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Netanyahu Given 14 More Days to Form Israeli Government

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 03:09
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday got more time to put together a new coalition government, after the initial 28 days granted him following last month’s elections expired. Israeli law says that after the first four weeks of political bargaining a further 14 days is granted by the president on request. Netanyahu on Monday called on President Reuven Rivlin at his official Jerusalem residence and received his official blessing. “At the end of the meeting, the...
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US Orders Non-Emergency Staff to Leave Iraq, Amid US-Iran Tensions

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 00:09
VOA Persian's Shahla Arasteh contributed from Washington. PENTAGON —  The United States ordered its non-emergency employees to leave Iraq on Wednesday, a move that comes as the Trump administration warns of potential threats against American forces in the Middle East from Iran or Iranian-backed proxies. A statement posted by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said the order applied both to staff there and at the U.S. Consulate in Irbil. U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday...
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Report: Iran-Linked Disinformation Effort Had Personal Touch

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 22:43
When a young Middle Eastern woman contacted Saudi dissident Ali AlAhmed over Twitter last November, he was immediately suspicious. AlAhmed's radar was up because he had previously been targeted by hackers posing as a female journalist. But this turned out to be part of a different operation.    The Twitter account, purportedly belonging to an Egyptian writer named Mona A.Rahman, was not an attempt to hack the Washington-based AlAhmed — it was an attempt to enlist him in an...
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Iran's Khamenei: Tehran Not Seeking War with US

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 22:04
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday Tehran does not seek war with the United States despite mounting tensions between the two arch-enemies over Iranian nuclear capabilities and its missile program. In comments to senior officials carried by state television, Khamenei also reiterated that the Islamic Republic would not negotiate with the United States on another nuclear deal. "There won't be any war. The Iranian nation has chosen the path of...
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Saudi Arabia Says Its Pipeline Attacked by Drones

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 21:20
Saudi Arabia says an oil pipeline was attacked by drones Tuesday west of the capital, Riyadh. Yemeni Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks amid rising tensions in the Middle East. The rebels said they fired seven drones against vital targets in Saudi Arabia, which borders Yemen to the north. Saudi Arabia has launched almost daily airstrikes against the rebels and their allies since a war between the two sides began in March 2015. The government-controlled oil company...
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EU Calls for Libya Cease-Fire, Return to Talks

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 19:50
European Union foreign ministers are calling for an immediate cease-fire in Libya and for the warring parties in the strife-torn North African state to return to negotiations to resolve their differences. Meeting in Brussels Monday, the ministers warned that the fighting raging around Tripoli, which began last month when forces loyal to the country's would-be strongman, Khalifa Haftar, launched an assault on the Libyan capital, threatens international peace and security. Their...
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Europe Urges Restraint as Fears of US-Iran Conflict Escalate

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 19:07
As tensions escalate between the United States and Iran, Europe is urging both sides to avoid any further escalation. The European Union is trying to salvage a nuclear deal struck with Tehran in 2015, amid mounting pressure from Washington to abandon the agreement. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, Europe fears Iran is being pushed into a corner – and that its response could have dangerous consequences for the region.
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Europe Urges Restraint as Fears of US-Iran Conflict Escalate

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 18:00
As tensions escalate between the United States and Iran, Europe has urged all sides to avoid further escalation. The United States has deployed a naval strike group to the Middle East region, led by the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier.  B-52 bombers have also arrived at the U.S. air base in Qatar, designed to counter what the Trump administration says are "clear indications" of threats from Iran to U.S. forces. Military analyst Jack Watling of the London-based Royal...
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Iran Tensions on Agenda as Pompeo Meets With Putin, Lavrov in Sochi

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 09:16
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Russian leaders Tuesday that President Donald Trump "is committed to improving" relations between the two superpowers "I hope this good faith effort on the part of each of our two nations as directed by President Trump and President Putin will stabilize the relationship, and put it back on a trajectory that I think would be good for not only each of our two countries and each of our peoples, but for the world as well," Pompeo...
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US Official: Explosives Blew Holes in Ships off UAE

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 05:53
A U.S. official says military experts believe explosives blew holes in four ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates Sunday, and suspects Iran may be involved but they have no proof. Two of the oil tankers belong to Saudi Arabia, which says the ships suffered "significant damage" in what it and the UAE calls sabotage.  Saudi Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih said the attack was meant to undermine "the security of oil supplies to consumers all over the...
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Veteran Palestinian Negotiator Says She Was Denied US Visa for First Time

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 03:29
A veteran Palestinian negotiator said Monday she had been denied a U.S. travel visa for the first time, and viewed it as retaliation for her criticism of the Trump administration and Israel. Asked about Hanan Ashrawi's allegations, a U.S. State Department official did not comment directly, but said visas are not refused on the grounds of an applicant's politics if those political statements or views would be lawful in the United States. Since they boycotted the Trump...
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European Allies Warn US Over Tensions With Iran

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 20:28
Top officials from the European Union are calling on the United States to use "maximum restraint" and avoid military escalation with Iran. "[U.S. Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo heard very clearly from us — not only from myself but also from the other ministers of EU member states — that we are living in a crucial, delicate moment where the most relevant attitude to take — the most responsible attitude to take — is and we believe should be that of maximum restraint and...
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Ships 'Sabotaged' off UAE Coast

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 20:17
Carla Babb at the Pentagon and Edward Yeranian in Cairo contributed to this report. Saudi Arabia says two of its oil tankers suffered "significant damage" in a "sabotage attack" early Sunday off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. No details, however, about the specifics of the damage were released. The kingdom's energy minister said one of the tankers had been on its way to the Saudi port of Ras Tanura to pick up oil to deliver to the United...
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Iran Sentences British Council Employee for Alleged Espionage

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 19:31
Iran has sentenced an employee of the British Council to 10 years in prison on espionage charges, the country's judiciary spokesman said Monday. The woman, an Iranian citizen, was found guilty of cooperating with British spy agencies while working for the British Council - charges she "quickly and clearly" confessed to, Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili told a press conference. Esmaili did not identify the woman, but a London-based British Council...
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UN Envoy to Mideast Warns of War Between Israel, Hamas

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 18:03
The U.N. envoy to the Mideast said Monday that the recent ceasefire between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Israel was the "last chance" to prevent an all-out conflict. A Qatari envoy arrived the same day in the Palestinian enclave with cash to help cement the truce, which halted the worst round of fighting between the two sides in years. After a spate of violence killed 25 Palestinians, including 15 civilians, as well as four Israeli civilians earlier this month, Nickolay Mladenov,...
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Saudi Ship Facing Arms Protests Leaves Spanish Port

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 17:27
Spanish arms control activists say a Saudi ship they suspect is carrying weapons for possible use in Yemen has left the port of Santander and is on its way to Genoa, Italy. Spanish arms control activists say a Saudi ship they suspect is carrying weapons for possible use in Yemen has left the port of Santander and is on its way to Genoa, Italy. Alberto Estevez of the Control Arms Coalition of human rights and aid groups, which is trying to stop arms reaching conflict zones, has told The...
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Iranian Students Protest Mandatory Headscarf Rule

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 17:02
Iran's semi-official ISNA news agency says university students have held a campus protest against authorities' increasing pressure on women to wear mandatory headscarves in public. The report says the students — both men and women — briefly scuffled with another group of Tehran University students who support the country's conservative dress code. The headscarf, or hijab, is required in public for all women in Iran. Those who violate the rules are usually sentenced to two...
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After Caliphate's Fall, IS Insurgents Still Spread Fear

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 14:14
It was a chilly January evening, and Khadija Abd and her family had just finished supper at their farm when the two men with guns burst into the room. One wore civilian clothes, the other an army uniform. They said they were from the Iraqi army's 20th Division, which controls the northern Iraqi town of Badoush. In fact, they were Islamic State group militants who had come down from the surrounding mountains into Badoush with one thing on their mind: Revenge.   Around 13 more...
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Center Works to Empower Yemen’s Women and Girls

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 12:40
Yemen's four years of devastating civil war have taken the hardest toll on women and girls. Many have become widowed and must support their families alone without the needed skills or education. In one remote desert village, the U.S. aid group International Rescue Committee has established a center for teaching skills and empowerment to vulnerable women and girls.  Intekab Ali Abdulwasi, a mother of five girls, fled fighting in her home in Taiz to the remote village of Raz...
Categories: Iraq

Ships 'Sabotaged' Off UAE Coast

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:46
Saudi Arabia says two of its oil tankers suffered "significant damage" in a "sabotage attack" early Sunday off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. No details, however, about the specifics of the damage were released.  The kingdom's energy minister said one of the tankers had been on its way to the Saudi port of Ras Tanura to pick up oil to deliver to the United States. The United States issued a warning early Monday about alleged "acts of...
Categories: Iraq