BAGHDAD - Iraq's political bazaar is branching out.

DAMASCUS, Syria - A leading candidate in the contested race to lead Iraq's new government insisted during a visit to Syria on Wednesday that he would not take part in any coalition headed by his rival, the current prime minister.

BEIRUT - In a new Syrian soap opera, a beautiful green-eyed young woman named Layla is torn over whether to take off the niqab, the billowing black Islamic garb that hides every part of her except her eyes.

DAMASCUS, Syria - A leading anti-American Iraqi cleric has met with one of two Iraqi politicians vying to lead the country's next government.

ISTANBUL - Turkey's prime minister on Thursday strengthened his emerging role as a leader in the Islamic world, basking in the applause of Arab leaders as he unleashed invective against Israel and questioned Washington's dominance at a summit in the one-time seat of the Ottoman Empire.
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