The US-Saudi relationship, which is built on defense partnerships and oil wealth, has been publicly strained over disagreement over Syria, warming US-Iran ties, and a UN Security Council seat.
The Syrian opposition has so far vowed to boycott November peace talks, bringing advantage to Bashar al-Assad, and undermining the position of a US-backed rebel group.
At talks next week, Iran may offer to stop controversial fuel enrichment, a key demand of negotiators, in order to lift painful sanctions.
Israel may be willing to be the spoiler of US-Iranian rapprochement because in its leadership's eyes, the alternative is extermination.
The four-day attack on Nairobi's Westgate mall, which killed at least 62, has raised questions about whether a group thought to be in decline is much stronger than realized.
The UN report on chemical weapons in Syria is expected to confirm an attack occurred – not identify who carried it out.
Russia pushed Syria to agree to put its chemical stockpile under international control. But Putin's government is opposing a UN resolution that would outline strict consequences for Syria if it doesn't comply.
As Obama argues for military intervention in Syria, President Assad says he wasn't involved in the use of chemical weapons there and the US could see consequences if they act.
The United Nations inspectors were heading to the site of last week's alleged chemical weapons attack when unidentified gunmen forced the convoy to retreat.
Syrian opposition groups allege that the regime killed more than 1,300 people with the help of chemical weapons. The government denies the reports.
Meanwhile, the Gulf states have pledged billions to the country's new government in a bid to bring back 'trusted friends' in the region.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is being pushed to do more to stop violence that has spiked this summer in Iraq.
Sinai-based Islamist militants claimed the attack was in retaliation for a drone strike that killed four of their own last week.
A specific threat prompted a move of US personnel to Islamabad. The Pakistani government is also on high alert.
A number of Israelis and Americans say that fear of being cast as rejectionist may keep the parties at the table.
The charges against the recently deposed president include murder and kidnapping, and come as thousands of Egyptians prepare to take to the streets.
Alexei Navalny's surprise release on bail may indicate government uncertainty, but others believe the move was more calculated.
The former NSA contractor has invited human rights groups and lawyers to his first public appearance since arriving in Russia last month.