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Tillerson Calls for Transparent, Credible Elections in Egypt

Voice of America - Mon, 02/12/2018 - 18:11
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson began a five-nation visit to the Middle East in Egypt, where he called for next month's presidential elections to be transparent and credible. His talks Monday with his counterpart Sameh Shoukri touched on topics including economic and military cooperation, and the fight against terrorism. In a joint news conference at the old foreign ministry compound, Tillerson and Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukri highlighted bilateral issues, including the...
Categories: Iraq

Iranian-Canadian Dies in Custody in Tehran After Crackdown

Voice of America - Mon, 02/12/2018 - 16:16
An Iranian-Canadian university professor detained in Tehran has died in custody, activists and a family member said Sunday, marking the latest suspicious death of a detainee in Iran after a crackdown on dissent following nationwide protests.   They identified the professor as Kavous Seyed-Emami, a 63-year-old professor of sociology at Imam Sadeq University in Tehran and the managing director of the Persian Heritage Wildlife Foundation. His son and the New York-based Center for Human...
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Tillerson: Up to North Korea to Engage in Talks

Voice of America - Mon, 02/12/2018 - 15:50
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Monday any possible negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs can only happen if North Korea shows it is ready to engage in meaningful talks. "I think it’s too early to judge," Tillerson said during a visit to Egypt. "As we’ve said for some time, it’s really up to the North Koreans to decide when they’re ready to engage with us in a sincere way, a meaningful way. They know what has to be on the...
Categories: Iraq

US Wants Foreign Fighters in Syria to Face Justice at Home

Voice of America - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 23:53
The United States is urging allied nations to help deal with the growing number of foreign fighters that are being held by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, saying the militants should be turned over to face justice in their home countries. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to raise the issue during a meeting in Rome this week with other members of the coalition that is fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The SDF is currently holding thousands of IS...
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Iran: Rouhani Calls for 'Year of Unity' on Revolution Anniversary

Voice of America - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 22:54
As Iran commemorates the 39th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, president Hassan Rouhani is caling for "a year of unity", just weeks after widespread anti-government protests throughout the country. "I request that the 40th year of the revolution, the coming year, be the year of unity.  I ask conservatives, reformists, moderates and all parties and all people to come and be together," he told a crowd Sunday in Tehran. "Our revolution was victorious...
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Tillerson Aims to Strengthen US-Egyptian Commitment to Fight Terrorism

Voice of America - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 20:37
Building on Vice President Mike Pence's recent visit to Cairo, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to strengthen a shared commitment between the United States and Egypt to fight terrorism. Tillerson is in Cairo to begin a five-country Middle East trip. He is also visiting Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Kuwait from February 11-16.   The chief U.S. diplomat is meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to discuss other regional...
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India's Modi in UAE to Boost Ties with Gulf Arab States

Voice of America - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 19:33
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi started the second day of his visit to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday by unveiling a model of the first Hindu temple that will be built in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, a testament to the stronger ties that both countries seek. Standing on stage at the Dubai Opera, Modi spoke before hundreds of diplomats and Indian expatriates about the historical ties linking India with the small, but oil-rich and increasingly influential UAE, where 3.3 million...
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Israel Dealt 'Severe Blows' to Iranian, Syrian Targets

Voice of America - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 18:00
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that his country had dealt "severe blows" to Iranian and Syrian forces inside Syria and would continue to combat any further aggression. "We made clear to everyone that our rules of engagement will not change in any way," Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting. "We will continue to harm anyone who tries to harm us. This was our policy and this will remain our policy." Saturday's raids came...
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To List of Yemen’s War Tragedies, Add Its Ancient History

Voice of America - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 12:34
Along a narrow road in Yemen, choked by natural gas tankers and heavily armed soldiers, lies an ancient temple neglected and threatened in a nation now at war. The Awwam Temple links a region now on the front lines of the Saudi-led war against Shiite rebels to Arabia’s pre-Islamic past, a time of spice caravans and the mysterious Queen of Sheba. Experts fear the temple, as well as other historic and cultural wonders across Yemen beyond those acknowledged by international authorities,...
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Egypt: 16 Militants Killed in Major Sinai Operation 

Voice of America - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 11:58
Egypt’s military said Sunday it has killed 16 militants and arrested more than 30 suspects in a major counterterrorism operation that was launched last week, targeting terrorist and criminal elements and organizations across the country. Reuters reports Army spokesman Colonel Tamer el-Rifaal said Sunday that vehicles, weapons caches, communications centers and illegal opium fields were targeted in the sweep. The army said Friday in a televised statement announcing the operation that...
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White House: Israel Has Right to Defend Itself

Voice of America - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 10:27
A statement from the White House press secretary Sunday affirmed that “Israel is a staunch ally of the United States, and we support its right to defend itself from the Iranian-backed Syrian and militia forces in southern Syria.” The statement follows Israel’s attack Saturday on a dozen Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria. Israel conducted the air strikes after anti-aircraft fire downed an Israeli warplane returning from a raid on Iranian-backed positions in Syria. Earlier Israel said it...
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Family: Iranian Environmental Activist Dies in Prison

Voice of America - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 02:30
An Iranian academic and environmental activist imprisoned by Iranian authorities last month has died in prison, his son wrote on Twitter on Saturday. Kavous Seyed-Emami was the managing director of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, which seeks to protect Iran's rare animals, and a U.S.-trained scholar in sociology. Seyed-Emami's son, the Iranian musician Raam Emami, wrote on Twitter that his father was arrested on January 24, and that his mother had been informed of...
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Modi Voices Support for Palestinian State in West Bank Visit

Voice of America - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 01:58
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed support Saturday in Ramallah for an independent Palestine and said he hoped for the return of peace to the region, while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on India to support multicountry sponsorship of future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Modi's three-hour stop in Ramallah, the first by an Indian prime minister, was being seen as New Delhi's bid to balance its blossoming ties with Israel. Saying that...
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Outraged by the Attacks on Yazidis? It Is Time to Help.

NY Times Iraq - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 22:30
Empathy is not enough for me and other women brutalized by the Islamic State. We need the chance to revive our homeland.
Categories: Iraq

Who Are ‘the Beatles’ of ISIS?

NY Times Iraq - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 22:23
The four men from West London went to fight in Syria. They were known among Western hostages for their British accents — and their brutality. Two of the men are dead, and the remaining two were recently captured. Here's what is known about them.
Categories: Iraq

Egypt Continues Sinai Security Effort Amid Reports of Israeli Help

Voice of America - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 20:00
Egypt's armed forces Saturday continued what it describes as "intensive airstrikes against terrorist targets and gatherings" in Central and North Sinai. An Egyptian Army spokesperson, in a statement Saturday, confirmed the military operation will continue but gave no details or numbers on casualties or arrests. The military campaign is part of what the Egyptian government calls "Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018.” The mission, announced Friday, is intended to...
Categories: Iraq

Upsurge in Yemen Fighting Sends Thousands Fleeing

Voice of America - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 16:34
The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR reports an upsurge in violence in battle-scarred Yemen has sent more than 85,000 people fleeing for their lives in the past 10 weeks, adding to the already huge displacement that exists across the country. More than two million people have become internally displaced in Yemen since March 2015.  That is when a Saudi-led coalition began a bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in support of Yemen’s government.   The UNHCR is alarmed by the recent...
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US, Israel Say Israel Has Right to Defend Itself

Voice of America - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 10:55
The U.S. Defense Department said Saturday that Israel was entitled to protect itself against acts of aggression. The statement was made after Israel attacked a dozen Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria earlier in the day. "Israel is our closest security partner in the region and we fully support Israel's inherent right to defend itself against threats to its territory and its people," said Pentagon spokesman Adrian Rankine-Galloway, adding that the U.S. was not involved in...
Categories: Iraq

US Clamping Down on Islamic State’s Global Network

Voice of America - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 06:05
The United States is ramping up pressure on regional and local Islamic State operatives and facilitators, part of an effort to shut down the terror group’s global financial lifeline. The U.S. Treasury Department Friday announced sanctions against a series of individuals and companies from Somalia, Turkey and the Philippines, describing the moves as part of a larger campaign targeting networks that helped give the terror group access to money, weapons and even drones. “Each individual...
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Freed Captives, Families of Murdered Western Hostages Demand Justice 

Voice of America - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 03:21
The detention in northern Syria by U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters of two notorious British jihadists, the remaining members of a militant quartet that tortured and beheaded Western hostages, including American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, is being greeted with pleas by former Western captives of the terror group that they face trial. Nicolas Henin, a French reporter held for 10 months by the British gang, has told British and U.S. broadcasters that he wants the militants...
Categories: Iraq