* Chemical threat is back. Hizballah, Israel close to clash The first US-Turkish backed steps for creating safe havens in Syria and possible strategic bombardment of the Syrian army have brought the Middle East close to two dangerous junctures.
* Israelis optimistic despite Iran threat, IDI finds srael Democracy Institute: 85% of Jews say Israel can defend itself militarily, 22% believe peace deal will be signed soon.
* Abbas to submit UN bid on September 27 Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday announced his intention to request an upgrade for the PA's United Nations status on September 27th.
* Former commandos dominate Israeli politics When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had to fill a sensitive Cabinet post recently, he turned to an old army buddy from his days in an elite commando unit.
* Iran says it may retaliate for Canada ties downgrade Iran accused Canada on Saturday of "hostile behavior" under Israeli and British influence after Ottawa cut diplomatic relations, and it raised the prospect of swift retaliation.
* Saudis fear terror will target royal family The memories of terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia between 2003 and 2006 have hardly faded and already the kingdom is preparing itself for the threat of a new round of violence.
* Egypt, Israel coordinating on Sinai security sweep Egypt and Israel are coordinating on Cairo's biggest security sweep in decades against militants in Sinai.
* Behind the Lines: Military councils in Syria Syrian rebels in the embattled city of Homs this week announced the formation of a joint revolutionary military council in the city.
* Vatican official says Israel fostering intolerance of Christianity Police inaction and an educational culture that encourages Jewish children to treat Christians with "contempt" has made life increasingly "intolerable" for many.
* UK, France and Germany call for tighter Iran sanctions Germany Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Iran had showed no "constructive will" in talks and that urgent action was needed.