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Saudi Economy Vulnerable as Corruption Probe Hits Business Old Guard

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 03:30
Two weeks ago the glitzy Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh was the site of an international conference promoting Saudi Arabia as an investment destination, with over 3,000 officials and business leaders attending. Now the hotel is temporarily serving as a luxury prison where some of the kingdom's political and business elite are being held in a widening crackdown on corruption that may change the way the economy works. By detaining dozens of officials and tycoons, a new anti-corruption...
Categories: Iraq

Saudi Arabia Accuses Iran of 'Act of War' for Missile Launch from Yemen

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 00:45
Saudi Arabia says its archrival Iran may have committed an "act of war" when Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen fired a missile at Riyadh. The Saudis intercepted the missile fired at King Khalid International Airport Saturday. The Saudi-led coalition battling the Houthis says it has the "right to respond to blatant military aggression" by Iran. "Iranian interventions in the region are detrimental to the security of neighboring countries and affect...
Categories: Iraq

Egyptian Rights Lawyer Says He'll Run for President in 2018

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 23:42
Egyptian human rights lawyer and opposition leader Khaled Ali said Monday he would challenge President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the 2018 presidential election, provided he is not barred from the contest. Ali is the first person to announce he is running against Sisi, a former military commander who led the ouster of former President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood more than four years ago. Ali told a news conference he would have a socialist platform, aiming to end austerity and...
Categories: Iraq

Lebanon PM Quits, But State Won't Accept His Resignation

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 23:31
Lebanon's president appealed for national unity on Monday after Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri quit in a broadcast from Saudi Arabia, plunging the coalition government and country into political crisis. After Hariri's shock announcement, political uncertainty deepened further when Lebanon's parliamentary speaker said it was still too early to say whether the government had actually resigned or to talk about the formation of a new government. President Michel Aoun has said he...
Categories: Iraq

Kingdom-wide Arrests in Saudi Arabia See Crown Prince Tighten His Grip

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 20:29
The writers of the television drama series "Game of Thrones" would be hard pressed to pack into one episode what happened in Saudi Arabia Saturday, which saw breathtaking arrests of scores of princes and ministers once considered untouchable. The kingdom-wide swoop has left international investors shocked and analysts scrambling. It drove up the price of oil to its highest close in two years. Included in the unprecedented roundup ordered by King Salman and overseen by his...
Categories: Iraq

Rebuilding 'Hell Square' in Syria’s Raqqa

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 20:13
“I went to all of the executions,” said Abd Hassan Shaban, a 50-year-old father of seven, a week after fleeing the final battles in Raqqa, Syria. “I had relatives in prison. I wanted to see who they were killing.”   People were beheaded, shot, or bludgeoned to death in Raqqa, Shaban added, and Islamic State militants hanged their bodies, or just their heads, on the fence in the center of town. Na'eem Square, or Heaven Square, soon became nicknamed Hell Square....
Categories: Iraq

Saudi-led Coalition Warns Iran Over Yemen Missile Launch

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 10:32
The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen closed off the land, sea and air ports to the Arab world's poorest country early Monday after a rebel-fired ballistic missile targeted Riyadh, blaming the launch on Iran and warning it could be "considered as an act of war.'' The coalition's statement ramps up tensions between the ultraconservative Sunni kingdom and its Shiite rival Iran, both of which have interests in Yemen's yearslong conflict. The bloodshed continued...
Categories: Iraq

Saudi-led Coalition Intensifies Airstrikes on Houthis After Intercepting Ballistic Missile

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 21:12
Saudi Arabia and its allied forces launched a new wave of airstrikes on targets in neighboring Yemen, where Riyadh has been leading a military alliance against Iran-backed Shi’ite Houthi militant forces since March 2015. Alhurra reported the airstrikes targeted the National Security building and the Ministry of Interior and other positions Sunday in the capital, Sana’a. The renewed attacks came a day after the country's military said it intercepted a ballistic missile fired from...
Categories: Iraq

Kirkuk: At Least 5 Killed in Suicide Attacks

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 20:16
At least five people were killed in Iraq's disputed Kirkuk city by twin suicide bombs Sunday. More than a dozen others were wounded in the attacks, which happened about 15 minutes apart, on Atlas street — a key shopping area in the city of more than a million residents. The attack was the first of its kind since Baghdad seized control of the city from Kurdish forces following a Kurdish independence vote held in defiance of Baghdad. Last month, Iraq's military took...
Categories: Iraq

Two Suicide Attacks Kill at Least 5 in Iraq's Kirkuk

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 18:11
Two suicide bombers struck in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Sunday, killing at least five people and wounding more than 20 others, police and medical sources said. The interior ministry said the attacks targeted a Shi'ite Muslim mosque on Atlas Street in central Kirkuk and gave an initial casualty toll of one killed and 16 wounded. It is the first such attack since the central government in Baghdad seized the oil-rich city last month from Kurdish forces, who had been...
Categories: Iraq

Saudi King, Trump Talk About Intercepted Missile

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 14:11
Saudi Arabian state media say the country's military has intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen and aimed at the King Khalid International Airport northeast of Riyadh. Iran-backed Houthi fighters in Yemen have claimed responsibility for the missile, which was intercepted by Saudi forces Saturday. Saudi authorities said the missile caused no casualties or major damage. The Houthis said they were targeting the airport. The White House said President Donald Trump talked...
Categories: Iraq

Militants Attack Security Compound in Aden, Kill Soldiers

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 12:35
A suicide car bomber killed at least five soldiers in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on Sunday, residents and a security official said. The attack took place at a checkpoint outside the main security headquarters in Aden’s Khor Maksar district, they said. Speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters, the security officials said the militants had taken an unknown number of people prisoner inside the compound in Aden. They said Shallal...
Categories: Iraq

Car Bomb Explodes Outside Deir el-Zour, Syria

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 04:08
A car bomb has exploded in the Syrian city of Deir el-Zour, according to the Syrian state news agency. Saturday’s explosion killed dozens of people, according to both the news agency, SANA, and to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The exact death toll is not yet clear. The attack targeted refugees from the violence who had gathered on the east side of the Euphrates River, according to both SANA and the human rights organization. Deir el-Zour  is the center of Syria’s...
Categories: Iraq

In Lebanon, Maestro Helps Voices of Refugee Children Rise Above Poverty, Divisions

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 02:54
The maestro emits a squawking sound in mock imitation of his young choir and the concentrated faces peering back at him break into smiles and giggles.  “No, no — like this!” exclaims maestro Salim Sahab, repeating the notes somewhat more melodiously as he repeats the same tune for what seems like the hundredth time. It’s an uphill battle, but for this collection of Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian youngsters gathered in Lebanon’s second city of Tripoli, it is also, finally, a...
Categories: Iraq

Billionaire, Princes Among Dozens Arrested in Saudi Anti-corruption Sweep

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 02:15
Saudi Arabia has arrested dozens of princes and former government ministers, including a well-known billionaire with extensive holdings in Western companies, as part of a sweeping anti-corruption probe, further cementing King Salman and his crown prince son’s control of the kingdom.   A high-level employee at Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Company told The Associated Press that the royal was among those detained overnight Saturday. The employee said he received calls from...
Categories: Iraq

Iran Celebrates Anniversary of US Embassy Takeover With Missile Display

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 00:33
Iran on Saturday celebrated the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover and hostage crisis by displaying a surface-to-air missile at the site of the former embassy in Tehran. Thousands of Iranians gathered for the annual celebration, where they engaged in anti-U.S. and anti-Israel chants and burned an effigy of U.S. President Donald Trump. Iran's semiofficial Tasnim news agency reported the missile on display at the former embassy was a Qadr-F model, which has a range of about 2,000...
Categories: Iraq

Saudi Arabia: Missile Intercepted Near International Airport

Sat, 11/04/2017 - 22:10
Saudi Arabia’s state media says it has intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen and aimed at the King Khalid International Airport northeast of Riyadh. Iran-backed Houthi fighters in Yemen have claimed responsibility for the missile, which was intercepted by Saudi forces. Saudi authorities said it caused no casualties or major damage. The Houthis said they were targeting the airport. Saudi Arabia is leading a mission in Yemen to eliminate the Houthi forces, but the violence...
Categories: Iraq

Hezbollah: Riyadh 'Imposed' Resignation of Lebanon's Hariri

Sat, 11/04/2017 - 14:46
Lebanon's Hezbollah group is accusing Saudi Arabia of forcing Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign. The head of Lebanon's Shi’ite Hezbollah movement, Hassan Nasrallah, said Sunday the group that participated in Hariri's government during the past year had not pushed for the resignation. "It is clear that the resignation was a Saudi decision that was imposed on Prime Minister Hariri.  It was not his intention, not his wish, and not his decision" to quit,...
Categories: Iraq

In Lebanon, Maestro Helps Voices of Refugee Children Rise Above Poverty, Divisions

Sat, 11/04/2017 - 12:53
They are among the most underprivileged children in Lebanon, and now their voices can soar. For several months, conductor and composer Salim Sahab auditioned youngsters, most of whom work, for a choir of 300. With Syrian and Palestinian refugees selected along with Lebanese children, hopes are that the unifying power of singing will help cross political and sectarian lines. Having performed the same feat in Egypt, Sahab plans to get them on the big stage. John Owens reports from Tripoli.
Categories: Iraq

Saudi Crown Prince Tackles Extremism on the Road to Social, Economic Reform

Sat, 11/04/2017 - 12:15
The recent flurry of social and economic reform coming out of Saudi Arabia has left some Saudis ecstatic, others more circumspect, and a few conservatives bewildered or even angry. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman told a crowd of investors at a conference in late October that he was merely attempting to “return Saudi Arabia to the moderate Islam that once prevailed” before the Iranian Revolution in 1979. He stressed that 70 percent of Saudis are younger than 30 and vowed “not to...
Categories: Iraq