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Iraq

Saudi Arabia Tells its Citizens in Lebanon to Return

Voice of America - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 19:30
Saudi Arabia has asked its citizens in Lebanon to leave the country as soon as possible. A foreign ministry source quoted Thursday by the Kingdom's official news agency said, "Due to the circumstances in the Lebanese Republic, the kingdom asks its citizens who are visiting or residing" there to leave as soon as possible. Riyadh has also discouraged its citizens from traveling to the neighbor country in the wake of Lebanon's prime minister announcing his resignation...
Categories: Iraq

Billionaire With Deep Investments in Ethiopia Arrested in Saudi Anti-corruption Sweep

Voice of America - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 19:20
Sheikh Mohammed Hussein al-Amoudi is a billionaire, and by most estimates, one of the richest African-born people in the world. He travels the globe managing his businesses and meeting with heads of state. But he now finds himself in the midst of an anti-corruption sweep in Saudi Arabia. He was arrested in the Saudi kingdom last Saturday, and he is one of dozens of elite detainees sleeping on mattresses on the floor of a well-guarded ballroom at the Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh, awaiting the next...
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Saudi Arabia Detains 208 People in Wide-ranging Corruption Probe

Voice of America - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 18:27
Saudi Arabia’s attorney general confirmed the country has detained 208 people in a wide corruption probe and estimates more than $100 billion had been embezzled over many years. In a statement Thursday, Saud al-Mojeb said seven of the people detained had been released without charge, but the other 201 remain in custody. Around 1,700 bank accounts also were frozen by the government. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he spoke with Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on...
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Macron Tours French Naval Base in Abu Dhabi Near New Louvre

Voice of America - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 17:39
French President Emmanuel Macron promised on Thursday that the West and its partners will "completely win" over the so-called Islamic State group in the coming weeks, applauding the help offered by the United Arab Emirates in the battle against extremism. After focusing the day before on cultural ties between France and the UAE with the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Macron on Thursday toured a nearby French naval base and discussed the military cooperation between the two...
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Egyptian Lawmaker to Propose Anti-Gay Bill as Part of Crackdown

Voice of America - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 16:21
An Egyptian lawmaker is introducing a draft bill that would imprison those engaging in or promoting same-sex relations, a copy of the draft seen by Reuters on Thursday showed. Amnesty International said the bill is “another nail in the coffin for sexual rights in Egypt” and should be scrapped. It would introduce sentences of to up to 10 years in prison for people engaging in or promoting same-sex relations. The law is part of a wider crackdown against homosexuality that started in...
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IS Militants Evacuate Last Stronghold in Syria to Government

Voice of America - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 13:40
A Syrian war monitor says Islamic State militants have withdrawn from their last stronghold following a government offensive.  The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says government forces and allied troops, including Iraqi fighters, are combing Boukamal, a strategic town on the border with Iraq, on Thursday after IS militants withdrew.  Syrian pro-government media say Syrian troops had clashed with remnants of IS militants in the town after they entered it...
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ICC Vows New Libya Charges If Crimes Continue

Voice of America - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:52
The prosecutor at the International Criminal Court warned Wednesday that the situation in Libya “remains dire” and promised to seek new arrest warrants if serious crimes don’t stop. Fatou Bensouda also demanded the arrest and transfer of suspects already subject to arrest warrants, including the son of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, the former head of Libya’s Internal Security Agency and a Libyan military officer alleged to have been involved in the killing of 33 captives “in...
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UN: Saudi Blockade Could Drive Yemen to Massive Famine

Voice of America - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 06:15
The United Nations has warned that unless a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition allows humanitarian aid access into Yemen, it will lead to “the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims.” Since Monday, all humanitarian operations to Yemen, including U.N. aid flights, have been blocked after Saudi Arabia forced every single air, land and sea port in the country closed. The move came in response to the interception of a missile fired toward the Saudi...
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Egypt’s el-Sissi Warns Iran to Stop ‘Meddling’ in Region

Voice of America - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 01:30
Egypt's president said Wednesday that Iran must stop "meddling'' in the Middle East and the security of Arab Gulf countries must not be threatened, but he underscored that he does not want war and believes dialogue can resolve the region's crises.   With his comments, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi threw his support behind Egypt's Gulf ally Saudi Arabia amid the kingdom's mounting tensions with Iran. But he avoided the increasingly aggressive rhetoric...
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Saudi Arabia Steps Up Yemen, Iran Campaigns

Voice of America - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 00:30
The war of words between Iran and Saudi Arabia is escalating in the media and on the ground after the weekend launch of a ballistic missile from Yemen which hit near the airport in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.  The Saudis accuse Iran of arming Yemen's Houthi rebels, who fired the missile.   Saudi state TV announced a fresh round of attacks by by the Saudi-led coalition forces in Yemen as tensions continued to escalate following the weekend ballistic missile launch.  Saudi...
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US, 3 Allies Urge UN to Maintain Syria Chemical Experts

Voice of America - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 00:25
The top U.S., British, French and German diplomats urged the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday to renew the mandate of experts charged with determining who was responsible for chemical weapons attacks in Syria.   They also said it's “essential” to seek justice for the victims and hold those responsible accountable.   The statement was initially circulated in the names of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and French Foreign...
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Rights Group Calls for Release of Detained Turkish Chairman

Voice of America - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 00:05
As Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildrim prepares to meet with Vice President Mike Pence in Washington Thursday, Amnesty International has called on the U.S. to demand that Turkey release the group's country chairman who has been jailed for months. “The Prime Minister’s visit to Washington takes place during an unprecedented crackdown on human rights in Turkey," Naureen Shah, senior director of campaigns at Amnesty International USA, said in a statement. "Although...
Categories: Iraq

Palestinians Resume Security Ties With Israel, Eye Gaza Enforcement

Voice of America - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 23:23
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s administration said on Wednesday it had resumed security coordination with Israel in the occupied West Bank, frozen in July, and sought sole security control of the Gaza Strip, where Hamas Islamist forces dominate. The remarks, by the Palestinian police chief, left open the question of how Abbas might bring his former rivals in Hamas to heel given their refusal to disarm as demanded by Israel and the United States. An Egyptian-brokered...
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Scrambling to Track Islamic State Terrorists, Coalition Turns to Biometrics

Voice of America - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 20:50
As U.S.-backed forces made their final push into the city of Raqqa to liberate what had once been the Syrian capital of the Islamic State's self-declared caliphate, they faced a problem. Not only were the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) holding IS fighters — some captured and some who had surrendered — they were also encountering many Syrians who, for various reasons, had collaborated with or worked for the terror group. In the end, against their initial instincts, the U.S.-backed...
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Tillerson Joins Other Diplomats, Signs Onto Statement Condemning Syrian Chemical Weapons

Voice of America - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 20:24
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and several other diplomats signed onto a statement Wednesday condemning the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against its citizens. Tillerson, along with the foreign ministers from France, Germany and Britain, released the joint statement. It followed a recent report from United Nations investigators that found the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad violated international law when it used sarin gas in the rebel-controlled town of...
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Egyptian Activists Pan US Actress Helen Hunt in Open Letter

Voice of America - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 16:31
Egyptian activists condemned American actress Helen Hunt on Tuesday for her participation in a government-organized youth conference they say is whitewashing authorities' appalling human rights record and suppression of free speech. The open letter by Mona Seif and other well-known human rights advocates gained nearly 300 signatures by Tuesday afternoon. They included Mohamed Zaree, who last month won the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, and Aida Seif...
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US Condemns Iranian Support for Yemen Rebels

Voice of America - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 12:46
The White House is calling for the United Nations to examine Iran's role in the conflict in Yemen, alleging the Iranian government is perpetuating the fighting in order to "advance its regional ambitions." U.S. ally Saudi Arabia accused Iran of supplying Houthi rebels with arms, including a missile the Saudis intercepted after it was fired at an airport in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia leads a coalition battling the Houthis in support of Yemen's internationally recognized...
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State Dept. Asks Saudi Arabia to Be 'Fair and Transparent' in Corruption Crackdown

Voice of America - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 11:52
The U.S. State Department is calling on Saudi Arabia to pursue the prosecution of top officials and members of the royal family in a “fair and transparent manner.”  The reaction comes after a sweeping purge of top Saudi officials Saturday by Saudi King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, known as MbS. VOA’s Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine has more from the State Department.
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Russia and West Clash Over Blaming Syria for Chemical Use

Voice of America - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 05:37
Russia clashed with Western nations Tuesday over a report blaming Syria for a deadly chemical weapons attack, with Moscow dismissing its findings as "mythical or invented" and the U.S. backing its finger-pointing at President Bashar al-Assad's regime. The debate in the Security Council during a meeting on the report reflected the sharp differences between Russia, Syria's most important ally, and Western countries that have backed Assad's opponents. It also raised...
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EU: US Lawmakers Aim to Comply with Iran Nuclear Deal

Voice of America - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 04:24
U.S. lawmakers signaled they plan to ensure the United States complies with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal despite U.S. President Donald Trump's misgivings about the pact, the European Union's foreign policy chief said Tuesday. "I got clear indications that the intention is to keep the United States compliant with the agreement," the EU's Federica Mogherini said at a press conference on a visit to Washington. Trump on Oct. 13 dealt a blow to the pact by refusing to...
Categories: Iraq