With followers of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr saying they support neither Nouri al-Maliki nor Iyad Allawi, the top two vote-getters continue to jostle for allies to form a coalition that will lead Iraq.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is visiting Saudi Arabia to seek help convincing the Taliban to join peace talks. Riyadh would lend credibility to the effort, but is wary of getting involved.
Washington has promised to increase development assistance to Yemen to about $63 million this year, but that's dwarfed by Saudi Arabia's pledge of $1.25 billion for its poor, unstable neighbor.
Two Yemen-based militants dressed as women, one of whom was a former Guantánamo prisoner, were intercepted at a Saudi checkpoint last week.
In what terrorism analysts say is an attempt to show that the president-elect may not meet Muslims' expectations for change in the Middle East, Ayman al-Zawahiri called Obama 'dishonorable.'
A supertanker hijacking helped boost the price of oil early this week.
While some Middle East experts say tit-for-tat cyberattacks on Islamic websites amounts to a virtual sectarian battle, others suspect third-party agitators could be the culprits.