Middle East

  • Never-Ending War
    War_in_afghanistan 2019-07-05 03:58:47 UTC
    Jalalabad, Afghanistan (AFP) -- Of all the sad, wrenching things I have seen as a journalist in Afghanistan, Niaz Bibi's house was probably one of the saddest. At the age of 70, Bibi has found herself as the main parent of some 40 kids -- the children of her three sons and three grandsons who had been killed by the Islamic State. Bibi does the best she can, but she is so poor that they all live in conditions not much better than a jail. "Have you seen my father?" some of the children asked me when I came to the house. They didn't know their fathers were dead. They thought they were just away somewhere. They looked at their photos and...
  • Angela Merkel: There Has to Be a Political Solution on Iran
    Merkel_does_not_fear_more_countries_could_leave_eu_after_brexit_ 2019-06-22 21:23:07 UTC
    FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The international community must seek a political solution on Iran, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday, after U.S. President Donald Trump said he had aborted a military strike to retaliate against Tehran’s downing of a U.S. drone. Speaking at an annual gathering of Protestant churches, Merkel also said the Iran issue would be discussed at next week’s meeting of leaders of the Group of 20 leading economies in Japan, at least at a bilateral level. “There has to be a political solution (on Iran) and that is what we are working on,” Merkel said. <I>Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Tom Sims; Ed...
  • US Abruptly Calls Off Retaliation Strike Against Iran
    Us_abruptly_calls_off_retaliation_strike_against_iran 2019-06-21 05:39:58 UTC
    WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. official said the military made preparations Thursday night for limited strikes on Iran in retaliation for the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, but approval was abruptly withdrawn before the attacks were launched. The official, who was not authorized to discuss the operation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the targets would have included radars and missile batteries. The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump had approved the strikes, but then called them off. The newspaper cited anonymous senior administration officials. The White House on Thursday night declined reque...
  • US Drone Shot Down After Entering Iran’s Airspace
    Us_drone_shot_down_after_entering_iran%e2%80%99s_airspace 2019-06-20 05:51:04 UTC
    DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards have shot down a U.S. “spy” drone in the southern province of Hormozgan, the Guards’ news website Sepah News said on Thursday. State news agency IRNA carried the same report, identifying the drone as an “RQ-4 Global Hawk’. “It was shot down when it entered Iran’s airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in the south,” the Guards’ website added. The RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) can fly at high altitudes for more than 30 hours, gathering near-real-time, high-resolution imagery of large areas of land in all types of weather, maker Northrop Grumman says on its websit...
  • US Blames Iran for Tanker Attacks in See of Oman
    18915_us_blames_iran_for_tanker_attacks_in_see_of_oman 2019-06-13 21:55:27 UTC
    DUBAI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two oil tankers were attacked on Thursday and left adrift in the Gulf of Oman, driving up oil prices and stoking fears of a new confrontation between Iran and the United States, which blamed Tehran for the incident. “It is the assessment of the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters without providing explicit evidence to back up the U.S. stance. “This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, rec...
  • US Senators Seek to Block Trump Saudi Arms Sales
    Us_senators_seek_to_block_trump_saudi_arms_sales 2019-06-05 21:52:21 UTC
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican and Democratic U.S. senators said on Wednesday they would introduce legislation to block President Donald Trump’s plan for $8 billion in military sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates without congressional review. Backers said the introduction of the 22 “resolutions of disapproval,” one for each of the 22 arms deals cleared by the Trump administration, was intended to “protect and reaffirm Congress’ role of approving arms sales to foreign governments.” The announcement followed furious rejection in Congress late last month of the administration’s declaration that a growing threat from Ir...
  • US shared sensitive nuclear power information with Saudi Arabia
    Us_shared_sensitive_nuclear_power_information_with_saudi_arabia 2019-06-05 06:08:32 UTC
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration granted two authorizations to U.S. companies to share sensitive nuclear power information with Saudi Arabia shortly after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October, a U.S. senator who saw the approvals said on Tuesday. The timing of the approvals is likely to heap pressure on the administration of President Donald Trump from lawmakers who have become increasingly critical of U.S. support for Saudi Arabia since Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. Khashoggi, a native of Saudi Arabia, left in 2017 to became a resident of the United States where he...
  • US Deploys 1,500 Troops to Middle East
    Us_deploys_1_500_troops_to_middle_east-_trump__bolton__pompeo 2019-05-24 19:49:36 UTC
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States announced on Friday the deployment of 1,500 troops to the Middle East, describing it as an effort to bolster defenses against Iran as it accused the country’s Revolutionary Guards of direct responsibility for this month’s tanker attacks. U.S. President Donald Trump publicly announced the 1,500 figure, which had been previously reported by Reuters, and described it as a defensive measure. The troops include personnel manning missile defense systems, aerial surveillance to spot threats and engineers to fortify defenses. “We want to have protection in the Middle East. We’re going to be sending a ...
  • Iraq Could Become An Arena For US-Iran Armed Conflict
    Iraq_could_become_an_arena_for_iran-us_armed_conflict_ 2019-05-17 22:02:57 UTC
    BAGHDAD (AP) — When U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat down with Iraqi officials in Baghdad last week as tensions mounted between America and Iran, he delivered a nuanced message: If you’re not going to stand with us, stand aside. The message, relayed to The Associated Press by two Iraqi government officials, underscores Iraq’s delicate position: Its government is allied with both sides of an increasingly contentious confrontation. As tensions escalate, there are concerns that Baghdad could once again get caught in the middle, just as it is on the path to recovery. The country hosts more than 5,000 U.S. troops, and is home to po...
  • Oil Prices Continue to Rise Amid OPEC-Led Supply Cuts
    Oil_prices_rose__lifted_by_a_weak_dollar 2019-04-02 21:38:57 UTC
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices on Tuesday hit their highest level so far in 2019, with Brent crude approaching $70 a barrel, on the prospect that more sanctions against Iran and further Venezuelan disruptions could deepen an OPEC-led supply cut. Brent futures reached a session peak at $69.52 a barrel, the highest since Nov. 13. The global benchmark rose 36 cents, or 0.52 percent, to settle at $69.37 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 99 cents, or 1.61 percent, to settle at $62.58 a barrel, after touching $62.75, its highest level since Nov. 7. The United States is considering more sanctions against Iran, the ...
  • Netanyahu faces backlash for far-right alliance
    Far-right_party_loyal_to_the_policies_of_the_late_anti-arab_rabbi__meir_kahane 2019-02-24 17:22:42 UTC
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has touched off rare criticism from AIPAC, the largest U.S. pro-Israel lobby, over an election alliance with a far-right party loyal to the policies of the late anti-Arab rabbi, Meir Kahane. Faced with a new merger of centrist parties that opinion polls show might defeat him, Netanyahu engineered the deal between Jewish Power and another <a href="https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-how-netanyahu-rehabilitated-jewish-supremacism-1.6962310"><strong><I>ultranationalist faction</I></strong></a>, Jewish Home, on Wednesday. Polls suggest that without the alliance one or both...
  • Catastrophic Effects of Climate Change
    Catastrophic_effects_of_climate_change 2018-11-25 02:46:14 UTC
    (Reuters) - Climate change will cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century, hitting everything from health to infrastructure, according to a government report issued on Friday that the White House called inaccurate. The congressionally mandated report, written with the help of more than a dozen U.S. government agencies and departments, outlined the projected impact of global warming on every corner of American society in a dire warning that is at odds with the Trump administration’s pro-fossil-fuels agenda. “With continued growth in emissions at historic rates, annual losses in some economic secto...
  • Germany Halts Arms Sales, Bans 18 Saudis
    Germany_halts_arms_sales_and_bans_18_saudis 2018-11-19 23:31:54 UTC
    BERLIN — Germany is halting previously approved arms exports to Saudi Arabia. The government says it is also banning 18 Saudi citizens suspected of being involved in Jamal Khashoggi's death from entering Europe's Schengen zone. Germany has triggered proceedings to ban 18 Saudi citizens allegedly involved in the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi from entering Europe's border-free Schengen zone, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday. "We still have more questions than answers in the Khashoggi case," Maas said on the sidelines of a European Union meeting in Brussels, adding that he had discussed the decision wi...
  • Son of murdered Saudi journalist has flown out of Saudi Arabia
    Son_of_murdered_saudi_journalist_has_flown_out_of_saudi_arabia 2018-10-25 19:11:25 UTC
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The eldest son of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has flown out of Saudi Arabia, two sources close to the family said on Thursday. Salah Khashoggi, who one source said holds dual U.S.-Saudi citizenship and had thus far been under a travel ban, departed Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. The sources provided no further details. Salah Khashoggi’s departure came a day after a meeting at the al Yamama Palace in Riyadh in which he and other family members received condolences from King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Turkish officials and some U.S. lawmakers allege the crown prince ordered...
  • Germany to halt all arms exports to Saudi
    Merkel_germany_to_halt_all_german_arms_exports_to_saudi 2018-10-22 21:35:32 UTC
    ORTENBERG, Germany (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul a “monstrosity” and vowed to halt all German arms exports to Riyadh until the case is cleared up. Merkel, in her harshest comments to date, decried what she called “the monstrosity there in the Saudi consulate in Turkey” during a campaign rally in the town of Ortenberg before a regional election in the state of Hesse on Sunday. “It must be cleared up. As long as it’s not cleared up, there will be no arms exports to Saudi Arabia. I assure you of that very decidedly,” Merkel said...
  • Analysis: With ‘America First,’ where do human rights rank?
    Analysis-_with_%e2%80%98america_first_%e2%80%99_where_do_human_rights_rank_ 2018-10-18 23:04:28 UTC
    WASHINGTON (AP) — If it’s an “America First” presidency, where does that rank human rights? President Donald Trump’s refusal to put public pressure on Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is raising a question that has dogged his foreign policy. In dealing with Russia, across Asia and, this week, in the Mideast, Trump has often appeared comfortable downplaying concerns about rights abuses and dismissing the importance of U.S. moral leadership. The onetime real estate mogul is as likely to let U.S. financial or security interests guide his choices and his words. In an Associated Press interview Tuesday, Tr...
  • Critical Journalist 'killed inside Saudi consulate': Proof
    Trump's_hotel_revenue_shoot_up_thanks_to_trip_by_saudi_prince 2018-10-12 17:29:39 UTC
    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s government has told U.S. officials it has audio and video proof that missing Saudi Arabian writer Jamal Khashoggi was killed and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the Washington Post reported Friday. The newspaper, for which Khashoggi is a columnist, cited anonymous officials as saying the recordings show a Saudi security team detained the writer when he went to the consulate on Oct. 2 to pick up a document for his upcoming wedding. The Associated Press was not immediately able to confirm the report, and Turkish officials would not comment. A delegation from Saudi Arabia arrived in Turk...
  • UNHCR: 4 million refugee children can't go to school
    4_million_refugee_children_around_the_world_can't_go_to_school 2018-09-23 22:16:47 UTC
    Four million refugee children around the world are excluded from education, according to a United Nations report. A solution should be to allow refugees to attend regular schools, the UNHCR has demanded. With more and more children forced to leave their homes, the number of refugees out of education has topped four million, according to the UN's Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The figure represents more than half of all school-age refugees around the world, according to the report named "Turn the Tide: Refugee Education in Crisis." <blockquote><h2>Key takeaways from the report</h2><blockquote><I> • There are now 7.4 million school-age refu...
  • Trump’s Paul Manafort will cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller
    Trump%e2%80%99s_paul_manafort_will_cooperate_with_special_counsel_robert_mueller_ 2018-09-14 20:47:49 UTC
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort will cooperate with the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, prosecutors said on Friday, a dramatic turnaround that deals the U.S. president a political setback. After months of refusing to assist Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian interference and possible coordination between Trump campaign members and Moscow, Manafort finally took a plea deal and agreed to cooperate in return for reduced charges. It was not immediately clear what information about Trump that Manafort, a longtime Republican political consulta...
  • US to close Palestinian mission in Washington
    Us_to_close_palestinian_mission_in_washington 2018-09-10 18:19:02 UTC
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration ordered the closure of the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington on Monday and threatened sanctions against the International Criminal Court if it pursues investigations against the U.S., Israel, or other allies. The moves are likely to harden Palestinian resistance to the U.S. role as a peace broker. The administration cited the refusal of Palestinian leaders to enter into peace talks with Israel as the reason for closing the Palestinian Liberation Organization office, although the U.S. has yet to present its plan to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians accused the ...
  • US to end funding to UN agency that helps Palestinian refugees
    Us_halts_all_funding_to_a_u.n._agency_that_helps_palestinian_refugees 2018-08-31 22:44:17 UTC
    WASHINGTON/RAMALLAH (Reuters) - The United States on Friday halted all funding to a U.N. agency that helps Palestinian refugees in a move likely to further heighten tensions between the Palestinians and the Trump administration. A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the decision as “a flagrant assault against the Palestinian people and a defiance of U.N. resolutions.” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the business model and fiscal practices of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) were an “irredeemably flawed operation.” “The administration has carefully reviewed the issue and de...
  • Iran praises EU for their efforts to salvage 'Nuclear deal'
    Federica_mogherini_and_javad_zarif-_iran_praises_eu_for_their_efforts_to_salvage_'nuclear_deal' 2018-08-19 16:50:57 UTC
    LONDON (Reuters) - Iran’s vice president said on Sunday the government was seeking solutions to sell oil and transfer its revenues despite fresh U.S. sanctions. “We are hopeful that the European countries can meet their commitments but even if they cannot, we are seeking solutions to sell our oil and transfer its revenues,” Eshaq Jahangiri was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA. In similar remarks, Iranian foreign minister praised the European signatories for their efforts to salvage the deal, especially for EU’s so-called blocking statute that aims to mitigate the impact of U.S. sanctions for European businesses. Howe...
  • Iran: We made a "mistake" negotiating with US over nuke
    Iran-_we_made_a_%22mistake%22_negotiating_with_us_over_nuke 2018-08-15 18:16:14 UTC
    (Reuters) - Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has admitted he made a mistake in allowing the country’s foreign minister to speak to his U.S. counterpart during negotiations that led to a 2015 international nuclear agreement. International sanctions on Iran were lifted when the pact with world powers came into force in 2016, but the expected level of foreign investment to help revive the economy has never materialized. Then this May President Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement and is now reimposing U.S. sanctions in stages. Khamenei, who rarely admits in public to making errors, said he had done just that over the nu...
  • China takes over project in world’s biggest natural gas reserves in Iran
    China_takes_over_project_in_world%e2%80%99s_biggest_natural_gas_reserves_in_iran 2018-08-11 18:21:26 UTC
    Reuters - China’s state-owned energy major CNPC has taken over the share in Iran’s multi-billion dollar South Pars gas project held by France’s Total, the Iranian state news agency IRNA reported on Saturday. Total signed a contract in 2017 to develop Phase II of South Pars field with an initial investment of $1 billion, marking the first major Western energy investment in the country after sanctions were lifted in 2016. South Pars has the world’s biggest natural gas reserves ever found in one place. But the French company had said it would pull out unless it secured a U.S. sanctions waiver, and Gholamreza Manouchehri, deputy head of ...
  • EU raises concerns over new US move on Iran
    Eu_raises_concerns_over_new_us_move_on_iran 2018-08-06 17:59:19 UTC
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration expects economic sanctions that it is re-imposing on Iran this week to further cripple the Iranian economy and will aggressively enforce the measures, senior U.S. administration officials said on Monday. But the U.S. sanctions strategy has several weak spots, especially a reluctance by Europe and China to curtail business with Iran. The European Union voiced regret and expressed concern at the new U.S. move. “We deeply regret the re-imposition of sanctions by the U.S.,” the bloc said in a joint statement with the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain. One EU measure to...