Iranians are going to the polls today in presidential elections. President Hassan Rouhani has been leading the polls followed by the main principlist unity candidate, Ebrahim Raisi. Yet the result is not the most important aspect here—the elections have brought forward the enormous contradictions in Iranian society.

Egypt was rocked yesterday by suicide bombings in major cities which resulted in at least 45 dead and over 100 injured. In the second city Alexandria an attack was carried out at the entrance to St Mark’s Cathedral resulting in the death of 16 people. Two hours earlier in Tanta, a city in the Nile Delta, a bomb attack at a church killed 29. There are unconfirmed reports of further attacks on churches around the country.

Yesterday the US navy launched a series of missile attacks on the Al Shayrat airbase in the central governorate of Homs in Syria. Seven people are claimed to have been killed and several fighter jets are said to have been damaged.

Yet another crisis has been haunting Egypt’s 3 July military regime in the past three days. Hundreds of Egyptians in different cities have come out to protest cuts to subsidised good - mainly bread - in a militant and angry reaction to the Al-Sisi’s onslaught against the workers and the poor.

The recapture of Aleppo by loyalist forces in December, represents a decisive milestone in the Syrian civil war as well as for the crisis in the whole region. But it also has wide ranging consequences for world relations in the coming period.

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