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Iraq

Iran to Probe State-built Homes Destroyed by Deadly Quake

Voice of America - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 02:45
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani launched an investigation Tuesday into why government housing built by his hard-line predecessor collapsed while others withstood a powerful earthquake near the border with Iraq that killed more than 530 people.   In the Kurdish town of Sarpol-e-Zahab, which was reconstructed in the decades since the 1980s war with Iraq, the outer walls of apartment complexes tumbled away in the magnitude 7.3 earthquake Sunday night. The housing was built as a part of...
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UN: Syria Formally Joins Paris Climate Agreement

Voice of America - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 01:43
Syria has formally joined the 2015 Paris deal aimed at slowing climate change, the United Nations said on Tuesday, leaving the United States as the only country opposed to the pact. Syria, racked by civil war, and Nicaragua were the only two nations outside the 195-nation pact when it was agreed in 2015. Nicaragua's left-wing government, which originally denounced the plan as too weak, signed up last month. Syria announced last week that it intended to join. U.N. spokesman...
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Russia's Defense Ministry to Investigate Wrong Photos Used on Syria Statement

Voice of America - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 23:42
Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday an employee had attached the wrong photos to a statement accusing the United States of providing de-facto air cover for so-called Islamic State in Syria after the mistake was spotted online. The ministry said it would investigate the incident, which it said was caused by a civilian employee, but did not say how or why the pictures used were incorrect. “However, the U.S. command’s refusal to carry out strikes on the convoys of ISIL terrorists...
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Threat of Jihadist Exodus Spurs Security Crackdown in Turkey

Voice of America - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 21:27
With the Islamic State and other jihadist groups facing imminent defeat in Syria, Ankara is becoming increasingly concerned that many fighters will escape into Turkey. In the past few years over 300 people have been killed in attacks in Turkey, blamed on jihadists. But with the prospect of thousands more militants escaping Syria to Turkey, security forces are now embarked in a desperate battle to thwart the threat, with hundreds of arrests in the past few weeks. The size of threat faced...
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Saudi-led Coalition Bombs Airport Runway in Yemen's Capital

Voice of America - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 19:58
The Saudi-led military coalition fighting Yemen's Shiite rebels bombed the airport in the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, on Tuesday, Yemeni officials said, though there were conflicting reports as to the extension of damage caused in the strike. The United Nations said most of the airport remained intact and that it would be able to receive aid shipments once they restart - after the coalition loosens the blockade of the war-torn country as it had announced. But Yemeni officials in...
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Lebanon's Hariri to Return 'In Two Days'

Voice of America - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 19:30
Lebanon's prime minister, Saad Hariri, says he will return to Lebanon "in two days" from Saudi Arabia, where he announced his surprise resignation on November 4. Writing on Twitter for the first time in a week, Hariri assured his followers that he is okay and that he would return without his family, who the prime minister said will be staying "in their home" in Saudi Arabia. Government officials in Beirut have said they believe Hariri is being held in...
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From Heady Aspirations to Dashed Dreams, Separatists Analyze Mistakes

Voice of America - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 18:58
Breaking up is hard to do, as separatists in Iraqi Kurdistan and Spain’s Catalonia have discovered. Even Scotland’s separatists have had to shelve plans for yet another independence vote, following signs Scots aren't ready to revisit the question. Monday, Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont bowed to defeat, saying in an interview in Belgium that he’s ready to give up on secession and explore a future relationship with Madrid short of full independence. He said, “I’m ready,...
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Iraqi Kurds Pledge to Respect Court Ruling Banning Secession

Voice of America - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 13:31
Iraqi Kurdish authorities said Tuesday they will respect a Supreme Court decision banning secession. The development comes two months after voters in the semi-autonomous region overwhelmingly voted in support of an independence referendum. Iraq's central government rejected the vote, saying it violated the constitution. "We believe that this decision must become a basis for starting an inclusive national dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad to resolve all disputes through...
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Iran in Mourning After Earthquake Kills 430

Voice of America - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 10:07
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pledged Tuesday his government would quickly help to rebuild areas affected by a deadly earthquake, as the country observed an official day of mourning for the victims. Rouhani spoke during a visit to Kermanshah, which was hit the hardest by Sunday's magnitude 7.3 quake along the Iran-Iraq border. WATCH: Report on Iran Earthquake Iran's state-run IRNA news agency said at least 430 people were reported dead and 7,000 others injured. Many...
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Iran Mourns Victims of Sunday's 7.3-Magnitude Earthquake

Voice of America - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 09:41
Iran has declared an official day of mourning Tuesday for the victims of Sunday's powerful earthquake along the western mountainous border with Iraq. Rescuers are searching for survivors and bodies in the rubble left by the 7.3-magnitude quake. Officials say more than 430 people were killed, and that the death toll may increase. Tens of thousands of people have spent the night outdoors as the violent temblor crumbled homes. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
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Mattis: US to Fight Islamic State in Syria 'As Long As They Want to Fight'

Voice of America - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 05:45
The U.S. military will fight Islamic State in Syria "as long as they want to fight," Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday, describing a longer-term role for U.S. troops long after the insurgents lose all of the territory they control. As U.S.-backed and Russian-backed forces battle to retake the remaining pockets of Islamic State-held terrain, Mattis said the U.S. military's longer-term objective would be to prevent the return of an "ISIS 2.0." "The...
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UN Agency Report Shows Iran Meeting Nuclear Commitments

Voice of America - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 03:25
The United Nations agency monitoring Iran’s compliance with a landmark nuclear treaty issued a report Monday certifying that the country is keeping its end of the deal that U.S. President Donald Trump claims Tehran has violated repeatedly. The International Atomic Energy Agency report stopped short of declaring that Iran is honoring its obligations, in keeping with its official role as an impartial monitor of the restrictions the treaty placed on Tehran’s nuclear programs.   But in...
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Lebanon's President Welcomes Hariri's Plans to Return

Voice of America - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 02:00
Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who has refused to accept Saad Hariri's resignation as prime minister unless Hariri returns from Saudi Arabia, welcomed comments from Hariri that he plans to come home soon, palace sources and visitors said on Monday. Hariri, who threw Lebanon into political crisis by reading out his resignation on Nov. 4 from Riyadh, gave his first public remarks since then in an interview late on Sunday, saying he planned to return within days. He suggested he...
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Earthquake on Iran-Iraq Border Kills 400

Voice of America - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 01:45
Iran has declared an official day of mourning Tuesday for the victims of Sunday's powerful earthquake along the western mountainous border with Iraq. The 7.3-magnitude quake and several strong aftershocks killed more than 400 people and left another 7,000 hurt. Iraqi officials report at least seven deaths there. The U.S. Geological Survey said quake was centered just outside near the town of Halabja in Iraq's Kurdistan region and was felt as far away as Turkey and...
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Iran-Iraq Quake: Digging Through the Rubble

NY Times Iraq - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 21:59
A 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck the area Sunday evening. More than 500 are dead and thousands injured.
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Russian, Turkish Leaders Meet as Cracks in Rapprochement Start to Show

Voice of America - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 19:30
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Monday with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, the fourth encounter between the two leaders this year and part of a warming of relations in the wake of tensions following Turkey's 2015 downing of a Russian warplane operating from a Syrian air base.   But analysts say despite recent images of smiles and warm handshakes between the two leaders, cracks in that rapprochement are starting to show and signs of...
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Netanyahu Signals Israel Will Act With Free Hand in Syria

Voice of America - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 18:05
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday he has told the United States and Russia that Israel will continue to take action across the Syrian frontier according to its security needs, even as the two powers try to build up a cease-fire. "We are controlling our borders, we are protecting our country and we will continue to do so," Netanyahu said in public remarks to members of his Likud party in parliament. "I have also informed our friends, firstly in Washington...
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Investors Remain Wary in Wake of Saudi Crackdown

Voice of America - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 17:16
A week after an unprecedented crackdown on some of Saudi Arabia’s wealthiest princes and businessmen, foreign governments and investors are still trying to answer basic questions about a round-up Saudi authorities describe as an anti-corruption drive spearheaded by the Gulf kingdom’s crown prince.   Is 32-year-old Mohammad bin Salman set on a power grab to ensure his succession will be untroubled when his ailing father dies?  Or is he what he says he is, a reformer determined to...
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Sexual Assault Charges Against Islamic Scholar Divide Europe's Muslim Communities

Voice of America - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 16:10
Sexual assault charges targeting a prominent Islamic scholar have left many European Muslims stunned, and triggered sharply disparate reactions within the multi-faceted community, even as many fear a broader backlash. Swiss-born theologian Tariq Ramadan took a leave of absence from teaching at Oxford University last week, following complaints of rape and assault filed by two French women and reports of similar charges in Switzerland. A statement by the university said the decision was...
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Amnesty International Calls on Syria to End Forced Displacement of Civilians

Voice of America - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 12:48
Amnesty International says civilians in besieged areas of Syria are given no choice but to leave their homes under agreements reached between the country’s warring sides, and that thousands of forcibly displaced people now live under “dire conditions.” In a report released Monday, the rights group said the Syrian government has increasingly relied on such deals as a strategy to force the opposition to surrender. The Syrian conflict began in March 2011 with protests against President...
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