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Iraq

Israel-Iran Tension Reaches Unprecedented Level

Voice of America - Sat, 05/12/2018 - 03:43
In the escalating confrontation between Israel and Iran, Israel's defense minister called on Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on Friday to rid his country of Iranian forces based there, warning their presence would only cause more trouble for the war-ravaged country.  Avigdor Lieberman's comments were followed by threats from an Iranian cleric that Tel Aviv or Haifa would be in danger if Israel did "anything foolish."  The war of words followed the...
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One Dead, 49 Injured as Israel Fires on Palestinian Protesters

Voice of America - Fri, 05/11/2018 - 23:27
The Gaza Health Ministry says one Palestinian was killed and 49 were injured Friday when members of the Israeli army fired on protesters near the border fence with Israel and the Gazan city of Khan Younis. In a statement Friday, the Israeli Defense Forces said about 5,000 Palestinians took part in the protests, most of which it said were peaceful. IDF said it only targets protesters who threaten the border. Protests at the border have been taking place for weeks over the...
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Top Diplomats From Britain, France, Germany to Discuss Iran Deal

Voice of America - Fri, 05/11/2018 - 22:13
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is expected to host a meeting Tuesday with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany in Brussels to discuss the future of the Iran nuclear deal, now that U.S. President Donald Trump has announced the United States is pulling out of the deal. The EU's External Action Service made the statement Friday, adding that Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif also is expected to meet with the three foreign ministers and...
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Rebuilding, Returning, Renegotiating: Iraq's Diverse Election Wishes

Voice of America - Fri, 05/11/2018 - 21:17
Many areas that Islamic State militants once controlled in Iraq look like Mosul's old city. It was once the heart of the militants' de facto capital in Iraq. Now, it is broken and mostly abandoned and bodies still decay where they landed. Voters here say they are disillusioned, as they try to rebuild with whatever money they can scrape together. "Look at how bad things are around here," said Saad Dowed, a taxi driver and father of four in old Mosul. Across the street...
Categories: Iraq

Rebuilding, Returning, Renegotiating: Iraq's Diverse Election Wishes

Voice of America - Fri, 05/11/2018 - 21:17
Iraqis are voting for their first new national parliament since Islamic State militants were driven out of the country last year, but analysts say no one party is expected to be the clear winner. From Mosul, Baghdad, Irbil and northern displacement camps, VOA's Heather Murdock looks at Iraq's diverse, and often desperate needs as locals anticipate the formation of a new government.
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Popularity of Israel's Netanyahu Rises as Iran Tension Flares

Voice of America - Fri, 05/11/2018 - 20:30
Israel’s tough stance on Iran has boosted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s popularity at home, and he can expect more good press in the coming days when the United States opens its embassy in Jerusalem. Three corruption investigations against Netanyahu, who has hardly been out of the headlines for weeks, show no sign of denting his popularity among his support base. As the closest Middle East ally of President Donald Trump, Netanyahu has been central to U.S. decisions that have...
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Europe Moves to Safeguard Interests in Iran After US Pullout

Voice of America - Fri, 05/11/2018 - 20:21
Europe's heavyweight economies took steps Friday to safeguard their interests in Iran, seeking to keep the nuclear deal with Tehran alive after Washington pulled out and said sanctions would follow. Germany and France have significant trade links with Iran and remain committed to the nuclear agreement, as does Britain, and the three countries' foreign ministers plan to meet Tuesday to discuss it. That is part of a flurry of diplomatic activity following Tuesday's unilateral...
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US Embassy in Jerusalem to Open With Initial Staff of 50

Voice of America - Fri, 05/11/2018 - 18:15
The new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem will open with an initial staff of at least 50. That's according to senior Trump administration officials previewing the highly anticipated opening on May 14. The embassy is moving from Tel Aviv in line with President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.   Roughly 800 guests will attend. Officials say the U.S. delegation doesn't plan to meet any Palestinian officials during their visit.   Initial...
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Why Gina Haspel Is the Best Choice for C.I.A. Director

NY Times Iraq - Fri, 05/11/2018 - 17:30
She has the integrity and experience to stand up to a post-truth White House.
Categories: Iraq

Challenges Await Egypt's Sissi in New Term

Voice of America - Fri, 05/11/2018 - 16:09
Terrorism will be one of the major challenges facing Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sissi, who begins a new term in office next month after winning nearly 100 percent of the vote in February's election. In some quarters, however, Sissi's war on terror is described as a “heavy-handed” approach by security forces. “I would actually take it further and call it a dirty war,” Amnesty International Egypt campaigner Hussein Baoumi told VOA. “They have used the war on terror to...
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Iran: Israeli Attacks on Syria Based on 'Invented Pretexts'

Voice of America - Fri, 05/11/2018 - 15:38
Iran says Israel's rocket attacks on Syria were based on "invented pretexts." Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi, quoted in state-run IRNA, said the attacks were a breach of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. He said Syria has the right to defend itself "against the aggressors." The Israeli military released aerial footage Friday of the Iranian military sites in Syria targeted by the Israeli air force. A report in The...
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U.S. Takes a Risk: Old Iraqi Enemies Are Now Allies

NY Times Iraq - Fri, 05/11/2018 - 12:00
In Iraq, the United States is training and sharing intelligence with former members of Iranian-backed militias that once fought and killed Americans.
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Young Candidates Want a Chance to be Elected to Iraqi Parliament

Voice of America - Fri, 05/11/2018 - 11:07
Iraqis will head to polling stations this weekend for the first parliamentary elections since Iraqi forces drove Islamic State militants out of the country. In Nineveh Province (Mosul), young politicians are injecting new excitement into a crowded field of candidates, pleading with Iraqi voters to give them a chance. Kawa Omer filed this report from Mosul.
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Can a Shiite Cleric Pull Iraq Out of the Sectarian Trap?

NY Times Iraq - Fri, 05/11/2018 - 08:03
Moktada al-Sadr is leading an encouraging transformation, which could jar Iraq’s politicians out of the sectarian rut.
Categories: Iraq

Iranian Currency Slumps on Black Market After US Quits Iran Deal

Voice of America - Fri, 05/11/2018 - 04:12
Western news agencies say the Iranian rial has weakened significantly against the dollar in black market trading following the U.S. decision to exit the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Published reports say the rial has been quoted as low as 80,000 to 90,000 against the dollar on the black market since the U.S. exit from the deal was announced Tuesday. Reuters says the black market rate was around 65,000 rials to the dollar just before that announcement. Iran fixed its exchange rate at 42,000...
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Iranian Security Forces Beat, Arrest Teachers at Tehran Protest

Voice of America - Fri, 05/11/2018 - 03:23
Organizers of a teachers' protest in the Iranian capital, Tehran, say security forces have violently broken up their rally, beating up some of the demonstrators and arresting at least six of them.   Dozens of retired and practicing teachers attended Thursday's protest outside the Iranian government's planning and budget organization building in Tehran. It was one of several rallies around the country organized by the Coordinating Council of Iranian Teacher Trade...
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World Powers Urge Lebanon to Stay Out of Regional Wars

Voice of America - Fri, 05/11/2018 - 00:34
A grouping of major powers urged Lebanon on Thursday to uphold a policy of keeping out of regional wars, after Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies emerged stronger from a general election. The International Support Group (ISG) for Lebanon, which includes the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany, Italy, Britain and European Union, also called on Lebanon to resume dialogue about a national defense strategy. Lebanon agreed a policy of "disassociation" in 2012 to keep...
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US, UAE Act to Disrupt Funding for Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps

Voice of America - Thu, 05/10/2018 - 22:18
The United States and the United Arab Emirates acted Thursday to disrupt a currency exchange network under which they said hundreds of millions of dollars had been transferred to Iran's Revolutionary Guards' Qods Force to fund their insurgent operations in the Middle East. The U.S. Treasury sanctioned nine Iranian individuals and entities it said were involved in transferring dollar-denominated bulk cash funneled through the UAE to Iran and its central bank. The sanctions...
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Turkey, US Could Head for Collision Over Iran Nuclear Deal

Voice of America - Thu, 05/10/2018 - 22:00
Turkey has pushed back hard against U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned of serious consequences, with analysts saying Turkey could find itself drawn into a dispute between Washington and Tehran. Erdogan spoke by telephone with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, Wednesday. Local media, citing a Turkish presidential source, said Erdogan reaffirmed his support of the nuclear deal...
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Iraqis Head to Polls Amid Security Threats, External Influence

Voice of America - Thu, 05/10/2018 - 21:50
Amid threats from Islamic State group, getting in and out of the polling stations safely will be the prevailing thought on Iraqi voters' minds May 12 when the country goes to the polls to choose a new parliament and the prime minister. Islamic State militants have threatened to carry out attacks ahead of the elections — the first ones since the group's defeat in the country. IS last month began a social media campaign discouraging people from participating in the elections and...
Categories: Iraq