Syria sends troop reinforcements to two Damascus suburbs that have witnessed anti-government protests as authorities round up dozens in the capital. Activists expect protests to escalate during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins next week. The moves by security forces appear to be an attempt to prevent wide-scale demonstrations when Muslims being the month of fasting from dawn to dusk.
The part of Libya under Moammar Gadhafi's control is wracked by shortages in fuel, food and cash despite a veneer of normalcy, according to a U.N. fact-finding mission. The United Nations says its weeklong mission to the country identified a lack of fuel, rising food prices, a strained medical system and a cash crunch as some of the problems besetting Gadhafi's government.
The leader of al-Qaida's Yemeni offshoot pledges allegiance to Osama bin Laden's successor, vowing to fight together to liberate the holy places of Islam. In an audio message on militant websites affiliated with al-Qaida, Nasser al-Wahishi says his group _ al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula _ recognizes Ayman al-Zawahri as the new chief of al-Qaida. Al-Zawahri took over following the death of bin Laden in a U.S. raid in May.
Egypt's top reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei is calling for a broad coalition of political forces, including the Islamists, to contest the first elections since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. There are sharp divisions between different political factions and the military rulers on how to transition to democracy. Many liberals fear well-organized Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, could win big in elections expected in November and gain power over drafting a new constitution.
A roadside bomb wounds five French U.N. peacekeepers in south Lebanon. It is not immediately clear who was behind the attack. Political tensions are rising in Lebanon over a U.N.-backed tribunal's indictment last month of four Hezbollah members in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.