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Yemen President Slams UN Envoy's Handling of War in Letter to Secretary-general

Sat, 05/25/2019 - 02:03
Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi criticized the U.N.'s special envoy to the country in a sharply-worded letter to the U.N. chief, describing him as legitimizing Houthi rebels his Saudi-backed coalition is locked in a four-year war with. The Iran-aligned Houthis, who ousted Hadi from power in the capital Sanaa in 2014, have stepped up missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent days in a resurgence of tactics that had largely subsided since late last year amid United...
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Defying Congress, Trump Sets Arms Sales to Saudis, UAE

Sat, 05/25/2019 - 00:50
U.S. President Donald Trump, saying there is a national emergency because of tensions with Iran, swept aside objections from Congress and cleared the sale of $8 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. The Trump administration informed congressional committees on Friday that it will go ahead with 22 military sales to the Saudis, United Arab Emirates and Jordan, infuriating lawmakers by circumventing a long-standing precedent for congressional review...
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Trump to Send Additional Troops to Middle East

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 19:39
The United States is sending additional troops to the Middle East to protect American forces from potential Iranian threats, President Donald Trump announced Friday.    "They're mostly in a protective capacity," he told reporters in response to a VOA question.     Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan said the additions to the region would include "a Patriot battalion to defend against missile threats; additional intelligence,...
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Iranian FM Holds Talks in Pakistan on Tehran's Tensions With US

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 14:53
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met Friday with leaders from neighboring Pakistan to discuss bilateral matters and Tehran's escalating tensions with the United States. Zarif and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi led their respective delegations in formal talks before the visiting Iranian diplomat went for a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. Officials said the discussions focused on bilateral issues and regional...
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Trump Considering Troop Deployment to Deter Iran

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 08:05
The White House is considering a plan presented by the Pentagon Thursday to send thousands more troops to the Middle East to deter potential Iranian threats. Earlier this week, Trump administration officials told lawmakers the U.S. is not trying to provoke Tehran. Many are concerned that mixed messages from 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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Iranian FM Visits Pakistan Amid Tehran's Rising Tensions With US 

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 02:06
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in neighboring Pakistan late Thursday for bilateral consultations amid Tehran's escalating tensions with the United States.    Officials in Islamabad said Zarif would begin his official engagements on Friday. He will brief Pakistani civilian and military leaders on current regional developments, Iranian state media said.     Tensions between Tehran and Washington have been escalating since...
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Pentagon Denies Media Reports Detailing Mideast Troop Increase

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 01:04
White House correspondent Patsy Widakuswara, national security correspondent Jeff Seldin, and VOA Persian's Mehrnoush Karimian at the State Department contributed to this report. PENTAGON — Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has denied reports that between 5,000 and 10,000 U.S. troops could be sent to the Middle East to defend against a potential threat by Iran. "There is no 10,000. There's no 5,000. That's not accurate," he told reporters,...
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Iran Tells German Envoy Its Patience Is Over, Fars Reports

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 20:59
Iran told a German envoy seeking to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal that its patience was over and urged the treaty's remaining signatories to fulfill their commitments after the United States pulled out, the Fars news agency reported on Thursday. Jens Ploetner, a political director in the German Foreign Ministry, met Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi. A German diplomatic source told Reuters that talks with other Iranian officials were also planned. The...
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Senator: Trump May Use Iran Threat to Sell Bombs to Saudis

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 04:09
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration plans to use a loophole and rising tensions with Iran to sell bombs to Saudi Arabia, even though Congress blocked such sales for months over concerns about civilian deaths in the war in Yemen, Senator Chris Murphy said Wednesday. Congressional aides said there are provisions of the Arms Control Act, which sets rules for international arms transactions, that would allow a president to approve a sale without congressional review in case of a...
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IS Militants Target Kurdish Farmers in Disputed Iraqi Territories

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 03:58
VOA's Ahmed Zebari contributed to this report.  WASHINGTON — In a bid to extort revenues from local farmers during the harvest season, Islamic State (IS) militants are threatening to set fire to thousands of acres of wheat fields in territories disputed between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan region, according to local officials.  The militants, hiding mostly in caves and mountains of a large territory between the Iraqi forces and Kurdish peshmerga, pour into small...
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Pentagon Mulls Sending More Troops to Gulf, Officials Say

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 03:11
VOA White House bureau chief Steve Herman and national security correspondent Jeff Seldin contributed to this report.  Top Pentagon officials will provide the president with a wide range of options in response to rising tensions in the Middle East, including possibly sending thousands more U.S. troops to the Middle East, U.S. officials said. The top U.S. military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, and Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan, are...
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US Tells Syrian Kurds Only Future Is Part of Peaceful Syrian State

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 01:27
The United States is reminding its Syrian Kurdish allies not to get overly ambitious while at the same time trying to allay concerns Washington will abandon them to Turkey or a possibly resurgent Islamic State terror group.    Kurdish fighters, under the umbrella of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, played a key role in the collapse of the IS caliphate in Syria and continue to help administer large swaths of territory liberated form the terror...
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Iran Supreme Leader Criticizes Politicians Amid Tension With US

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 00:02
Iran's supreme leader publicly chastised the country's moderate president and foreign minister Wednesday, saying he disagreed with the implementation of the 2015 nuclear deal they negotiated with world powers.    The extraordinary comments by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the first time he's criticized both politicians by name, came amid tensions with the United States a year after Washington's withdrawal from the accord.    Khamenei has final say on all...
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UN Palestinian Refugee Agency Pleads for Funds

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 23:34
The U.N. agency that assists Palestinian refugees warned Wednesday that it would run out of money in a few weeks if donors did not step up quickly.  "As we speak, UNRWA has only enough money to run its operations until mid-June," Pierre Krähenbühl, commissioner-general of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, told the U.N. Security Council. The council meets monthly to discuss the Israel-Palestinian conflict. UNRWA provides...
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Libya's Haftar Reportedly Rules Out Cease-fire in Talks with France's Macron

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 19:31
Libyan eastern commander Khalifa Haftar told French President Emmanuel Macron that conditions for a cease-fire were not in place, although he would be ready to talk if those conditions were met, a French presidency official said. Macron and French officials have for several weeks called for an unconditional cease-fire in the battle for Tripoli after Haftar last month launched an offensive on the Libyan capital. "The distrust we see between the Libyan actors is stronger than ever...
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Deadly Strike Hits Syria Market as Damascus Battles Jihadists

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 18:32
Syrian government air strikes killed 18 civilians, including a dozen people at a busy market, as fierce fighting raged for the jihadist-held northwest, a war monitor said on Wednesday. Regime forces battled to repel a jihadist counteroffensive around the town of Kafr Nabuda that has left 70 combatants dead in 24 hours, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The Hayat Tahrir al-Sham alliance, led by Syria's former al-Qaeda affiliate, controls a large part of Idlib province as...
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Iranian Lawmaker Says His Country Doesn't Want War With US

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 17:21
Iran will "under no circumstances" enter a war either directly or indirectly with the United States, a prominent reformist Iranian lawmaker said Wednesday, as both Washington and Tehran try to ease heightened tensions in the region. The reported comments by Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh come after the White House earlier this month sent an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the region over a still-unexplained threat it perceived from Iran.    Since that development,...
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Algeria's Army Chief Says He Has No Political Ambitions

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 16:35
Algeria's army chief of staff said on Wednesday he had no political ambitions in response to democracy activists who say he intends to copy the authoritarian model of Egypt. The armed forces have been a pivotal power center in Algeria for decades and have been managing a transition after mass protests forced President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign last month after 20 years in office. Street demonstrations have continued to press demands for a dismantling of the elite of...
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Egyptians of All Walks of Life During Ramadan

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 16:19
The Muslim holy season of Ramadan is a time of sacrifice. That is especially so for Cairo residents who endure long days of fasting in Egypt's hot temperatures. Cairo-based photojournalist Hamada Elrasam shows how Egyptians of all walks of life find creative ways to cope.
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Seeking Energy Independence, Palestinians Open Solar Plant

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 12:51
Palestinian officials say they have inaugurated their first solar panel plant as part of a plan to reduce their dependence on Israeli power sources. Mohammed Mustafa, head of the government's investment fund, says that Tuesday's plant opening in the ancient West Bank city of Jericho is one of four planned plants. One has been donated from China. He says the Palestinians rely almost entirely on power imported from Israel and the new plants are part of a long-term project to...
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