in Iraq


US Rabbis Demand Israel Stop Selling Arms to Myanmar

Voice of America - Fri, 10/27/2017 - 04:59
More than 300 American rabbis and cantors are petitioning Israel to stop selling weapons to Myanmar, which the U.N. says is responsible for ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims. "As American citizens and as Jews, we refuse to accept any involvement by the U.S. or Israel in training or arming a military that is carrying out a brutal ethnic cleaning against a minority population," the petition, released Thursday, states. The clergymen and women demand that Israel stop...
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Party's Launch Could Upend Erdogan, Turkey's Political Establishment

Voice of America - Fri, 10/27/2017 - 03:05
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accused by critics of amassing power and creating the latest in a series of autocratic governments in the country, faces a new political threat after the launch Wednesday of the Iyi Party by Meral Aksener. The former interior minister boosted her profile by campaigning against a referendum on extending the Turkish president's powers, and now observers see her as potentially posing the biggest challenge to Erdogan's re-election bid. Some...
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Panel Finds Syrian Government Responsible for Gas Attack

Voice of America - Fri, 10/27/2017 - 03:01
An international investigative panel has determined that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for a deadly sarin gas attack on April 4. The attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun killed or sickened scores of civilians and led to a U.S. airstrike three days later on the Syrian military base that Washington said the regime used to launch the poison gas attack. In their 33-page final report released to U.N. Security Council members on Thursday, a...
Categories: Iraq

US-backed Raqqa Civil Council Prepares to Rebuild Syrian City After IS

Voice of America - Fri, 10/27/2017 - 02:19
While the grueling battle to remove Islamic State fighters from Raqqa, the terror group's de facto capital, is over now, much of the Syrian city has been reduced to rubble. The city's Civil Council has established a committee to evaluate the damage and prepare a reconstruction plan. VOA's Mahmoud Bali reports.
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As ISIS Is Driven From Iraq, Sunnis Remain Alienated

NY Times Iraq - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 22:40
The grievances of Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority allowed the Islamic State to flourish. How the government deals with Sunnis now could have long-term consequences.
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Red Cross Warns of ‘Dehumanizing’ Rhetoric in ISIS Fight

NY Times Iraq - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 20:42
Even Islamic State detainees have human rights, an official said. “There are no exceptions.”
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Tillerson Says Assad Must Go

Voice of America - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 19:30
America’s top diplomat Rex Tillerson says Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has no role to play in the future of his country and he must go.   During a short stop-over in Geneva on Thursday at the end of a week-long trip to major capitals in the Middle East and South Asia, U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson said "the United States wants a whole and unified Syria with no role for Bashar al-Assad in the government." Tillerson made these comments following discussions...
Categories: Iraq

Iraqi Military Takes on IS in 'Last Big Fight'

Voice of America - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 17:26
The Iraqi military has launched an offensive to capture the last remaining bastions of Islamic State control in several small towns and villages along the border with Syria. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the multi-flanked attack Thursday, saying the IS jihadists remaining in Al-Qaim and Raqa have just two choices — “death or surrender.” "They will all return to the arms of the motherland thanks to the determination and endurance of our fighting heroes,"...
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Iraqi Prime Minister: Kurdish Referendum Must be Annulled

Voice of America - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 11:43
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Thursday rejected an offer by Kurdish leaders to freeze the results of their independence referendum in favor of dialogue in order to avoid conflict. Abadi said in a statement his government will only accept the annulment of the referendum and respect for the constitution. Those who voted in the September referendum overwhelmingly supported independence for the northern Kurdish region. Abadi called the vote illegal, and in response sent his...
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Top US Security Official: Iran Threatens Regional Stability

Voice of America - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 10:05
U.S. President Donald Trump says Islamic State in the Middle East is being defeated and the militants are moving to parts of Africa and other places. But a top U.S. security official says the departure of Islamic State does not spell the end of terrorism in the region. In an interview with Alhurra television this week, National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster warned of Iran's dangerous influence in the Middle East. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
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Pence: US Shifting Relief Funds for Persecuted Minorities in Middle East from UN to USAID

Voice of America - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 06:05
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence says the State Department will no longer fund "ineffective" U.N. relief efforts for persecuted and religious minorities in the Middle East, and instead pay for them directly through the U.S. Agency for International Development. At the State Department on Thursday, spokesperson Heather Nauert said while details of this new initiative are still being worked out, it is not a blanket cut of U.S. funding to all United Nations relief...
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Syrian Diplomat's Outburst at UN a Symptom of Regional Rivalries

Voice of America - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 05:45
Middle Eastern regional rivalries spilled over Wednesday into a U.N. meeting on human rights in Iran, when a Syrian diplomat’s outburst brought the proceedings to a temporary halt. The meeting, an annual exercise in the U.N. committee that reviews the human rights situation in some of the countries with the worst records, began predictably enough. Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir outlined concerns about the rate of executions in Iran — 435 since January this year —  that...
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US Drone Strike Kills Islamic Militants in Yemen

Voice of America - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 02:10
A U.S. drone strike killed at least seven Islamic militants Wednesday in Yemen, security sources said. The strikes hit two cars carrying armed individuals in al-Bayda province. U.S. forces repeatedly have launched drone strikes and airstrikes in al-Bayda and southeastern Shabwa province, where dozens of al-Qaida and Islamic State members are thought to be based. Yemen, an impoverished Arab country, has been gripped by one of the most active regional al-Qaida insurgencies in the...
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Islamic State Is ‘On the Run,’ U.S. Commander Says

NY Times Iraq - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 01:45
The militants in Iraq and Syria cling to 5 percent of the territory they had three years ago but are likely to continue attacks even they lose it all.
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New Screenings to Start for All US-bound Airline Passengers

Voice of America - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 00:43
All incoming flights to the United States will be subject to new security screening procedures before takeoff, including both American citizens and foreigners possibly facing security interviews from airline employees, the U.S. government said Wednesday. Both American air carriers and global airlines must comply, affecting all the 2,100 flights from around the world entering the U.S. on any given day. The directive is far broader than an earlier Trump administration ban on laptops inside...
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Interview: McMaster on Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Kurdish Issue

Voice of America - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 00:30
National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster is a longtime Army officer who gained national attention for a book that criticized the military's leadership and strategy in the Vietnam War. In 2005, he was recognized for leading one of the first successful counterinsurgency campaigns in Iraq, and later became an adviser to General David Petraeus. In February 2017, the Army lieutenant general became President Donald Trump's national security adviser. McMaster spoke this week...
Categories: Iraq

Life Under Islamic State: Escape From Raqqa

Voice of America - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 00:00
On Wednesday, 20-year-old Yazan Abdulrahman was released from detention after a 10-day investigation, cleared from any suspicion he fought with Islamic State militants. A few hours later, relaxed and smiling easily, he sat on dirty mattresses in a tent with his neighbors from Raqqa. Yazan then told VOA how he lost his family in an airstrike, escaped from IS and got a modicum of revenge on the militants that destroyed his city. He told his story in Arabic, and it is edited for...
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US, Gulf Allies Sanction Yemenis in Joint Anti-terror Effort

Voice of America - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 23:05
The United States and its Gulf Arab allies announced on Wednesday a coordinated effort to sanction nine Yemenis and two Yemeni entities suspected of financing the Islamic State group and al-Qaida. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin described the sanctions list as “the largest ever multilateral designation in the Middle East.” The designations were backed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain, who all jointly agreed to the list — despite a...
Categories: Iraq

US House Votes to Place Sanctions on Hezbollah, in Strike at Iran

Voice of America - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 22:16
The U.S. House of Representatives has approved bipartisan legislation to block the flow of illegal funds to Iran-backed Hezbollah militants, and also to sanction Hezbollah for using civilians as human shields. The measures were approved by voice vote Wednesday and are a blow to the group, designated a terrorist organization, that lawmakers say has close ties to the government of Iran. The bill that targets Hezbollah funding places sanctions on people and businesses engaged in...
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A Times Correspondent Describes Meeting ISIS Militants in Iraq

NY Times Iraq - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 19:37
Rod Nordland, The Times’s international correspondent at large, told of his experiences interviewing militants in Iraq in a Facebook Live interview.
Categories: Iraq