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Key Taliban figures are reportedly among a dozen militants killed in an Afghan army operation over the weekend in the country's northeastern Kapisa province.

The Associated Press reports that "Sharin Aqa Faqiri, army spokesman for northeast Afghanistan, said Mullah Nasim Mushfaq, the Taliban shadow governor for Kapisa, and Qari Esanullah, shadow district chief for Tagab, were among those killed late Sunday night."

The report came as at least two rockets hit the Afghan capital on Tuesday, with one hitting a residential area, wounding four people, according to officials.

Israel says it carried out airstrikes against dozens of Iranian military targets in Syria in what it is describing as the largest such operation it has ever conducted in the region, after it says its forces came under missile attack.

Updated at 2:09 p.m. ET

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a deal the U.S. and its allies are pursuing with Iran over its nuclear program is "very bad" because, according to him, it doesn't take away the Islamic republic's ability to ultimately obtain nuclear weapons.

"This is a bad deal — a very bad deal," Netanyahu told a joint meeting of Congress today. "We're better off without it."

Flanked by his vice president and the secretaries of state and defense, President Obama said he was asking Congress for authorization to launch a war against the so-called Islamic State.

Obama made clear that the draft authorization sent to the legislators does not signal a new ground war for the United States in the Middle East.

"I do not believe this nation is benefited ... by being on a perpetual war footing," Obama said.

AP Photo / NPR

In just the last two weeks, members of terror groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS allegedly took part in a number of deadly attacks in France, as well as the hacking of social media sites for U.S. Central Command, based at Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base.

The growing reach of these extremist groups is the subject of a conference taking place Thursday at the University of South Florida.

Dr. Mohsen Milani, the Executive Director of the USF Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies, said the conference will focus on extremism in the Middle East and how it's effecting the policies of the U.S. and many other countries.

polls.saintleo.edu

A recent survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute shows that Americans are uncertain about the role that the United States should play in renewed conflicts in the Middle East.

Dwight Scheuneman

In times of strife, people try to find comfort any way they can—and sometimes, it's in art.

The power of dance was on display for a group of Palestinians in the West Bank recently, and they had a University of South Florida St. Petersburg student to thank for that.

Dwayne Scheuneman, 45, is a senior studying education. The retired U.S. Navy veteran was left a paraplegic after suffering a spinal cord injury in a diving accident almost two decades ago.

Who Will Have the Bomb in 2020 in the Middle East?

Mar 17, 2014
Yoselis Ramos / WUSF

Over a two-day conference that started Monday at the University of South Florida, experts are looking into the future of the Middle East and Central Asia in the year 2020 and what implications that has on American foreign policy.

One of the big "what if" questions at this conference was "who will have the bomb in 2020?" In other words, what are the possibilities of a Middle Eastern country getting a nuclear weapon?

One of the most powerful questions that can be asked is "What if?"

What if America lowers its troop presence overseas? What if there's another Arab Spring? What if a new country or even terrorists get their hands on a weapon of mass destruction?

As Dr. Mohsen Milani explains, those kind of scenarios are the focus of a conference, The Greater Middle East and Central Asia in 2020 and Its Implications for American Foreign Policy, taking place at the University of South Florida next Monday and Tuesday.

Despite the constant barrage of headlines coming from the region, the U.S. appears to be withdrawing from most of the Middle East.  We're gone from Iraq, will soon leave Afghanistan and we've backed away from trying to solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem or take a stand in the Syrian civil war. That's the word from Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies and a professor at the University of Oklahoma.