in Iraq


IS Fighters Expected to Evacuate Raqqa

Voice of America - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 01:25
A group of Islamic State fighters has evacuated the Syrian city of Raqqa under a withdrawal agreement with the U.S.-backed Syrian militias surrounding them. A militia spokesman said Sunday the fighters had taken civilians with them to use as human shields. Meanwhile, fighting has continued between the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and Islamic State militants. Reuters news agency quoted an SDF spokesman as saying “the operation has finished and the battle continues” against the...
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Kerry on Trump Nuclear Deal: 'Reckless Abandonment of Facts'

Voice of America - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 14:55
John Kerry, the former U.S. Secretary of State, had harsh criticism for President Donald Trump's decision not to certify that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal signed by six world powers in 2015.   Kerry said the decision is a "reckless abandonment of facts in favor of ego and ideology." Kerry, who negotiated the deal, added that Trump "weakens our hand, alienates us from our allies, empowers Iranian hardliners, makes it harder to resolve North Korea and...
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Syrian Militia: End Is Near for Islamic State in Raqqa 

Voice of America - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 12:53
Islamic State is on the verge of defeat in Syria’s Raqqa and the city may finally be cleared of the jihadists Saturday or Sunday, the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia told Reuters Saturday. The U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State said around 100 of the jihadist group’s fighters had surrendered in Raqqa in the last 24 hours and had been “removed from the city,” but it still expected difficult fighting “in the days ahead.” It did not say how the fighters had been removed or where the...
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What is Iran’s Revolutionary Guard? 

Voice of America - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 10:35
U.S. President Donald Trump directed the U.S. Treasury Department to impose additional sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as he announced a more aggressive stance toward Iran, including refusing to recertify the nuclear deal with Tehran. The White House called the Revolutionary Guard, which is separate from Iran’s regular armed forces, a “primary tool and weapon in remaking Iran into a rogue state.” But what is the Revolutionary Guard? Beginnings The Revolutionary Guard was...
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Turkish Forces Move Into Syria 

Voice of America - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 09:58
Turkey has deployed troops to Syria’s Idlib province, as part of its effort to stem fighting and end jihadist control of the region. Turkish military officials on Friday said Turkish forces are establishing observation posts in the area. The Hurriyet newspaper reports Turkey sent over 100 soldiers and 30 armored vehicles to the northwestern Syrian region. The newspaper said more troops would be deployed in the next few days. Turkey’s troops are supporting the Free Syrian Army, Syrian...
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Trump Says Iran Non-Compliant with Nuke Deal

Voice of America - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 08:43
President Donald Trump has announced that he is decertifying Iran's compliance with a multinational 2-year-old nuclear deal and slapping Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps with new counter-terrorism sanctions. VOA White House Bureau Chief Steve Herman reports, however, the president is stopping short of calling for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to be scrapped.
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All Eyes on Kirkuk as Deadline Passes for Kurds' Exit

Voice of America - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 03:56
Kurdish peshmerga fighters were refusing Saturday to obey Iraqi soldiers' order to withdraw from the oil-producing city of Kirkuk, leaving the two sides in a standoff as the deadline for leaving passed. A Kurdish security official told reporters that Iraq had told the Kurds to vacate the area after midnight Saturday, local time. But he said the peshmerga would stay put and defend their position. Reporters in the area said there had been no clashes, but fighters on both sides were...
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France's Audrey Azoulay Wins Vote to Be Next UNESCO Chief

Voice of America - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 02:47
UNESCO's executive board voted Friday to make a former French government minister the U.N. cultural agency's next chief after an unusually heated election that was overshadowed by Middle East tensions. The board's selection of Audrey Azoulay over a Qatari candidate came the day after the United States announced that it intends to pull out of UNESCO because of its alleged anti-Israel bias. The news rocked a weeklong election already marked by geopolitical resentments,...
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Civilians Continue to Flee Raqqa Ahead of Expected Final Battle Against IS

Voice of America - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 01:50
Scores of civilians fled Raqqa on Friday ahead of an anticipated final push into the city by U.S.-backed fighters aiming to retake it from Islamic State militants. Hundreds of civilians have been streaming out of Raqqa in the past few days from the remaining neighborhoods held by IS. They are taking advantage of a slowdown in the fighting by coalition troops meant to help civilians safely evacuate. Residents say local IS fighters have been surrendering in recent weeks but still hold a...
Categories: Iraq

Jitters in Kirkuk Over Iraqi Troop Movements

NY Times Iraq - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 00:46
Iraq’s prime minister says reports of Iraqi troops massing for an attack on Kurdish forces in Kirkuk were “fake news.”
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Congressional Reaction to Trump's Announcement on Iran Deal

Voice of America - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 00:43
In announcing that the United States would not certify the nuclear deal with Iran, U.S. President Donald Trump has required Congress to reconsider the agreement. The Trump administration said it will continue to live up to its commitments under the deal, but said Congress must address flaws within the agreement. If not, Trump said the United States will withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal agreed upon by Tehran, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Germany and...
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Iran Angrily Rebukes Trump's Decision to Decertify Nuclear Deal

Voice of America - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 23:56
Iran's president said Friday that the nuclear deal it signed with six world powers in 2015 could not be revoked, after U.S. President Donald Trump announced he would not certify that Iran was in compliance with it. In a nationally televised speech following Trump's remarks, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged all signatories to the agreement to honor their commitments. He called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) "an outstanding achievement" in...
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Transcript of Trump Speech on Iran Nuclear Deal

Voice of America - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 21:46
THE WHITE HOUSE   Office of the Press Secretary ________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release                            October 13, 2017     REMARKS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP ON IRAN STRATEGY   Diplomatic Reception Room       12:53 P.M....
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UN Laments Plight of Civilians Trapped by Syrian Fighting

Voice of America - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 21:39
The U.N. refugee agency said Friday that it was alarmed by the dangers facing thousands of Syrian civilians trapped by intense fighting in the city of Raqqa and neighboring areas. The battle for Raqqa is in its fifth month. The opposition Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and ground forces, had hoped for a quick victory in ousting Islamic State militants from Raqqa, their de facto capital. But the fighting remains intense, and U.N. refugee spokesman Andrej...
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US Has Ramped Up Some Sanctions, Dropped Others, Since Iran Nuclear Deal

Voice of America - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 19:12
U.S. President Donald Trump will strike a blow against the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement in defiance of international support for it on Friday, choosing not to certify that Tehran is complying with the deal in a major reversal of U.S. policy. Trump's decision to decertify the nuclear deal will not withdraw the United States from the agreement, which was negotiated by the United States and other world powers during the administration of former President Barack Obama. Under the...
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Trump Toughens Iran Strategy, Decertifies Tehran's Compliance With Accord

Voice of America - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 19:00
Saying Iran is not living up to the spirit of a two-year-old nuclear agreement it signed with Western powers, President Donald Trump Friday unveiled a tough new strategy toward Tehran, including additional sanctions aimed at blocking the regime’s path to develop nuclear weapons. “Today, I am announcing our strategy along with several major steps we are taking to confront the Iranian regime’s hostile actions and to ensure that Iran never — and I mean never — acquires a nuclear weapon,”...
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UN Condemns Anti-gay Crackdowns in Egypt, Azerbaijan, Indonesia

Voice of America - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 18:07
Azerbaijan, Egypt and Indonesia have all unjustly arrested dozens of people during anti-gay crackdowns in recent weeks, subjecting many to mistreatment in custody, the United Nations human rights office said Friday. "Arresting or detaining people based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity is by definition arbitrary and violates international law," U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a news briefing. In Azerbaijan, more than 80...
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Iraq on Edge as Kurdish, Iraqi Forces Face-off in Kirkuk

Voice of America - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 18:01
Thousands of Kurdish Peshmerga forces have deployed in Iraq's disputed oil city of Kirkuk and local residents are on edge, fearing a military advance despite Iraqi announcements that an attack is not imminent. “Some civilians are out on the streets with their guns,” said Dara Saieed, a local journalist in Kirkuk, which is currently controlled by Kurdish authorities but claimed by both Iraq's central government in Baghdad and regional Kurdish leadership based in the city of Irbil....
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Turkish Troops Move Into al-Qaida-dominated Syrian Province

Voice of America - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 15:43
Turkish armored vehicles have rolled into northwestern Syria to impose a "de-escalation zone" in a province dominated by al-Qaida-linked militants, an incursion that the Turkish leader said was meant to secure his country's border. The Turkish military said it began an operation late Thursday to set up "observation points" in Idlib, without providing further details or saying how many troops were involved. Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper said around 30 armored...
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Israel Buoyed by Trump Tack Against Iran Atom Deal But Sees Long Way to Go

Voice of America - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 15:02
Israel was upbeat about U.S. President Donald Trump's anticipated announcement on Friday of major steps against the international nuclear deal with Iran, but voiced doubt that the tougher tack by Washington could turn around Tehran. While the White House's distaste for the 2015 pact may be sweet to the ears of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his government is mindful of the limits of any unilateral U.S. action in the face of dissent from other big power...
Categories: Iraq