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Turkey Deploys More Forces in Northern Syria

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 21:10
Turkey is reinforcing the armored columns it started deploying last month in the northern Syrian province of Idlib, the stronghold of an increasingly fractious al-Qaida-linked group, in what analysts describe as a phased incursion. The campaign to pacify Idlib, which has been coordinated with Russia, has been accompanied by a string of assassinations of jihadist commanders who have been unwilling to collaborate with Ankara, according to analysts and Syrian rebel commanders. Other jihadist...
Categories: Iraq

Israel's Netanyahu Expresses Hope for US Peace Push in Middle East

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 17:44
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday he hoped a U.S. peace initiative would work and praised President Donald Trump for taking a fresh approach to bringing the Israelis and Palestinians back to negotiations. For at least two decades, the goal of U.S.-led diplomacy has been a ‘two-state solution’, meaning an independent Palestinian state living side-by-side and at peace with Israel. But neither Trump nor his aides have publicly recommitted to a two-state solution,...
Categories: Iraq

IS Loses Last Towns After Twin Raids on Iraq-Syria Border

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 12:13
The Islamic State group on Friday was removed from the last two major towns it held along the Iraq-Syria border following raids by forces on either side of the border near the Euphrates Valley. The jihadist group's self-proclaimed caliphate was in tatters after it lost its urban strongholds in Syria and Iraq, with the simultaneous assaults on Deir el-Zour in Syria and Al-Qaim in Iraq leaving IS in control of little more than small plots of territory scattered along the border. The...
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UN: Give Millions of Stateless People Basic Right of Citizenship

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 03:25
The U.N. refugee agency is calling on governments to grant basic rights of citizenship to millions of stateless people who suffer discrimination, exclusion and persecution.  The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is making this plea on the third anniversary of a 10-year global campaign to prevent, reduce and eradicate statelessness.  The largest stateless minority group in the world right now is the Rohingya.  Although the Rohingya have lived in Myanmar for...
Categories: Iraq

Minister: Iraqi Forces Capture Akkas Gas Field From Islamic State

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 00:12
Iraqi forces captured the Akkas gas field from Islamic State on Thursday, Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi told reporters in Baghdad. Iraqi forces launched an offensive last month to oust the militant group from the last area still under its control in Iraq, on the border with Syria, where the field is located. The field hasn't entered production yet. Akkas, which has reserves of 5.6 trillion cubic feet, is operated by Korea Gas Company (KOGAS) and located in western Anbar province...
Categories: Iraq

Russia Takes on Mideast Diplomacy as US Retreats

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 22:10
 After watching for years as the United States called the shots in the region, Russian President Vladimir Putin is seizing the reins of diplomacy in the Middle East, establishing footholds and striking alliances with unlikely partners. From the battlefields of Syria to its burgeoning relationships with Iran and Turkey to its deepening ties with Saudi Arabia, Russia is stepping in to fill a void left by the United States first under the Obama administration and now in the vastly...
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UN Refugee Chief: Political Solutions Needed to Ease Global Crisis of Displacement

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 22:00
The United Nations refugee chief says the growing crisis of global displacement is the result of weak international cooperation and the inability to prevent, contain and resolve conflicts. "Have we become unable to broker peace?" U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi asked the U.N. Security Council, which is charged with maintaining international peace and security. He noted that a series of new crises has caused massive displacement across virtually every region...
Categories: Iraq

Turkey Keeps Watchful Eye on Succession of Iraqi Kurd Leadership

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 18:47
Ankara is anticipating who will succeed Iraqi Kurdish President Masoud Barzani, following his announcement he plans to quit. Relations between Ankara and Iraqi Kurds, once close allies, collapsed after Barzani held an independence referendum. But Ankara could be eyeing his nephew as an ideal successor. Turkey made little secret of its pleasure at Sunday's announcement by Iraqi Kurdish President Masoud Barzani that he is planning to step down. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan...
Categories: Iraq

UN: Islamic State Atrocities in Mosul Need International Justice

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 17:00
Iraq is not capable of trying atrocities committed by Islamic State during the battle for Mosul so it must find other routes to justice such as the International Criminal Court (ICC), a U.N. human rights report said on Thursday. At least 2,521 civilians were killed during the nine-month battle including 741 people who were executed, the report said. Most died as a result of Islamic State (ISIL) attacks. It cited testimonies of mass abductions by Islamic State, as well as killings,...
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CIA Release of Bin Laden Files Renews Interest in Iran Links

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 15:38
The CIA's release of documents seized during the 2011 raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has again raised questions about Iran's support of the extremist network leading up to the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.   U.S. intelligence officials and prosecutors have long said Iran formed loose ties to the terror organization from 1991 on, something noted in a 19-page report in Arabic that was included in the release of some 47,000 other documents by the...
Categories: Iraq

Turkey: 13 Killed in Clashes Between Troops, Kurdish Rebels

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 13:45
Turkey's military says eight Turkish security force members and five Kurdish militants were killed in a clash near Turkey's border with northern Iraq.   A military statement said the skirmish erupted early on Thursday near the town of Semdinli, after the security forces spotted a group of rebels who were allegedly preparing to launch an attack.   The military said the dead included two government-paid village guard aiding troops in the fight against the rebels. Two...
Categories: Iraq

Britain's Balfour Declaration Turns 100

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 13:03
Israelis celebrate it. Palestinians despise it. The Balfour Declaration, Britain’s promise to Zionists to create a Jewish home in what is now Israel, turns 100 this week, with events in Israel, the Palestinian territories and Britain drawing attention to the now yellowing document tucked away in London’s British Library. Historians still muse about Britain’s motivations, and its commitment to the declaration waned in the decades after it was issued. Yet the 67 words penned by a British...
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Suppressed at Home, Some Uzbeks Turn to Militant Islam Abroad

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 08:20
Pushed by a lack of jobs and strict control of behavior and dissent, millions of Uzbeks have emigrated in recent years. Hundreds of those joined Islamic State in the Middle East, while others turned to religious extremism in their host countries. Sayfullo Saipov, the Uzbek immigrant accused of killing eight people in a truck attack in New York on Tuesday, appears to have taken the latter path, becoming radicalized after struggling with life in the West. According to U.S. police, the...
Categories: Iraq

Iraq Threatens to Resume Military Operations Against Kurds

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 07:13
Iraqi forces threatened on Wednesday to resume operations to capture northern Kurdish-held territory after accusing authorities there of delaying handing over control of Iraq's borders with Turkey, Iran and Syria. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Friday declared a pause in an offensive that began on Oct. 16 to take over areas claimed both by his government and the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Abadi ordered economic and military retaliation against the KRG after...
Categories: Iraq

Saudi Women Riled by Robot With No Hjiab, More Rights Than Them

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 01:08
Women in Saudi Arabia have scorned the government's decision to grant citizenship to a female robot who, unlike them, does not need a male guardian or have to cover her head in public. Social media was abuzz with questions about whether the robot, Sophia, who was unveiled at a technology conference in the capital Riyadh last week, will be treated like other women in the conservative kingdom now that she is a citizen. "It hit a sore spot that a robot has citizenship and my...
Categories: Iraq

Hamas Gives Up Control of Gaza Border Crossings

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 00:51
The Islamic militant group Hamas on Wednesday handed over control of Gaza's border crossings with Israel and Egypt to the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority, taking the first tangible step toward implementing a reconciliation deal with the rival Fatah movement. The group's security forces and border control agents, who have controlled the crossings for a decade, were seen pulling away from the sites, which facilitate the movement of cargo and people in and out of...
Categories: Iraq

Khamenei: Iran, Russia Should Cooperate to Isolate US, Foster Mideast Stability

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 23:29
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that Tehran and Moscow must step up cooperation to isolate the United States and help stabilize the Middle East, state TV reported. Iran and Russia are the main allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while the United States, Turkey and most Arab states support rebel groups fighting to overthrow him. Putin met Iranian political leaders in an effort to nurture a warming...
Categories: Iraq

Analysts: Islamic State’s Global Reach Shrinking

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 17:23
The Islamic State terror group is trying to sell a transnational image, but its future doesn’t lie West of the Middle East, according to analysts. The group's claims do not match its actual operational capacity, according to researchers, but the focus by Western media and politicians of IS-inspired or directed attacks on civilians in America and Europe is obscuring the limits of the terror group’s reach. According to the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium, the future of the...
Categories: Iraq

26 Killed in Yemen Airstrike

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 15:11
Medics and a Yemeni health official say at least 26 people have died in an airstrike in northwestern Yemen. The airstrike Wednesday hit a hotel and neighboring market in Saada province, which is located near the border with Saudi Arabia. Houthi rebels, who took control of Yemen's capital three years ago, blamed a Saudi-led coalition for conducting the airstrike. Rights groups have accused the coalition of bombing civilian areas since launching its operation in support of...
Categories: Iraq

Attacker Stabs 2 Tunisian Police Officers

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 14:57
Tunisian police on Wednesday arrested a suspected Islamist militant who stabbed two officers in front of the parliament building in Tunis. The interior ministry said the attacker was known to authorities, and that after the stabbing he said he considered the police to be "tyrants." One of the victims had a neck wound and was taken to the hospital and admitted to the intensive care unit. Tunisia has boosted security at strategic sites after other deadly attacks in recent...
Categories: Iraq