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Iraq

Former Presidential Candidate Ordered Detained for Two Weeks in Egypt 

Voice of America - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 22:50
Egyptian authorities on Thursday ordered a senior Islamist leader to remain in police custody for two weeks after a day of questioning by state security prosecutors about his alleged links to Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group. The order was the latest development in the government's crackdown on dissent ahead of next month's presidential election. Abdel-Monaem Abul Fetouh, 66, was arrested Wednesday night shortly after his return from a trip to London. On Thursday,...
Categories: Iraq

Russian Mother Grieves for Son Killed by US Strike in Syria

Voice of America - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 22:24
For Russian mother Farkhanur Gavrilova, the blow came a week ago when an acquaintance called her to say that her son was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Syria that pitted Russian and U.S. combatants against each other for the first time in the Syrian war. Gavrilova's son, 37-year-old Ruslan Gavrilov, was one of seven men in this central Russian village of 2,300 who are believed to have joined a private military company called Wagner. The company reportedly was involved in a Feb. 7...
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Tillerson Calls Hezbollah Threat to Lebanon

Voice of America - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 20:40
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Hezbollah's growing arsenal and its role in regional conflicts threatens Lebanon's security.  Tillerson, on tour of the Middle East, spoke in Beirut where he met with President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.  Tillerson's visit to Lebanon came amid simmering regional tensions over the conflict in Syria, along with a territorial dispute with Israel over both its land and sea...
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US Envoy Discusses Next Moves in Battle Against IS

Voice of America - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 03:39
Brett McGurk, the U.S. special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter the Islamic State group, talks with VOA about where the fight against Islamic State goes next.
Categories: Iraq

More Israelis Believe Police Than Netanyahu, Polls Show

Voice of America - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 03:03
Almost half of Israel’s electorate believe the country’s police, who say they have gathered evidence against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and called for him to be charged with bribery, a poll showed on Wednesday. A police statement on Tuesday said enough evidence had been found for the 68-year-old premier to be charged in two separate cases, one of the biggest challenges Netanyahu has faced during his long dominance of Israeli politics. The poll, aired on the Israeli commercial...
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VOA Interview: US Envoy Discusses Next Moves in Battle Against IS

Voice of America - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 02:30
Brett McGurk, the U.S. special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter the Islamic State group, has been meeting with partners in Kuwait this week, looking to build on the gains the alliance has made in countering and, in many instances, crushing IS militants in Iraq and Syria. VOA's U.N. Correspondent Margaret Besheer spoke with McGurk about where the fight against Islamic State goes next.   Besheer: "Special Envoy, welcome. So you just had this...
Categories: Iraq

VOA Interview: UN Chief Antonio Guterres

Voice of America - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 02:00
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is in Kuwait this week for an international conference aimed at raising funds for Iraqi reconstruction. He spoke Wednesday with VOA's United Nations Correspondent Margaret Besheer at Al-Bayan Palace, Kuwait City, about the effort to rebuild Iraq, ongoing conflicts in Syria and Yemen, the situation in North Korea, and concerns over ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. The transcript has been edited for clarity. Rebuilding Iraq Question: The...
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Turkey Poll Shows Strong Support for Ankara's Military Campaign in Syria 

Voice of America - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 00:29
Turkey’s military incursion into Syria against a Kurdish militia has received overwhelming support, according to a new Turkish opinion poll. The poll conducted by A&G found Operation Olive Branch, the name of the military operation, had 90 percent support among the Turkish population. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been unwavering in his message that Operation Olive Branch is a national struggle.  “Only Allah is victorious, and faith is more important than arms. If...
Categories: Iraq

Hoping for $100 Billion to Rebuild, Iraq Got Less Than a Third

NY Times Iraq - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 22:23
And much of the total came not in grants but in loans, guarantees and investments. Regional officials nevertheless proclaimed the donor event a success.
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IS Leaves Deadly Legacy of Explosive Hazards in Iraq

Voice of America - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 21:41
The U.N. Mine Action Service reports Islamic State militants have left a deadly legacy of tens of thousands of explosive hazards and improvised explosive devices in cities throughout Iraq, preventing the safe return of people to the homes they were forced to flee.  War in Iraq has displaced nearly six million people since 2014.  More than half since have gone home, but the U.N. Mine Action Service reports an estimated 2.6 million people remain displaced. It says cities...
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Iranians Celebrate Valentine's Day, Despite Its Being Banned

Voice of America - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 17:37
Some Iranian youth are celebrating Valentine's Day even though authorities have banned the celebrations as part of "decadent Western culture." Coffee shops and restaurants are crowded with boys and girls celebrating with their loved ones and exchanging red-colored, romance-themed presents. Since 2011, Iranian authorities have prohibited any advertisement, sale of goods or unisex tours with the Valentine's Day name or symbols. But shopkeepers said teddy bears,...
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US Boosts Aid to Jordan Despite Trump Threats of Cuts

Voice of America - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 17:03
President Donald Trump's rhetoric on punishing countries that don't agree with U.S. policy in the Middle East collided with reality on Wednesday as his administration announced it would boost aid to Jordan by more than $1 billion over the next five years.   Despite Trump's repeated threats to cut assistance to such nations, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi signed the increased aid package, which represents a 27-percent...
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Libyans Observe Bittersweet Anniversary

Voice of America - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 15:39
Anniversaries have come and gone to mark the start of the February 2011 uprising to topple Libyan autocrat Colonel Moammar Gadhafi and to remember his gruesome death on a desert road outside the coastal city of Sirte months later. Hope has slowly given way to sobering experience and the north African country is no closer to resolving a multi-sided conflict dividing regions, towns and militias. On Thursday, Libyans will start marking the seventh anniversary of a revolution that still...
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Netanyahu Says Government Stable Despite Bribery Scandal

Voice of America - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 14:10
Israel's longtime leader is defiant in the face of a deepening corruption scandal that has sparked calls for his resignation. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his coalition government is stable, a day after police recommended his indictment in two corruption cases. He described the allegations as "biased, extreme, and full of holes like Swiss cheese" and vowed to remain in office. Police accuse Netanyahu of bribery and breach of trust in two corruption...
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UN: Rohingya Refugee Crisis Faces New Emergency

Voice of America - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 10:58
The United Nations refugee agency says the Rohingya refugees sheltered in camps outside Myanmar are facing another emergency with the approach of monsoon season. A representative of the UNHCR said Tuesday the government of Myanmar has not removed the threat of violence that forced thousands of these people to flee across the border. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
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Reports: Russian Military Contractors Killed in US-Led Attack in Syria

Voice of America - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 06:00
Russian military contractors were among those killed when a U.S.-led coalition drone destroyed a Russian-designed tank in eastern Syria, Russian and U.S. officials said.  “We detected and saw a tank that took a shot at us,” Lieutenant General Jeffrey Harrigian, the head of U.S. Air Forces Central Command told reporters said via teleconference from Qatar. “It continued to move, so we... executed self-defense rules of engagement to protect ourselves.” Without mentioning the U.S....
Categories: Iraq

Venezuela, Libya Lose UN Vote for Third Time in 3 Years

Voice of America - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 05:40
Venezuela and Libya have been suspended from voting in the U.N. General Assembly for the third time in three years because of millions of dollars in unpaid dues to the world body.   Secretary-General Antonio Guterres informed the General Assembly in late January that 14 countries including Venezuela and Libya were in arrears, and Assembly spokesman Brenden Varma confirmed Tuesday that Venezuela has lost its vote in the 193-member global organization as a result. Libya did as...
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Newly Free Saudi Prince Alwaleed Gives to Soccer Club

Voice of America - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 05:30
Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, freed two weeks ago from detention in a luxury hotel during a corruption sweep, said Tuesday that he was answering a government call to support local soccer clubs by donating half a million dollars. Prince Alwaleed, one of the country's top international investors, said he spent his nearly three months of detention in the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton, along with dozens of senior officials and businessmen, part of a crackdown on the orders of...
Categories: Iraq

Syrian Civilian Rescue Force Urges More Action From US, Europe in Securing Cease-fire

Voice of America - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 04:00
A top member of a Syrian civilian rescue group called Tuesday for more action from the United States and other Western governments to stop what appears to be intensifying violence in Syria.   Abdulrahman Almawwas described dire conditions in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta where roughly 400,000 civilians are under siege. Speaking to reporters in Paris, the vice president of the Syrian White Helmets rescue force warned of a humanitarian crisis similar to that in...
Categories: Iraq

Egypt's Prisons Can't Confine Love on Valentine’s Day

Voice of America - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 00:00
Despite pressure from Islamists, Valentine's Day continues to be a big day for many Egyptians to express their feelings of love.  In Egypt's prisons, where human rights groups estimate as many as 60,000 political prisoners are languishing, love remains alive as detainees and their lovers find creative ways to open their hearts on this day.  VOA correspondent Hamada Elrasam interviewed and photographed loved ones of several prisoners for this photo...
Categories: Iraq