in Iraq

Iraq

Iraq Orders Arrest of Kurdish Independence Election Officials

Voice of America - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 20:10
An Iraqi court on Wednesday issued arrest warrants for several officials tied to the recent referendum for Kurdish independence. A spokesman for Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council said the court issued arrest warrants for the referendum commission chairman and two of his aides for "violating a valid court ruling, which considered the independence vote invalid." The supreme court ruled Sept. 25 that the referendum vote would violate Iraqi law, but organizers carried out the...
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IS Claims Suicide Bombing Targeting Damascus Police

Voice of America - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 19:24
The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for Wednesday's triple suicide bomb attack on the main police headquarters building in Damascus, Syria. At least two people were killed and several others injured. IS issued a statement via the Telegram messaging app, saying three fighters with explosive belts carried out the attack. Two of the Islamic State bombers blew themselves up in front of the building, while the third set off his explosives after being surrounded by...
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US Rules Out Negotiated IS Withdrawal from Syria's Raqqa

Voice of America - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 19:14
The U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic State group said Wednesday that it won't accept a negotiated withdrawal for hundreds of IS militants holed up in the Syrian city of Raqqa, once the extremists' de facto capital. The remarks by coalition spokesman, Col. Ryan Dillon, came as coalition allies were working out ways to safely evacuate an estimated 4,000 civilians who remain trapped in the city. The coalition has said IS militants are holding some civilians as human...
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Council of Europe Presses Italy on Libyan Migrant Returns

Voice of America - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 18:03
The Council of Europe is asking Italy to explain what its naval ships are doing off Libya's coast amid concerns that Europe-bound migrants who are sent back to Libya face "a real risk" of torture or inhuman treatment. In a Sept. 28 letter published Wednesday, the council's human rights commissioner, Nils Muiznieks, warned Interior Minister Marco Minniti that Italy again risked violating the European Convention on Human Rights. The convention prohibits exposing people to...
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Iran FM Briefs Parliament on Trump's Threat to Nuclear Deal

Voice of America - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 15:38
Iran's foreign minister on Wednesday warned of a tough response from Tehran if President Donald Trump presses ahead with his threats to scuttle the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. The state-run IRNA news agency reported that the country's top diplomat, Mohammad Javad Zarif, briefed lawmakers during a closed session of parliament on Trump's anticipated refusal to certify Iran's nuclear deal with world powers. The agency quotes Zarif as saying that if the United States acts...
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President Trump Expected to Decertify 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal

Voice of America - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 08:31
On October 12, President Donald Trump is expected to announce whether his administration still finds Iran in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. VOA’s Margaret Besheer takes a look at the deal and what could happen if the president chooses not to certify Tehran’s compliance.
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EU Aims to Reopen Embassy in Libya

Voice of America - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 04:30
The European Union is seeking to reopen its embassy in Libya pending security conditions, officials said on Tuesday, offering further political support for the Tripoli government struggling to establish control. EU leaders will announce at their summit in Brussels on Oct. 19-20 that they "encourage work underway to rapidly establish a permanent EU presence in Libya", according to their draft joint statement seen by Reuters. But the statement makes clear no such move is...
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International, Domestic Worry Over Expected US Decertification of Iran Deal

Voice of America - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 03:00
President Donald Trump is expected to announce this week that he will no longer certify Iran's compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, giving Congress 60 days to decide whether to re-impose U.S. sanctions on Tehran. "The president has reached a decision on an overall Iran strategy and wants to make sure we have a broad policy to deal with that, not just one part of it, to deal with all of the problems of Iran being a bad actor," White House Press Secretary Sarah...
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Russia Accuses US of Pretending to Fight Islamic State in Syria, Iraq

Voice of America - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 02:51
Russia accused the United States on Tuesday of pretending to fight Islamic State and of deliberately reducing its airstrikes in Iraq to allow the group's militants to stream into Syria to slow the Russian-backed advance of the Syrian army. The Pentagon strongly denied the accusations, saying that the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State posts data every day on the number and result of strikes for the public to see. In the latest sign of rising tensions between Moscow and...
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US Targets Key Hezbollah Leaders

Voice of America - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 02:35
The United States is moving to ratchet up pressure on Hezbollah, offering millions of dollars for information that leads to the arrest or capture of two of the Iranian-backed terror group's top officials. The State Department on Tuesday announced a $7 million reward for information about Talal Hamiyah, who runs Hezbollah's External Security Organization, and $5 million for information about Fu'ad Shukr, a senior operative who helped plan the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine...
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Iran Hardliners, Pragmatists Show Unity in Response to Trump

Voice of America - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 01:08
A tough line from President Donald Trump has been met by a show of unity from both sides of Iran's political divide, uniting hardliners who cast the United States as an implacable enemy with pragmatists who seek rapprochement with the West. Iran, which has kept up a steady drumbeat of angry statements for days, lashed out again Tuesday, threatening to teach the Americans "new lessons" and keep "all options on the table" if Washington blacklists its Revolutionary...
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Security Council Endorses UN Plan to Break Libya Stalemate

Voice of America - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 00:22
The U.N. Security Council endorsed a U.N. action plan Tuesday to break the political stalemate in Libya that has divided the country into competing governments with two parliaments and an array of rival militias. A presidential statement approved by all 15 members backs the proposal by new U.N. envoy, Ghassan Salame, to amend the U.N. peace agreement signed by different Libyan factions in 2015. It also welcomes Salame's objective of supporting a Libyan-led transition that will lead...
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Human Rights Honor Goes to Egyptian Banned From Travel

Voice of America - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 23:41
An Egyptian has been honored with one of the most prestigious awards granted to human rights defenders but was unable to accept the prize in person because his government has banned him from travel over his work documenting abuses. Mohamed Zaree is one of several prominent Egyptian activists and human rights workers who are banned from travel over allegations of harming national security, part of a wide-scale crackdown on dissent that has stamped out much of the country's once-vibrant...
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UN Envoy: Yemen's Warring Leaders Seek Power, Not Peace

Voice of America - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 22:53
The U.N. special envoy for Yemen accused the country's warring leaders on Tuesday of refusing to end the fighting and liberate the people "from the scourge of famine and conflict" because they stand to lose wealth and power. With the civil war entering its fourth year and heavy fighting continuing, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed warned that "the situation will continue worsening as well as the terrorist threat" if the parties don't listen to the people and display...
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Pentagon: Diplomatic Dispute Not Affecting Military Operations Out of Turkey

Voice of America - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 21:03
The Pentagon says a diplomatic dispute between Turkey and the United States has not affected military operations or personnel out of Turkey, including efforts to defeat Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. "I can confirm that these developments have not impacted our operations or personnel," Pentagon spokesman Army Colonel Robert Manning told reporters on Tuesday. “Coalition counter-IS operations out of Incirlik and other Turkish facilities are closely coordinated with and...
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Egypt Presses Fatah, Hamas for Final Reconciliation Deal

Voice of America - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 19:41
Leaders of the rival Palestinian Fatah and Hamas factions were meeting in Cairo Tuesday under the auspices of the Egyptian government amid high hopes that both sides would finally reach a reconciliation deal after a 10-year schism Top officials from the two Palestinian factions have been mulling the details of an Egyptian draft reconciliation deal, as both sides appear to be inching closer to an agreement that would bring the Hamas-run Gaza Strip back under the control of a Palestinian...
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Erdogan Defends Arrest of US Consulate Employee

Voice of America - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 17:31
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is defending the arrest of a U.S. consulate employee, accusing him of being a spy. "How did these spies infiltrate the American consulate?  If they didn't infiltrate the American consulate, who put them there?'' Erdogan said, speaking Tuesday alongside Serbia's president in Belgrade.  "No state would allow such spies that pose an internal threat.'' Last week, Turkey arrested Metin Topuz, a U.S. consulate...
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Iran Warns US Over Potential Terror Designation of Its Guards

Voice of America - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 16:48
Iran is warning the United States against designating its Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization, saying it would put the United States on the side of the Islamic State group. Government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht told reporters Tuesday the guards are “the defender of the nation” and if the United States designates the military force a terror organization “it puts itself in the camp of terrorists.” "Any country that wants to have such a position about the Guards...
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Iraq to Restore Pipeline to Turkey, Bypassing Kurdish Region

Voice of America - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 16:10
Iraq's Oil Ministry has ordered the restoration of an oil pipeline from the city of Kirkuk to Turkey that would bypass the country's northern Kurdish region in the wake of the area's pro-independence referendum. Tuesday's development is the second measure that Baghdad has taken over the past two days to isolate the Iraqi Kurdish region.   The pipeline was taken out of service after Islamic State militants swept across much of northern and western Iraq in the summer...
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As Trump Challenges Iran Nuclear Deal, Those in Tehran Worry

Voice of America - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 03:50
As U.S. President Donald Trump threatens the Iran nuclear deal, those living in Tehran feel that an accord they have yet to benefit from may already be doomed, hardening their skepticism about America. Trump is set to deliver a speech on Iran this week in which he is expected to decline to certify Iran's compliance in the landmark 2015 agreement, referring it to Congress, and perhaps targeting the country's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard with new sanctions. In the streets of...
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