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Iraq, Fearing Another U.S. War, Warns Militias Against Provocation

NY Times Iraq - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 20:04
American warnings and threats about Iran echo those before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Iraqi militias tied to Iran are a concern.
Categories: Iraq

Amid Tension With Iran, US Pulls Non-Essential Staff From Iraq

Voice of America - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 19:54
Nike Ching contributed to this report from the State Department; Carla Babb contributed from the Pentagon.​ CAPITOL HILL — The United States on Wednesday ordered its non-emergency employees to leave Iraq, as American lawmakers worried openly about a potential march to war with Iran. The drawdown of personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and America’s consulate in Irbil came as the Trump administration warned of potential threats against American forces in the Middle East from...
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Turkey Denies Delaying Russian S-400 Deal

Voice of America - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 16:52
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has denied that Turkey is delaying the purchase of S-400 missile defense systems from Russia amid tensions with the United States. Cavusoglu told reporters on Wednesday that “there is no question of any delay or of any halting at this point.” He reiterated that Turkey's purchase of the Russian-made systems is a “done deal.” The issue has caused a deep rift with the United States, which says the Russian missiles pose a threat to the U.S....
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Saudi Paper Urges Palestinians to Consider Trump Peace Plan

Voice of America - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 16:32
The editor-in-chief of a Saudi newspaper is urging Palestinians to keep an open mind toward a Mideast plan being devised by President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner. Faisal Abbas wrote in the Arab News on Wednesday that while the cards have been stacked against the Palestinians, Kushner's plan just may reverse the situation and make peace more possible.   The column ran as Palestinians hold protests to mark the 71st anniversary of the...
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Palestinians Mark Anniversary of Mass Displacement

Voice of America - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 16:13
Palestinians on Wednesday marked the 71st anniversary of their mass displacement during the 1948 war around Israel's creation with protests across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Thousands of people streamed to the Gaza-Israel frontier as the militant Hamas group, which controls Gaza, announced a general strike, closing schools and public institutions to allow for a large turnout.   For a year, Hamas has staged protests every Friday along the perimeter fence dividing Israel...
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U.S. Orders Partial Evacuation of Embassy in Baghdad

NY Times Iraq - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 11:24
The decision came after the Trump administration warned of an increased threat linked to Iran. Officials in Iraq and elsewhere doubted that such a threat existed.
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Jerusalem Embassy Anniversary Marked with Trump Tweet, Arab Silence

Voice of America - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 07:25
U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday the transfer of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem a year ago was the fulfillment of a key promise of his election campaign. ​“Today marks the one-year anniversary of the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel,” Trump said in a celebratory tweet highlighting the move. “Our beautiful embassy stands as a proud reminder of our strong relationship with Israel and of the importance of keeping a promise and standing for the...
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US Military Beefing Up Arsenal to Counter Potential Iran Attack

Voice of America - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 03:55
The United States military is ramping up its arsenal in the Middle East to counter a potential attack from Iran. But is it the right move, and what exactly is the threat? VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has details.
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Netanyahu Given 14 More Days to Form Israeli Government

Voice of America - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 03:09
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday got more time to put together a new coalition government, after the initial 28 days granted him following last month’s elections expired. Israeli law says that after the first four weeks of political bargaining a further 14 days is granted by the president on request. Netanyahu on Monday called on President Reuven Rivlin at his official Jerusalem residence and received his official blessing. “At the end of the meeting, the...
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US Orders Non-Emergency Staff to Leave Iraq, Amid US-Iran Tensions

Voice of America - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 00:09
VOA Persian's Shahla Arasteh contributed from Washington. PENTAGON —  The United States ordered its non-emergency employees to leave Iraq on Wednesday, a move that comes as the Trump administration warns of potential threats against American forces in the Middle East from Iran or Iranian-backed proxies. A statement posted by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said the order applied both to staff there and at the U.S. Consulate in Irbil. U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday...
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Report: Iran-Linked Disinformation Effort Had Personal Touch

Voice of America - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 22:43
When a young Middle Eastern woman contacted Saudi dissident Ali AlAhmed over Twitter last November, he was immediately suspicious. AlAhmed's radar was up because he had previously been targeted by hackers posing as a female journalist. But this turned out to be part of a different operation.    The Twitter account, purportedly belonging to an Egyptian writer named Mona A.Rahman, was not an attempt to hack the Washington-based AlAhmed — it was an attempt to enlist him in an...
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Iran's Khamenei: Tehran Not Seeking War with US

Voice of America - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 22:04
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday Tehran does not seek war with the United States despite mounting tensions between the two arch-enemies over Iranian nuclear capabilities and its missile program. In comments to senior officials carried by state television, Khamenei also reiterated that the Islamic Republic would not negotiate with the United States on another nuclear deal. "There won't be any war. The Iranian nation has chosen the path of...
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Saudi Arabia Says Its Pipeline Attacked by Drones

Voice of America - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 21:20
Saudi Arabia says an oil pipeline was attacked by drones Tuesday west of the capital, Riyadh. Yemeni Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks amid rising tensions in the Middle East. The rebels said they fired seven drones against vital targets in Saudi Arabia, which borders Yemen to the north. Saudi Arabia has launched almost daily airstrikes against the rebels and their allies since a war between the two sides began in March 2015. The government-controlled oil company...
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EU Calls for Libya Cease-Fire, Return to Talks

Voice of America - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 19:50
European Union foreign ministers are calling for an immediate cease-fire in Libya and for the warring parties in the strife-torn North African state to return to negotiations to resolve their differences. Meeting in Brussels Monday, the ministers warned that the fighting raging around Tripoli, which began last month when forces loyal to the country's would-be strongman, Khalifa Haftar, launched an assault on the Libyan capital, threatens international peace and security. Their...
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Europe Urges Restraint as Fears of US-Iran Conflict Escalate

Voice of America - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 19:07
As tensions escalate between the United States and Iran, Europe is urging both sides to avoid any further escalation. The European Union is trying to salvage a nuclear deal struck with Tehran in 2015, amid mounting pressure from Washington to abandon the agreement. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, Europe fears Iran is being pushed into a corner – and that its response could have dangerous consequences for the region.
Categories: Iraq

Europe Urges Restraint as Fears of US-Iran Conflict Escalate

Voice of America - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 18:00
As tensions escalate between the United States and Iran, Europe has urged all sides to avoid further escalation. The United States has deployed a naval strike group to the Middle East region, led by the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier.  B-52 bombers have also arrived at the U.S. air base in Qatar, designed to counter what the Trump administration says are "clear indications" of threats from Iran to U.S. forces. Military analyst Jack Watling of the London-based Royal...
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It’s Time for the Leaders of Saudi Arabia and Iran to Talk

NY Times Iraq - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 13:00
Two foreign policy experts, from each side of the Islamic Middle East’s most prominent rivalry, say common ground can be found.
Categories: Iraq

Iran Tensions on Agenda as Pompeo Meets With Putin, Lavrov in Sochi

Voice of America - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 09:16
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Russian leaders Tuesday that President Donald Trump "is committed to improving" relations between the two superpowers "I hope this good faith effort on the part of each of our two nations as directed by President Trump and President Putin will stabilize the relationship, and put it back on a trajectory that I think would be good for not only each of our two countries and each of our peoples, but for the world as well," Pompeo...
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US Official: Explosives Blew Holes in Ships off UAE

Voice of America - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 05:53
A U.S. official says military experts believe explosives blew holes in four ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates Sunday, and suspects Iran may be involved but they have no proof. Two of the oil tankers belong to Saudi Arabia, which says the ships suffered "significant damage" in what it and the UAE calls sabotage.  Saudi Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih said the attack was meant to undermine "the security of oil supplies to consumers all over the...
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Veteran Palestinian Negotiator Says She Was Denied US Visa for First Time

Voice of America - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 03:29
A veteran Palestinian negotiator said Monday she had been denied a U.S. travel visa for the first time, and viewed it as retaliation for her criticism of the Trump administration and Israel. Asked about Hanan Ashrawi's allegations, a U.S. State Department official did not comment directly, but said visas are not refused on the grounds of an applicant's politics if those political statements or views would be lawful in the United States. Since they boycotted the Trump...
Categories: Iraq