in Iraq


Saudi Arabia to Allow Qatari Hajj Pilgrims Through Border Crossing

Voice of America - 7 hours 26 min ago
Saudi state media reported Thursday that King Salman has approved opening a border crossing with Qatar in order to allow pilgrims to make the hajj. The Saudi Press Agency said that in addition to opening the Salwa border crossing, Saudi Arabia would send planes to Doha to transport Qatari pilgrims at Saudi expense. The report further said the decision came after a meeting between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Qatari royal family member Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al...
Categories: Iraq

US-backed Syrian Group Pardons 96 IS Members in Raqqa

Voice of America - Thu, 08/17/2017 - 02:15
A U.S.-backed Syrian group known as Civil Council of Raqqa granted amnesty to 96 alleged members of the Islamic State (IS) on Wednesday in what it said was an attempt to dissuade low-ranking IS members from allegiance to the terror group. The council, which is expected to rule Raqqa after IS is removed from its self-proclaimed capital, said the release included only local IS members who have not engaged in crimes and militant activities.   “We made that decision to encourage trust...
Categories: Iraq

Israel Says Will Revoke Press Credentials of Al Jazeera Reporter

Voice of America - Thu, 08/17/2017 - 02:03
Israel intends to cancel an Al Jazeera journalist's press accreditation on the grounds that he is biased in favor of Palestinians, the director of the government press office said on Wednesday. Nitzan Chen said Al Jazeera correspondent Elias Karram's press card would be revoked, pending a hearing, because he told television station Dar al-Iman last year that he was actively siding with the Palestinians in his work as a reporter. Karram is an Israeli Arab citizen from Nazareth,...
Categories: Iraq

Security Risk Seen in Foreign Recruits Fighting for Kurds in Syria

Voice of America - Thu, 08/17/2017 - 02:01
An influential London think tank is urging the British government to stop Britons from enlisting with a Western-backed Kurdish militia in Syria that's battling the Islamic State terror group on the ground that it, too, is a terrorist organization. The Henry Jackson Society warns in a study released Thursday that the militia, known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG, is a "subsidiary" of Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a separatist movement...
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US-backed Syrian Civil Council Pardons Dozens of Islamic State Members

Voice of America - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 23:54
In an attempt to stabilize Raqqa after the Islamic State, the U.S.-backed Raqqa Civil Council on Wednesday announced it has pardoned 96 local members of IS who reportedly did not engage in crimes. VOA’s Mahmoud Bali reports.
Categories: Iraq

Iraq Asks World's Help in Investigating IS Crimes

Voice of America - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 23:29
Iraq asked for international help Wednesday to collect and preserve evidence of crimes by Islamic State militants and said it was working with Britain to draft a U.N. Security Council resolution to establish the investigation. Britain, international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney and Nadia Murad, a woman from the Yazidi religious minority who was enslaved and raped by IS fighters in Mosul, have been pushing Iraq to allow a U.N. inquiry. The 15-member Security Council could have...
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Lebanese, Syrian Ministers Vow to Improve Economic Ties

Voice of America - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 23:14
Lebanese and Syrian ministers pledged Wednesday to boost economic ties. The announcement was part of a visit that has challenged the Lebanese state's policy of neutrality toward Syria's war. Government ministers from Lebanon's Hezbollah and the Shiite Amal party arrived in Syria for a trade fair, a trip that has ignited a political row in Lebanon. The Lebanese government has refused to sanction the visit as official business, but Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan has...
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Group Estimates 34,000 Gallons of Oil Spilled Off Kuwait

Voice of America - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 19:48
An analysis of satellite imagery by a U.S.-based nonprofit organization suggests at least 34,000 gallons of oil have leaked out during a spill off the coast of Kuwait. West Virginia-based SkyTruth says satellite photos from the day of the spill off southern Kuwait show it spread over a distance covering 131 square kilometers (50.5 square miles). In a blog post early Wednesday, SkyTruth also noted a pipe-laying ship was transiting through the area at the time of the spill. Authorities...
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East Libyan Elite Forces Snub ICC Over Warrant for Commander

Voice of America - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 19:26
An elite forces unit linked to the army that controls much of eastern Libya has snubbed international efforts to bring to justice one of its senior officers for allegedly executing dozens of prisoners. The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday for Mahmoud al-Werfalli, a commander in the Special Forces of Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA). The accusations against him relate to incidents in and near Benghazi in spring and early summer,...
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Report: Pace of Airstrikes, Clashes in Yemen Sharply Higher in 2017

Voice of America - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 18:04
Yemen suffered more airstrikes in the first half of this year than in the whole of 2016, increasing the number of civilian deaths and forcing more people to flee their homes, according to a report by international aid agencies. The pace of clashes on the ground has also intensified this year, especially around Yemen's third largest city, Taiz, which is besieged by the Iran-aligned Houthis, said the report. The number of airstrikes in the first six months of 2017 totalled 5,676,...
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Lebanon Repeals 'Marry the Rapist' Law

Voice of America - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 16:54
Lebanon's parliament on Wednesday abolished a law that allowed rapists to avoid prison by marrying their victims. The repeal of the law, which had been in place since the 1940s, follows years of campaigning by women's rights advocates. Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt have canceled similar "marry the rapist" clauses over the years, and Jordan's parliament recently repealed a similar law. The clause remains on the books in Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, the Palestinian...
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Egypt Archaeologists Discover Tombs Dating Back 2,000 Years

Voice of America - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 15:18
Egypt's antiquities ministry says that archaeologists have discovered three tombs dating back more than 2,000 years, from the Ptolemaic Period. The discovery was made in the Nile Valley province of Minya south of Cairo, in an area known as al-Kamin al-Sahrawi. Tuesday's statement by the ministry says the unearthed sarcophagi and clay fragments suggest that the area was a large necropolis from sometime between the 27th Dynasty and the Greco-Roman period. One of the tombs has...
Categories: Iraq

US Air Force Upgrades Middle East Command Center

Voice of America - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 04:55
With its wall-sized screens simultaneously showing America's air wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, this war room at the heart of America's biggest military campaigns is already something of a technological marvel. “It's state of the art but too slow for the future,” said General David Goldfein, chief of staff of the Air Force, who is visiting the center at Qatar's Al Udeid Air Base this week with Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. Enter innovation to bridge the gap....
Categories: Iraq

Thousands Flee as Iraq Steps Up Airstrikes on IS-held Town

Voice of America - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 02:27
Thousands of Iraqis have fled an Islamic State-held town west of Mosul as Iraqi and coalition warplanes step up strikes ahead of a ground offensive to drive out the militants. Tal Afar and the surrounding area is one of the last pockets of IS-held territory in Iraq after victory was declared in July in Mosul, the country's second-largest city. The town, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of the Syrian border, sits along a major road that was once a key IS supply route. On Monday,...
Categories: Iraq

Jordan Holds Local Elections in Step to Devolve Powers

Voice of America - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 01:53
Jordan held local elections Tuesday in a move that officials said would help devolve some powers to larger cities and underdeveloped rural regions, but that critics said fell short of promised wider political reform. The countrywide municipal vote — the first since 2013 — was a stated bid by the government to bring wider grass-roots democracy that King Abdullah has said would provided marginalized communities with a bigger voice in state decisions. Over 1.3 million people, or 31...
Categories: Iraq

US: Islamic State Has Committed ‘Genocide’ Against Religious Believers

Voice of America - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 21:00
The United States accused Islamic State insurgents on Tuesday of carrying out a reign of violence targeting religious minorities and opposition ethnic groups, even as they have been losing control of large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Islamic State "is clearly responsible for genocide ... and crimes against humanity." Tillerson: 'ISIS Responsible For Genocide' Tillerson, speaking as he released the State...
Categories: Iraq

Iran’s Top General Makes Rare Visit to Ankara

Voice of America - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 19:51
In a rare visit, the head of Iran’s armed forces is in Turkey. The two neighbors have found themselves increasing rivals in Iraq and Syria, but both sides are trying to find common ground. The chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, Major General Mohammad-Hossein Baqeri, arrived in Ankara, leading a high-ranking military and political delegation, for three days of talks. It is the first visit by Iran’s chief of staff since the 1979 Iranian revolution. Regional rivalries Former...
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Libya Army Commander Arrest Sought by ICC for Alleged Executions

Voice of America - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 18:41
Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday issued an arrest warrant for a Libyan National Army (LNA) commander accused over the alleged execution of dozens of prisoners. Prosecutors at the world's permanent war crimes court are seeking Mahmoud al-Werfalli's hand-over to face charges of murder during the armed conflict in Libya. According to the ICC, Werfalli is alleged to have directly committed and to have ordered the commission of murder as a war crime during...
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Algerian Presidency Brings Ouyahia Back as Prime Minister

Voice of America - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 18:09
Algeria's presidency has recalled veteran crisis manager Ahmed Ouyahia as prime minister, a job he held in the 1990s when Algeria was battling an Islamist insurgency. Ouyahia, 65, will replace Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who held the job for just three months, the office of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said Tuesday. Ouyahia will most likely be seen as a steadying influence as Algeria tries to carry out economic adjustments to cope with a fall in oil prices that has slashed state...
Categories: Iraq

Can Anyone Stop Iran From Taking Over Iraq?

NY Times Iraq - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 17:56
Armed militias, backed by Tehran, look set to dominate and intimidate Iraqi politics for years to come.
Categories: Iraq