in Iraq


Northwest Syria Battles Rage After Rebel Counterattack

Voice of America - Fri, 06/07/2019 - 19:24
Battles intensified in northwest Syria on Friday after insurgents mounted an attack to repel an army offensive that has pounded the country's last major rebel stronghold for weeks. State news agency SANA said the army absorbed the new attack and reinforced its frontline positions after fierce clashes with militants overnight. It said insurgents fired shells at a village in the northern Hama countryside. Insurgent factions said they seized three key villages in the Hama countryside...
Categories: Iraq

Syria Uses Familiar Tactic in Rebel Idlib: Bombing Civilians

Voice of America - Fri, 06/07/2019 - 16:53
The father could hardly bear seeing his 18-month-old daughter's panic every time the Syrian government warplanes flew over their home. Every day for a month, she ran to him to hide in his arms, tearful and breathless. Abdurrahim had refused to flee his hometown throughout years of violence, and he was determined to hold out through the new, intensified government offensive launched in April against Idlib province, the last significant territory held by Syria's rebels. But now...
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Australian Who Tested Rockets on His Farm for ISIS Gets 9-Year Sentence

NY Times Iraq - Fri, 06/07/2019 - 15:53
Prosecutors said Haisem Zahab sent his findings to the Islamic State through an encrypted messaging app.
Categories: Iraq

US Commander Says Mideast Buildup Prompted Iran 'Step Back'

Voice of America - Fri, 06/07/2019 - 15:22
Iran has chosen to "step back and recalculate" after making preparations for an apparent attack against U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region, but it is too early to conclude the threat is gone, the top commander of American forces in the Mideast said Thursday. In an interview with three reporters accompanying him to the Gulf, Gen. Frank McKenzie said he remains concerned by Iran's potential for aggression, and he would not rule out requesting additional U.S. forces to...
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Seaweed Could Help Produce Biodegradable Plastic

Voice of America - Fri, 06/07/2019 - 07:45
Efforts to recycle discarded plastic have not reduced piles of single-use products from landfills, and China will no longer import plastic waste for recycling. The United Nations says more than 8 million tons of plastic enters the ocean every year. Plastics are increasingly killing marine life and birds, threatening ecosystems and harming humans. Researchers are working to develop biodegradable materials to replace the durable plastic. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports on one such project in...
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UAE, Norway, Saudi Arabia: ‘State Actor’ Likely Attacked Oil Tankers

Voice of America - Fri, 06/07/2019 - 05:25
The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Norway said Thursday that a preliminary investigation into a coordinated attack on four of their oil tankers in an Emirati port last month was likely carried out by a state actor. In a joint statement, they said limpet mines were used in the May 12 coordinated attacks, which left large holes in the hulls of the four tankers, but did not cause more extensive damage or oil spills. Limpets are a type of naval mine that attach to their target with...
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Trump Calls for Iran Talks as Allies Announce Rare Tehran Visits

Voice of America - Fri, 06/07/2019 - 05:19
This article originated in VOA's Persian service. Katherine Ahn contributed from Washington. U.S. President Donald Trump has called for U.S.-Iran talks for a second day to resolve mutual tensions — a prospect two U.S. allies hope to promote as they send senior envoys to Tehran for the first time in years. "I understand they want to talk, and we want to talk. That's fine. We'll talk," Trump said Thursday, referring to Iran as he sat for a bilateral meeting with...
Categories: Iraq

US Commander Says Mideast Buildup Prompted Iran 'Step Back'

Voice of America - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 22:30
The top commander of U.S. forces in the Mideast says Iran appears to have decided to "step back and recalculate" in response to a U.S. military buildup in the Persian Gulf area. Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie says it's too early to conclude Iran has abandoned plans for potential attacks against American interests that prompted the buildup last month. McKenzie told reporters Thursday that he is assessing Iran's stance. He says he would not rule out requesting more forces...
Categories: Iraq

State News Reports Iran's Education Minister Has Resigned

Voice of America - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 22:11
The state-run IRNA news agency is reporting that Iran's minister of education has resigned to run for a seat in parliament in February 2020.    IRNA said Thursday that President Hassan Rouhani approved Mohammad Bathaei's resignation.    Earlier, the semiofficial Tasnim news agency reported that Bathaei handed in his resignation to the president at a Cabinet meeting.      The resignation comes after Iranian...
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Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade Draws Revelers, Police

Voice of America - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 22:07
Thousands of people marched through the streets of Jerusalem on Thursday in the city's annual gay pride parade, a festival that exposes deep divisions between Israel's secular and Jewish ultra-Orthodox camps. Some 10,000 revelers waving rainbow flags joined the carnival-like procession, as over 2,500 police officers in plain clothes, in uniform and on horseback patrolled the crowd. "Homosexuals, lesbians, transgenders. Jerusalem is mine too," marchers chanted. The...
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Russia, China Voice Support for Iran After Xi Visit to Kremlin

Voice of America - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 19:13
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday hosted Chinese leader Xi Jinping for Kremlin talks that reflected increasingly close ties between the two countries that were communist rivals during the Cold War. At the conclusion of the meetings a joint statement by Russia and China voiced support for Iran and commended Iran’s implementation of the requirements of the Joint Comprehensive plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers, reported Russia’s Interfax news...
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Jerusalem Pride Draws Thousands of Gay Revelers and Police

Voice of America - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 19:01
Thousands of people are marching through the streets of Jerusalem in the city's annual gay pride parade, a festival that exposes deep divisions between Israel's secular and Jewish ultra-Orthodox camps.   Some 10,000 revelers waving rainbow and Israeli flags joined the procession Thursday, as thousands of police officers in plain clothes and uniform patrolled the crowd.   The gay community's visibility in conservative Jerusalem tends to draw protest from the...
Categories: Iraq

Burning Trash and Factories Belching Smoke Choke Iraqis

Voice of America - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 05:00
As if life was not bad enough for Adnan Kadhim - he lives in a slum where municipal authorities dump Baghdad's rubbish - now someone is setting the waste on fire, making his children sick. As the United Nations marks World Environment Day on Wednesday, Iraq is suffering a pollution crisis, with trash piling up across the country and thick clouds of smoke produced by inefficient factories hovering above Baghdad. "The dirt, our children are sick, our families are sick. My...
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World Bank: Iran Likely to Suffer Worse Recession Than Previously Thought

Voice of America - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 02:40
This article originated in VOA’s Persian Service. WASHINGTON —The World Bank says Iran is likely to experience an even worse recession this year than previously thought, as U.S. sanctions largely choke off oil exports that have been Tehran’s main revenue source. In its latest Global Economic Prospects report published Wednesday, the Washington-based institution that provides loans to countries said it expects Iran’s Gross Domestic Product to shrink by 4.5% this year, a steeper...
Categories: Iraq

American Women, Children Tied to IS Headed Home

Voice of America - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 02:00
Two American women accused of joining with the Islamic State terror group, along with their children, are heading back to the United States.   Kamal Akif, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led administration in northeast Syria, told VOA the women and six children were turned over U.S. custody Wednesday in the city of Ain Issa.   “U.S. government representatives were present today when the transfer of those women and children took place,” he told VOA in a phone interview, adding the...
Categories: Iraq

Sudan's Deadly Crackdown Evokes Arab Spring Bloodshed

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 23:26
In the Middle East, it has often begun the same way: a popular swell of street protests against long-entrenched autocrats and demonstrators inspired by burgeoning aspirations for democracy and freedom. But then the military moves in. Its ruthless, harsh force helps prop up the leader and his family, or safeguard the military's own longevity after a leader falls. Death, detention and disappearances become commonplace and in some cases, ruinous civil war with external intervention...
Categories: Iraq

Islamic Militants Attack Police Checkpoint Outside Northern Sinai Town of el-Arish

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 22:45
Islamic militants attacked a police checkpoint outside Egypt's northern Sinai port city of el-Arish just minutes before traditional prayers marking the beginning of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, following the month of Ramadan. In a statement, Egypt's interior ministry said that eight policemen were killed, along with five militants. Egyptian TV reported the attack on the police checkpoint outside the northern Sinai town of el-Arish without elaborating on details, ostensibly to avoid...
Categories: Iraq

Coalition War Planes Holding Fire Against IS in Syria

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 20:59
U.S. and coalition jets have been quiet in the skies over Syria, failing to launch any airstrikes against remnants of the Islamic State terror group for a second consecutive month.   The U.S.-led military coalition said Wednesday there were no airstrikes in Syria between May 5 and June 3, while reporting 11 strikes in Iraq during the same period.     According to the statement, the strikes in Iraq targeted 16 IS tactical units and destroyed 21 IS caves, along with two...
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US Senators Launch Bipartisan Bid to Block Saudi Arms Sales

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 18:38
Directly challenging President Donald Trump's use of executive power, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are banding together to introduce more than a dozen resolutions aimed at blocking the Trump administration's sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia.   The maneuver amounts to a remarkable display of bipartisan pushback to Trump's foreign policy and threatens to tangle the Senate in a series of floor votes this summer. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on...
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Former Al-Qaida Propagandist Launches Counter-Jihadi Magazine

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 17:35
Once al-Qaida’s chief American propagandist, Jesse Morton is now propagandizing for peace. In 2009, Morton, then part of a group of Muslim extremists in New York, helped launch Jihad Recollections, the first in a line of online glossy magazines that captured the imagination of many young jihadists. With an emphasis on compelling visual presentation, the magazine came to be dubbed the Vanity Fair for jihadists, giving rise to several, more enduring iterations, including al-Qaida’s...
Categories: Iraq