in Iraq


First Iranian-American Woman to Win Oscar Turns to Iran-Themed Films

Voice of America - Wed, 02/27/2019 - 06:00
The first Iranian-American woman to win an Oscar, Rayka Zehtabchi, says she wants to build on Sunday’s triumph of her documentary about menstruation by producing several films with Iran-related themes. “I’m very interested in telling Iranian stories as well as women’s stories,” the 25-year-old Los Angeles-based filmmaker told VOA Persian in a Skype interview on Monday. “I was raised in Southern California pretty much my whole life, but the older I get, the more I feel like I connect with...
Categories: Iraq

Syrian Kurds Seek Other Means of Trying IS Militants

Voice of America - Wed, 02/27/2019 - 05:30
In an effort to reduce the burden of Islamic State foreign fighters, U.S.-backed Syrian forces have recently handed over more than 300 IS militants, who have been captured in Syria, to the Iraqi government, which will reportedly try them for their actions against Iraqi civilians and security forces.  Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) officials have indicated that the move has been made to seek legal avenues outside Syria to try the militants for the crimes they have committed, since the...
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Iraq PM Says Country Could Take Non-Iraqi IS Detainees From Syria

Voice of America - Wed, 02/27/2019 - 03:56
Iraq could help transfer non-Iraqi Islamic State detainees held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Tuesday. Iraq will either help repatriate those citizens to their home countries, or prosecute on its own those suspected of having committed crimes, he said at his weekly news conference. "Some countries could ask Iraq to help to transfer some of her Daesh citizens to the other country, like France for example," Abdul Mahdi...
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8 Facts: Yemenis 'Dying Every Day' as UN Makes Record Appeal

Voice of America - Tue, 02/26/2019 - 23:26
Donor pledges of $2.6 billion for Yemen fell "a long way" short of $4.2 billion requested by the United Nations on Tuesday for the world's worst humanitarian crisis, aid agencies said. Aid agencies, including Save the Children and Oxfam, called for a ceasefire to help them reach more people in need in Yemen, where a proxy-war between Saudi Arabia and Iran has displaced millions and pushed them to the verge of starvation. "Yemeni people ... are dying every single day...
Categories: Iraq

Iran's Rouhani Stands by Moderate Ally Zarif After Surprise Resignation

Voice of America - Tue, 02/26/2019 - 23:25
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani held back from accepting the resignation of his foreign minister on Tuesday, standing by a moderate ally long targeted by hardliners in internal factional struggles over a 2015 nuclear deal with the West. The minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif - a U.S.-educated veteran diplomat who helped craft the pact that curbed Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief - gave no reason for his decision to quit when he announced it on Instagram on Monday. But...
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Task Force: US Efforts to Battle Extremism 'Unsustainable'

Voice of America - Tue, 02/26/2019 - 22:04
The United States will need to significantly change its approach to fighting terrorists and extremist groups or face the prospect of more never-ending wars in the Middle East, Africa and beyond, according to a new report that is already resonating with key lawmakers. The blunt assessment, issued by the bipartisan Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States in a report released Wednesday, is the result of a comprehensive look at U.S. military campaigns against terror groups such as Islamic...
Categories: Iraq

Thousands Evacuate Last Islamic State Hold-Out in Syria

Voice of America - Tue, 02/26/2019 - 20:02
The United Nations says in the last three days some 9,000 people have evacuated the final piece of land still held by the Islamic State terror group in Syria. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Syria (OCHA Syria) said of those fleeing the Syrian village of Baghuz, 99 percent are women and children, and 6,000 civilians have been brought to the nearby al-Hol camp for displaced persons in northeastern Syria. Just last week, U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic...
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China, Saudi Arabia Try to Walk Together Amid Hurdles

Voice of America - Thu, 02/21/2019 - 16:06
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Beijing on Thursday for a two-day visit to boost the country’s international image sullied by the recent killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and to enhance economic ties. But the path to better ties between Saudi Arabia and China is riddled with political hurdles. China has spent the last few days assuring Iran, Saudi Arabia’s political rival, that the Crown Prince’s visit would not affect its approach to the Middle East....
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Angry Basra Youth Find Outlet in Iraqi Rapper’s Music

Voice of America - Thu, 02/21/2019 - 10:22
A youth-led protest movement in the southern Iraqi port city of Basra, which saw riots last summer over failing services and soaring unemployment, has found an artistic outlet in the words and beats of homegrown rapper Ahmed Chayeb.  The 22-year-old rapper, also known as Mr. Guti, says his generation is fed up with the false piety of politicians and religious authorities who preach about faith and duty but have let Basra fall apart.  “We need to be critical of everything...
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France Discussing With Iran Fate of Citizen Arrested in October 

Voice of America - Thu, 02/21/2019 - 04:55
France is in touch with Iran to improve the conditions of a French woman who was arrested in October on the Gulf island of Kish for allegedly signing an illegal mining contract, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Wednesday. Nelly Erin-Cambervelle, a 59-year-old businesswoman from Martinique, had been on the island as part of her import-export business and her arrest until now had not been made public. "She went to Kish island, not far from Dubai, which is considered to be...
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Trump Administration Says US-Born Jihadist Can't Return

Voice of America - Thu, 02/21/2019 - 03:00
The United States said Wednesday that it would refuse to take back a U.S.-born Islamic State propagandist who wants to return from Syria, arguing that she is no longer a citizen.    The Trump administration's refusal to admit Hoda Muthana, 24, could set precedent and face legal challenges, because it is generally extremely difficult to lose US citizenship.    "Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States,"...
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US Sanctions Indian National, Declaring Him a Drug Trafficker 

Voice of America - Thu, 02/21/2019 - 01:10
The Trump administration on Wednesday imposed sanctions on Indian national Jasmeet Hakimzada, declaring him a major foreign drug trafficker.  Six other people and entities were also sanctioned, including Hakimzada's parents, who allegedly help him run his operation. "Jasmeet Hakimzada's global drug trafficking and money laundering network has been involved in smuggling heroin and synthetic opioids around the world," a senior Treasury...
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Morocco: Arab Spring Anniversary Brings Reflection, Beatings

Voice of America - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 23:42
Moroccan police fired water cannons at protesting teachers who were marching toward a royal palace and beat people with truncheons amid demonstrations around the capital Wednesday. Several demonstrations were held Wednesday, marking exactly eight years after the birth of a Moroccan Arab Spring protest movement that awakened a spirit of activism in this North African kingdom. Participants in the movement recalled to The Associated Press how it changed them, even as Wednesday's...
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Netanyahu Strikes Election Deal With Far-Right Parties

Voice of America - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 22:31
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday reached a preliminary election deal with two fringe religious-nationalist parties in a bid to unify his hardline bloc ahead of April elections. Netanyahu's Likud party announced it would reserve the 28th spot on its parliamentary list for the Jewish Home party and grant it two Cabinet ministries in a future government if it merges with the Jewish Power party. Jewish Power is comprised of hardline religious nationalists who have...
Categories: Iraq

More Civilians Escape Baghuz, but 'Most Hardened' IS Fighters Remain

Voice of America - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 21:04
U.S.-backed Syrian forces have transferred a group of Islamic State fighters to authorities in Iraq as they await the start of an operation to clear the last area in Syria still under the militant group’s control. An Iraqi security official told the Associated Press on Thursday the transfer involved more than 150 Iraqi members of Islamic State, while Reuters quoted a local Iraqi mayor saying 10 trucks carried Iraqi and foreign fighters into Iraq. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic...
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Israeli Official: Netanyahu-Putin Meeting in Moscow Delayed

Voice of America - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 17:47
An Israeli government official says a planned meeting in Moscow between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin has been postponed. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity Wednesday because of the sensitivity of the matter, says the meeting was delayed in mutual agreement. The two will have a telephone call Thursday and schedule a new meeting soon. Netanyahu and Putin have been recently holding regular consultations to coordinate operations in...
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Saudi Arabia to Cooperate with India on Terrorism

Voice of America - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 17:20
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in New Delhi that terrorism is a common concern and his country would cooperate with India in combating terrorism and extremism.   On a visit to New Delhi, Prince Salman said Wednesday that there were potential opportunities for investment of $ 100 billion in India.   His trip to New Delhi has coincided with spiraling tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of a terror attack that killed 40 paramilitaries in Indian...
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Egypt Executes 9 Over 2015 Killing of Top Prosecutor

Voice of America - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 16:57
Egypt on Wednesday executed nine suspected Muslim Brotherhood members convicted of involvement in the 2015 assassination of the country’s top prosecutor, security officials said. The nine were found guilty of taking part in the bombing that killed Hisham Barakat, the first assassination of a senior official in Egypt in a quarter century. Barakat was also the most senior official killed since the military overthrew an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013. The officials, who...
Categories: Iraq

Trucks Carry Civilians From Last Islamic State Enclave in Syria

Voice of America - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 15:37
A convoy of trucks Wednesday carried civilians away from the last area of Syria still under the control of Islamic State militants. The group of at least eight trucks carried people from the town of Baghouz, continuing an evacuation of civilians that has taken place in recent weeks as a U.S.-backed militia closed in. It is not clear exactly how many people were able to leave Wednesday, or how many civilians remain in Baghouz. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have given...
Categories: Iraq

US-Backed Forces Warn Last Islamic State Fighters in Syria to Give Up or Die

Voice of America - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 10:22
A U.S.-backed militia in Syria is warning the last remaining Islamic State fighters there to surrender or die. Dozens of trucks appeared on the outskirts of the village of Baghouz on Tuesday to evacuate any Islamic State fighters who decide to give up, along with their families. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said they will attack after evacuating civilians. But U.N. human rights officials said they are concerned about the estimated 200 families holed up in Baghouz. They...
Categories: Iraq