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Iraq

Saudi-led Coalition Warns Iran Over Yemen Missile Launch

Voice of America - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 10:32
The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen closed off the land, sea and air ports to the Arab world's poorest country early Monday after a rebel-fired ballistic missile targeted Riyadh, blaming the launch on Iran and warning it could be "considered as an act of war.'' The coalition's statement ramps up tensions between the ultraconservative Sunni kingdom and its Shiite rival Iran, both of which have interests in Yemen's yearslong conflict. The bloodshed continued...
Categories: Iraq

Saudi-led Coalition Intensifies Airstrikes on Houthis After Intercepting Ballistic Missile

Voice of America - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 21:12
Saudi Arabia and its allied forces launched a new wave of airstrikes on targets in neighboring Yemen, where Riyadh has been leading a military alliance against Iran-backed Shi’ite Houthi militant forces since March 2015. Alhurra reported the airstrikes targeted the National Security building and the Ministry of Interior and other positions Sunday in the capital, Sana’a. The renewed attacks came a day after the country's military said it intercepted a ballistic missile fired from...
Categories: Iraq

Kirkuk: At Least 5 Killed in Suicide Attacks

Voice of America - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 20:16
At least five people were killed in Iraq's disputed Kirkuk city by twin suicide bombs Sunday. More than a dozen others were wounded in the attacks, which happened about 15 minutes apart, on Atlas street — a key shopping area in the city of more than a million residents. The attack was the first of its kind since Baghdad seized control of the city from Kurdish forces following a Kurdish independence vote held in defiance of Baghdad. Last month, Iraq's military took...
Categories: Iraq

Two Suicide Attacks Kill at Least 5 in Iraq's Kirkuk

Voice of America - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 18:11
Two suicide bombers struck in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Sunday, killing at least five people and wounding more than 20 others, police and medical sources said. The interior ministry said the attacks targeted a Shi'ite Muslim mosque on Atlas Street in central Kirkuk and gave an initial casualty toll of one killed and 16 wounded. It is the first such attack since the central government in Baghdad seized the oil-rich city last month from Kurdish forces, who had been...
Categories: Iraq

Saudi King, Trump Talk About Intercepted Missile

Voice of America - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 14:11
Saudi Arabian state media say the country's military has intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen and aimed at the King Khalid International Airport northeast of Riyadh. Iran-backed Houthi fighters in Yemen have claimed responsibility for the missile, which was intercepted by Saudi forces Saturday. Saudi authorities said the missile caused no casualties or major damage. The Houthis said they were targeting the airport. The White House said President Donald Trump talked...
Categories: Iraq

How the Kurdish Quest for Independence in Iraq Backfired

NY Times Iraq - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 14:00
After Kurds voted overwhelming for independence in a referendum in September, Iraqi government forces have seized territory previously under Kurdish control.
Categories: Iraq

Militants Attack Security Compound in Aden, Kill Soldiers

Voice of America - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 12:35
A suicide car bomber killed at least five soldiers in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on Sunday, residents and a security official said. The attack took place at a checkpoint outside the main security headquarters in Aden’s Khor Maksar district, they said. Speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters, the security officials said the militants had taken an unknown number of people prisoner inside the compound in Aden. They said Shallal...
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Car Bomb Explodes Outside Deir el-Zour, Syria

Voice of America - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 04:08
A car bomb has exploded in the Syrian city of Deir el-Zour, according to the Syrian state news agency. Saturday’s explosion killed dozens of people, according to both the news agency, SANA, and to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The exact death toll is not yet clear. The attack targeted refugees from the violence who had gathered on the east side of the Euphrates River, according to both SANA and the human rights organization. Deir el-Zour  is the center of Syria’s...
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In Lebanon, Maestro Helps Voices of Refugee Children Rise Above Poverty, Divisions

Voice of America - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 02:54
The maestro emits a squawking sound in mock imitation of his young choir and the concentrated faces peering back at him break into smiles and giggles.  “No, no — like this!” exclaims maestro Salim Sahab, repeating the notes somewhat more melodiously as he repeats the same tune for what seems like the hundredth time. It’s an uphill battle, but for this collection of Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian youngsters gathered in Lebanon’s second city of Tripoli, it is also, finally, a...
Categories: Iraq

Billionaire, Princes Among Dozens Arrested in Saudi Anti-corruption Sweep

Voice of America - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 02:15
Saudi Arabia has arrested dozens of princes and former government ministers, including a well-known billionaire with extensive holdings in Western companies, as part of a sweeping anti-corruption probe, further cementing King Salman and his crown prince son’s control of the kingdom.   A high-level employee at Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Company told The Associated Press that the royal was among those detained overnight Saturday. The employee said he received calls from...
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Iran Celebrates Anniversary of US Embassy Takeover With Missile Display

Voice of America - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 00:33
Iran on Saturday celebrated the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover and hostage crisis by displaying a surface-to-air missile at the site of the former embassy in Tehran. Thousands of Iranians gathered for the annual celebration, where they engaged in anti-U.S. and anti-Israel chants and burned an effigy of U.S. President Donald Trump. Iran's semiofficial Tasnim news agency reported the missile on display at the former embassy was a Qadr-F model, which has a range of about 2,000...
Categories: Iraq

Saudi Arabia: Missile Intercepted Near International Airport

Voice of America - Sat, 11/04/2017 - 22:10
Saudi Arabia’s state media says it has intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen and aimed at the King Khalid International Airport northeast of Riyadh. Iran-backed Houthi fighters in Yemen have claimed responsibility for the missile, which was intercepted by Saudi forces. Saudi authorities said it caused no casualties or major damage. The Houthis said they were targeting the airport. Saudi Arabia is leading a mission in Yemen to eliminate the Houthi forces, but the violence...
Categories: Iraq

Hezbollah: Riyadh 'Imposed' Resignation of Lebanon's Hariri

Voice of America - Sat, 11/04/2017 - 14:46
Lebanon's Hezbollah group is accusing Saudi Arabia of forcing Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign. The head of Lebanon's Shi’ite Hezbollah movement, Hassan Nasrallah, said Sunday the group that participated in Hariri's government during the past year had not pushed for the resignation. "It is clear that the resignation was a Saudi decision that was imposed on Prime Minister Hariri.  It was not his intention, not his wish, and not his decision" to quit,...
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In Lebanon, Maestro Helps Voices of Refugee Children Rise Above Poverty, Divisions

Voice of America - Sat, 11/04/2017 - 12:53
They are among the most underprivileged children in Lebanon, and now their voices can soar. For several months, conductor and composer Salim Sahab auditioned youngsters, most of whom work, for a choir of 300. With Syrian and Palestinian refugees selected along with Lebanese children, hopes are that the unifying power of singing will help cross political and sectarian lines. Having performed the same feat in Egypt, Sahab plans to get them on the big stage. John Owens reports from Tripoli.
Categories: Iraq

Saudi Crown Prince Tackles Extremism on the Road to Social, Economic Reform

Voice of America - Sat, 11/04/2017 - 12:15
The recent flurry of social and economic reform coming out of Saudi Arabia has left some Saudis ecstatic, others more circumspect, and a few conservatives bewildered or even angry. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman told a crowd of investors at a conference in late October that he was merely attempting to “return Saudi Arabia to the moderate Islam that once prevailed” before the Iranian Revolution in 1979. He stressed that 70 percent of Saudis are younger than 30 and vowed “not to...
Categories: Iraq

After Defeats, ISIS Now Sells Nostalgia vs. Utopia

NY Times Iraq - Sat, 11/04/2017 - 01:36
The terrorist group has shifted between different promises to maintain credibility in the eyes of its followers.
Categories: Iraq

Turkey Deploys More Forces in Northern Syria

Voice of America - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 21:10
Turkey is reinforcing the armored columns it started deploying last month in the northern Syrian province of Idlib, the stronghold of an increasingly fractious al-Qaida-linked group, in what analysts describe as a phased incursion. The campaign to pacify Idlib, which has been coordinated with Russia, has been accompanied by a string of assassinations of jihadist commanders who have been unwilling to collaborate with Ankara, according to analysts and Syrian rebel commanders. Other jihadist...
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Israel's Netanyahu Expresses Hope for US Peace Push in Middle East

Voice of America - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 17:44
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday he hoped a U.S. peace initiative would work and praised President Donald Trump for taking a fresh approach to bringing the Israelis and Palestinians back to negotiations. For at least two decades, the goal of U.S.-led diplomacy has been a ‘two-state solution’, meaning an independent Palestinian state living side-by-side and at peace with Israel. But neither Trump nor his aides have publicly recommitted to a two-state solution,...
Categories: Iraq

Iraqi Kurds’ Independence Vote Exposed Risks to Energy Strategy

NY Times Iraq - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 14:26
Regional leaders have long sought to craft an oil and gas policy independent of Baghdad, but the fallout from the recent referendum reveals new liabilities.
Categories: Iraq

ISIS, Squeezed on Two Sides, Loses Syrian City and Border Crossing

NY Times Iraq - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 13:23
The loss is another blow to the Islamic State and a sign of the resurgence of the Syrian army.
Categories: Iraq