in Iraq


Detained Saudi Women's Rights Activists Brought to Court

Voice of America - Wed, 03/13/2019 - 18:40
Women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia appeared in a closed-door court hearing Wednesday on unknown charges after being detained in a crackdown last year, making their first appearance before a judge in a case that has sparked international outrage. The arrests came just before Saudi Arabia began allowing women to drive, something women's rights activists had been demanding for years. The arrests showed that King Salman and his 33-year-old son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,...
Categories: Iraq

Iranian Lawyers Join Global Backlash to Iran's Sentencing of Rights Defender

Voice of America - Wed, 03/13/2019 - 03:50
A group of Iranian lawyers has added its voice to international criticism of Tehran for sentencing a female colleague to additional years in prison in relation to her work in defending Iranian rights activists. In an open letter to the Iranian people dated Tuesday and sent by one of the authors to VOA Persian, the group of 16 lawyers said the multiyear sentencing of lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, announced by Iranian state media Monday, violates the Iranian constitution's commitments to...
Categories: Iraq

US Official: Iranian Regime Wants Iraq to Become a Province of Iran   

Voice of America - Wed, 03/13/2019 - 03:30
U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, blasted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's visit to Iraq and accused his government of trying to control Iraq by fueling sectarian conflict in the country. In an interview with Alhurrha TV, Hook said Rouhani's visit is not in the best interest of the Iraqi people, adding that Iran does not support the security and sovereignty of Iraq.  "When President Rouhani comes into Iraq, you have to question the motive,"...
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Clashes Erupt After Israel Closes Jerusalem Holy Site

Voice of America - Wed, 03/13/2019 - 00:50
Israeli officials closed Jerusalem's most sensitive holy site, revered by Jews and Muslims, after a firebomb was thrown at a police station on the compound. Police on Tuesday clashed with dozens of Palestinians at the compound revered by Jews as Temple Mount, and by Muslims as Haram al-Sharif or Noble Sanctuary. All worshippers were evacuated from the compound. Police said it would reopen to worshippers and visitors Wednesday. Israeli police also took the unusual measure of closing...
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Veteran Diplomat Set to Guide Algeria's Transition After Protests

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 23:19
Lakhdar Brahimi, the veteran diplomat who is expected to steer Algeria's political transition after mass protests, has won respect from foreign leaders and his country's political elite during his long career. But his appointment may not go down well with protesters demanding rapid change. At 85, he is three years older than President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and from the same generation that has presided over Algerian politics since the 1954-62 war of independence against...
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UN Experts: Syria Unsafe for Refugees, Displaced

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 22:55
Peace has not returned to Syria, and it is neither safe nor sustainable for Syria's nearly 12 million refugees and internally displaced people to return to their homes, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria warns. Syria is entering its ninth year of conflict this week and, while Syrian government forces and their Russian allies have pacified large swathes of territory, the war has not been won.  Chair of the Independent Commission, Paulo Pinheiro, says...
Categories: Iraq

Algeria's Protesters Want Change - Will They Get It?

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 21:55
For a country that has long banked on stability, Algeria is now buffeted by serious winds of change, with massive protests morphing into the biggest challenge facing its aging government in nearly three decades. Monday marked the biggest jolt, when 82-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika renounced a fifth presidential term, reshuffled his government, proclaimed the drafting of a new constitution and rescheduled presidential elections initially set for April to an unspecified...
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2 Palestinians Killed in West Bank Violence

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 21:35
Two Palestinian men were killed by Israeli fire on Tuesday in separate incidents in the West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.   The Israeli military said troops shot and killed a 37-year-old man who lunged toward them with a kitchen knife in what it described as an attempted stabbing attack near a military post in the volatile city of Hebron.   The man's father, Fawzi Sheaki, denied his son Yasser was trying to stab anyone and was merely at his job in the...
Categories: Iraq

Baghuz Battle Against IS Remnants ‘as Good as Over’

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 20:48
Syrian Democratic Forces closing in on the last shred of the Islamic State’s territory in northeastern Syria are expressing renewed optimism that victory is within reach.  VOA national security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.
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Firebomb Sparks Unrest at Sensitive Jerusalem Holy Site

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 20:37
Israeli police closes the entrances to Jerusalem's most sensitive holy site after Palestinian suspects threw a firebomb at a police station on Tuesday. The rare move drew angry reactions across the Muslim world. There were no injuries reported from the firebombing. But police quickly deployed across the hilltop compound, scuffling with Palestinians in the area, as they searched for the assailants. At least three suspects were arrested, and police were seen wrestling a woman to the...
Categories: Iraq

Syria Criticizes US Senator's Comment on Golan Heights

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 20:36
Syria's Foreign Ministry is blasting U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham for his comments in which he vowed to push for U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights calling them "arrogant" and stressing that Israeli occupation will eventually end.   The ministry's statement on Tuesday said that according to the United Nations, the Golan Heights are considered Syrian occupied lands.   The South Carolina Republican said Monday he aimed to change the...
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Israeli Arabs Furious Over Netanyahu 'Citizen' Comments

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 20:20
Arab citizens of Israel have been expressing anger over recent comments by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said Israel "is not a country of all its citizens." Some Israeli Arabs are calling for a boycott of Israel’s election. The first shots of the battle played out on Instagram, with actress and model Rotem Sela posting "When the hell will someone in the government convey to the public that Israel is a state of all its citizens." Israeli Prime...
Categories: Iraq

Final Battle Against IS Caliphate as 'Good as Over'

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 18:07
About 3,000 people, mostly Islamic State fighters, poured out of the IS enclave of Baghuz Tuesday, as U.S.-backed forces targeted the terror group's self-proclaimed caliphate with rockets and gunfire.   Syrian Democratic Forces and Kurdish officials said hundreds of Islamic State fighters and their families surrendered en masse Tuesday. The SDF reported that three Yazidi women and four Yazidi children also were rescued by U.S.-backed forces as they moved into parts of...
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UN Agency: Thousands Trapped in Yemen's Northern Flashpoint

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 15:31
 A U.N. humanitarian agency warned Tuesday that thousands of Yemeni civilians caught in fierce clashes between warring factions are trapped in an embattled northern district, an area that has become another flashpoint in the country's bitter civil war.   The number of displaced in the Kushar district in the impoverished Hajjah governorate has doubled over the past six months, with over 5,300 families fleeing from the district and its surrounding area in the past weeks,...
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Report: Iran Preparing for Role in Syria's Reconstruction

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 04:00
Iranian construction companies are to build thousands of residential units in the suburbs of Syria's capital, Damascus, an Iranian state-run news agency has reported. Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) recently quoted a business official with the country's investment association, who announced that Iran would build 200,000 residential units near Damascus. Iraj Rahbar, vice president of Iran's Mass Construction Society, said the massive housing project has come about after...
Categories: Iraq

Iran Rights Lawyer Sotoudeh Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 01:13
Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to seven years in jail for security offenses, a judge at Tehran's Revolutionary Court told semi-official ISNA news agency on Monday. The seven-year verdict could be the tip of the iceberg in a much harsher sentence that amounts to 38 years in prison, according to a Facebook post by her husband Reza Khandan. "Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to five years for colluding against the system and two years for...
Categories: Iraq

UN Says 2018 Deadliest Year Yet for Syrian Children, with 1,106 Killed

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 01:09
Last year was the deadliest yet for children in Syria, with more than 1,100 killed by fighting, the United Nations said on Monday, with the bloody conflict about to enter its ninth year. U.N. children's agency UNICEF said it had been able to verify 1,106 child deaths from the fighting in 2018 — the highest annual toll since war broke out in 2011 — but that the true figure was likely to be much higher  "Today there exists an alarming misconception that the conflict in...
Categories: Iraq

Iran's Rouhani Signs Trade Pacts in Iraq to Help Offset US Sanctions

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 00:44
Iraq and Iran signed several preliminary trade deals on Monday, Iraqi officials said, as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani began his first visit seeking to bolster Tehran's influence and expand commercial ties to help offset renewed U.S. sanctions. The deals, among them a plan to build a railway linking the neighbors, emerged soon after the start of Rouhani's visit, meant to underline that Tehran still plays a dominant role in Iraq despite U.S. efforts to isolate the Islamic...
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Houthi Rebels, Saudis Trade Blame Over Deaths of 20 Civilians in Northern Yemen

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 00:35
Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition blamed each other on Monday for the deaths of more than 20 civilians in a village in northern Yemen over the past several days. The victims include children. The Iranian-backed rebels blame Saudi-led airstrikes while Saudi television says the Houthis killed the civilians when rebel fighters tried to stop an uprising against their movement by a local tribe. Independent media have been unable to confirm the deaths. A Saudi-led coalition has...
Categories: Iraq

US Citizen Michael White Reportedly Sentenced in Iranian Court

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 00:25
A U.S. citizen held in Iran has been sentenced for an unspecified crime, Iranian news agencies reported Monday, in a case likely to worsen already terrible relations with the United States. Michael White, a 46-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, was arrested last July while visiting his Iranian girlfriend, the New York Times has reported. The arrest — the only known one of a U.S. citizen since President Donald Trump took office — was confirmed by Iran in January. On Monday, the prosecutor in...
Categories: Iraq