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Iran Warns Israel Against Further Airstrikes in Syria

Wed, 02/06/2019 - 00:15
Iran warned Israel on Tuesday of a "firm and appropriate" response if it continued attacking targets in Syria, where Tehran has backed President Bashar al-Assad and his forces in their nearly eight-year war against rebels and militants. Without responding directly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nevertheless said it was important to block Iranian influence in Syria. Israel, which views Tehran as its biggest security threat, has repeatedly attacked Iranian targets...
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UN Appeals for $200M to Assist 550,000 Vulnerable People in Libya

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 22:41
The United Nations, together with the internationally recognized Government of National Accord in Libya, are appealing for more than $200 million to provide lifesaving assistance to 550,000 vulnerable people, nearly half of them children. The United Nations reports more than 823,000 people across Libya, including a quarter of a million children, are in need of humanitarian assistance.  After seven years of instability, it says thousands of families are unable to afford food, water...
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Pope Says He Found 'Good Will' From UAE to Seek Peace in Yemen

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 21:23
Pope Francis said on Tuesday he had found "good will" to start peace processes to end the conflict in Yemen, during private meetings with leaders of the United Arab Emirates, which is playing a leading role in a Saudi-led coalition against Houthis in Yemen. Francis, who in the past has condemned the war in Yemen several times, made the comment in response to a question on the plane returning from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. "I spoke about it, but...
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US Commander: IS Hold in Syria, Iraq on Verge of Collapse

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 20:50
President Donald Trump is expected to declare near-total triumph over the Islamic State group in Syria in his State of the Union address Tuesday, but U.S. defense officials are increasingly fearful that the militants are simply biding their time until the Americans leave the battlefield as planned. IS militants have lost territory since Trump's surprise announcement in December that he was pulling U.S. forces out, but military officials warn the fighters could regroup within six...
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Turkey's Erdogan Steps Up Pressure on US as Key Syria Talks Begin

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 17:41
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he has not yet seen an acceptable plan for the creation in Syria of a safe zone aimed at protecting Turkey's border from attack.   Erdogan spoke Tuesday at a parliamentary meeting of his ruling AKP, saying, "There is no satisfactory plan that is put before us concretely yet. He also said, "Of course we are loyal to our agreements, our promise is a promise. However, our patience is not limitless.” Erdogan spoke as his foreign...
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Egypt Debates Motion to Extend Presidential Term Limits

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 17:32
Egypt’s parliament advanced a proposal on Tuesday to amend the constitution in a way that could allow President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to stay in office well beyond the end of his current term in 2022. El-Sissi led the 2013 military overthrow of an elected but divisive Islamist president and was elected the following year. He has presided over an unprecedented crackdown on dissent, and was re-elected last year after all potentially serious challengers were jailed or pressured to exit the...
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Pope Francis Delivers First Mass on Arabian Peninsula

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 10:05
Pope Francis celebrated Mass in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday as he closed a brief, but historic visit to the United Arab Emirates. The Mass drew an estimated 135,000 people to Zayed Sports City stadium for what some people said was the largest show of public Christian worship on the Arabian Peninsula. Before Mass, the leader of the world's Catholics circled the stadium in his popemobile, waving to the crowd as it responded it cheers and chants of support. On Monday, Pope Francis...
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Iran Detains Conservationist as 8 Others Tried in Court

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 07:45
Iran has detained another environmentalist who worked for the same Iranian conservation organization as eight activists who went on trial in Tehran last week after spending a year in detention.  A reliable source in Iran told VOA Persian that Iranian authorities detained Pouria Sepahvand of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation on Saturday. The New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) confirmed Sepahvand's arrest in a Monday tweet  and said he had been taken...
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US-Led Coalition Denies Confrontation With Iran-Backed Militia in Iraq    

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 04:50
The U.S.-led coalition fighting against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq Monday denied it faced a head-to-head encounter with the Iran-backed militia known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in the Nineveh province of Iraq.  The Shiite militia in Iraq alleged its fighters Friday prevented the American troops within the anti-IS coalition from conducting a field operation inside the city of Mosul.  "The patrol referenced was routine and there was no...
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UN Council Pushes Yemen's Warring Parties to Withdraw Hodeidah Troops

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 04:45
The United Nations Security Council urged the warring parties in Yemen on Monday to withdraw forces from the country's main port of Hodeida and two other ports "without further delays." Representatives from both parties met for a second day on a ship on the Red Sea on Monday, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, in a U.N.-led push to implement the stalled troop withdrawal which was agreed at December talks in Sweden. "Both parties have reiterated their commitment...
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EU Concerned by Iran Missile Work, Regional Security Role

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 03:50
The European Union said on Monday it was gravely concerned by Iran's ballistic missile launches and tests and called on Tehran to stop activity that deepened mistrust and destabilized the region. Iran has expanded its missile program, particularly its ballistic missiles, in defiance of opposition from the United States and expressions of concern by European countries. Tehran says the program is purely defensive. "The Council is ... gravely concerned by Iran's ballistic...
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First Wave of New Ethiopian Immigrants Arrives in Israel

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 01:39
Nearly 100 Ethiopian Jews landed in Israel on Monday in the first wave of new immigration since the government said last year that it would let some of the 8,000 remaining community members join relatives in Israel. Local Ethiopian community members welcomed the newcomers after years of delays. Israel recognizes the community's Jewish roots but does not consider them fully Jewish, so they require special approval to immigrate that has not always been forthcoming. Atersau Baiye, 61,...
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Upcoming EU-Arab Summit Brings More Headaches Than Expected

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 01:23
When plans for a summit between the European Union and the Arab League were first hatched last year, it was envisioned as the start of a new friendship across the Mediterranean. What a difference a few months makes. The EU hopes that improving ties with its Arab neighbors would help advance its policies, not least its aim to fight illegal immigration from the Middle East and North Africa. But after the murder of a journalist in a Saudi consulate last October, European officials helping...
Categories: Iraq

Islamic State Resurgence Expected Within Months

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 00:45
Even as U.S.-backed forces close in on the very last pockets of the Islamic State's self-declared caliphate in Syria, the terror group is unfazed, instead preparing to declare victory and retake territory. The sobering assessment by U.S. Central Command and relayed to the lead inspector general for U.S. efforts in Iraq and Syria comes just over a month after U.S. President Donald Trump announced plans to withdraw some 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria, declaring the fight against IS...
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Reports: Saudi Arabia to Address Abuse of Male Guardianship System

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 00:36
Saudi Arabia will study how its male guardianship system is being abused, Saudi media reported on Monday, after the flight of an 18-year-old woman to Thailand last month focused global attention on the issue. Every Saudi woman is assigned a male relative — often a father or husband but sometimes an uncle, brother or even a son — whose approval is needed to marry, obtain a passport and travel abroad. Rights groups say the arrangement turns women into second-class citizens, depriving...
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US Calls on Allies to Repatriate IS Prisoners from Syria

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 00:25
The U.S. State Department called on countries to take in and prosecute hundreds of foreign fighters captured by America's Kurdish allies in Syria as the United States withdraws troops from the country. The department's spokesman, Robert Palladino, did not say how many prisoners were detained by the Syrian Democratic Forces — an alliance of militias dominated by the Kurdish YPG — but U.S. officials believe they number about 850. The United States has long said it wants to see...
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Pope in Historic UAE Visit Urges Faith Leaders to Reject War

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 20:23
Pope Francis urged religious leaders Monday to work together to reject war as he opened the first-ever papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula, the birthplace of Islam, with a strong denunciation of violence committed in God's name. In a keynote speech to an interfaith gathering in the United Arab Emirates, Francis warned that the future of humanity was at stake unless religions come together to resist the "logic of armed power ... the arming of borders, the raising of...
Categories: Iraq

French Military Stops 'Hostile Progression' Into Chad

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 15:54
The French military said it has helped to repel a column of 40 pickup trucks entering northern Chad from Libya. The French Defense Ministry said Monday that it used Mirage 2000 fighter jets to launch air strikes on the armed group in the trucks Sunday. The military said the "intervention, in response to a request from Chadian authorities, helped hinder this hostile progression and disperse the column." There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the incursion from...
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UAE Gives Pope Pomp-Filled Welcome Ceremony At Visit's Start

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 12:39
Pope Francis opened his historic visit to the United Arab Emirates on Monday with a grandiose, pomp-filled welcome ceremony before he was to address faith leaders in a show of religious tolerance in a Muslim region known for its restrictions on religious freedom. Francis arrived at the Abu Dhabi presidential palace in a simple Kia hatchback, but was greeted with an artillery salute and military flyover by a country now at war.  Even for a nation known for its excesses, the...
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Iran Women See New Opportunities Alongside Old Barriers

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 05:20
Saba was just 25 when she left her design job in New York to work on a project renovating an art gallery back in her hometown Tehran. Within months, she won three more contracts to do up galleries and the lobby of an apartment complex. "I had dreamt of building my own company, but I hadn't expected it to happen any time soon. If I had stayed in New York, I wouldn't have had this chance," said Saba, now 27. She says the position of women in Iran has changed a lot...
Categories: Iraq