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Iraq

Time Is Netanyahu's Ally in Weathering Israel Legal Storm

Voice of America - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 02:52
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described the din of criminal investigations around him as "background noise" and dismissed speculation he will be forced to resign by saying simply on Facebook: "Won't happen." He might just be right. At the moment time appears to be on Netanyahu's side and - unlike his predecessor Ehud Olmert, who quit and later went to jail for corruption - he leads a relatively stable coalition government and presides over a...
Categories: Iraq

Netanyahu Accuses Israeli Left, Media of Trying to Oust Him

Voice of America - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 01:37
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused his leftist opponents and the country's media on Wednesday of trying to oust his government by pressuring investigators to indict him "at any cost." Netanyahu, 67, has been questioned under caution by police in two cases. "Case 1000" deals with gifts given to him and his family by businessmen, while a second, "Case 2000," is related to conversations he held with an Israeli publisher. Police have also...
Categories: Iraq

Jordan Issues New Work Permits to Syrian Refugees

Voice of America - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 00:01
- Jordan on Wednesday became the first Arab country to issue Syrian refugees with a new type of work permit that opens up the growing construction sector, the U.N. labor agency said. The International Labor Organization said work permits for refugees used to be tied to specific employers, who applied on behalf of workers to fill specific positions. Now, refugees can apply themselves, then take available roles in the industry. "The construction sector has a significant number of...
Categories: Iraq

Iranian President Names Three Women to Government Posts After Criticism

Voice of America - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 23:28
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani appointed two women vice presidents on Wednesday, but made no changes to an all-male list of cabinet ministers criticized by reformists for its lack of female representation. Massoumeh Ebtekar, head of the Department of Environment in Rouhani's first term, was appointed vice president for women and family affairs while Laya Joneidi was named vice president for legal affairs. Another woman, Shahindokht Molaverdi, was made the president's assistant...
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Up to 50 Migrants 'Deliberately Drowned' Off Yemen, UN Says

Voice of America - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 23:17
Up to 50 migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia were "deliberately drowned" when a smuggler forced them into the sea off Yemen's coast, the U.N. migration agency said Wednesday, calling the drownings "shocking and inhumane." International Organization for Migration staffers found the shallow graves of 29 of the migrants on a beach in Shabwa during a routine patrol, the agency's statement said. The dead were buried by those who survived. At least 22 migrants...
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Qatar Waives Visas for 80 Nationalities Amid Gulf Boycott

Voice of America - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 22:14
Qatar announced on Wednesday a program to allow visa-free entry for citizens of 80 countries to encourage air transport and tourism amid a two-month boycott imposed on the Gulf state by its neighbors. Nationals from dozens of countries in Europe and elsewhere including India, Lebanon, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States will now receive tourist visas on arrival to the gas-rich country which hosts the soccer World Cup in 2022. "The visa exemption scheme will make Qatar...
Categories: Iraq

Islamic State Still a Threat as Mosul Residents Return to City in Ruins

Voice of America - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 21:42
Abu Ghazi stood smoking a cigarette outside what used to be his home in Mosul's Old City, where only the sound of the footsteps of a few soldiers on patrol and twisted pieces of metal and fabric flapping in the wind disturb the eerie silence. "They should just bulldoze the whole thing and start over," he said, gazing at the rows of collapsed buildings with their contents strewn across the upturned streets. "There's no saving it now, not like this." Hundreds...
Categories: Iraq

Hundreds Rally in Support of Israel's Netanyahu

Voice of America - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 20:20
Israel's ruling Likud Party kicked off a rally on Wednesday in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in what it hopes will be a show of force by the beleaguered Israeli leader as he battles a slew of corruption allegations.   Likud leaders were putting heavy pressure on party activists to attend the rally on Wednesday evening in Tel Aviv. Hundreds of supporters packed a Tel Aviv convention center ahead of Netanyahu's expected speech. Some supporters held signs and...
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As Caliphate Crumbles, Islamic State Turns to Old-Fashioned Crime

Voice of America - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 16:00
There’s an increasing convergence between criminal and jihadist milieus in European countries — notably France and the Low Countries, generally Belgium and the Netherlands. Radicalization experts say they expect the crime-terror nexus to grow as Islamic State tries to find new sources of revenue to replace those it is losing as its caliphate shrinks, and to mount attacks in Europe to demonstrate its continued relevance. The presence of former convicts and criminals inside terrorist groups...
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Syrian Man Charged in Germany With War Crimes, IS Membership

Voice of America - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 15:18
German prosecutors say they've arrested a 29-year-old Syrian man on allegations he committed war crimes as a member of the Islamic State group in his home country.   The federal prosecutor's office said Wednesday that Fares A. B., whose last name wasn't released in line with privacy laws, is also accused of membership in a terrorist organization.   Prosecutors allege that he joined the Nusra Front extremist organization in 2013, and then moved to IS in...
Categories: Iraq

Syrian Man Charged in Germany With War Crimes, IS Membership

Voice of America - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 15:09
German prosecutors say they've arrested a 29-year-old Syrian man on allegations he committed war crimes as a member of the Islamic State group in his home country.   The federal prosecutor's office said Wednesday that Fares A. B., whose last name wasn't released in line with privacy laws, is also accused of membership in a terrorist organization.   Prosecutors allege that he joined the Nusra Front extremist organization in 2013, and then moved to IS in...
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Q&A: Why Some Countries Are Trying to Muzzle Al-Jazeera

Voice of America - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 23:46
The Al-Jazeera global news network has once again become the subject of the news. The Israeli government called this week for the Qatar-based network's Jerusalem bureau to be closed, its journalists' press credentials revoked and its transmission blocked. The move follows a decision by Saudi Arabia and Jordan to shutter the network's local offices. Its websites and channels were also blocked in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Egypt has banned Al-Jazeera...
Categories: Iraq

Protection Concerns High in Aftermath of Mosul Battle

Voice of America - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 23:00
A senior U.N. official said Monday that civilians in Mosul, Iraq, remained at risk of revenge attacks from Islamic State militants. Lise Grande, deputy special representative of the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq, said that while the fighting in the former IS stronghold was over, the humanitarian crisis was not. The problems resulting from the nine-month fight in Mosul — the single largest urban battle since World War II — are enormous and difficult to handle, she said. Grande said...
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Lebanon's Army Prepares to Clear Border Area of IS Militants

Voice of America - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 22:56
Lebanon's U.S.-backed military is gearing up for a long-awaited assault to dislodge hundreds of Islamic State militants from a remote corner near Syrian border, seeking to end a years-long threat posed to neighboring towns and villages by the extremists. The campaign will involve cooperation with the militant group Hezbollah and the Syrian army on the other side of the border — although Lebanese authorities insist they are not coordinating with Syrian President Bashar Assad's...
Categories: Iraq

US Military: Iranian Drone Comes Within 30 Meters of US Fighter Jet

Voice of America - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 22:25
An Iranian drone came within 30 meters of a U.S. Navy fighter jet that was waiting to land on the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz as it traveled in the central Persian Gulf, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Central Command said Tuesday. U.S. military statements said an F/A-18E Super Hornet jet was in a holding pattern above the USS Nimitz when a QOM-1 Iranian drone “executed unsafe and unprofessional altitude changes” nearby.   “The F/A-18E maneuvered to avoid collision with the QOM-1...
Categories: Iraq

Iraq, Saudi Arabia Reopen Land Border and Prepare to Resume Air Links

Voice of America - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 21:00
Saudi Arabia and Iraq say they are in the process of improving relations after the first busloads of Iraqi pilgrims entered the Saudi kingdom through a border crossing at Arar, which had been closed for 27 years. The nations also say that they are resuming air transportation, but have not set a date for the first flights. Saudi and Iraqi officials embraced each other to celebrate the reopening of their Arar border crossing. A convoy of tour buses carrying more than 1,000 Iraqi pilgrims...
Categories: Iraq

Iran President's Cabinet Cuts Guard From Defense Ministry

Voice of America - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 17:47
After decisively winning re-election almost three months ago, Iran's president on Tuesday proposed a new Cabinet for his second term that cuts out the hard-line Revolutionary Guard from controlling the Defense Ministry for the first time in nearly 25 years. However, Hassan Rouhani's Cabinet for now also fails to include women and his pick for the Justice Ministry is on a European Union sanctions list over human rights abuse allegations. The Cabinet selection shows Rouhani, a...
Categories: Iraq

UN Braces for New Evacuations From IS-held Parts of Iraq

Voice of America - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 16:41
The U.N.'s humanitarian aid coordinator for Iraq says aid providers are bracing for the possible evacuation of hundreds of thousands of civilians as Iraqi forces prepare for the “imminent” start of three operations against Islamic State holdouts.   Lise Grande says teams are moving to areas near the expected operations in Tal Afar near Mosul; Hawija in Kirkuk province to the southeast and the western Anbar province.   She says they were briefed in recent days about military...
Categories: Iraq

Report: Turkey Begins Building Border Wall With Iran

Voice of America - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 16:07
A Turkish media report says Turkey has begun construction of a wall along the country's frontier with Iran, mimicking the Turkish barrier along the Syrian border.   The private Dogan news agency said the governor of Agri province, Suleyman Elban, inspected the construction of the security wall on Tuesday. The Turkish authorities are constructing the 2-meter wide, 3-meter high barrier with portable blocks, the report said.   Turkey is building the wall along parts of the...
Categories: Iraq

Iraqis with Deportation Orders Win Their Day in Court

Voice of America - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 09:52
A judge in Detroit has halted the deportation of 1,400 Iraqis nationwide until their cases can be reviewed. Most of these Iraqi nationals were convicted of non-violent crimes, making them subject to deportation. But as VOA's Sama Dizayee reports, they face persecution if they are sent back.
Categories: Iraq