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EU Anti-Terror Chief: IS Still Has 2,500 European Fighters

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 14:17
The European Union's counter-terrorism coordinator says the Islamic State group still has about 2,500 fighters from Europe among its dwindling ranks.   Gilles de Kerchove told German daily Welt in an interview published Tuesday that the extremist group used to have about 5,000 European fighters in Iraq and Syria.   De Kerchove says about 1,500 fighters have since returned home and 1,000 have been killed. He says many of those remaining are likely to die fighting or at the...
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Turkish Court Rules Opposition Newspaper Journalists Must Remain in Custody

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 05:45
A Turkish court remanded five prominent staff from the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper in custody on Monday in a trial which President Tayyip Erdogan's critics have condemned as an attack on free speech. The court said the newspaper correspondents and executives, some of whom have already been detained for 10 months, should remain in detention until more evidence was presented. "The court has decided to keep the arrested until witnesses are heard," chief judge Abdurrahman...
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Venezuelan President Wraps Up Algeria Trip With Talks on Oil

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 02:10
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said at the end of a two-day visit to Algeria Monday that his country and the North African nation were working to achieve "equitable'' oil prices.   Maduro said his talks with Algeria's second-ranking official, Council of the Nation President Abdelkader Bensalah, had a "good climate.'' The Council of the Nation operates like a Senate.   The Venezuelan leader apparently did not meet with President Abdelaziz...
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Lebanese Director Ziad Doueiri Briefly Detained for Israel Film Ties

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 18:24
Renowned French-Lebanese film director Ziad Doueiri appeared before a military court in Beirut Monday to face questions about his role in a past movie project in neighboring Israel. Lebanon bans its citizens from travel to Israel or having business dealings with Israelis as the two nations are in a state of war. Doueiri was briefly detained at Beirut's Rafic Hariri airport late Sunday and his passports confiscated after arriving in Lebanon to promote a new movie that received critical...
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UN: Human Rights Protections Threatened by Growing Authoritarianism

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 16:21
Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations' high commissioner for human rights, painted a dark picture of growing violations and abuse around the world in an address to delegates at the opening of the 36th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council Monday. While condemning the actions of violent extremists and terrorists, he warned of the greater dangers to society from governments that  “peel away at human rights protections,” watching societies gradually unravel as an increasing...
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Palestinians Release Activist Jailed for Facebook Post

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 01:55
A Palestinian activist who has run afoul of both the Palestinian and Israeli authorities was released from a Palestinian jail Sunday, a week after he was arrested for writing a Facebook post critical of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.   Issa Amro, who says he pursues a path of non-violence against discriminatory Israeli policies and Jewish settlements in the West Bank city of Hebron, now faces the rare predicament of criminal proceedings in both an Israeli military court and a...
Categories: Iraq

Is a Saudi-Iran Thaw Possible?

Sun, 09/10/2017 - 16:51
Saudi Arabia and Iran are rethinking their rivalry and a highly tentative, as well as a deniable, courtship is underway, say analysts. But it is fraught pitfalls and last week in London Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister dismissed talk of a possible thaw as “laughable,” saying Iran would have to change its policies dramatically for that to happen. Even so, Riyadh has softened its opposition to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, Iran’s ally, and has dialed down its own sectarian rhetoric...
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Hezbollah: Syrian Army Controls Entire Damascus-Deir el-Zour Highway

Sun, 09/10/2017 - 16:26
Syrian government forces seized a final stretch of highway linking the eastern city of Deir el-Zour to the capital Damascus on Sunday in further advances against Islamic State, a Hezbollah-run media unit reported. Troops moving in from the west linked up with forces already in Deir el-Zour at the Panorama entrance to the city, bringing the whole road under their control for the first time in years, it said. The Syrian army and its Iran-backed allies, which include Lebanese Hezbollah,...
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Shattered by War, Sunni Arabs Despair Over Future in Iraq

Sun, 09/10/2017 - 15:47
Fawaz Saleh Ahmed has been secretly sneaking into his own village in northern Iraq to visit his home.   The last time he went, he wept as he spent several hours going from room to room in the partially destroyed house, he said. When his tears dried, he made his way back to the nearby Khazir camp housing those displaced by war, where he and his family have lived for almost a year.   Frustratingly, tantalizingly, he can see his house from there, but the Kurdish forces controlling...
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Egypt Says Police Killed 10 Suspected Militants in Cairo

Sun, 09/10/2017 - 13:58
Egyptian police on Sunday raided two adjacent apartments used as hideouts by members of a splinter faction of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, killing 10 of them in a shootout, according to security officials.   The exchange of gunfire took place in the densely populated Cairo district of Ard el-Liwa and wounded five policemen, including two officers, said the officials. One of the militants, they said, died when an explosive device he intended to use against the policemen went...
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Iraq Says Holding 1,300 Women, Children, Families of IS Fighters

Sun, 09/10/2017 - 12:16
Iraqi authorities said Sunday they are holding more than 1,300 foreign women and children, the families of suspected Islamic State jihadists, at a camp for displaced people and expect to repatriate them to their home countries. The women and children, most from Russia, Turkey and Central Asia with some from European countries, surrendered to Kurdish forces at the end of August after Iraqi fighters drove Islamic State from the northern town of Tal Afar, near Mosul. Iraqi officials said...
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Israeli PM's Son Under Fire for Anti-Semitic Post

Sun, 09/10/2017 - 11:48
Israeli political leaders lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's eldest son Sunday for posting an anti-Semitic caricature aimed at his father's critics. Yair Netanyahu's meme shows American Jewish billionaire George Soros and a figure that resembles Nazi depictions of world Jewry manipulating former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and two leaders of weekly protests calling on Netanyahu to step down over corruption allegations. The post was shared by former Ku Klux Klan...
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Iraq Steps Up Strikes on IS-held Hawija Ahead of Offensive

Sun, 09/10/2017 - 01:59
The Iraqi air force and the U.S.-led coalition on Saturday stepped up a campaign of airstrikes on the Islamic State-held town of Hawija ahead of a planned ground assault there, according to Iraq's minister of defense. Also Saturday, the secretary-general of the Arab League visited Baghdad to encourage political dialogue with Irbil as Iraq's Kurdish region pushes forward with plans to hold a referendum on independence September 25. Despite ongoing military operations to clear...
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New Royal Tomb Discovered on Luxor's West Bank

Sun, 09/10/2017 - 00:10
Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities announces the discovery of a new Kingdom tomb that belongs to god Amun's Goldsmith, Amenemhat, and a burial shaft housing the mummy of a woman and her two children.
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3,500-year-old Royal Tomb Discovered in Egypt

Sat, 09/09/2017 - 22:35
Egypt announced on Saturday the discovery of a pharaonic tomb belonging to a royal goldsmith, who lived more than 3,500 years ago and whose work was dedicated to the ancient Egyptian god Amun.
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Phone Call Between Saudi Crown Prince, Qatar's Emir Sparks Media Row

Sat, 09/09/2017 - 20:02
Saudi Arabia says it has suspended dialogue with Qatar to resolve an ongoing conflict with its Gulf neighbors, following a fresh row over a phone conversation between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. Saudi Arabia claims the Qatari News Agency misrepresented the substance of the call. Saudi Arabia and Qatar appear to be engaging in diplomacy-by-megaphone once again, as the media of both states wrangle over a phone call Saturday between...
Categories: Iraq

Syrian Army, US-backed Fighters Race to Eastern Syria

Sat, 09/09/2017 - 12:28
U.S.-backed Syrian fighters are preparing an offensive against the Islamic State group in eastern Syria along the border with Iraq in a race with government forces marching in the same direction against the extremists in their last major holdout in Syria.    The dueling battles for Deir el-Zour highlight the importance of the oil-rich eastern province, which has become the latest epicenter of the international war against the Islamic State group, raising concerns of an eventual...
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Qatar and Saudi Leaders Explore Possible Talks

Sat, 09/09/2017 - 05:01
Saudi Arabia says it has suspended any dialogue with Qatar, accusing it of “distorting facts,” just after reports that Saudi and Qatari leaders had spoken by phone and agreed to talks. Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Press Agency said late Friday that a Qatari report about a phone call between Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “did not have any relevance to the truth.” Qatari sources reported the two men agreed by telephone to appoint envoys for...
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Britain Announces More Support for Lebanese Army

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 15:25
Britain announced Thursday it is stepping up support of the Lebanese army, providing funds for defensive barriers to be used along Lebanon’s border with Syria. The move is being seen as a vote of confidence by London in the Lebanese army and encouragement of the ambition of its commanders to emerge as the dominant military force on the frontier with Syria — a goal that would complicate Iran’s forging of a so-called ‘land bridge’ through Iraq and Syria and of assisting its allies in...
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Russia: Airstrike Kills 40 IS Fighters, 4 Senior Commanders in Syria

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 11:53
A Russian air strike has killed about 40 Islamic State fighters, including four senior commanders, near the eastern Syrian city of Deir el-Zour, Russia’s defense ministry said Friday.  The strike, carried out by Su-34 fighter-bombers and Su-35 fighters, came after an intelligence report Sept. 5 showed that top Islamic State commanders were meeting at a secret underground command post in the vicinity of Deir el-Zour, the ministry said on its Facebook page. Among those killed was...
Categories: Iraq