in Iraq


US Lawmaker Says No Easing of Pressure on North Korea Ahead of Talks

Voice of America - 8 hours 28 min ago
As officials lay the ground work for proposed talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, a U.S. lawmaker tells VOA's Korean Service, there will be no easing of pressure on the North Korea government. This, as the United Nations Security Council votes to extend the work of investigators who recently accused Pyongyang of sending Syria supplies for chemical weapons. Jesusemen Oni has more.
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Indian Airliner Makes History with Flight to Israel via Saudi Airspace

Voice of America - Fri, 03/23/2018 - 05:06
Saudi Arabia opened its airspace for the first time to a commercial flight to Israel with the inauguration Thursday of an Air India route between New Delhi and Tel Aviv. Air India 139 landed at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport after a flight of about 7½ hours, marking a diplomatic shift for Riyadh that Israel says was fueled by shared concern over Iranian influence in the region. “This is a really historic day that follows two years of very, very intensive work,” Israeli Tourism...
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John Bolton, an Undiplomatic Voice for American Might

NY Times Iraq - Fri, 03/23/2018 - 03:44
If President Trump wanted a national security adviser who would match his confrontational approach to the world, then Mr. Bolton fits the bill.
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US Announces $1 Billion in Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

Voice of America - Fri, 03/23/2018 - 03:27
The State Department approved nearly $1 billion in new arms sales for Saudi Arabia as the kingdom's crown prince continued his American tour. Congress was notified Thursday of the deal, which includes a $670 million sale of more than 6,600 TOW anti-tank missiles and a $300 million sale of spare vehicle parts for the Royal Saudi Land Forces Ordnance Corps. "This proposed sale will support U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by improving the security of a...
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Syrian Rebels Evacuating Part of Eastern Ghouta

Voice of America - Fri, 03/23/2018 - 01:12
More than 1,500 Syrian rebel fighters and their families are evacuating a town in the besieged Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta as the army moves closer to recapturing the entire capital. Dozens of white buses pulled out of the town of Harasta on their way to Idlib, which is still in rebel hands. Rebel officials say they expect the evacuation to last several days and will leave just two other eastern Ghouta enclaves in opposition control. The evacuation deal was brokered by Russia...
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US Sanctions Frenchman, Uzbek Group for Aiding Syrian Terrorists

Voice of America - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 22:00
The U.S. on Thursday imposed economic sanctions on a French chemical weapons expert and an Uzbek fighting force, claiming they were supporting terrorists in the Syrian civil war. The State Department declared both Joe Asperman, described as "a senior chemical weapons expert" for Islamic State, and Katibat al-Imam al-Bukhari, the Uzbek group, as Specially Designated Global Terrorists. The blacklisting freezes any assets they may have in the United States and bars Americans...
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Mattis Praises Saudis for Humanitarian Aid to Yemen

Voice of America - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 18:55
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is applauding Saudi Arabia for its humanitarian aid to war-torn Yemen. Speaking at the start of a Pentagon meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Mattis said the U.S. is committed to working with Saudis and the United Nations to accelerate a political solution to the civil war. Mattis says the appointment last month of a new U.N. envoy to Yemen is an opportunity to speed up the push for a political resolution to the conflict, which has killed...
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Rare, Endangered Primate is Born in Jerusalem Zoo

Voice of America - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 18:29
An Israeli zoo says an endangered primate known as a golden lion tamarin has been born in captivity. The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo says the monkey was born two weeks ago to mom Bilbi and dad Zohar. The yet unnamed monkey was seen Thursday clinging to its mother's back.   Golden lion tamarins are among the rarest animals in the world, according to the World Wildlife Fund. It is listed as endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.   The...
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In Mideast, Democracy Struggles to Strike Root

Voice of America - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 17:34
Egyptians go to the polls next week in what is essentially a one-candidate election considered by critics to be a return of sorts to authoritarian rule, after a 2011 revolution that sparked loftier expectations for the region. But the bigger picture is that in the Middle East as a whole, democracy has largely failed to take hold. From Morocco in the west to Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates in the east, monarchies have proven more stable than places that experimented with...
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UN: Saudi Arabian Airstrikes in Yemen Kill, Maim Civilians

Voice of America - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 17:25
Saudi Arabian airstrikes are to blame for most civilian deaths and injuries in Yemen, says a report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council by the U.N. Secretary-General and High Commissioner for Human Rights. Yemen is entering its fourth year of conflict, a conflict the United Nations says is getting worse, with no end in sight. In late March 2015, Saudi Arabia began bombing Houthi rebels in support of the government.Since then, the U.N. Human Rights Office has verified...
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Re-Imagining Refugee Camps as Livable Cities

Voice of America - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 17:14
Al-Zaatari is one of hundreds of camps where people forced from their homelands by armed conflicts and civil wars go, hoping that one day they will go back home. Opened in 2012, near Jordan's border with Syria, the 5.2-square-kilometer settlement is now home to nearly 80,000 Syrian refugees.   Like many other refugee camps around the world, it ended up growing well beyond initial plans. Moving around the camp has become so challenging that the refugees wait for the water truck...
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Turkey's Key Media Group to be Sold to pro-Erdogan Business

Voice of America - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 15:05
Turkey's largest media group said Thursday it is in talks with a business group close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the sale of its outlets, a development that further curtails independent journalism in the country that has taken an increasingly authoritarian turn under his leadership.   In a notice to Turkey's capital markets board, Dogan Holding said it was negotiating the sale of outlets — including flagship Hurriyet newspaper, the mass-circulation daily Posta,...
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Syrian Rebels to Leave Key Town in Eastern Ghouta

Voice of America - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 12:53
Syrian rebels and their families were expected to leave a besieged town in the eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus on Thursday, in an evacuation deal that will see the town handed over to the government following years of siege.   Rebels released 13 prisoners of war ahead of the evacuation.   The deal is the first such arrangement made for a town inside the beleaguered eastern Ghouta enclave, which has endured one month of relentless shelling and bombardment as the government,...
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Piece of Dead Sea Scroll on Public Display for First Time in Jerusalem

Voice of America - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 07:49
Several pieces of the ancient Dead Sea scrolls are on public display for the first time. Two of them are at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, as part of an exhibit on life in biblical times. Another small fragment is being highlighted at Jerusalem's Israel Museum, as we hear from VOA's Deborah Block.
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Palestinian Teen Who Slapped Israeli Soldiers Gets 8-Month Prison Term

Voice of America - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 02:10
A Palestinian teen who grabbed the world’s attention when she slapped and kicked Israeli soldiers, was sentenced to eight months in prison Wednesday by an Israeli military court. Ahed Tamimi, 17, became an instant hero to Palestinians after the December assault that was posted on social media. Under the terms of a plea bargain, Tamimi was also fined $1,400, and was given credit for the three months she’d already served in jail, according to her lawyer. She had been facing 12 counts,...
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Trump’s Talk Worries Me, Like the Talk Before the Iraq War

NY Times Iraq - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 02:05
His cavalier approach reminds me of Cheney’s 15 years ago.
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US: Plans Being Made in Case Iran Nuclear Talks With Europeans Fail

Voice of America - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 01:05
The U.S. says it had constructive talks with its European partners last week on changes to the Iran nuclear agreement, but it is making contingency plans in case the talks fail and President Donald Trump decides to pull out of the landmark 2015 deal. Lead negotiator and State Department Policy Planning Director Brian Hook told reporters Wednesday he cannot predict whether U.S. talks with Britain, France and Germany on forging a supplemental agreement to address what Trump sees as...
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UN: Credible, Inclusive Elections in Libya This Year a 'Top Priority'

Voice of America - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 22:34
The United Nations' top official in Libya said holding credible and inclusive elections there by the end of this year is a top priority. "It is vital that before elections take place, we are certain they will be inclusive and their results accepted," Ghassan Salame told Security Council members Wednesday. "For this reason, I'm pleased the voter registration, which ended 10 days ago, proceeded with great success." Saleme said 1 million new voters have...
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Detained African Migrants Stuck in Limbo in Wartime Yemen

Voice of America - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 20:22
Anxious and hungry, hundreds of African migrants lie cramped together on the ground of a open-air warehouse in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden. Most are from desperately poor Horn of Africa countries and like tens of thousands each year, were willing to risk the treacherous journey through war-torn and impoverished Yemen in the hope of finding work in Saudi Arabia and other wealthy Gulf Arab states. But their plan was not to be. Caught and detained by the Yemeni authorities, the...
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Early Election Fever Grows With Turkish Military Victory in Syria

Voice of America - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 18:43
With Turkish led military forces scoring a decisive victory in Syria against the YPG Kurdish militia, speculation is rife in Turkey of early general and presidential elections. Sunday's capture of the key Syrian town of Afrin from the YPG was perfectly choreographed to coincide with Turkey's Martyrs Day.  The symbolism was not lost on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has linked his fortunes to the military incursion, declaring the Syrian campaign the most important...
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