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Tensions Grow Between Russia, Iran in Syria

Tue, 05/28/2019 - 04:50
Russian military police last week reportedly carried out a raid against Iranian-backed militiamen stationed at Syria's Aleppo international airport, local media reported.    In the aftermath, several Iranian militia leaders were arrested in what was seen as the latest episode of tensions between Iranian and Russian forces in Syria.     Since the beginning of Syria's civil war in 2011, Russia and Iran have built a strong military presence in the country in...
Categories: Iraq

Zarif Says Iran Not Seeking Nuclear Arms

Mon, 05/27/2019 - 23:15
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons, which its supreme leader had banned in an edict, adding on Twitter that U.S. policies were hurting the Iranian people and causing regional tensions. "Ayatollah (Ali) @khamenei_ir long ago said we're not seeking nuclear weapons" by issuing a fatwa (edict) banning them," Zarif said in a tweet." (U.S.) Economic Terrorism is hurting the Iranian people and causing tension in the...
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Israel Could Face New Elections Amid Coalition Crisis

Mon, 05/27/2019 - 22:30
Israel moved closer to new parliamentary elections Monday, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unable to form a government after appearing on track last month to win a fifth term as leader of the Jewish state. The Israeli parliament approved a preliminary motion to dissolve itself, and if adopted a second time in a Wednesday vote, Israel would be forced to hold new elections. After last month's elections, Netanyahu's ruling Likud Party emerged tied as the largest bloc in the...
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Israel Open to US-Led Talks With Lebanon Over Border Dispute

Mon, 05/27/2019 - 19:40
Israel says it's willing to engage in U.S.-mediated talks with Lebanon to resolve a border dispute over a sliver of the Mediterranean Sea seen as rich with energy resources. Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said he met Monday with U.S. envoy David Satterfield, who has shuttled between the countries with the aim of demarcating their maritime boundary over past weeks. Steinitz “expressed Israel's openness”' to negotiations “for the benefit of both countries' interests in...
Categories: Iraq

Israel Fires Missile on Syrian Military Site

Mon, 05/27/2019 - 19:16
Edward Yeranian contributed to this report from Cairo. An Israeli airstrike on a Syrian anti-aircraft position near the Golan Heights Monday killed one soldier and wounded three, Syria said. Israel called the rocket strike on Tal al-Shaar retaliation for a Syrian missile fired at an Israeli military jet it said was a routine flight. Israel only acknowledged firing at the Syrian position, but gave no other details. Israel has fired hundreds of missiles into Syrian territory at...
Categories: Iraq

Baghdad Court Sentences 4th French IS Member to Death

Mon, 05/27/2019 - 19:09
The French former members of the Islamic State group were brought into the courtroom in Baghdad one after the other on Monday and made to sit inside a wooden cage in the middle. As they spoke in French, a government official typed up the translation into Arabic, which immediately appeared on a large screen behind the judge that the court could read.   Mustafa Mohammed Ibrahim became the fourth French citizen to be sentenced to death by a Baghdad court for joining the Islamic State...
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Trump: Japan-Mediated Iran Talks 'Would Be Fine'

Mon, 05/27/2019 - 15:49
Despite the lingering shadow of North Korea over their talks, U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also turned their attention to trade and other diplomatic issues Monday in Tokyo. Trump even suggested Japan could mediate between the United States and another intransigent foe, as VOA's Richard Green reports.
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Trump: Japan-Mediated Iran Talks 'Would Be Fine'

Mon, 05/27/2019 - 04:08
U.S. President Donald Trump says he would be fine with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe serving as a mediator between the United States and Iran. "The prime minister has already spoken to me about that," Trump said in response to a question from VOA."And I do believe that Iran would like to talk and if they'd like to talk we'd like to talk also. We'll see what happens. But I know for a fact that the prime minister is very close with the leadership of...
Categories: Iraq

Coalition: Saudi Downs Attack Drone From Yemen

Sun, 05/26/2019 - 19:59
Saudi Arabia on Sunday shot down a bomb-laden drone deployed by Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen to attack an airport in the kingdom, state media reported. The Saudi air force intercepted and destroyed the drone that targeted Jizan airport, close to the southern border with Yemen, the Riyadh-led coalition fighting the rebels was quoted as saying by the official Saudi Press Agency. The rebels' Al-Masirah TV said earlier that the drone targeted military hangars at Jizan...
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Libya's Haftar Says to Fight Until Tripoli 'Militias' Defeated

Sun, 05/26/2019 - 17:53
Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar, who is leading a military offensive against the U.N.-recognized government in Tripoli, said in an interview published Sunday he will continue fighting until militias in the city laid down their arms. Haftar had justified the offensive last month by saying he was fighting against "private militias and extremist groups" who he said were gaining influence in the capital under Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. "Of course a political solution is...
Categories: Iraq

Iraq Courts Sentences 3 French Men to Death

Sun, 05/26/2019 - 16:31
An Iraqi court has sentenced three French citizens to death after finding them guilty for joining the Islamic State group. They are the first French IS members that received death sentences in Iraq. The hearings push forward the trials of hundreds of people — many of them foreigners — captured after the militant group lost its final stronghold in Syria last year. The three sentenced on Sunday,  Kevin Gonot, Leonard Lopez and Salim Machou, are among 12 French citizens who were...
Categories: Iraq

Jailed PKK Leader Calls for End to Mass Hunger Strike

Sun, 05/26/2019 - 14:42
Thousands of prisoners in Turkish jails have ended a 200-day-long hunger strike after jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan was allowed to see his lawyer for the first time in eight years. "Comrades who have committed themselves to hunger strikes and death fasts, I expect you to end your protest," Ocalan said in an appeal to his supporters Sunday. He has been allowed to see his attorney twice in the past week A number of Kurdish lawmakers had joined the 3,000 prisoners...
Categories: Iraq

Israeli President Shocked Over German Skullcap Warning

Sun, 05/26/2019 - 14:40
IIsraeli President Reuven Rivlin says he is shocked Germany has told Jews it could be dangerous in some parts of the country to wear religious skullcaps in public. "Fears about the security of German Jews are a capitulation to anti-Semitism and an admittance that again, Jews are not safe on German soil," Rivlin tweeted Sunday. He added that the welfare, rights and religious freedom of every member of the German Jewish community is the responsibility of the German government...
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Israelis Protest Move to Grant Netanyahu Immunity

Sun, 05/26/2019 - 03:13
Thousands of Israelis protested Saturday against legislative steps that could grant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immunity from prosecution and limit the power of the country's Supreme Court.  The demonstration in Tel Aviv was attended by nearly all opposition parties, a rare show of unity for Israel's splintered political system. Police did not say how many people attended. A Reuters photographer estimated about 20,000 were present,...
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Sources: Turkey Arms Syrian Rebels Facing Russian-Backed Assault

Sun, 05/26/2019 - 01:59
Turkey has equipped an array of mainstream Syrian rebels it backs with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them try to repel a major Russian-backed assault, senior opposition officials and rebel sources said  Saturday.  Russia is backing the Syrian army's large aerial and ground assault as it seeks to gain control of the last big stretch of rebel-held territory in the northwest of the country.  Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched the...
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Iraq Offers to Mediate Crisis Between Iran, US

Sat, 05/25/2019 - 19:23
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told journalists during a 48-hour visit to Baghdad that Iran would "respond to "aggressive actions by the U.S., both economic and military," but that it continues to "adhere to the 2015 nuclear accord."  Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Alhakim insisted Baghdad "opposes U.S. sanctions against Tehran," but would be ready to serve as an intermediary. The 48-hour visit to Baghdad by Zarif follows recent...
Categories: Iraq

Trump Sends More Troops to the Middle East to Deter Iran

Sat, 05/25/2019 - 19:20
U.S. President Donald Trump is sending 1500 troops to the Middle East to deter potential Iranian threats. Earlier this week, Trump administration officials told lawmakers that the U.S. is not seeking to provoke Tehran. Many are concerned that the mixed messages coming out of the administration may increase the risk of conflict and lessen the chance of persuading Iran to halt its nuclear weapons program. White House correspondent Patsy Widakuswara has this report.
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UN Condemns Rampant Abuse in Syria's Daraa Governorate

Sat, 05/25/2019 - 15:57
The U.N. human rights office condemns rampant human rights violations in Daraa Governorate in southwest Syria by both government and so-called non-state actors. The agency accuses both parties of flaunting the reconciliation agreement implemented 10 months ago. The reconciliation agreement between the Syrian Government and armed rebel groups was supposed to bring peace to Syria’s Daraa Governorate, which is located near the Jordanian border. Following the agreement last July, most people...
Categories: Iraq

Women Run Grave Risks Fighting for Change in Egypt, Sudan, Algeria

Sat, 05/25/2019 - 10:00
From Egypt to Sudan to Algeria, women have become more active in participating in demonstrations demanding lasting change in their societies. But their vocal activism in these Islamic societies has been viewed by some as an unwelcome threat, leading security forces to react harshly — often sexually assaulting women as a tactic of control. VOA’s Salem Solomon reports on the dangers for women involved when protesters call for change.
Categories: Iraq

IS Threatens 'Hot Summer' by Scorching Iraq, Syria Farmlands  

Sat, 05/25/2019 - 04:17
The Islamic State in its al-Naba newspaper claimed responsibility for setting fire to hundreds of acres of agricultural land across Iraq and Syria, encouraging its followers to continue the sabotage of "apostate" crops during the harvest season.     In an article titled "Roll Up Your Sleeves and Begin the Harvest — May Allah Bless What You Reap," the group said the arson was in retaliation for what it claims Shiite and...
Categories: Iraq