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AP, NEW YORK TIMES, BBC

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MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin says he doesn't rule out his country's participation in a military operation in Syria if evidence showing that Damascus carried out chemical attacks is "convincing". He added that the operation must be conducted with U.N. approval.

In a rare interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday night, Putin said the West should not take one-sided action against Syria, stating such an action would be "an aggression." The interview came ahead of a G-20 meeting of world leaders in St. Petersburg on Thursday. The summit was supposed to focus on the global economy, but now looks likely to be dominated by the Syrian crisis, the New York Times said.

The latest on Syria:

- The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee could vote as early as Wednesday on a resolution authorizing a strike at Syria.

- Reuters reported that Barack Obama won the backing of key figures in the U.S. Congress, including Republicans, in his call for limited U.S. strikes on Syria.

- The French Parliment is set to debate on Wednesday afternoon on a potential intervention in Syria, Le Monde reported. The possibility of a vote on the matter is not yet clear, but the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said it was not excluded.

- According to Reuters, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the use of force is only legal when it is in self-defense or with U.N. Security Council authorization, remarks that appear to question the legality of U.S. plans to strike Syria without U.N. backing.

Russian President Vladimir Putin during his annual press conference in Moscow, last December - Photo : Jiang Kehong - Xinhua/ZUMAPRESS

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Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

Beesan Kassab, Daniel O'Connell, Ehsan Salah, Hazem Tharwat and Najih Dawoud

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

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