in Iraq


Saudi Official Suspends Oil Shipments Via Bab al-Mandab, Red Sea

Voice of America - Thu, 07/26/2018 - 20:58
Saudi Energy Minister Khaled Faleh says the state-owned Saudi oil giant Aramco was temporarily stopping oil shipments through the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait, according to Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV.  The action follows reports that two giant Saudi oil tankers had been targeted by Yemen's Houthi militia near the Red Sea port of Hodeida. The TV channel reported that Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates may suspend oil shipments through the Red Sea, as well. The head of Iran's...
Categories: Iraq

Military Officials Fear Islamic State Still Potent in Iraq, Syria

Voice of America - Thu, 07/26/2018 - 20:27
The latest numbers from the U.S.-led coalition to destroy the Islamic State terror group appear, at first glance, to be damning. A self-declared caliphate that once ruled vast swaths of Iraq and Syria has been reduced to about 300 square kilometers in eastern Syria, military officials say. "They're really in the disarray. They're in a really disorganized manner," French Brig. Gen. Frederic Parisot, director of civil-military operations for the coalition told Pentagon...
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US, France Sanction Entities Tied to Syrian Chemical Weapons

Voice of America - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 23:24
The United States and France have imposed sanctions upon groups and individuals with links to Syria's chemical weapons program, the U.S. Treasury Department said Wednesday. "Syria's horrific use of chemical weapons, including attacks against innocent women and children, remains deeply embedded in our minds," said Sigal Mandelker, treasury undersecretary for terrorism, said in a statement. "Today, we are continuing our campaign to stop the Assad regime's ruthless...
Categories: Iraq

Israel Kills 3 Palestinians in Gaza After Israeli Troops Came Under Fire

Voice of America - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 22:26
The Gaza Health Ministry said three Palestinians were killed Wednesday in Israeli strikes east of Gaza City. The Israeli military said it was "targeting Hamas military posts in the Gaza Strip" after Israeli troops on the border came under fire. An Israeli officer was also wounded by a Palestinian sniper. The latest clash comes days after Gaza's Hamas leaders and Israel agreed to a cease-fire in an attempt to de-escalate hostilities. The cease-fire was broken last...
Categories: Iraq

US Base in Southern Syria Sends ‘Signal’ to Iran

Voice of America - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 19:55
The U.S. base near southern Syria’s al-Tanf border crossing was set up to train local Syrians to fight Islamic State militants, but it also serves as a counterweight to Iranian activities in the war-torn country, U.S. officials and experts tell VOA. “Our mere presence there accomplishes that, whether it’s a goal or not,” Army Maj. Josh Jacques, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), said. The U.S. military’s primary focus across Syria has been the defeat of Islamic State...
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Analysts Hope US-Iran War of Words Will Lead to Dialogue

Voice of America - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 18:55
As an August 4 deadline approaches for the first round of new U.S. sanctions on Iran, the war of words between Tehran and Washington has prompted some Mideast commentators to question if a conflict might break out. But Iran's currency, the riyal, has hit a record low of 95,000 to the dollar,  losing more than half its value since the start of the year and putting pressure on the government to do something. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ignited a flurry of speculation...
Categories: Iraq

Militants Kill Over 200 in Southern Syria Attacks

Voice of America - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 12:49
The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for a series of suicide bombings and other attacks Wednesday in southern Syria, killing at least 204 people. Multiple bombers blew themselves up near a market and a busy square in the city of Sweida. Hassan Omar, a local health official, said at least 180 others were wounded in the attack. Among the casualties were civilians who took up arms to defend against the IS assault, Omar said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human...
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Sisters Cooking It for Themselves at Iraq's Women-only Restaurant

Voice of America - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 05:25
At Luxury Time, a restaurant in the Kurdish city of Irbil, there are no man-size portions. The women-only restaurant, with its all-female staff, was opened this month by 23-year-old business graduate Tara Mohammed Ihssan who was fed up of unwanted attention on nights out with friends in northern Iraq. "If you want to go out, it is so uncomfortable because everyone is starring at you," she told Reuters. "So I have always thought about doing something like this for me...
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Tunisia PM: Changing Government Now Will Hurt Economy

Voice of America - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 05:05
Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, rejecting the president's call for him to stand down amid an economic crisis, said Tuesday that a change of government would put the economy at risk and shake the confidence of international lenders. President Beji Caid Essebsi this month urged Chahed to step down if the country's political and economic problems persisted. Since the toppling of autocrat Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, nine cabinets have failed to resolve high inflation...
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Egypt's el-Sissi Opens Power Stations in State Development Drive

Voice of America - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 01:02
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Tuesday opened three new power stations built for a total of 6 billion euros ($7 billion) as part of the country's development drive. Acute power shortages in the years immediately following Egypt's 2011 uprising led to frequent summer blackouts and cuts to industrial output, but the new projects initiated in 2015 are part of an 8 billion-euro deal to supply gas- and wind-power plants to boost electricity generation...
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Ankara Rules Out Compliance with US Sanctions on Iran

Voice of America - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 00:45
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday ruled out his country's compliance with U.S. sanctions on Iran, a move that threatens to exacerbate tensions between the NATO allies. "We have told them we will not join these sanctions," said Cavusoglu, referring to a meeting last Friday with senior U.S. officials in Ankara. "While we are explaining why we will not obey these sanctions, we have also expressed that we do not find these U.S. sanctions...
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Haley: 'Talk is Cheap' on Palestinian Situation

Voice of America - Tue, 07/24/2018 - 23:15
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley has blasted Arab and Muslim states for offering rhetoric on the Palestinian situation while not taking more concrete action to alleviate humanitarian suffering and support the peace process.  Haley told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that "talk is cheap" and called out many countries, including U.S. allies Kuwait, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, for their lack of or small contributions to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for...
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Intl. Coalition: Islamic State Controls Just 300 Kilometers in Syria

Voice of America - Tue, 07/24/2018 - 21:45
The Islamic State terror group has lost control of all but around 300 square kilometers in Syria, anti-IS coalition officials told reporters Tuesday. French Brigadier General Frederic Parisot, the director of civil-military operations for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said the group holds an area of about 30 kilometers x10 kilometers in eastern Deir el-Zour province, stretching from the town of Hajin to al-Bukamal. Parisot said he did not know the number of...
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Official: IS-Linked Group Kills 2 Policemen in Eastern Libya

Voice of America - Tue, 07/24/2018 - 17:48
A Libyan official says militants with links to the extremist Islamic State group have killed two policemen at a checkpoint east Libya.   Security official Ahmed al-Gabiely says the attack took place early on Tuesday in the eastern town of el-Agheila when the armed men "slit a police officer's throat" and killed another in a shootout with security forces manning the checkpoint.   He says the group later attacked a police station, raised the militant Islamic black...
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Egypt Hikes Natural Gas Prices by Up to 75 Percent

Voice of America - Tue, 07/24/2018 - 16:02
Egypt raised natural gas prices for households and businesses on Saturday by between 33.3 and 75 percent, the latest among tough austerity measures aimed at rebuilding the country’s economy battered by years of unrest since a 2011 uprising. The government’s decision, published in the official gazette on Saturday, should come into effect starting in August. It sets the price for gas consumption of up to 30 cubic meters to 1.75 Egyptian pounds up from 1 pound per cubic meter, an increase of...
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Israeli Military Downs Syrian Warplane

Voice of America - Tue, 07/24/2018 - 15:44
The Israeli military said it shot down a Syrian warplane Tuesday after it entered Israeli airspace. Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the Syrian Sukhoi fighter jet approached Israel at a "relatively high speed" before the Israeli military fired two Patriot interceptor missiles at the jet after it entered Israeli territory. Syrian state media reported, however, the warplane was fired on as it participated in operations against rebels in Syrian...
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Group Urges Iraq to Probe Excessive Force Used at Protests

Voice of America - Tue, 07/24/2018 - 15:43
A leading international watchdog has called on the Iraqi government to investigate the excessive use of force against protesters demanding better services and jobs in the country's south. In a report issued on Tuesday, the Human Rights Watch also urged that members of the security forces responsible for using lethal force at the rallies be disciplined or prosecuted.   Early this month, residents of oil-rich Basra province staged protests against the lack of jobs and poor...
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Israel Partially Lifts Limitations on Gaza Cargo Crossing

Voice of America - Tue, 07/24/2018 - 14:17
Israel says it is partially reopening its only cargo crossing with the Gaza Strip after Hamas hostilities subsided. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman says Tuesday Israel will resume transferring gas and fuel through the Kerem Shalom crossing in addition to the food and essential medication it has been allowing.   Last week, Lieberman placed restrictions on the crossing after Gaza's militant rulers continued to allow incendiary kites and balloons to float into Israel even after...
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Large Stone Drops Out of Western Wall in Jerusalem    

Voice of America - Tue, 07/24/2018 - 04:30
A section of one of Judaism's holiest sites is closed to worshippers after a huge stone dropped out of the Western Wall Monday, barely missing a woman praying. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said the stone weighs 100 kilograms (220 pounds) and called it “a great miracle” no one was hurt. Just one day earlier, the area was packed with worshippers for the Jewish holy day Tisha B'Av, which marks the destruction of temples that stood at the site. The head of the Israeli Antiquities...
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UN Rights Chief Sharply Criticizes Israel Over Gaza Killings

Voice of America - Tue, 07/24/2018 - 03:53
The U.N. human rights chief sharply criticized Israel on Monday, calling recent killings by its soldiers during Palestinian demonstrations along the Gaza border fence "shocking" and saying living conditions inflicted by Israel's 11-year blockade of the territory are "grossly inadequate." Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a video address to the U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People that the situation in Gaza has escalated...
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