in Iraq


Iraqi Forces Seize Key Sites in Kirkuk, Kurdish Stronghold

Voice of America - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 05:05
Iraqi forces took over more oil fields near the city of Kirkuk on Tuesday, along with the town of Sinjar, as they expanded a pushback against Kurdish control of areas outside of their semi-autonomous region. The military said Kurdish fighters withdrew from the Bai Hasan and Avana oil fields, leaving federal security forces to take over. A similar dynamic played out in Sinjar where pro-government forces moved into the town Tuesday after the Kurdish Peshmerga moved out....
Categories: Iraq

Haley Defends Trump's Decision on Iran Nuclear Deal

Voice of America - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 02:02
Washington must decide how to proceed now that President Donald Trump has declined to certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear accord signed by leading world powers in 2015. VOA’s Michael Bowman has this report.
Categories: Iraq

Iraqi Forces Begin Assault Near Kurdish-Held City of Kirkuk

NY Times Iraq - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 23:36
American officials call for calm as Iraqis move in and Kurds vow to defend the city and oil fields at the center of their bid for independence.
Categories: Iraq

Egyptian Army: Terror Plan Foiled in Sinai Peninsula

Voice of America - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 22:32
Egyptian security forces have foiled a militant attack on army installations in the Sinai Peninsula, a day after half a dozen policemen were killed by insurgents in the region, a military statement said.   A statement by the Egyptian army on Saturday said a group of insurgents breached a heavily-guarded army installation in the city of el-Arish in northern Sinai to carry out a “terrorist attack.”   The militants, disguised in Egyptian army uniforms, were armed with grenades and...
Categories: Iraq

US-backed Militias Launch Final Assault on IS Stronghold in Raqqa

Voice of America - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 19:49
U.S.-backed militias said Sunday they have launched their final assault on Raqqa, the northern Syria city Islamic State has claimed as the self-declared capital of its religious caliphate. The Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) said that about 275 Syrian Islamic State fighters and their families were allowed to leave the city held by the jihadists since a 2014 takeover, leaving "no more than" 200 to 300 militants to fight on. Raqqa's fall could be imminent, with the...
Categories: Iraq

Shots Fired in Flashpoint City as Iraqi, Kurdish Forces Stand Off in Kirkuk

Voice of America - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 18:58
As Iraqi and Kurdish military forces mass troops and weaponry around the oil city of Kirkuk, sporadic fighting in another contested city is forcing some families to flee their homes, joining more than 3 million displaced people in Iraq. VOA’s Heather Murdock is on the scene in Tuz Khurmatu, Iraq.
Categories: Iraq

Tillerson: Iran Compliant With Nuclear Deal, But Trump Wants to Fix Flaws

Voice of America - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 18:25
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson conceded Sunday that Iran is in "technical compliance" with the international agreement to curb its nuclear weapons development, but said that President Donald Trump wants Congress to adopt "a more complete strategy" to fix what the U.S. leader sees as flaws in the pact. The top U.S. diplomat told CNN that Tehran has a "demonstrated practice of walking right up to the limits" of the 2015 deal, prompting Trump on Friday to...
Categories: Iraq

Shots Fired in Flashpoint City as Iraqi, Kurdish Forces Stand Off in Kirkuk

Voice of America - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 18:25
On the road out of Kirkuk city, Kurdish Peshmerga forces are massed on a bridge, overlooking the countryside. Just over a nearby bream, Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) soldiers whip down a street in large pick-up trucks, while Iraqi Army tanks lay quiet, parked in fields with their weapons pointed at Kurdish forces. WATCH: Heather Murdock's Video Report  Everyone is staying on their own side, as the standoff continues in this oil city, which is claimed by both the...
Categories: Iraq

Syria Condemns Trump Stance on Iran Deal

Voice of America - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 18:05
Syria's Foreign Ministry on Sunday condemned the U.S. administration of President Donald Trump for its position on the Iran nuclear deal, saying in comments to state media that it would increase regional tension and threaten security and peace. "Syria condemns the aggressive policies of the U.S. administration against the interests of the people, and which will increase the atmosphere of tension in the region and the world," state news agency SANA quoted an official source...
Categories: Iraq

Iran Denies It Shut Border with Iraqi Kurdish Region

Voice of America - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 16:39
Iran on Sunday denied reports that Tehran had closed a border crossing with northern Iraq in response to an independence referendum in Iraq's Kurdish region last month, the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) reported. "As we announced earlier, we blocked our airspace to the Kurdish region on a request from the central government of Iraq, and as far as I know, nothing new has happened in this area," ISNA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi as saying....
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Trump Administration Accused of Aiding Iranian Militias in Syria

Voice of America - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 16:04
U.S. President Donald Trump lambasted Iranian expansionism in the Middle East Friday when disavowing the international nuclear deal with Tehran, citing in particular Iran’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But analysts charge his strategy to check Iran in the region remains inconsistent, especially when it comes to Syria. In his statement announcing he’s withholding certifying Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of...
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Refugee Food Festival Aims to Sweeten the Way to People's Hearts

Voice of America - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 13:17
A Refugee Food Festival showcasing the cooking talents of refugee chefs from five different countries has won the hearts of Geneva residents by connecting through the food of their national cuisines.  Over the past week, local chefs have turned their kitchens over to their refugee counterparts from Syria, Eritrea, Sri Lanka, Tibet and Nigeria. Nadeem Khadem al-Jamie smiles broadly as clients at this high-end restaurant applaud his culinary skills. Nadeem, a 29-year-old Syrian...
Categories: Iraq

IS Fighters Expected to Evacuate Raqqa

Voice of America - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 01:25
A group of Islamic State fighters has evacuated the Syrian city of Raqqa under a withdrawal agreement with the U.S.-backed Syrian militias surrounding them. A militia spokesman said Sunday the fighters had taken civilians with them to use as human shields. Meanwhile, fighting has continued between the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and Islamic State militants. Reuters news agency quoted an SDF spokesman as saying “the operation has finished and the battle continues” against the...
Categories: Iraq

Kerry on Trump Nuclear Deal: 'Reckless Abandonment of Facts'

Voice of America - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 14:55
John Kerry, the former U.S. Secretary of State, had harsh criticism for President Donald Trump's decision not to certify that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal signed by six world powers in 2015.   Kerry said the decision is a "reckless abandonment of facts in favor of ego and ideology." Kerry, who negotiated the deal, added that Trump "weakens our hand, alienates us from our allies, empowers Iranian hardliners, makes it harder to resolve North Korea and...
Categories: Iraq

Syrian Militia: End Is Near for Islamic State in Raqqa 

Voice of America - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 12:53
Islamic State is on the verge of defeat in Syria’s Raqqa and the city may finally be cleared of the jihadists Saturday or Sunday, the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia told Reuters Saturday. The U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State said around 100 of the jihadist group’s fighters had surrendered in Raqqa in the last 24 hours and had been “removed from the city,” but it still expected difficult fighting “in the days ahead.” It did not say how the fighters had been removed or where the...
Categories: Iraq

What is Iran’s Revolutionary Guard? 

Voice of America - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 10:35
U.S. President Donald Trump directed the U.S. Treasury Department to impose additional sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as he announced a more aggressive stance toward Iran, including refusing to recertify the nuclear deal with Tehran. The White House called the Revolutionary Guard, which is separate from Iran’s regular armed forces, a “primary tool and weapon in remaking Iran into a rogue state.” But what is the Revolutionary Guard? Beginnings The Revolutionary Guard was...
Categories: Iraq

Turkish Forces Move Into Syria 

Voice of America - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 09:58
Turkey has deployed troops to Syria’s Idlib province, as part of its effort to stem fighting and end jihadist control of the region. Turkish military officials on Friday said Turkish forces are establishing observation posts in the area. The Hurriyet newspaper reports Turkey sent over 100 soldiers and 30 armored vehicles to the northwestern Syrian region. The newspaper said more troops would be deployed in the next few days. Turkey’s troops are supporting the Free Syrian Army, Syrian...
Categories: Iraq

Trump Says Iran Non-Compliant with Nuke Deal

Voice of America - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 08:43
President Donald Trump has announced that he is decertifying Iran's compliance with a multinational 2-year-old nuclear deal and slapping Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps with new counter-terrorism sanctions. VOA White House Bureau Chief Steve Herman reports, however, the president is stopping short of calling for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to be scrapped.
Categories: Iraq

All Eyes on Kirkuk as Deadline Passes for Kurds' Exit

Voice of America - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 03:56
Kurdish peshmerga fighters were refusing Saturday to obey Iraqi soldiers' order to withdraw from the oil-producing city of Kirkuk, leaving the two sides in a standoff as the deadline for leaving passed. A Kurdish security official told reporters that Iraq had told the Kurds to vacate the area after midnight Saturday, local time. But he said the peshmerga would stay put and defend their position. Reporters in the area said there had been no clashes, but fighters on both sides were...
Categories: Iraq

France's Audrey Azoulay Wins Vote to Be Next UNESCO Chief

Voice of America - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 02:47
UNESCO's executive board voted Friday to make a former French government minister the U.N. cultural agency's next chief after an unusually heated election that was overshadowed by Middle East tensions. The board's selection of Audrey Azoulay over a Qatari candidate came the day after the United States announced that it intends to pull out of UNESCO because of its alleged anti-Israel bias. The news rocked a weeklong election already marked by geopolitical resentments,...
Categories: Iraq