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Al-Sadr Coalition Headed to Victory in Iraqi Election

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 04:30
The coalition headed by fiery anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr appears headed to victory in Iraq's parliamentary election. With nearly all the ballots counted, al-Sadr's Marching Toward Reform alliance was leading in six regions, followed by the group headed by Iraqi militia commander Hadi al-Amiri. Current prime minister Haider al-Abadi, who is supported by the United States, trails both rivals but appeals to Iraqis to respect the final results. Hundreds of al-Sadr...
Categories: Iraq

Jews, Muslims Celebrate Unusual Coexistence in Tunisia's Djerba

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 02:19
Cyrine Ben Said, a Tunisian Muslim, carried candles and wrote her hopes for the future on an egg in religious ceremony at a synagogue on the southern island of Djerba. She wanted to share the rituals with her Jewish friends because, for her, Tunisia is a country of tolerance, coexistence and freedom of belief. "I'm here to share rituals with my Jewish friends in new Tunisia of tolerance, coexistence and freedom of belief. ... Everyone has his religion, but we have many common...
Categories: Iraq

Al-Abadi Calls on Iraq to Respect Election Results    

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 00:25
As votes were being counted in Iraq’s first election since defeating Islamic State, current prime minister Haider al-Abadi urged his supporters to respect the results of Monday’s poll. “I call on Iraqis to respect the results of the elections,” he said in a national address Monday, vowing to keep the country safe under his command until a new government is formed. Partial election returns from Iraq’s first national poll since defeating Islamic State show Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr...
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US Embassy's Move in Israel Draws Criticism From Around the World

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 00:20
The U.N. Security Council is set to hold an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss the situation in Gaza after the deadliest day of violence there between Israel and the Palestinians in five years. U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov is due to brief the council from Jerusalem. WATCH: World reactions ​Ahead of the meeting, Kuwait drafted a statement expressing "outrage and sorrow" at the killing of dozens of Palestinians by Israeli...
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Clouded by Smoke and Tear Gas, a View from Deadly Gaza Protests

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 23:55
Through the thick black smoke of burning tires, the crowds that gathered at the eastern border of the Gaza Strip could see scores of young men and boys dragging wire fencing away from the Israeli border. Many of the youths wore gas masks made out of soda bottles and bits of cloth, as tear gas rained down periodically.  "God is Great!" shouted some onlookers, as others cheered. The protest, one of many in the Palestinian territories and around the world, was in...
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Deadly Protests in Gaza as US Opens Jerusalem Embassy

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 21:51
The United States officially moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Monday, even as at least 41 Palestinians were killed and hundreds wounded in clashes with Israeli forces along the Gaza Strip's border with the Jewish state. As VOA's Heather Murdock reports from Gaza, Palestinian protestors rushed the border fence while Israeli forces fired bullets and tear gas.
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Why New US Embassy Isn't Entirely in Israel

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 17:33
The new United States embassy for Israel, housed in a U.S. consulate built in Jerusalem in 2010, is located partly on a plot of land that Washington does not officially recognize as Israeli territory. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has referred to the embassy site as being “partly in West Jerusalem” — the portion of the city recognized by the U.N. as Israeli territory — and “partly in No Man’s Land” between the Israeli-Jordanian armistice lines of April 23, 1949. The...
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Disillusionment Appears to Help Shi'ite Cleric in Iraq Vote

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 17:18
Widespread disillusionment with Iraq's current political class appears to have helped the political coalition of influential Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr become the early front-runner in national elections marked by record low turnout.   Partial returns of the 2018 vote — the first since Iraq declared victory over the Islamic State group — were announced late Sunday by the Iraqi electoral commission and put al-Sadr's political alliance in the lead in four...
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Key Week as Europe Scrambles to Salvage Iran Deal

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 16:49
When Tehran-bound AF 378 took off from Paris in April 2016, it was a heady moment for European diplomacy and commercial interests. Iran had signed a nuclear deal with six world powers the year before, including three from Europe. Businesses, from France’s Total to Germany’s Siemens and Italian steel firm Danieli, were scrambling for a share of a promising market. The Air France flight was the airliner’s first since 2008, when service was suspended amid global sanctions over Iran’s nuclear...
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Violence Engulfs Gaza as US Opens Embassy in Jerusalem

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 12:57
Dozens of Palestinians were killed and more than 2,000 wounded in clashes with Israeli forces Monday along the Gaza border as thousands demonstrated against the opening of a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. While U.S. and Israeli officials celebrated at the new American diplomatic outpost, violence raged less than 100 kilometers away. The Israeli military said more than 40,000 people protested, with Palestinian health officials saying 52 demonstrators were killed by live gunfire and tear...
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US Set to Open Embassy in Jerusalem

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 09:11
The United States officially relocates its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem Monday in a move sharply opposed by Palestinians and a large portion of the international community. The interim embassy will operate inside the existing U.S. consulate building in Jerusalem, while a search begins for a larger site. Palestinians gathered for large protests Monday in Gaza, where weeks of demonstrations and clashes have led to Israeli forces killing more than 40 Palestinians. Israeli troops...
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Egypt Beefs Up Security Outside Metro Stations After Protests Over Fare Increase

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 05:00
Egypt deployed security forces outside metro stations on Sunday, witnesses said, a day after more than 20 people were detained following rare protests at several metro stations by dozens of commuters angry at fare hikes. Public discontent has been on the rise in Egypt as the government presses on with economic reforms, including curbs on state subsidies, agreed in a 2016 loan deal with the International Monetary Fund. Security sources said at least 22 people were detained by police in...
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US Opens Embassy in Jerusalem to Coincide With Israel's 70th Anniversary

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 03:52
The United States relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Monday, after a day of celebrations in Israel. The U.S. delegation includes Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and several members of Congress. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports Palestinians reacted to the controversial move with a mixture of anger and...
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Iran Court Sentences 8 Men to Death Over IS Attack

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 03:36
An Iranian court on Sunday sentenced eight men to death over attacks that killed 18 people at the parliament and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's mausoleum last year, in the first deadly operation by Islamic State in the country. The sentence, issued by a Revolutionary Court after a seven-session hearing, can be appealed in Iran's Supreme Court, Musa Ghazanfarabadi, head of Tehran's Revolutionary Court, told state television. Ghazanfarabadi said courts will hear claims later...
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Russia in Flurry of Diplomatic Activity Over Iran Deal

Sun, 05/13/2018 - 23:00
In the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Russia unleashed a flurry of diplomatic activity aimed at keeping Iran and other remaining signatories committed to the agreement. But behind Russia’s diplomatic maneuvering, analysts see the Kremlin chasing rewards from transatlantic divisions over the Iran issue while facing risks of deeper entanglement in Middle East affairs.   “Without doubt we will make sure firstly...
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Shi'ite Cleric Al-Sadr's Coalition Leads in Iraq Poll

Sun, 05/13/2018 - 20:36
Hundreds of supporters of Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr took to the streets of Baghdad Sunday night, celebrating the announcement of partial results of Iraq's parliamentary elections. Iraq's electoral commission announced that al-Sadr’s coalition is the current front-runner in national elections, with official results in from just over half of the country's provinces. Al-Sadr himself did not run in the election, but he holds sway over a coalition ticket that won by a large...
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Erdogan Arrives in UK Before Meetings with Queen, PM

Sun, 05/13/2018 - 17:33
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has arrived in Britain two days before meetings with Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Theresa May. Before leaving Istanbul for London on Sunday, Erdogan called the U.K. a "strategic partner and ally" and said he would be discussing bilateral, regional and international issues with May on Tuesday. They include the latest developments in Cyprus, where Turkey and Britain act as guarantors, and a "joint action plan" in the Middle...
Categories: Iraq

For Palestinians, US Embassy Move A Show of Pro-Israel Bias

Sun, 05/13/2018 - 15:18
Monday's opening of the U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem, cheered by Israelis as a historic validation, is seen by Palestinians as an in-your-face affirmation of pro-Israel bias by President Donald Trump and a new blow to dreams of statehood. The festive inauguration helps harden Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' rejection of Washington as a future mediator in the conflict with Israel, likely ushering in a prolonged period of diplomatic vacuum in which other powers are...
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Rouhani Says Iran May Remain Part of Nuclear Accord

Sun, 05/13/2018 - 14:31
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reiterated on Sunday that Tehran would remain committed to its 2015 nuclear deal if its interests can be protected and said the U.S. withdrawal from the accord was a "violation of morals." "The U.S. withdrawal ... is a violation of morals, the correct way to carry out politics and diplomacy and against international regulations," Rouhani during a meeting with visiting Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena. "If the remaining...
Categories: Iraq

Iran Sentences 8 to Die for Islamic State Attack

Sun, 05/13/2018 - 11:15
An Iranian court on Sunday sentenced eight men to death over attacks that killed 18 people at the parliament and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s mausoleum last year, in the first deadly operation by Islamic State in the country. The sentence, issued by a Revolutionary Court after a seven-session hearing, can be appealed in Iran’s Supreme Court, Musa Ghazanfarabadi, head of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, told state television.  Ghazanfarabadi said courts will hear claims later filed...
Categories: Iraq