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Iraq

As Egypt's Housing Crisis Intensifies, Dangers Mount

Voice of America - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 10:33
Egypt’s decades-long housing crisis continues to worsen, with activists and authorities alike expressing concern about a continuing explosion of illegal, unsafe construction that is one of the consequences. Photojournalist Hamada Elrasam provides a glimpse of conditions that have resulted from unmanaged growth.
Categories: Iraq

US to Begin Training Turkish Forces for Joint Patrols in Syria

Voice of America - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 06:56
U.S. service members will begin training Turkish forces for joint patrols near the volatile Syrian city of Manbij within the next three days, according to U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. “I would say within 72 hours actually. Very soon, could be sooner,” Mattis told reporters aboard a U.S. aircraft Thursday. Mattis said U.S. training gear and equipment, along with the training officers, were now in Turkey. The training is needed before U.S. and Turkish forces operating near...
Categories: Iraq

Turkish Airstrike in Iraqi Territory Kills a Kurdish Militant Leader

NY Times Iraq - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 04:25
The attack killed Zaki Shingali, a leader of a group that Turkey calls a terrorist organization, but he was considered a hero to the Yazidi minority in Iraq for his efforts to help them.
Categories: Iraq

Niger: Solution to Migration Crisis is a Stable Libya

Voice of America - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 04:03
If Europe wants to halt migrant boat arrivals on its shores from Africa it must end the state of chaos in Libya, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou told Reuters Thursday, warning that the stability of neighboring countries was at stake. Niger is a country of transit for migrants seeking to reach Europe by boat from Libya, and Issoufou is an ally of the West in its fight against Islamist insurgents based in Mali and Nigeria. On Wednesday, Issoufou said in a statement before talks with...
Categories: Iraq

Turkish Raid Kills Militant Leader in Iraqi Yazidi Town

Voice of America - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 03:35
Turkish jets late Wednesday targeted a convoy of militants linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) near the Iraqi Yazidi town of Sinjar, killing a top commander and several of his guards, local sources told VOA. The attack, confirmed by the Turkish military and the PKK, killed the Kurdish rebel group’s local commander Ismail Ozden, also known as Mam Zeki Sinjari. In a tweet Wednesday, the Turkish General Staff said the operation was conducted in cooperation between the Turkish...
Categories: Iraq

New US Iran Policy Chief Lays Out Agenda

Voice of America - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 02:45
The Trump administration's new special representative for Iran says his team will focus most of its work on changing Tehran's behavior on issues of nuclear weapons, terrorism and detention of Americans. Brian Hook was speaking Thursday at the State Department, where U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Hook's appointment to the role that heads a new U.S. team known as the Iran Action Group. Hook said the group would work to pursue changes in 12 aspects of...
Categories: Iraq

Pompeo Forms 'Iran Action Group' for Post-Nuclear Deal Policy

Voice of America - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 22:32
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is forming a dedicated group to coordinate and run U.S. policy toward Iran as the Trump administration moves ahead with efforts to force changes in the Islamic Republic's behavior after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. The State Department said Pompeo will announce the creation of the Iran Action Group on Thursday. Officials said the group will be headed by Brian Hook, who is currently the State Department's director of policy planning. Hook...
Categories: Iraq

Egypt Works to Mediate Israel-Hamas Prisoner Swap

Voice of America - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 19:55
Arab media reported that Israel began allowing trucks to deliver various goods into Gaza through the main Kerem Shalom border crossing, after a visit Wednesday by Egypt's intelligence chief, Abbas Kamel, to negotiate a prisoner swap with Israeli officials in Tel Aviv. Egyptian media noted officials of the Palestinian Hamas group are expected to visit Cairo within the next 24 hours to deliver the group's response to the proposed Egyptian-sponsored deal. At the same time that...
Categories: Iraq

Russia Says Drone Attacks on Its Syria Base Have Increased

Voice of America - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 19:37
The Russian military says the number of drone attacks on its main base in Syria has increased. The Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, says in just one month air defense assets have downed 45 drones targeting the Hemeimeem air base. The base in the province of Latakia serves as the main hub for Russian operations in Syria.   Konashenkov said Thursday that while the drones appear primitive, they use sophisticated technologies and have a range of up to 100...
Categories: Iraq

Islamic State ‘Well-Positioned’ to Rebuild Caliphate

Voice of America - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 11:33
Destroying the Islamic State is proving more difficult than the United States and its allies envisioned, with the most recent intelligence assessments warning that the self-declared caliphate is well-positioned to rise again. For months, U.S. and coalition officials have talked about how the combination of air power and partner forces on the ground cleared the IS terror group, also known as ISIS or Daesh, from about 98 percent of the territory it once held in Syria and Iraq. But now...
Categories: Iraq

Suspected Iraqi IS Member in US Custody

Voice of America - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 07:36
A refugee from Iraq was arrested Wednesday in Northern California on a warrant alleging that he killed an Iraqi policeman while fighting for the Islamic State organization.  Omar Abdulsattar Ameen, 45, and other members of ISIS killed the officer after the town of Rawah, Iraq, fell to the Islamic State in June 2014, according to court documents.  He was arrested by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force at a Sacramento apartment building based on a warrant issued in May by an...
Categories: Iraq

ISIS Member Arrested in Sacramento, U.S. Says

NY Times Iraq - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 05:32
Omar Ameen, 45, who is also a longtime member of Al Qaeda, lied to obtain refugee status in 2014, prosecutors say.
Categories: Iraq

Tehran Official: 'Tsunami' of Poverty Bearing Down on Iran

Voice of America - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 04:15
A municipal leader in the Iranian capital, Tehran, has issued a stark warning about Iran's economic problems, saying a "tsunami" of poverty is bearing down on society. Iranian state media said Tehran City Council Chairman Mohsen Hashemi Rafsanjani made the comment in a Tuesday speech about urban governance in the capital. He said Iran faces a crisis in the coming months as the U.S. prepares to impose even tougher economic sanctions on the country, a move that could...
Categories: Iraq

Libya Court Sentences 45 to Death over 2011 Killings

Voice of America - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 03:35
A Libyan appeals court on Wednesday sentenced 45 people to death by firing squad for killings committed in the capital, Tripoli, during a 2011 uprising, according to a statement from the justice ministry. The statement did not give details of the case, but a justice ministry official said it related to killings perpetrated by forces loyal to former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi shortly before he was driven from Tripoli and toppled. A further 54 people were sentenced to five years in...
Categories: Iraq

Israel Lets Food, Commercial Goods Back into Gaza as Egypt Seeks Truce

Voice of America - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 01:38
Israel allowed commercial goods back into the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, in a sign of easing tensions as neighboring Egypt pursued a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian enclave’s dominant armed faction. But the prospect of an agreement between Israel and the Islamist group prompted concern within Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government that Hamas would take advantage of any respite from fighting to build up its rocket arsenal. Israel’s security...
Categories: Iraq

Egypt Levels Historic Cairo District, Angering Residents

Voice of America - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 00:55
Egyptian authorities are demolishing a historic 19th-century neighborhood in Cairo to make way for high-end housing and business development a stone's throw from the Nile, angering residents who say they have not been properly compensated. The Maspero neighborhood is named for French Egyptologist Gaston Maspero, who helped found the Egyptian Museum. Developers have long eyed the central district, which is already home to the Foreign Ministry and the state television and radio...
Categories: Iraq

Killing of Schoolchildren Sparks New Outrage Over Airstrikes on Yemen

Voice of America - Wed, 08/15/2018 - 10:50
A deadly airstrike by a Saudi-led coalition killed at least 40 children in northern Yemen last week, prompting international outrage. The U.S. State Department has called on the coalition of Gulf Arab states to investigate the incident, one of the deadliest in the three-year-old war. The United Nations Security Council is also calling for a credible, transparent investigation.  VOA's diplomatic correspondent Cindy Saine has more from the State Department.
Categories: Iraq

In Iran, Kurdish Journalist Faces 3rd Summons by Officials This Year

Voice of America - Wed, 08/15/2018 - 04:30
An Iranian Kurdish journalist who has been summoned for questioning by Iran's security and judicial authorities twice this year says he has been ordered to face a third round of questioning in the coming days. In a message posted on Twitter, journalist and civil rights activist Ejlal Ghavami said he received a summons from a judiciary office in the northwestern city of Sanandaj on Tuesday morning local time. Ghavami said the document, a photograph of which he attached to his tweet,...
Categories: Iraq

US Believes Missing Journalist Tice Still Alive After Six Years

Voice of America - Wed, 08/15/2018 - 03:27
The Trump administration believes missing U.S. journalist Austin Tice, thought to have been captured in Syria six years ago, is still alive. "We believe him to be alive," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on the sixth anniversary of his disappearance. "We remain deeply concerned about his well-being, and we are actively working to bring Austin Tice home." Nauert declined to provide details about the U.S. conclusion or where Tice is thought to be...
Categories: Iraq

Russia to Help Restore UN Patrols Near Syria-Israel Frontier

Voice of America - Wed, 08/15/2018 - 00:51
The Russian military said Tuesday that its forces in Syria will help U.N. peacekeepers fully restore patrols along the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, reflecting Moscow's deepening role in mediating between the decades-old foes. The Russian deployment in the area has also highlighted Moscow's growing clout in the region, where it seeks to balance the sharply conflicting interests of Israel and Iran. "The Russian flag is the guarantor of peace and security...
Categories: Iraq