in Iraq


Israeli President Shocked Over German Skullcap Warning

Voice of America - Sun, 05/26/2019 - 14:40
IIsraeli President Reuven Rivlin says he is shocked Germany has told Jews it could be dangerous in some parts of the country to wear religious skullcaps in public. "Fears about the security of German Jews are a capitulation to anti-Semitism and an admittance that again, Jews are not safe on German soil," Rivlin tweeted Sunday. He added that the welfare, rights and religious freedom of every member of the German Jewish community is the responsibility of the German government...
Categories: Iraq

Israelis Protest Move to Grant Netanyahu Immunity

Voice of America - Sun, 05/26/2019 - 03:13
Thousands of Israelis protested Saturday against legislative steps that could grant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immunity from prosecution and limit the power of the country's Supreme Court.  The demonstration in Tel Aviv was attended by nearly all opposition parties, a rare show of unity for Israel's splintered political system. Police did not say how many people attended. A Reuters photographer estimated about 20,000 were present,...
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Sources: Turkey Arms Syrian Rebels Facing Russian-Backed Assault

Voice of America - Sun, 05/26/2019 - 01:59
Turkey has equipped an array of mainstream Syrian rebels it backs with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them try to repel a major Russian-backed assault, senior opposition officials and rebel sources said  Saturday.  Russia is backing the Syrian army's large aerial and ground assault as it seeks to gain control of the last big stretch of rebel-held territory in the northwest of the country.  Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched the...
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Iraq Offers to Mediate Crisis Between Iran, US

Voice of America - Sat, 05/25/2019 - 19:23
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told journalists during a 48-hour visit to Baghdad that Iran would "respond to "aggressive actions by the U.S., both economic and military," but that it continues to "adhere to the 2015 nuclear accord."  Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Alhakim insisted Baghdad "opposes U.S. sanctions against Tehran," but would be ready to serve as an intermediary. The 48-hour visit to Baghdad by Zarif follows recent...
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Trump Sends More Troops to the Middle East to Deter Iran

Voice of America - Sat, 05/25/2019 - 19:20
U.S. President Donald Trump is sending 1500 troops to the Middle East to deter potential Iranian threats. Earlier this week, Trump administration officials told lawmakers that the U.S. is not seeking to provoke Tehran. Many are concerned that the mixed messages coming out of the administration may increase the risk of conflict and lessen the chance of persuading Iran to halt its nuclear weapons program. White House correspondent Patsy Widakuswara has this report.
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UN Condemns Rampant Abuse in Syria's Daraa Governorate

Voice of America - Sat, 05/25/2019 - 15:57
The U.N. human rights office condemns rampant human rights violations in Daraa Governorate in southwest Syria by both government and so-called non-state actors. The agency accuses both parties of flaunting the reconciliation agreement implemented 10 months ago. The reconciliation agreement between the Syrian Government and armed rebel groups was supposed to bring peace to Syria’s Daraa Governorate, which is located near the Jordanian border. Following the agreement last July, most people...
Categories: Iraq

Women Run Grave Risks Fighting for Change in Egypt, Sudan, Algeria

Voice of America - Sat, 05/25/2019 - 10:00
From Egypt to Sudan to Algeria, women have become more active in participating in demonstrations demanding lasting change in their societies. But their vocal activism in these Islamic societies has been viewed by some as an unwelcome threat, leading security forces to react harshly — often sexually assaulting women as a tactic of control. VOA’s Salem Solomon reports on the dangers for women involved when protesters call for change.
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IS Threatens 'Hot Summer' by Scorching Iraq, Syria Farmlands  

Voice of America - Sat, 05/25/2019 - 04:17
The Islamic State in its al-Naba newspaper claimed responsibility for setting fire to hundreds of acres of agricultural land across Iraq and Syria, encouraging its followers to continue the sabotage of "apostate" crops during the harvest season.     In an article titled "Roll Up Your Sleeves and Begin the Harvest — May Allah Bless What You Reap," the group said the arson was in retaliation for what it claims Shiite and...
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Yemen President Slams UN Envoy's Handling of War in Letter to Secretary-general

Voice of America - Sat, 05/25/2019 - 02:03
Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi criticized the U.N.'s special envoy to the country in a sharply-worded letter to the U.N. chief, describing him as legitimizing Houthi rebels his Saudi-backed coalition is locked in a four-year war with. The Iran-aligned Houthis, who ousted Hadi from power in the capital Sanaa in 2014, have stepped up missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent days in a resurgence of tactics that had largely subsided since late last year amid United...
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Defying Congress, Trump Sets Arms Sales to Saudis, UAE

Voice of America - Sat, 05/25/2019 - 00:50
U.S. President Donald Trump, saying there is a national emergency because of tensions with Iran, swept aside objections from Congress and cleared the sale of $8 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. The Trump administration informed congressional committees on Friday that it will go ahead with 22 military sales to the Saudis, United Arab Emirates and Jordan, infuriating lawmakers by circumventing a long-standing precedent for congressional review...
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Trump to Send Additional Troops to Middle East

Voice of America - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 19:39
The United States is sending additional troops to the Middle East to protect American forces from potential Iranian threats, President Donald Trump announced Friday.    "They're mostly in a protective capacity," he told reporters in response to a VOA question.     Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan said the additions to the region would include "a Patriot battalion to defend against missile threats; additional intelligence,...
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Iranian FM Holds Talks in Pakistan on Tehran's Tensions With US

Voice of America - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 14:53
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met Friday with leaders from neighboring Pakistan to discuss bilateral matters and Tehran's escalating tensions with the United States. Zarif and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi led their respective delegations in formal talks before the visiting Iranian diplomat went for a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. Officials said the discussions focused on bilateral issues and regional...
Categories: Iraq

Trump Considering Troop Deployment to Deter Iran

Voice of America - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 08:05
The White House is considering a plan presented by the Pentagon Thursday to send thousands more troops to the Middle East to deter potential Iranian threats. Earlier this week, Trump administration officials told lawmakers the U.S. is not trying to provoke Tehran. Many are concerned that mixed messages from the administration may increase the risk of conflict and lessen the chance of persuading Iran to halt its nuclear weapons program. White House correspondent Patsy Widakuswara has this report.
Categories: Iraq

Iranian FM Visits Pakistan Amid Tehran's Rising Tensions With US 

Voice of America - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 02:06
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in neighboring Pakistan late Thursday for bilateral consultations amid Tehran's escalating tensions with the United States.    Officials in Islamabad said Zarif would begin his official engagements on Friday. He will brief Pakistani civilian and military leaders on current regional developments, Iranian state media said.     Tensions between Tehran and Washington have been escalating since...
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Pentagon Denies Media Reports Detailing Mideast Troop Increase

Voice of America - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 01:04
White House correspondent Patsy Widakuswara, national security correspondent Jeff Seldin, and VOA Persian's Mehrnoush Karimian at the State Department contributed to this report. PENTAGON — Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has denied reports that between 5,000 and 10,000 U.S. troops could be sent to the Middle East to defend against a potential threat by Iran. "There is no 10,000. There's no 5,000. That's not accurate," he told reporters,...
Categories: Iraq

Iran Tells German Envoy Its Patience Is Over, Fars Reports

Voice of America - Thu, 05/23/2019 - 20:59
Iran told a German envoy seeking to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal that its patience was over and urged the treaty's remaining signatories to fulfill their commitments after the United States pulled out, the Fars news agency reported on Thursday. Jens Ploetner, a political director in the German Foreign Ministry, met Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi. A German diplomatic source told Reuters that talks with other Iranian officials were also planned. The...
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Senator: Trump May Use Iran Threat to Sell Bombs to Saudis

Voice of America - Thu, 05/23/2019 - 04:09
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration plans to use a loophole and rising tensions with Iran to sell bombs to Saudi Arabia, even though Congress blocked such sales for months over concerns about civilian deaths in the war in Yemen, Senator Chris Murphy said Wednesday. Congressional aides said there are provisions of the Arms Control Act, which sets rules for international arms transactions, that would allow a president to approve a sale without congressional review in case of a...
Categories: Iraq

IS Militants Target Kurdish Farmers in Disputed Iraqi Territories

Voice of America - Thu, 05/23/2019 - 03:58
VOA's Ahmed Zebari contributed to this report.  WASHINGTON — In a bid to extort revenues from local farmers during the harvest season, Islamic State (IS) militants are threatening to set fire to thousands of acres of wheat fields in territories disputed between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan region, according to local officials.  The militants, hiding mostly in caves and mountains of a large territory between the Iraqi forces and Kurdish peshmerga, pour into small...
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Pentagon Mulls Sending More Troops to Gulf, Officials Say

Voice of America - Thu, 05/23/2019 - 03:11
VOA White House bureau chief Steve Herman and national security correspondent Jeff Seldin contributed to this report.  Top Pentagon officials will provide the president with a wide range of options in response to rising tensions in the Middle East, including possibly sending thousands more U.S. troops to the Middle East, U.S. officials said. The top U.S. military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, and Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan, are...
Categories: Iraq

US Tells Syrian Kurds Only Future Is Part of Peaceful Syrian State

Voice of America - Thu, 05/23/2019 - 01:27
The United States is reminding its Syrian Kurdish allies not to get overly ambitious while at the same time trying to allay concerns Washington will abandon them to Turkey or a possibly resurgent Islamic State terror group.    Kurdish fighters, under the umbrella of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, played a key role in the collapse of the IS caliphate in Syria and continue to help administer large swaths of territory liberated form the terror...
Categories: Iraq