

Representatives from around 70 nations are to meet in Paris on Sunday to try to chart a course toward restarting moribund Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

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Turkey Bogged Down in Syria as It Realigns with Russia

Nearly two months into the assault, Turkey has become bogged down in an unexpectedly bloody fight to retake the Islamic State group's last stronghold in northern Syria. It has been forced to pour in troops, take the lead in the battle from its Syrian allies and reach out to Russia for aerial support.

The fight for al-Bab underscores the precarious path Ankara is treading with its foray in to Syria, aimed against both IS militants and Syrian Kurdish fighters. The assault on the town had already driven a wedge between Turkey and the United States, and now the realignment toward Moscow — which supports the government in Syria's civil war — further tests Ankara's alliance both with Washington and with the Syrian opposition.

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Nine Things Obama Will be Remembered for

As Barack Obama prepares to leave office on January 20, here are nine things his presidency may be remembered for:

- Making history -

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US Goes from Bandleader to Bystander in Syria Peace Efforts

Stung by years of failure to stop Syria's bloodshed, the United States is now but a bystander to the civil war as President Barack Obama leaves office.

Secretary of State John Kerry still is speaking sporadically with Russian, Turkish and Arab foreign ministers about cease-fire efforts, and there are occasional consultations with the opposition. But less than two weeks before Donald Trump's presidency begins, the outgoing administration is no longer even claiming to play the leading part in the peace mediation that it spearheaded unsuccessfully for years. Formal contacts with Russia and others in Geneva, the main meeting point for the U.S.-led diplomacy, have ended.

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