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Iraq

UN Chief Supports Commission on Syria Despite Resignation

Voice of America - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 03:12
The U.N. says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres supports the work of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, expressing regret at the resignation of Carla del Ponte but stressing the need for accountability for crimes against civilians during the 6-year civil war. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters Monday that Guterres believes accountability is "critical" and the commission's work is "an important and integral part of the accountability...
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US Urges UN Force in Lebanon to Prevent Hezbollah Weapons

Voice of America - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 02:00
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley urged the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon on Monday to step up efforts to prevent the spread of illegal arms in the south, which she said "are almost entirely in the hands of Hezbollah terrorists.''   Haley made clear in a statement that the United States is seeking "significant improvements'' to the U.N. force, known as UNIFIL, when the U.N. Security Council renews a mandate that is due to expire Aug. 31.   Her statement...
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Syrian Army Steps Up Strikes on Capital's Last Rebel Enclave

Voice of America - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 22:26
The Syrian army stepped up shelling and air strikes on the last rebel-held enclaves in the Syrian capital on Monday, its heaviest bombardment in a two-month campaign, rebels and witnesses said. From the strategic Qasyoun Heights that overlooks Damascus, elite units of the army pounded Jobar district, some 2 km (1.2 miles) east of the Old City wall and Ain Terma just to the south. The army's offensive has dented a Russian-sponsored ceasefire announced two weeks ago in the Eastern...
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Israeli Court: Netanyahu Must Show Call Logs with US Backer

Voice of America - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 21:27
Israel's Supreme Court ruled Benjamin Netanyahu must reveal phone call logs with U.S. casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, and a former editor of his free newspaper in Israel, as police press ahead with investigations into corruption cases involving the prime minister. The decision Monday came after an appeal by investigative journalist Raviv Drucker of Channel 10 TV. Netanyahu backer Adelson owns the pro-government daily Israel Hayom. Police are investigating Netanyahu in two...
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Turkey Hints at Military Operation Against Syrian Kurds

Voice of America - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 21:16
Turkey is building up military forces on the Syrian border, while Turkish President Recep Erdogan steps up his rhetoric suggesting an imminent military operation into Syria. Ankara is reportedly courting Moscow for its support for a possible operation into Syria's Afrin enclave, which is now under the control of the Kurdish YPG militia. Ankara accuses the YPG, which controls large swathes of Syrian territory along its border, of being an offshoot of the PKK, which is fighting the...
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Syrian Army Increases Strikes on Capital's Last Rebel Enclave

Voice of America - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 17:16
The Syrian army intensified shelling and air strikes on the last rebel enclave in the Syrian capital on Monday, its heaviest bombardment in a two-month military campaign, rebels and witnesses said. From the strategic Qasyoun Heights that overlooks Damascus, elite units of the army struck Jobar district, some 2 km (1.2 miles) east of the Old City wall and Ain Terma just to the south. The offensive has dented a Russian-sponsored cease-fire announced two weeks ago in the Eastern Ghouta...
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Jordan King in Rare West Bank Trip Seen as Message to Israel

Voice of America - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 16:58
Jordan's king flew by helicopter to the West Bank on Monday - a rare and brief visit seen as a signal to Israel that he is closing ranks with the Palestinians on key issues, such as a contested Jerusalem shrine. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Abdullah II met for about two hours, after a red-carpet welcome for the monarch at the Palestinian government compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah. The two leaders discussed the recent showdown with Israel over the...
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Iran Ridicules US Push for Inspecting its Military Sites

Voice of America - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 15:07
Iran has mocked the U.S. push for inspections of the country's military sites, calling it a "ridiculous dream that will never come true." This comes after U.S. officials said last month that the Trump administration is pushing for inspections of suspicious Iranian military sites in a bid to test the strength of the nuclear deal that Tehran struck in 2015 with world powers.   Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bahram Ghasemi, told reporters on Monday in Tehran that...
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Ex-war Crimes Prosecutor Quits Panel Probing Syria Abuses

Voice of America - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 02:53
Former war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte says she is resigning from the U.N.'s independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, decrying Security Council inaction to hold criminals accountable in the war-battered country where "everyone is bad." In comments published Sunday by the Swiss magazine Blick, Del Ponte expressed frustration about the commission and criticized President Bashar Assad's government, the Syrian opposition and the international community...
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Despite Trump Claim, Hezbollah Operation Boosts Lebanon Role

Voice of America - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 02:23
As President Donald Trump recently stood beside the Lebanese prime minister praising his government for standing up to Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militants were busy demonstrating just how wrong he was. They were clearing the country's eastern frontier from al-Qaida fighters in a sweeping offensive and negotiating a complex prisoner deal with the group. Far from being an ally in the fight against Hezbollah, the Lebanese government headed by Saad Hariri is based on a partnership...
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Joining Some Arab States, Israel Says it Plans to Ban Al-Jazeera TV

Voice of America - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 22:39
Israel said Sunday it plans to ban Qatar's flagship Al-Jazeera network from operating in the country over allegations it incites violence, joining Arab nations that have shut down the broadcaster amid a separate political dispute. The news organization, in turn, said it will take legal action. Communications Minister Ayoob Kara said he plans to revoke the press credentials of Al-Jazeera journalists, effectively preventing them from working in Israel. Kara said he has asked cable...
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Israel Plans to Close Local Al Jazeera Offices

Voice of America - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 18:13
Israel plans to ban the Al Jazeera news network from the Jewish state, the communications ministry said Sunday. Communications minister Ayoub Kara said that he wants to revoke press credentials from Al Jazeera reporters, which would prevent them from working in the country. Kara made the announcement at a news conference Sunday, which Al Jazeera reporters were barred from attending, the news network reported. Al Jazeera also said that Kara had moved to shut down both English and...
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Syrian Forces Make Gains in Energy-Rich Homs Province

Voice of America - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 17:39
Pro-government forces captured the Islamic State group's last stronghold in the energy-rich Homs province in central Syria on Sunday, paving the way to advance on the besieged eastern city of Deir el-Zour, state media and a war monitoring group reported. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said 30 IS militants were killed in the last 24 hours of battle for the town of al-Sukhna, in Homs, before it was captured Saturday by pro-government forces. It...
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UN Condemns Brutality of Yemen Conflict after Airstrikes on Civilians

Voice of America - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 15:27
A top United Nations official in Yemen said reported airstrikes in which at least 12 civilians were killed, including children, were an example of the "disregard" for civilians' safety shown by all the combatants in Yemen's civil war. The civilians were killed and 10 others wounded in Sa'ada province after attacks on a house and a private vehicle, the U.N's Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Jamie McGoldrick said, citing reports from fellow aid groups. Reuters...
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Turkish Police Say Working with Australia on Foiled Etihad Bomb Plan

Voice of America - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 15:23
Turkish police said they were working with Australian authorities to investigate a foiled plot to bomb an Etihad Airways flight using explosives which Canberra said were flown in from Turkey. In a statement issued late on Saturday police said they had contacted Australian authorities as soon as they received news of the foiled plot. The two sides have "started working to clarify unclear and unconfirmed matters regarding the possibility that explosive substances were sent from...
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Netanyahu Aide Says Israeli Leader Calm in Face of Charges

Voice of America - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 14:56
A close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is relaxed and confident amid reports of the slew of corruptions charges against him. Sports and Culture Minister Miri Regev says Sunday she has full confidence in the prime minister and denounced what she called a media campaign to topple him.   Netanyahu himself did not address the latest developments at his weekly Cabinet meeting.   Israeli police recently announced that they suspect Netanyahu of being involved in...
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Second Tower in Dubai Marina Hit by Fire

Voice of America - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 12:10
A fire broke out Sunday at another high-rise tower in the Dubai Marina, just days after a blaze struck one of the world’s tallest residential towers in the same neighborhood.   Authorities quickly extinguished Sunday’s fire at the Tiger Tower and said it injured no one. But the blaze rattled nerves after Friday’s inferno at the Torch Tower, which is only a block away from the site of Sunday’s fire.    The fire began on clothes left on a balcony on the tower’s 53rd floor,...
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Syrian Army Takes Last IS-held Town in Homs Province, Monitor Says

Voice of America - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 01:22
Syrian government and allied forces have taken the last major town in Homs province from Islamic State, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday, as the army advances toward militant strongholds in the east of the country. The town of al-Sukhna lies 50 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of the ancient city of Palmyra, which government forces captured in March. Al-Sukhna is also 50 kilometers from the administrative frontier of Deir ez-Zor province, which is almost entirely...
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Rouhani Sworn in for 2nd Term Amid Heightened Tensions With US

Voice of America - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 16:56
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was sworn in for his second term Saturday after easily winning the presidential election in May. Rouhani, who is seen by some as a moderate leader, led Iran from relative global isolation when he signed a nuclear deal in 2015 with several world powers in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against the country. Earlier this week, though, the United States confirmed new sanctions against Iran, leading the country to accuse the U.S. of violating the...
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Lebanese Source: No Coordination Between Lebanon, Syrian Armies Against IS

Voice of America - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 15:31
The Lebanese army will not coordinate with the Syrian army to fight against Islamic State in the Lebanese-Syrian border zone, a military source told Reuters on Saturday, rejecting a local media report of direct military cooperation between the two. The source said the Lebanese army had the military capability to confront and defeat the group without any regional or international support. The presence of Islamic State and Nusra Front militants in pockets on Lebanon's border is the...
Categories: Iraq