in Iraq

Iraq

Turkey’s Love Affair with Saudi Arabia On the Rocks

Voice of America - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 19:43
A deal signed by Turkish and Iranian ministers Sunday to enhance efforts to break Saudi Arabian trade sanctions against Qatar, is only the latest move by Ankara against Riyadh. The two once close allies are increasingly finding themselves on opposing sides in the region. “There is this fear [by Turkey] an axis is developing between Saudi Arabia, [the United States], and Israel in the region definitely,” said Haldun Solmazturk, head of 21st Century Turkey Institute, an Ankara based...
Categories: Iraq

Iran Provides Refuge to Families of Shi'ite Afghan Fighters Killed in Syria

Voice of America - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 18:54
Tears streamed down her cheeks as she held up the pictures of her two grandsons. Both of them, Sayed Mujtaba and Sayed Ismail, were in the Afghan army a couple of years ago. When the Islamic State started gaining ground in Syria, Iran used its religious influence with Shi’ites in neighboring countries, like Afghanistan, to get volunteer fighters. Mujtaba and Ismail were two of the many who answered the call. Then last year, Qamar Bibi received news that they had died fighting. One of...
Categories: Iraq

Iran Provides Refuge to Families of Shi'ite Afghan Fighters Killed in Syria

Voice of America - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 17:55
When the Islamic State gained ground in Syria, Iran used its religious influence with Shiites in neighboring countries, like Afghanistan, to get volunteer fighters. Now that the war in Syria seems to be winding down, and tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia are heating up, Afghan officials wonder if their country could become a victim of a proxy war between the regional rivals. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Categories: Iraq

With Iraqi-Kurdish Talks Stalled, Phone Diplomacy Averts New Clashes

NY Times Iraq - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 17:20
Informal talks continue amid public acrimony, but the precise roles of some of the participants are elusive. So is a breakthrough.
Categories: Iraq

Egypt President Gives Forces 3 Months to Calm Restive Sinai

Voice of America - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 16:51
Just days after the worst terrorist attack in Egypt's modern history, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Wednesday gave his security forces a three-month deadline to restore "security and stability" in the troubled northern Sinai, the epicenter of an increasingly brutal militant insurgency. In a televised ceremony marking the birthday of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, el-Sissi authorized his new chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Farid Hegazy, to use "all brute...
Categories: Iraq

Egyptian Diva, Golden Epoch Actress, Singer Shadia, Dies at 86

Voice of America - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 16:17
Shadia, an Egyptian actress and singer who captivated millions for decades, has died. She was 86. Born Fatimah Shaker but known throughout her career by her single stage name, Shadia suffered a stroke this month and later went into a coma. She died late on Tuesday. Shadia has more than a 100 films to her name and hundreds of singles in a career that stretches back to the late 1940s. Her film roles ranged from those depicting country girls, career women, to comical portrayals of...
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Syrian Government to Join Geneva Peace Talks

Voice of America - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 09:18
Syrian government negotiators have arrived in Geneva to join United Nations-led peace talks aimed at ending nearly seven years of fighting. The talks began Tuesday with U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura meeting with the opposition delegation. He said afterward the two sides would have a chance for direct negotiations in Geneva. "We are going to offer it. We will see if this takes place. But we will be offering that," he said. Syria's state-run SANA news agency said the...
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Official: Senior Saudi Prince Freed in $1B Settlement Agreement

Voice of America - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 06:15
Senior Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, once seen as a leading contender to the throne, was freed after reaching an "acceptable settlement agreement" with authorities paying more than $1 billion, a Saudi official said on Wednesday. Miteb, 65, son of the late King Abdullah and former head of the elite National Guard, was among dozens of royal family members, ministers and senior officials who were rounded up in a graft inquiry partly aimed at strengthening the power of Crown...
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Libyan Convicted of Terrorism, Acquitted of Murder in Benghazi Attack

Voice of America - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 02:45
A federal jury in Washington on Tuesday convicted a Libyan man of terrorism in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, but acquitted him of the most serious charge, murder. The 2012 attack killed four people, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. U.S. commandos captured Ahmed Abu Khattala in 2014 and brought him to the United States for interrogation and trial. His attorneys argued the evidence against him was shaky. They also said questioning him about the...
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Pence: Trump 'Actively Considering' Relocating US Embassy to Jerusalem

Voice of America - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 01:55
U.S. President Donald Trump is “actively considering” ways to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday. Pence’s comments were received with great enthusiasm at an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the United Nations vote that led to the creation of the State of Israel. As a presidential candidate, Trump had repeatedly promised to move the embassy, a decision that would be welcomed by Israel but fiercely opposed by the...
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France Calls for Sanctions Against Human Traffickers in Libya

Voice of America - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 22:45
The plight of migrants in Libya was the focal point of a U.N. Security Council meeting Tuesday after CNN aired shocking footage of African migrants apparently being sold as slaves in that country. The envoys called for the prosecution and the possible imposition of sanctions on human traffickers and their networks. The footage that aired last week, in which young men from Niger and other sub-Saharan countries were shown being auctioned off as farm workers for about $400, sparked...
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Turkish Iranian Gold Trader Pleads Guilty in Sanctions-busting Scheme

Voice of America - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 19:53
Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian businessman charged with helping Iran circumvent U.S. sanctions, has pleaded guilty, according to U.S. prosecutors, agreeing to provide testimony that could potentially implicate senior Turkish officials in the sanctions-busting scheme and further inflame U.S.-Turkish relations. Zarrab's agreement to cooperate, reached on Oct. 26 but announced by federal prosecutors in New York on Tuesday, raised questions over whether the 33-year-old gold trader of...
Categories: Iraq

Egyptian Journalist Wins Nelson Mandela Innovation Award

Voice of America - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 18:37
An Egyptian rights campaigner has won the Nelson Mandela award for individual activism for 2017, a South African organization announced on Monday. Khaled el-Balshy, a former board member of Egypt’s Journalists’ Union, will receive the Individual Activist award of the Nelson Mandela - Graca Machel Innovation Awards on Dec. 7 in Fiji’s capital Suva, the Johannesburg-based organization, Civicus, said in a posting on its website. El-Balshy, it said, has sought every available platform to...
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Prison-themed Restaurant in Egypt Draws in Curious Diners

Voice of America - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 18:14
A prison-themed restaurant in Egypt? It might seem distasteful in a country where thousands of people, mostly Islamists but also secular pro-democracy activists, are languishing in jail on what right groups say are trumped-up charges. Yet, the restaurant in the coastal city of Mansoura called “Food Crime” is doing good business because of its novelty, according to patrons. Props like handcuffs, inmate number plaques, a prisoners’ cage and even an electric chair are served up as welcome...
Categories: Iraq

UN Envoy: 'Moment of Truth' for Syria as Peace Talks Set to Resume

Voice of America - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 10:45
U.N. envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said despite some concerns about recent violence, he believes "a moment of truth has arrived" as he prepared to launch a new round of peace talks aimed at ending nearly seven years of fighting. The U.N.-led talks in Geneva are due to begin Tuesday, the eighth round since 2012.  Many of the prior attempts quickly fell apart amid major disagreements between the Syrian government and rebel delegations, including about whether President...
Categories: Iraq

Syria, Russia Step Up Airstrikes Ahead of Renewed Peace Talks in Geneva

Voice of America - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 09:43
Talks between the Syrian government and opposition forces aimed at bringing an end to the six-year war resume Tuesday in Geneva. Nearly half a million people have been killed since the President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on an uprising during the 2011 Arab Spring. Several regional and global powers have intervened in the conflict – and it is they who will likely drive the terms of any peace deal. Despite the talks, bombs continue to fall.  The Syrian Observatory for Human...
Categories: Iraq

Syria, Russia Step Up Airstrikes Ahead of Renewed Peace Talks in Geneva

Voice of America - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 08:57
Talks between the Syrian government and opposition forces aimed at bringing an end to the six-year war resume Tuesday in Geneva. Nearly half a million people have been killed since the President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on an uprising during the 2011 Arab Spring. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, several regional and global powers have intervened in the conflict – and it is they who will likely drive the terms of any peace deal.
Categories: Iraq

Libyans Take to the Trenches for Paintball

Voice of America - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 08:57
There’s a new sporting arena in Libya’s coastal city of Misrata. It’s full of trenches and hiding spots so armed competitors have places to duck for cover when the shooting begins. Arash Arabasadi reports.
Categories: Iraq

US Arming of Syrian Militias to Wind Down After Defeat of IS

Voice of America - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 08:56
The White House said Monday that with the defeat of Islamic State the United States is winding down its military support for the local groups fighting the militants. The news of the policy change first came last week from Turkey, which has long complained of the US support for Kurdish YPG militia that Ankara considers a terrorist organization. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Categories: Iraq

Migrating Birds Winter in Israel as Climate Change Makes Desert Too Dangerous

Voice of America - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 05:50
Climate change is turning Israel into a permanent wintering ground for some of the 500 million migrating birds that used to stop over briefly before flying on to the warm plains of Africa, Israeli experts say. The birds now prefer to stay longer in cooler areas rather than cross into Africa, where encroaching deserts and frequent droughts have made food more scarce. “In the last few decades Israel has become more than just a short stopover because many more birds and a greater number...
Categories: Iraq