in Iraq


Kurds to Vote on Statehood Unless Given Guarantees on Future, Official Says

Voice of America - Sat, 09/23/2017 - 02:25
A senior Kurdish official said Friday that the referendum on independence from Iraq would go ahead Monday unless the regional government was offered a strong package of guarantees on its future self-determination. “The leadership in Kurdistan and the people of Kurdistan need a strong package,” Falah Mustafa, the foreign policy chief of the Kurdistan Regional Government, told VOA in an interview on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. Such a package "would guarantee us...
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Flight Attendant Helps Refugees by Selling Their Art

Voice of America - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 23:39
Kayra Martinez took calligraphy paper and pens into refugee tents in Greece last year. “That was the first time I had actually seen the children really calm,” Martinez said. “And I realized that this is something that they really love to do.” As a flight attendant for United Airlines, Martinez is often in Greece, where she was drawn to the refugee camps and began volunteering there in 2015. Focusing her efforts on Nea Kavala in northern Greece, she is now the first point of contact for...
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Kuwait to Host Iraq Reconstruction Conference in Early 2018

Voice of America - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 23:29
Kuwait will host a conference early next year focused on reconstruction efforts in Iraq following “unprecedented” advances made recently by the country’s military, Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, said Friday. McGurk, speaking during a briefing at the State Department, also told reporters it is “a matter of time” before Islamic State fighters are completely removed from Raqqa, Syria, and that “the end is now in sight.” He added,...
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Russia's Lavrov Rejects Idea of Renegotiating Iran Nuclear Deal

Voice of America - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 23:16
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday dismissed the notion of renegotiating the agreement curbing Iran's nuclear weapons development, maintaining U.S. concerns about Iran are beyond the scope of the deal. "This program is already finalized and endorsed by the U.N. Security Council resolution. Opening up this plan for negotiations basically would be disregarding this agreement," Lavrov told reporters at the U.N. General Assembly. U.S. President Donald Trump has...
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Kurds Press Historic Independence Vote Despite Regional Fears

Voice of America - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 23:02
Iraqi Kurds are expected to vote for independence in a referendum on Monday that neighboring countries and Western powers fear could break up the country and stir broader regional ethnic and sectarian conflict.  Kurdish flags — a red, white and green tricolor emblazoned with a golden sun — adorn cars and buildings across the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, and billboards announce: "The time is now — say 'yes' to a free Kurdistan!" Massoud...
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Israel Endorsed Kurdish Independence. Saladin Would Have Been Proud.

NY Times Iraq - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 21:16
Present-day politics may have been less important than a long shared history between the Kurds and the Jews.
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Tens of Thousands Rally for Iraqi Kurdish Independence Vote

Voice of America - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 20:35
A controversial independence referendum is to be held in Iraqi Kurdistan on September 25. The vote, which is not sanctioned by Iraq’s central government and not supported by the United States, carries great significance for Kurds, both inside and outside Iraq.
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Iraqi Teenager Charged in London Subway Bombing

Voice of America - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 17:49
British police on Friday charged an 18-year-old man with attempted murder following the bombing of a London Underground train last week that injured 20 people. The man, Ahmed Hassan, reported to be from Iraq, was arrested in the port of Dover — a popular departure point for ferries to France. He also was charged with the use of an explosive, police said. Following Hassan’s arrest, police searched the suburban home of a couple that fostered refugee children, where he had been living....
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Iran: ‘We Will Strengthen Our Missile Capabilities’ 

Voice of America - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 12:08
Iran will strengthen its missile capabilities and will not seek any country’s permission, President Hassan Rouhani said Friday in a snub to demands from U.S. President Donald Trump. Rouhani was speaking at a military parade where an Iranian news agency said one of the weapons on display was a new ballistic missile with range of 2,000 km (1,200 miles), capable of carrying several warheads. The Tasnim news agency, which quoted the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace division,...
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Former US Diplomat: Efforts to Derail Kurdish Referendum Won't Work

Voice of America - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 02:15
A former U.S. diplomat says there's no way to derail Iraqi Kurdistan's independence referendum next Monday, despite efforts by the U.S. and other countries to have the vote postponed. "There really is no possibility of calling it off," said Peter Galbraith, who took a special interest in the Kurdish situation in the late 1980s and early '90s and helped uncover former Iraq leader Saddam Hussein's use of poison gas against the minority group. "You can't...
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UN Team to Collect Evidence of Islamic State War Crimes in Iraq

Voice of America - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 01:45
The United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to establish an investigative team to help Iraq secure evidence of atrocities committed by Islamic State militants "that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide." Britain, which drafted the resolution, said the team would bring some justice to those who had experienced atrocities at the hands of IS, variously known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh. The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, called the...
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Iraqis Track Abandoned Homes With Digital Tools

Voice of America - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 23:32
In camps across northern Iraq, people forced from their homes by Islamic State militants are using their phones to track what is happening to their properties, according to researchers who say returning home is crucial for building a safe future in the war-torn nation. More than three million Iraqis have been driven from their homes, land and farms, according to the United Nations, many of them by armed groups like Islamic State (IS). As pro-government forces intensify the fight...
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Pressure Mounts on Iraqi Kurds to Cancel Independence Vote

NY Times Iraq - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 22:19
In a region where few people agree on anything, neighbors and allies are pressing the Kurds to delay a vote they say could unleash violence.
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US, Russian Generals Meet to Discuss Deir El-Zour Tensions

Voice of America - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 22:00
American and Russia military leaders held an unprecedented, face-to-face meeting in recent days to discuss the increasing tensions around the Islamic State stronghold of Deir el-Zour, Syria, a coalition spokesman said Thursday. U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon, the spokesman for the U.S.-led counter-Islamic State coalition, told reporters via video conference from Baghdad that the discussion between generals from both countries lasted more than an hour. Dillon added that the coalition and...
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UN Votes to Help Iraq Collect Evidence Against Islamic State

Voice of America - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 18:39
The U.N. Security Council has authorized the world body's investigators to help Iraq collect evidence that could lead to prosecuting Islamic State extremists for war crimes.   The council unanimously passed a resolution Thursday. It asks the world body to establish an investigative team to help Iraq preserve evidence “that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide” committed by the Islamic State group.   Iraq and Britain spearheaded the measure. Iraqi...
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Israel's Backing of Iraqi Kurds' Independence Vote Strains Ankara Ties

Voice of America - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 18:23
Israel’s support of next Monday’s independence referendum by Iraqi Kurds is threatening to strain recently restored diplomatic relations with Turkey. Ankara has been condemning the planned vote, warning of severe consequences for the region. Israel has a long tradition of seeing the region’s Kurds as a buffer from both Arab and Iranian threats; but with Turkey having its own restive Kurdish minority, Israel’s support of the vote has drawn strong condemnation in Turkey.  Aydin...
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Iraq Launches Offensive to Recapture Hawija

Voice of America - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 12:45
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced Thursday his forces have begun an offensive to retake control of the town of Hawija, one of the last areas in Iraq held by Islamic State militants. Hawija is located 240 kilometers north of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and just west of the oil city of Kirkuk.   Counter-Islamic State coalition spokesman U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon told reporters via video conference from Baghdad Thursday that Iraqi forces cleared 11 villages Thursday...
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Russia: Special Forces Helping Syria Win Key City

Voice of America - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 12:01
Russian special forces are helping Syrian government troops fight Islamic State militants in the battle for the strategic city of Deir el-Zour in eastern Syria, the defense ministry in Moscow said Thursday. Russia began its operation to support President Bashar Assad’s offensive against the IS in Syria in 2015 but has mostly focused on providing air cover to government troops on the ground. The campaign for Deir el-Zour, Syria’s largest eastern city, is caught up in a race between...
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President Rouhani: Iran Deal Not Renegotiable

Voice of America - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 08:57
The future of the 2015 Iran deal is being widely discussed by leaders at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. VOA's Margaret Besheer reports from the gathering that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is adamant that it is not renegotiable, while President Donald Trump said Wednesday he has decided whether to pull the U.S. out of the multilateral agreement.
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Governments Paying Terror Kidnap Ransoms Put All Citizens At Risk, Warns Report

Voice of America - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 08:42
The lack of a unified approach by world governments to paying kidnap ransoms is putting the lives of citizens of all nationalities at greater risk and is providing terror groups with a big source of finance, warns a new report by a prominent British defense policy institute. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Categories: Iraq