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Uncertain Future Awaits Displaced Syrian Yazidis in Lebanon

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 04:15
Concern is growing among hundreds of Yazidis who fled their homes due to the Turkish intrusion of northwestern Syria to neighboring Lebanon, as the religious minority faces a possible forced return by Lebanese authorities. An estimated 500 Yazidis fled the town of Afrin in early 2018 during the Turkish Operation Olive Branch against the U.S.-backed Kurdish forces. They say they fear being targeted by Islamist militants if they return home. One of the refugees, Ronahi Hassan Alias, said...
Categories: Iraq

Murder Charge Dropped Against Jewish Suspect in Arson Attack on Palestinians

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 02:13
Israeli prosecutors have dropped murder charges against a Jewish suspect in a 2015 arson attack that killed a Palestinian toddler and his parents. Under a plea bargain, the unnamed suspect pleaded guilty to a racially motivated conspiracy and staking out the Palestinian village with a codefendant. Prosecutors will seek a five-year prison sentence. They agreed not to pursue the more serious charge of murder, noting the suspect was a minor at the time of the attack. The other suspect,...
Categories: Iraq

UAE: Sabotage on 4 Commercial Ships in Gulf of Oman

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 02:00
The United Arab Emirates says four commercial ships were subjected to "sabotage operations" Sunday near its territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman. Authorities gave no details, however, on what kind of sabotage they suspect or to whom the ships belong, other than saying they were of different nationalities. They say no one was hurt and no chemicals or fuel were spilled from the ships. The UAE did deny Iranian and Lebanese news reports of explosions at the port of Fujairah...
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Report: Iran Commander Calls US Military in Gulf a Target, Not a Threat

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 00:29
A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander said on Sunday the U.S. military presence in the Gulf used to be a serious threat but now represented a target, the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) reported. The U.S. military has sent forces, including an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers, to the Middle East in a move U.S. officials said was to counter "clear indications" of threats from Iran to its forces in the region. The USS Abraham Lincoln is replacing another...
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Center Empowering Yemen’s Women and Girls

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 23:13
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. Reporter Neha Wadekar visited the village of Raz Amran in January and has this report.
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UN: Houthi Withdrawal From Key Yemen Ports on Track

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 21:33
The U.N. said Sunday that the redeployment of Houthi forces from key ports in Yemen "went in accordance with established plans:. "All three ports were monitored simultaneously by United Nations teams as the military forces left the ports and the Coast Guard took over responsibility for security," Michael Lollesgaard, the chair of the U.N.'s Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC), said in a statement. "In the following days, activities are expected to focus on...
Categories: Iraq

Syria Says Insurgent Shelling Kills 6 Civilians in Northwest

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 17:54
Insurgents fired rockets into a government-held Christian town in northwestern Syria on Sunday, killing six people, including five children who were playing near a monastery and wounding several others, state media and a local priest said. State TV said the shelling just before noon caused widespread material damage to the town of Suqailabiyah. It said the dead also included a 35-year-old woman. State news agency SANA said Syrian troops had retaliated by firing shells toward...
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Iranian Media Say Reformist Magazine Closed by Authorities

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 15:00
Iranian authorities shut down a reformist magazine that had urged negotiations with the United States, local media reported Sunday. The weekly magazine Seda was handed a suspension order Saturday by a court in Tehran, the reformist newspaper Arman reported. Seda's most recent front page had shown a U.S. aircraft carrier fleet and the caption "At the crossroads between war and peace." The magazine called for "high-level engagement" between the U.S. and Iran,...
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Pompeo to Meet With Putin, Lavrov Amid Tensions

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 13:06
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov this week, as the two countries clash over a number of issues including Venezuela, Iran, and Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.   Pompeo heads to Moscow Sunday, in his first visit to Russia as chief U.S. diplomat.   Top U.S. officials, including Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence, have accused Russia of working against Venezuela’s...
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Lebanon’s Former Maronite Patriarch Sfeir Dies

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 10:20
Lebanon’s former Maronite patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, who wielded considerable political influence during the country’s civil war and was an ardent advocate of a Syrian troop withdrawal, died Sunday, the church said.  Sfeir, who would have turned 99 on May 15, died about 3 a.m. (0100 GMT) “after days of intensive medical care,” said a statement by the Maronite church.  He became the leader of the church in 1986 until he resigned in 2011, because of his declining...
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Generic Drug Companies Accused of Price Gouging

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 09:42
Forty U.S. states have filed a lawsuit against 20 pharmaceutical companies that make generic drugs, accusing the companies of participating in a scheme to inflate drug prices, sometimes by as much as 1,000%. "We have hard evidence that shows the generic drug industry perpetrated a multibillion dollar fraud on the American people," said Connecticut Attorney General William Tong. "We all wonder why our health care and specifically the prices for generic prescription drugs,...
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Saudi Forces Kill 8 in Shiite Area, Agency Says

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 02:45
Saudi Arabia’s security forces killed eight alleged terrorists in a shootout in the predominantly Shiite eastern region of Qatif, a government statement issued late Saturday said. The Interior Ministry said security forces launched a raid against a suspected militant hideout on the island of Tarot off the coast of the kingdom’s Eastern Province, a restive region on the Persian Gulf where most of the country’s oil reserves are located. The statement described the group as a “terrorist...
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Netanyahu to Ask for More Time to Form Government

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 02:05
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will ask Israel's president for more time to form a new government, a spokesman said Saturday.  In office for a decade, Netanyahu won a record fifth term in an April 9 parliamentary election, largely seen as a de facto referendum on his leadership as he faces possible indictment in three corruption cases. He denies the charges.  Netanyahu is negotiating terms with nearly all the right-wing, nationalist and...
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Iran's Rouhani Calls for Unity in Face of US Pressure

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 01:14
President Hassan Rouhani called Saturday for unity among Iran's political factions to overcome conditions that he said might be harder than those during the 1980s war with Iraq, state media reported as the country faces tightening U.S. sanctions.  U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday urged Iran's leaders talk with him about giving up their nuclear program and said he could not rule out a military confrontation. Trump made the offer as he...
Categories: Iraq

Syrian Troops Expand Offensive Despite Calls for Calm

Sat, 05/11/2019 - 20:00
Syrian government forces expanded their ground offensive in northwestern Syria, pushing Saturday into the last rebel stronghold and regaining control of a number of villages along its southern corner, activists and media said, despite calls for honoring a cease-fire put in place in September. The pro-government Military Media Center said that troops battled insurgent led by an al-Qaida-linked militant group out of Midan Ghazal village, which falls inside Idlib province. The government...
Categories: Iraq

Yemen's Houthis Begin Withdrawal Under UN Peace Deal

Sat, 05/11/2019 - 15:01
Yemen's Houthi rebels started withdrawing Saturday from the ports of Hodeida, Salif, and Ras-Issa, under a United Nations peace deal. Michael Lollesgaard, the chair of the U.N.'s Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC), announced Friday that the redeployment would start Saturday and conclude by Tuesday. The head of the rebels' Supreme Revolutionary Committee said the withdrawal from the ports started at 10 a.m. local time. Lollesgaard said the pullout amounts to a...
Categories: Iraq

In Syria, Iraq, Foreign Fighters Lurk in Shadows

Sat, 05/11/2019 - 11:50
This is part four of a four-part series. By late February and early March, it had become a common scene on the far outskirts of the northeastern Syrian town of Baghuz: evacuees from the Islamic State terror group's final scrap of territory huddled on the desert floor, empty water bottles littering the ground as they waited to be vetted and taken to a displaced persons camp. Only something had changed. These huddled masses were no longer civilians trapped by the terror group's...
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US Sending More Military Power to Counter Iranian Threat

Sat, 05/11/2019 - 08:22
The United States military is once again ramping up its arsenal in the Middle East to counter a potential attack from Iran. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has more on the Iranian threat and the American military response.
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Iran Sees Oil Exports Falter, Trade Slump with Germany, US

Sat, 05/11/2019 - 07:52
U.S. sanctions are biting harder into the Iranian economy, with new signs that Iran’s key oil exports are faltering, while its trade figures with Europe’s biggest economy and with the United States are shrinking. U.S. news service Bloomberg said it has compiled tanker tracking data showing that no oil tankers had been seen leaving Iran’s oil terminals for foreign ports in the first nine days of May. Crude oil is Iran’s main revenue source. Washington tightened its unilateral sanctions...
Categories: Iraq

US Sending More Military Power to Counter Iranian Threat

Sat, 05/11/2019 - 06:54
The United States military is once again increasing its arsenal in the Middle East to counter Iranian threats, announcing Friday the movement of a Patriot missile battery and the USS Arlington landing platform dock ship used in amphibious assaults. The move comes a day after The USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and four B-52 bombers arrived in the Middle East in response to concerns Iran may be planning an attack against American targets. “It’s important that Iran...
Categories: Iraq