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Gates, Saudi King Discuss Regional Developments, Iran

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates held talks in Riyadh on Wednesday with Saudi King Abdullah, with both sides concerned by Iranian intentions in the region and spiraling unrest in Yemen.

"We talked about developments all over the region, obviously talked about Iran," Gates said following the meeting.

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Gadhafi Sends Message to Obama

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Wednesday sent a message to U.S. President Barack Obama, following the withdrawal of American warplanes from Libya, the official Libyan news agency JANA said.

"The leader of the revolution (Gadhafi) sent on Wednesday a message to U.S. President Barack Obama after the United States withdrew from the aggressive, colonialist coalition crusading against Libya," said the agency without specifying the contents of the message.

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WikiLeaks: Israeli Official Called on U.S. to Support March 14 Camp instead of Lebanese Government

An Israeli official had requested in 2008 that the United States directly support the March 14 camp instead of the Lebanese state out of fears that Hizbullah may take over the cabinet, said a leaked U.S. Embassy cable published exclusively in Al-Akhbar newspaper on Wednesday.

Nimrod Barkan, then head of Israel’s Foreign Ministry Center for Policy Research, made his statements during a meeting with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman in Israel.

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U.S. Confirms that it is Reviewing Assistance to Lebanese Armed Forces

The State Department has denied a report that the U.S. has quietly frozen weapon shipments to Lebanon's armed forces but defense officials confirmed that Washington was continuing to provide only training and nonlethal assistance to the Lebanese military.

“Our assistance programs to the Lebanese armed forces continue and that no decision regarding any kind of freeze has been made at this time,” said Acting Deputy Department Spokesman Mark Toner on Monday.

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Report: Gates Approves Halt to Arms Delivery to Lebanon

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates approved a freeze on weapon shipments to the Lebanese army following the collapse of Caretaker Premier Saad Hariri’s government in January, said The Wall Street Journal on Monday.

The decision underlines growing concerns about Hizbullah's role after the party and its allies named Najib Miqati as premier-designate.

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U.S. Embassy Employees Attacked by Stones in Sidon

A group of angry Lebanese youths on Saturday threw stones and bottles at a group from the U.S. embassy visiting the southern port city of Sidon, a security official said.

A spokesman for the U.S. mission confirmed there had been "an incident."

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Senator Says U.S. Should Urge Assad to Step Down for Undermining Lebanese Democracy

Number-two Republican Senator Jon Kyl, a fierce critic of U.S. President Barack Obama's efforts to engage Syria, said Washington should call for Syrian leader Bashar Assad to step down for undermining Lebanon’s democracy and smuggling weapons to Hizbullah.

“We should not be fooled by his sacking of his government. This is still the same Assad who undermined Lebanese democracy, who worked with North Korea to develop a clandestine nuclear capability, and who smuggles arms to Hizbullah and lends support to Hamas,” Kyl said in a statement on Wednesday.

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U.S. Says Assad Speech 'Fell Short' on Syria Reforms

A key speech by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday lacked real substance and failed to mention the kind of reforms his people are demanding, the United States said.

In a bid to quell weeks of protests against his iron-clad rule, Assad earlier gave a rare address in parliament.

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Obama Confident Gadhafi Will Step Down

U.S. President Barack Obama said he is confident that Moammar Gadhafi will "ultimately" step down, as a new poll Wednesday found nearly half of Americans were opposed to U.S. military involvement in Libya.

Obama warned Tuesday he had not ruled out supplying arms to rebels seeking to oust him, and said the "noose is tightening" around the Libyan strongman.

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Report: U.S. Delayed Release of Indictment to Guarantee Success of Objective

The United States sought to use the indictment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to back Caretaker Premier Saad Hariri after his government was toppled by the Hizbullah-led alliance, As Safir daily reported Wednesday.

The newspaper said that the U.S. administration contacted tribunal officials immediately after the toppling of the cabinet to use the indictment as a political pressure aimed at bringing back Hariri to power and sidelining Hizbullah.

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