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Updated: 6 weeks 1 day ago

Yemen's War: Children Paying the Price

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 18:00
When the blast went off in early April, shrapnel hit homes and schools all over the quiet residential neighborhood of the Yemeni capital.   Windows shattered and the 2,000 girls in a nearby school tried to evacuate at once, many racing down the stairs and some dying in the stampede.   Safia Al-Wesabi, a 10-year-old student of the Al-Ra'ai School, made it out safely, but she couldn't find her older, teen-aged sister outside. "I was sobbing," she said....
Categories: Iraq

Zarif Suggests Trump 'Try Respect' Instead of Threats

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 14:14
Nike Ching at the State Department and Carla Babb at the Pentagon contributed to this report. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif suggested Monday that U.S. President Donald Trump "try respect" instead of issuing threats. He was responding to a Twitter post Sunday in which Trump said: "If Iran wants to fight, that will the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!" Zarif said Trump, under pressure from a group that includes his...
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Egyptian Forces Kill 12 Suspected Militants in Raids

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 12:47
Egypt's interior ministry said security forces killed 12 suspected militants during raids Monday near Cairo. A ministry statement linked the militants to Hasm, an armed affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood, and said authorities found explosives, weapons and ammunitions at two different raid sites. The operation came a day after a roadside bomb hit a tourist bus near Egypt's Giza pyramids. That blast wounded 17 people. There was no claim of responsibility for the bomb attack,...
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Trump: Fighting the US Will Be 'Official End of Iran'

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 01:52
Nike Ching at the State Department and Carla Babb at the Pentagon contributed to this report. President Donald Trump has given a strong warning to Iran, threatening its destruction if it attacks the United States or U.S. interests. "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran," Trump tweeted Sunday. "Never threaten the United States again!" Just three days earlier, Trump appeared to be backing away from his apparently hawkish stance...
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Saudi, UAE See Sufficient Oil Supplies, Rising Stocks

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 01:39
Oil supplies were sufficient and stockpiles were still rising despite massive output drops from Iran and Venezuela, said OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and key producer UAE on Sunday, as oil exporters met in Jeddah. Producer nations discussed how to stabilize a volatile oil market amid rising U.S.-Iran tensions in the Gulf, which threaten to disrupt global supply. But "we see that (oil) inventories are rising and supplies are plenty," Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told...
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Palestinians Cast Doubt on US-Led, Economy-Focused Peace Conference

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 00:11
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh cast doubt Monday on a U.S.-led conference set to be held in Bahrain next month focusing on what the White House says would be economic benefits for Palestinians if a peace deal can be reached with Israel. Speaking at a Cabinet meeting, Shtayyeh stressed the need for a political deal with Israel that resolves a number of longstanding issues, including borders, none of which are on the agenda for the economic conference in Manama. He said the...
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As Tensions Rise, US Lawmakers Await Briefings on Iran

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 23:25
In word and deed, the administration of President Donald Trump has been sounding the alarm over Iran and its proxies. “If American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned last week. Later this week, U.S. officials are expected to brief lawmakers on what has led the administration to strengthen America’s military posture in the Middle East, while evacuating non-essential personnel from diplomatic...
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As Tensions Rise, US Lawmakers Await Briefings on Iran

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 22:37
Later this week, U.S. officials are expected to brief lawmakers on what has led the Trump administration to strengthen America’s military posture in the Middle East, while evacuating non-essential personnel from diplomatic facilities in Iraq. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, members of Congress of both parties have been demanding the White House share information about perceived threats from Iran.
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Iraqi Officials Call Exxon Withdrawal 'Unacceptable'

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 17:22
Iraq called ExxonMobil's decision to evacuate its staff from the oil-rich country "unacceptable and unjustified" Sunday. Iraq claims the American company withdrew all of their staff, some 60 people, days after the U.S. withdrew non-emergency staff members from its embassy in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, apparently due to concerns over perceived threats from neighboring Iran. "The temporary withdrawal of employees has nothing to do with security in southern Iraqi oil...
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16 Hurt in Egypt Tour Bus Attack Near Giza

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 17:00
At least 16 people were injured in a blast targeting a bus near Egypt's Giza pyramids Sunday, security sources said. Officials said the bus was carrying 28 people, most of them South African tourists. Videos circulating online show the bus windows blown out or shattered. Egyptian Tourism Minister Rania Al Mashat tweeted: "Of the 28 passengers on the bus we can confirm some minor injuries with three being treated at the hospital as a precaution." There was no...
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Saudi Arabia to Iran: We Don’t Want War, Will Defend Ourselves

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 11:50
Saudi Arabia said Sunday that it wants to avert war in the region but stands ready to respond with “all strength” following last week’s attacks on Saudi oil assets, telling Iran that the ball was now in its court. Riyadh has accused Tehran of ordering Tuesday’s drone strikes on two oil pumping stations in the kingdom, claimed by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group. Two days earlier, four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab...
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Fan Votes Lift The Netherlands to Eurovision Song Contest Win

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 05:03
The Netherlands won the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv Saturday, with Duncan Laurence’s doleful piano ballad “Arcade” crowned champion of Europe’s annual music extravaganza. The 25-year-old was tapped as an early front-runner before the Grand Final but was only ranked third after the vote of professional juries from the 41 participating countries, trailing Sweden and North Macedonia. He surged ahead thanks to the fan vote, securing The Netherlands its fifth win ever in the...
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Saudi Crown Prince, Pompeo Discuss Mideast Developments

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 02:03
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed regional developments, including efforts to strengthen security and stability, in a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Saudi Media Ministry tweeted on Sunday. The announcement came hours after Saudi Arabia's King Salman invited Persian Gulf and Arab leaders to convene emergency summits to discuss the implications of this week's attacks against...
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Syrian State Media: Projectiles Fired From Israeli Territory

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 00:44
Syrian air defenses targeted projectiles fired from the direction of Israel for the second night in a row, Syrian state media said Saturday.  The projectiles came from "occupied territory" into the airspace in southern Syria, state news agency SANA said, referring to territory held by Israel. Israel's military declined to comment on the report.  Israel has been more open in recent months about targeting sites inside Syria...
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3 Killed in Suspected IS Attack Outside Libyan Oilfield

Sat, 05/18/2019 - 19:53
Two guards and a soldier were killed and four other people were kidnapped early Saturday in a suspected Islamic State attack targeting Libya's Zella  oilfield, a security source said.  The death toll was confirmed by the National Oil Co. (NOC), which condemned the attack in a statement Saturday evening.  The attackers struck at an entrance gate to the field, which lies near the town of Zella about 760 km (470 miles) southwest of the capital,...
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Iran Dismisses Possibility of Conflict, Says Does Not Want War

Sat, 05/18/2019 - 19:09
Iran's top diplomat on Saturday dismissed the possibility of war erupting in the region, saying Tehran did not want a conflict and that no country had the "illusion it can confront Iran," the state news agency IRNA reported. Tensions between Washington and Tehran have increased in recent days, raising concerns about a potential U.S.-Iran conflict. Earlier this week the United States pulled some diplomatic staff from its Baghdad embassy following attacks on oil tankers in the...
Categories: Iraq

Exxon Evacuates Foreign Workers From Iraqi Oil Field

Sat, 05/18/2019 - 17:25
ExxonMobil has evacuated its foreign workers from an oil field in the southern Iraqi province of Basra amid heightened tensions in the Middle East. A senior Iraqi official and three other sources told Reuters the employees were evacuated on Friday and early Saturday to Dubai or to a housing complex in Basra province. An Iraqi oil official also confirmed the evacuation with Associated Press. The chief of Iraq's state-owned South Oil Company, Ihsan Abdul Jabbar, said the evacuation...
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US Warns Airliners Flying in Persian Gulf Amid Iran Tensions

Sat, 05/18/2019 - 16:35
U.S. diplomats warned Saturday that commercial airliners flying over the wider Persian Gulf faced a risk of being "misidentified" amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran. The warning relayed by U.S. diplomatic posts from the Federal Aviation Administration underlined the risks the current tensions pose to a region crucial to global air travel. It also came as Lloyd's of London warned of increasing risks to maritime shipping in the region.   Concerns about a...
Categories: Iraq

Once Again, Iraq Caught up in Tensions Between US and Iran

Sat, 05/18/2019 - 15:19
When U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat down with Iraqi officials in Baghdad last week as tensions mounted between America and Iran, he delivered a nuanced message: If you're not going to stand with us, stand aside.   The message, relayed to The Associated Press by two Iraqi government officials, underscores Iraq's delicate position: Its government is allied with both sides of an increasingly contentious confrontation. As tensions escalate, there are concerns that...
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Escalating Violence in Syria’s Idlib Province Could Turn into Bloodbath

Sat, 05/18/2019 - 14:50
A senior United Nations official warns the alarming escalation of hostilities in northern Syria’s Idlib province could spiral out of control with disastrous consequences for its three million civilian inhabitants. The recent uptick in violence in Syria’s northern Idlib province is causing alarm among U.N. and international observers. Over the past two weeks, at least 100 civilians reportedly have been killed or injured in clashes between Russian-backed Syrian forces and al-Qaida...
Categories: Iraq