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US Strikes Supportive Note as Former Foe Leads in Iraqi Election

Wed, 05/16/2018 - 01:10
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday that the United States stands by Iraqis' electoral choices, despite the surprise success of populist Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who fought U.S. troops during the Iraq War. Mattis praised Iraq's move toward democracy. "The Iraqi people had an election. That's a democratic process at a time when many people doubted that Iraq could take charge of themselves," he told reporters. With official results from...
Categories: Iraq

Gaza Protests Continue as Palestinians Mark 'the Disaster'

Wed, 05/16/2018 - 01:10
Protests continued in Gaza on Tuesday, a day after Palestinian officials said 58 people were killed and more than 2,700 were injured in demonstrations across the Palestinian Territory on Monday alone. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Gaza.
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British Prisoner in Iran Dealt Blow in Early Release Bid

Wed, 05/16/2018 - 00:55
The husband of an Iranian-British woman jailed in Iran for alleged spying says she could be charged with an additional crime in the coming days, dashing her hopes for an early release from prison. In a Tuesday interview with VOA Persian from London, Richard Ratcliffe said his wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, told him of the potential new charge in a phone call a day earlier from Tehran's Evin prison. Ratcliffe said his wife told him that her father had learned of the potential new...
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Russia to Host Syria Peace Talks in July

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 22:57
Russia, Turkey and Iran will hold the next round of their Syrian peace talks in July in the Russian city of Sochi, not in the Kazakh capital Astana like their previous meetings, the three countries said Tuesday. The Syrian rebels said they would boycott the talks due to Russia's role as host. Since they began last year, the trilateral meetings have taken place in Kazakhstan, which is not involved in the Syrian war — unlike Russia, which backs President Bashar al-Assad and has helped...
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Algeria's Ailing Leader Makes Rare Public Appearance

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 22:40
Algeria's president has visited the construction site of the future Great Mosque in Algiers, in a rare public appearance of the 81-year-old ailing leader. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has been debilitated by a stroke for years, appeared in television footage in a wheelchair Tuesday.   After praying at a mosque belonging to a religious brotherhood outside the capital, Bouteflika visited the gigantic construction site of the Great Mosque.   The presidential project has been...
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Lots of Women Check Out Saudi Car Show

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 22:33
A car show in the Saudi capital is drawing in many women, who beginning next month will be allowed to drive in the kingdom as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's modernization plans. The event also attracted banks ready to offer financing for female buyers. "Anything related to cars these days is attracting Saudi Arabian women. I want to know more about cars and prices," said Shaimaa al-Fadl as she climbed into a car at the exhibition...
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S. Africa Withdraws Envoy to Israel Amid US Embassy Move Protests

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 22:30
South Africa recalled its ambassador from Israel on Tuesday, after Israeli forces killed around Palestinians 60 protesters during demonstrations against the U.S. embassy's move from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem.   South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation condemned the actions of Israeli forces against pro-Palestinian protesters in Gaza, saying, “The victims were taking part in a peaceful protest against the provocative inauguration of the...
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Haley: Hamas Cause of Deadly Gaza Violence, Not US Embassy Move

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 20:52
The United States defended Israel’s actions to suppress sometimes violent demonstrations at its Gaza border at the United Nations Tuesday in the face of widespread criticism from other countries. U.S. Ambassador NikkI Haley said Israel had used "restraint" in response to deadly clashes with Palestinians and blamed the Hamas militant group for the violence. But U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov, speaking to council members from...
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Palestinians Rally for Gaza Funerals

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 19:45
Thousands of Palestinian mourners rallied in Gaza Tuesday at funerals for the first of dozens of protesters killed in border clashes with Israeli security forces, an assault U.N. human rights officials condemned as "appalling." Many of the mourners waved Palestinian flags and some called for revenge against Israel for the 60 who were killed and the 2,700 wounded on Monday. Mourners walking to two funerals in southern Gaza shouted, "With souls and blood we redeem you...
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New US Sanctions Target Iran's Money Transfers to Hezbollah

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 19:14
The United States on Tuesday blacklisted Iran’s central bank governor Valiollah Seif and its international department assistant director Ali Tarzali for allegedly sending millions of dollars to Lebanon-based Shiite militant group Hezbollah. A statement from the U.S. Treasury Department said Seif and Tarzali helped Iran’s Revolutionary Guards' Qods Force (IRGC-QF) exploit the international financial system to fund its activities abroad. “Iran’s Central Bank Governor covertly...
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Syrian Government Seizes Last Rebel Enclave in Homs

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 17:01
Syrian government forces are in full control of the last rebel enclave in Syria's largest province after "overpowering terrorism" following the evacuation of thousands of armed men and civilians, an officer told state-run TV Tuesday. The rebels have agreed to surrender the northern countryside of Homs province to the government under a deal reached in early May. According to the deal, thousands of rebels and civilians who refuse to live under government control were to be...
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Study: Russian Support Gave Assad Half of Syria

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 16:59
Airstrikes against Syrian rebels have gone up 150 percent since Russia intervened in the conflict in 2015, helping the regime triple the territory under its control, a report published on Tuesday showed. The analysis by IHS Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Center (JTIC) also found that just 14 percent of the strikes were against the Islamic State group. It found that the Syrian state had increased the area under its control from 16 percent of the country in September 2015 to 47...
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Europe, Iran Seek to Save Nuclear Deal after US Pullout

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 16:38
Major European powers sought Tuesday to keep Iran in a landmark international nuclear agreement even after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the pact and promised tough economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Foreign ministers from Britain, France and Germany — signatories of the 2015 deal to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons — held talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, amid concerns that the sanctions will also damage European...
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Bahrain Revokes Citizenship of 115 People in Mass Trial

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 16:26
A Bahrain court on Tuesday revoked the citizenship of 115 people at a mass terrorism trial, sentencing dozens to prison amid a years-long crackdown on all dissent in the island kingdom.   Bahrain's Public Prosecution said the case involved a little-known militant group it identified as the “Zulfiqar Brigades,” whose mass arrests authorities previously announced in 2016.   Prosecutors said those accused built and detonated bombs, received weapons training and plotted to kill...
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UN Condemns 'Appalling' Violence in Gaza

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 15:45
The U.N. human rights office said Monday's killing of 58 Palestinians by Israeli forces is "appalling" and it is worried what might happen on Tuesday and in the future. Palestinian officials said more than 2,700 protesters were injured in clashes along the Gaza border during the deadliest day of cross-border violence since a 2014 war with Israel. "It seems anyone is liable to be shot dead or injured: women, children, press, first responders, bystanders, and at...
Categories: Iraq

Deadly Protests Engulf Gaza as US Opens Embassy in Jerusalem

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 09:28
More protests are expected Tuesday along the Gaza border following a day of clashes in which Israeli forces killed at least 58 Palestinians and wounded more than 2,700. Monday was the deadliest day of cross-border violence in Gaza since a 2014 war with Israel. The clashes happened as U.S. and Israeli officials celebrated the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem less than 100 kilometers away. The Israeli military said more than 40,000 people protested. Along with rejecting...
Categories: Iraq

Long Odds for Peace as Trump Roils Mideast with Embassy Move

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 06:55
President Donald Trump's prospects for brokering the Mideast peace "deal of the century'' plunged ever deeper Monday as the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem opened amid bloodshed in Gaza. The day fueled global concern that U.S. policies are tipping the broader Middle East into deeper, intractable conflict. At the same time, Trump is winning international support for his efforts to strike a deal with nuclear-armed North Korea. But his contentious decisions in the Middle East are...
Categories: Iraq

US Navy Expects 'Uncertainty' in Gulf After Iran Deal Withdrawal

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 05:30
The United States Navy is closely watching Iranian behavior in the Gulf and expects a "period of uncertainty" and increased level of alertness after President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from an international nuclear deal with Iran, the U.S. Navy chief said on Monday. Trump said last week that the United States was withdrawing from a 2015 deal negotiated by the Obama administration. The withdrawal has upset Washington's European allies, cast uncertainty over...
Categories: Iraq

World Questions US Embassy Move Amid Gaza Death Toll

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 04:51
As the United States and Israel tout the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as a tribute to peace, Israeli forces have killed at least 50 Palestinian protesters and wounded hundreds of others in raids on protesters in Gaza. The inauguration of the U.S. embassy on Monday sparked protests in the region and elsewhere in the world. Human rights groups are calling for an investigation of the deaths in Gaza. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Categories: Iraq

Syrian Refugees Finding Their Place on ‘Aleppo Street’ in Istanbul

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 04:46
Following waves of immigration to the United States, ethnic neighborhoods sprang up in cities from coast to coast - Little Havana in Miami, Greektown in Chicago, India Square in Jersey City, Little Persia in Los Angeles, as well as Chinatowns and Little Italies in many US cities. They’ve become a source of pride as well as economic revitalization. The influx of Syrian refugees to Turkey has transformed one neighborhood in Istanbul. VOA Turkish Service stringer Tan Cetin reports.
Categories: Iraq