in Iraq


Coalition Forces in Syria Renew Fight Against Islamic State

Voice of America - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 21:30
U.S.-supported Syrian forces have launched a new offensive to remove Islamic State from the militants’ last stronghold, the oil-rich eastern province of Deir al-Zour. The Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias, Global Coalition forces and other local partners resumed their effort after suspending operations following Turkey's January attack against Syria's northwestern region of Afrin. IS has intensified attacks in the area in recent weeks in an...
Categories: Iraq

Morocco Severs Ties with Iran, Accusing it of Backing Polisario Front

Voice of America - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 20:10
Morocco has severed diplomatic ties with Iran over Tehran's support for the Polisario Front, a Western Sahara independence movement, the Moroccan foreign minister said on Tuesday. Morocco has claimed Western Sahara since colonial power Spain left in 1975. But Polisario fought a guerrilla war for independence for the Sahrawi people until a United Nations-backed ceasefire in 1991, monitored by U.N. peacekeepers. Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita accused Iran and its Lebanese...
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European Diplomats Suspect Netanyahu Choreographed Iran Presentation with US

Voice of America - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 19:51
America’s European allies are drawing a sharply different collective conclusion from the U.S. about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s dramatic presentation Monday of "evidence” he says demonstrates Iran lied about its nuclear program.   And European diplomats suspect the Israeli leader’s presentation, during which he urged President Donald Trump to scrap the nuclear accord signed in 2015 between Tehran and six foreign powers, was choreographed with the White House....
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Human Cost of Egypt's Lucrative Limestone Quarries

Voice of America - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 17:23
In the Egyptian province of Minya, thousands of men toil in backbreaking, often dangerous conditions in the region's limestone quarries. The stone they produce is an important source of cash for the province, but the human cost is enormous.
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IAEA: 'No Credible Indications' of Iran Nuclear Weapons Activity After 2009

Voice of America - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 16:47
The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog called attention Tuesday to a 2015 report by its director that said it had "no credible indications" of Iranian activity linked to the development of nuclear weapons after 2009. The report presented by International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano ended a more than decade-long investigation into allegations Iran worked to develop nuclear arms, which Iran repeatedly denied. Closing the probe was part of the agreement Iran reached with...
Categories: Iraq

Rebel Group to Quit Damascus Area, Frees Hostages

Voice of America - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 15:37
More than three dozen Syrians held for years by al-Qaida-linked insurgents in the country's northwest were released on Tuesday as part of a deal to hand over areas around Damascus back to the government, state media reported. The state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV broadcast images of the released, including women and children, arriving by bus at a government-controlled checkpoint, kissing and hugging Syrian soldiers. Many cried as they spoke to the soldiers. The captives had been held by the...
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How to Read the Army’s Budget Request for More Precision Ordnance

NY Times Iraq - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 13:00
The Army’s proposed budget signals a shift in the role of its artillery force, which was often relegated to infantry operations during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
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Pompeo Makes His Debut on the World Stage

Voice of America - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 09:38
New Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made his debut on the world stage, emphasizing close U.S. ties with NATO, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan – the stops on his first trip. While expressing strong support for U.S. allies, Pompeo took a tough stance against Iran, saying Tehran’s ambition to dominate the Middle East remains. VOA’s Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine has more from the State Department.
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US Backs Israeli Claims on ‘New and Compelling’ Evidence Against Iran

Voice of America - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 06:10
The White House is praising new intelligence from Israel on Iran’s nuclear weapons program, calling it “new and compelling” though officials in Washington have stopped short of charging Tehran with outright violations of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. U.S. officials reviewing the cache of documents, charts, blueprints, photos and videos recovered by Israeli intelligence said late Monday that the materials they had seen were authentic and consistent with information amassed by...
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Mattis Plays Down Odds of Syria Pullout Before Peace Agreement

Voice of America - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 05:50
The United States and its allies would not want to pull troops out of Syria before diplomats win the peace, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday, one of the strongest signs yet a full U.S. withdrawal was unlikely anytime soon. U.S. President Donald Trump said last week he wants to withdraw American troops from Syria relatively soon, but appeared to temper that position by voicing a desire to leave a "strong and lasting footprint." A footprint, in military-speak,...
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Iranian Women Reveal How They Entered Male-only Stadium

Voice of America - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 02:55
Female Iranian soccer fans are becoming more emboldened in their defiance of Iranian regulations that bar them from attending football matches. In recent days, Iranian social media users have been sharing a photo of five young women who disguised themselves as men to attend last Friday's domestic football league match at Tehran's Azadi stadium. The five fans used makeup to give themselves beards and male haircuts as they watched their home team, Persepolis, defeat visiting rivals...
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State TV: Iran's Judiciary Bans Using Telegram App

Voice of America - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 00:59
Iran's judiciary has banned the popular Telegram instant messaging app to protect national security, Iran's state TV reported Monday. "Considering various complaints against Telegram social networking app by Iranian citizens, and based on the demand of security organizations for confronting the illegal activities of Telegram, the judiciary has banned its usage in Iran," TV reported. The order was issued days after Iran banned government bodies from using Telegram,...
Categories: Iraq

Syrian Government, Rebels Reach Evacuation Agreement for S. Damascus

Voice of America - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 00:40
An agreement brokered by Russia to evacuate neighborhoods in southern Damascus was reached Monday between the Syrian government and rebel groups controlling the enclave of southern Damascus. The parties agreed to evacuate trapped civilians and fighters in southern Damascus in exchange for sending away civilians and fighters in the two towns of Fua'a and Kafriyeh, predominately-Shiite towns under the regime's control in rebel-held Idlib province. Local sources said the agreement...
Categories: Iraq

Iraq to Use New Electronic System in May Elections

Voice of America - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 00:35
Iraq plans to use a new electronic system in next month's national elections that will limit fraud and allow for the announcement of results within hours of polls closing, the election commission said Monday.   The Independent High Electoral Commission said that 60,000 devices will be distributed nationwide to send voting data via satellite. Employees have tested the system and found it to be as reliable as hand-counting, the commission said.   In previous elections, voters...
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Kurdish Vote May Have Major Impact on Turkey's Polls

Voice of America - Mon, 04/30/2018 - 23:45
A crackdown on Turkey's main Kurdish party, HDP, is intensifying as the country heads to elections. The crackdown comes as Kurds — a fifth of the electorate — are increasingly seen as key to the outcome of the June 24 general and presidential elections. Selahattin Demirtas, the former HDP leader and the party's presidential candidate, appeared in court Monday on terrorist propaganda charges. The hearing was adjourned to June 8. If convicted, Demirtas will be barred from the...
Categories: Iraq

Netanyahu: Iran 'Brazenly Lying' about Nuclear Weapons Development

Voice of America - Mon, 04/30/2018 - 20:20
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran on Monday of "brazenly lying" about its ongoing nuclear weapons development in violation of the 2015 international pact that sought to restrain Tehran's nuclear ambitions. In a televised address to his countrymen, Netanyahu displayed what he described as an Israeli intelligence coup: copies of "half a ton" of documents, charts, blueprints, photos and videos documenting the Iranian nuclear program. He said...
Categories: Iraq

With Islamic State Defeated, US Shuts Iraqi Command Center

Voice of America - Mon, 04/30/2018 - 18:53
The U.S. on Monday shut its Iraqi military headquarters controlling American ground operations against Islamic State, signifying the end of major combat operations against the insurgents. Islamic State once controlled a third of Iraq and its second biggest city, Mosul. But Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi last December declared that Iraqi forces, with the assistance of 5,000 U.S. troops in a support role, had defeated it. The U.S. deactivated its Combined Joint Forces Land...
Categories: Iraq