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Updated: 8 hours 43 min ago

Iran Mourns Victims of Sunday's 7.3-Magnitude Earthquake

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 09:41
Iran has declared an official day of mourning Tuesday for the victims of Sunday's powerful earthquake along the western mountainous border with Iraq. Rescuers are searching for survivors and bodies in the rubble left by the 7.3-magnitude quake. Officials say more than 430 people were killed, and that the death toll may increase. Tens of thousands of people have spent the night outdoors as the violent temblor crumbled homes. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Categories: Iraq

Mattis: US to Fight Islamic State in Syria 'As Long As They Want to Fight'

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 05:45
The U.S. military will fight Islamic State in Syria "as long as they want to fight," Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday, describing a longer-term role for U.S. troops long after the insurgents lose all of the territory they control. As U.S.-backed and Russian-backed forces battle to retake the remaining pockets of Islamic State-held terrain, Mattis said the U.S. military's longer-term objective would be to prevent the return of an "ISIS 2.0." "The...
Categories: Iraq

UN Agency Report Shows Iran Meeting Nuclear Commitments

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 03:25
The United Nations agency monitoring Iran’s compliance with a landmark nuclear treaty issued a report Monday certifying that the country is keeping its end of the deal that U.S. President Donald Trump claims Tehran has violated repeatedly. The International Atomic Energy Agency report stopped short of declaring that Iran is honoring its obligations, in keeping with its official role as an impartial monitor of the restrictions the treaty placed on Tehran’s nuclear programs.   But in...
Categories: Iraq

Lebanon's President Welcomes Hariri's Plans to Return

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 02:00
Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who has refused to accept Saad Hariri's resignation as prime minister unless Hariri returns from Saudi Arabia, welcomed comments from Hariri that he plans to come home soon, palace sources and visitors said on Monday. Hariri, who threw Lebanon into political crisis by reading out his resignation on Nov. 4 from Riyadh, gave his first public remarks since then in an interview late on Sunday, saying he planned to return within days. He suggested he...
Categories: Iraq

Earthquake on Iran-Iraq Border Kills 400

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 01:45
Iran has declared an official day of mourning Tuesday for the victims of Sunday's powerful earthquake along the western mountainous border with Iraq. The 7.3-magnitude quake and several strong aftershocks killed more than 400 people and left another 7,000 hurt. Iraqi officials report at least seven deaths there. The U.S. Geological Survey said quake was centered just outside near the town of Halabja in Iraq's Kurdistan region and was felt as far away as Turkey and...
Categories: Iraq

Russian, Turkish Leaders Meet as Cracks in Rapprochement Start to Show

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 19:30
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Monday with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, the fourth encounter between the two leaders this year and part of a warming of relations in the wake of tensions following Turkey's 2015 downing of a Russian warplane operating from a Syrian air base.   But analysts say despite recent images of smiles and warm handshakes between the two leaders, cracks in that rapprochement are starting to show and signs of...
Categories: Iraq

Netanyahu Signals Israel Will Act With Free Hand in Syria

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 18:05
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday he has told the United States and Russia that Israel will continue to take action across the Syrian frontier according to its security needs, even as the two powers try to build up a cease-fire. "We are controlling our borders, we are protecting our country and we will continue to do so," Netanyahu said in public remarks to members of his Likud party in parliament. "I have also informed our friends, firstly in Washington...
Categories: Iraq

Investors Remain Wary in Wake of Saudi Crackdown

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 17:16
A week after an unprecedented crackdown on some of Saudi Arabia’s wealthiest princes and businessmen, foreign governments and investors are still trying to answer basic questions about a round-up Saudi authorities describe as an anti-corruption drive spearheaded by the Gulf kingdom’s crown prince.   Is 32-year-old Mohammad bin Salman set on a power grab to ensure his succession will be untroubled when his ailing father dies?  Or is he what he says he is, a reformer determined to...
Categories: Iraq

Sexual Assault Charges Against Islamic Scholar Divide Europe's Muslim Communities

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 16:10
Sexual assault charges targeting a prominent Islamic scholar have left many European Muslims stunned, and triggered sharply disparate reactions within the multi-faceted community, even as many fear a broader backlash. Swiss-born theologian Tariq Ramadan took a leave of absence from teaching at Oxford University last week, following complaints of rape and assault filed by two French women and reports of similar charges in Switzerland. A statement by the university said the decision was...
Categories: Iraq

Amnesty International Calls on Syria to End Forced Displacement of Civilians

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 12:48
Amnesty International says civilians in besieged areas of Syria are given no choice but to leave their homes under agreements reached between the country’s warring sides, and that thousands of forcibly displaced people now live under “dire conditions.” In a report released Monday, the rights group said the Syrian government has increasingly relied on such deals as a strategy to force the opposition to surrender. The Syrian conflict began in March 2011 with protests against President...
Categories: Iraq

Saudi-Led Coalition to Reopen Some Yemen Ports

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 11:11
A Saudi-led coalition says it will reopen some airports and seaports in Yemen in order to allow in humanitarian aid. The move comes a week after the coalition announced a temporary closure of all ports in response to the firing of a missile from Yemen toward Riyadh, blaming a “vulnerability” in inspection procedures for allowing Iranian military equipment to reach Houthi rebels. A coalition statement said the first ports to reopen would be those under control of the Yemeni government,...
Categories: Iraq

Deadly Earthquake Strikes Iran-Iraq Border

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 10:34
Rescuers in Iran continue to dig through the rubble Monday in a search for survivors after a powerful earthquake that struck the day before on the Iran-Iraq border, killing more than 400 people. Iranian state media reported Monday the death toll was at 407 with thousands more injured there. The majority of the victims were located in the town of Sarpol-e-Zahab in Kermanshah province. Iraq's Red Crescent reported nine people dead and over 400 injured. As dusk approached Monday,...
Categories: Iraq

Yemen Rebels Claim They Built Missile Launched at Riyadh

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 05:15
Yemeni Houthi rebels have directly rebutted U.S. assertions that a missile launched into Saudi Arabia earlier this month was manufactured by Shiite ally Iran. Col. Aziz Rashed, a spokesman for rebel-allied forces, said Sunday that the missile intercepted by the Saudis near the capital Riyadh on Nov. 4 was “Yemeni-produced.” The U.S. contends that the ballistic missile was Iranian-made and remnants of it bore “Iranian markings.” Rashed added however that if the rebels could obtain...
Categories: Iraq

Lebanon's PM Assures Country He Will Be Home 'Very Soon'

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 00:59
Lebanon's prime minister, Saad Hariri, assured the country Sunday he will come home "very soon" from Saudi Arabia, where he announced his stunning resignation last November 4. Hariri gave an interview to his own party's Future TV from Riyadh. He denied being under arrest or that the Saudis forced him to resign to break up his coalition government with Hezbollah. He said the decision to quit was entirely his own, saying he wanted to bring a "positive shock"...
Categories: Iraq

Saudi Officials Deny Reports of King’s Abdication Plan

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 00:22
Saudi Arabia has denied reports that King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is planning to relinquish the throne in favor of his son, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. “There is no possibility whatsoever that the king will abdicate,” a senior Saudi official told Bloomberg news on condition of anonymity, noting that Saudi kings usually stay in power even when bad health prevents them from carrying out their job. There is one precedent of a Saudi monarch stepping down while still alive. King...
Categories: Iraq

At Least 140 Reported Dead in Iran-Iraq Border Region Quake

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 23:48
Rescue teams are working through the night looking for survivors after a powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake shook towns and villages near the Iran-Iraq border. Iranian state television reports more than 140 deaths and more than 800 injured. The Baghdad government did not immediately give word on damage or casualties in that country. The quake struck Sunday night outside the eastern Iraqi Kurdistan city of Halabja, very close to the Iranian border. It was felt as far away as Turkey...
Categories: Iraq

Mass Graves Found in Iraq Could Contain Up to 400 Bodies

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 19:50
Iraqi security forces have found mass graves in an area recently retaken from the Islamic State group that could contain up to 400 bodies, an Iraqi official said Sunday. The bodies of civilians and security forces were found in an abandoned base near Hawija, a northern town retaken in early October, Kirkuk governor Rakan Saed said. He didn't say when authorities will start exhuming the bodies from the mass graves. Khalaf Luhaibi, a local shepherd who led troops to the site,...
Categories: Iraq

UN Begins Evacuating Refugees From Libya to Niger

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 19:05
A group of vulnerable refugees from several African countries, who had been stuck in war-ravaged Libya, have been evacuated to Niger, the UN said Sunday. The UN refugee agency said the evacuation of 25 "extremely vulnerable refugees" from Libya Saturday marked the first of its kind. The chaos-ridden country has long been a major transit hub for migrants trying to reach Europe, and many refugees and migrants have fallen prey to serious abuse there at the hands of human...
Categories: Iraq

Israel Signals Free Hand in Syria as US, Russia Expand Truce

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 16:27
Israel signaled on Sunday that it would keep up military strikes across its frontier with Syria to prevent any encroachment by Iranian-allied forces, even as the United States and Russia try to build up a cease-fire in the area. U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday affirmed joint efforts to stabilize Syria as its civil war wanes, including with the expansion of a July 7 truce in the southwestern triangle bordering Israel and Jordan. A U.S. State...
Categories: Iraq

At Beirut Marathon, Lebanese Call for PM to Return

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 16:05
Thousands of Lebanese taking part in the country's annual marathon used the event to call on Prime Minister Saad Hariri to return home after he resigned under mysterious circumstances during a visit to Saudi Arabia.   Hariri was a regular participant in the marathon, giving the international sports event a big boost. This year, President Michel Aoun had encouraged runners to call on Hariri to return. Many Lebanese suspect he was placed under house arrest as part of a Saudi plan to...
Categories: Iraq