Voice of America : Middle East (51)

Amnesty International's Turkey Chief to be Held Pending Trial

An Istanbul court ruled Wednesday that Amnesty International's Turkey director should remain in jail. The anti-terror case includes 10 other human rights defenders and is drawing increasing international condemnation. The decision by the Istanbul court to continue detaining Taner Kilic pending trial ...

Arab States Blacklist Islamist Groups, Individuals in Qatar Boycott

The four Arab countries boycotting Qatar added 11 more individuals and two other entities, including a major group of Islamist scholars, to their "terrorist" blacklists for the Gulf state, Saudi state news agency SPA reported on Thursday. The lists now include the Qatar-based International Union of ...

Iraqi Forces Launch Operation to Clear Last Islamic State Positions In Desert

Iraqi military officials say government forces launched an operation Thursday to clear the last Islamic State fighters from positions in the desert bordering Syria. In a statement, the military said troops from the Iraqi army and Shi'ite Popular Mobilization Forces were taking part in the campaign ...

Saudi Arabia to Buy $7B in Precision Munitions from US Firms, Sources Say

Saudi Arabia has agreed to buy about $7 billion worth of precision guided munitions from U.S. defense contractors, sources familiar with the matter said, a deal that some lawmakers may object to over American weapons having contributed to civilian deaths in the Saudi campaign in Yemen. Raytheon ...

Saudi-led Coalition to Begin Allowing Aid Into Yemen

The Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen said Wednesday that it would reopen the country's main international airport and a vital Red Sea port to humanitarian traffic. The easing is supposed to begin Thursday. The airport in the capital of Sanaa will reopen to U.N. aircraft, ...

Hariri's Return to Lebanon Sparks Celebration – and Speculation

At a military parade in the center of a city locked down by security and surrounded by the pomp and circumstance that typically come with commemorating Lebanon's Independence Day, Saad Hariri took his seat among the country's other leading politicians. After flying in late Tuesday, his appearance ...

Hariri's Return to Lebanon Sparks Celebration — and Speculation

Lebanon is celebrating its Independence Day with a military parade attended by Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who resigned from Saudi Arabia earlier this month but now says he is putting that resignation on hold. John Owens captures images from Beirut for VOA.

Hariri Puts Resignation on Hold

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Wednesday he is putting on hold his resignation at the request of President Michel Aoun. Speaking at the presidential palace near Beirut after a parade marking Lebanon's independence day, Hariri said the delay was meant to give time for more discussion with ...

Returning PM Attends Lebanon's Military Parade

Lebanon is celebrating its Independence Day with a military parade attended by the president and the prime minister who resigned from Saudi Arabia earlier this month in a move that stunned the country. Wednesday's parade comes hours after Prime Minister Saad Hariri returned to Lebanon after a ...

Hariri Puts Resignation On Hold

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Wednesday he is putting on hold his resignation at the request of President Michel Aoun. Speaking to reporters in Beirut after a parade marking Lebanon's Independence Day, Hariri said the delay was meant to give time for more discussion with the president. He ...

Syrian Opposition Seeks More Unity Ahead of Peace Talks

With a new round of U.N.-led peace talks set to begin next week, Syrian opposition figures are meeting Wednesday in Saudi Arabia in an attempt to form a more unified front, while several outside nations with heavy influence on the conflict are holding their own consultations in Russia. Since the ...

US Charges Iranian National With Hacking HBO Computer Systems

U.S. prosecutors charged an Iranian with hacking into computer systems of the cable TV channel HBO earlier this year, stealing information about the hit program "Game of Thrones" and attempting to extort millions of dollars from the company. In an indictment Tuesday, prosecutors said 29-year-old ...

Bomb Kills at Least 20 in Iraq

At least 20 people were killed Tuesday when an attacker blew up a vehicle in an Iraqi town south of Kirkuk. Dozens more were wounded in the explosion, which hit a crowded market in the town of Tuz Khurmatu. The death toll is expected to rise, according to police and medical sources. There was no ...

Iraq Relocates Hundreds of Foreign Wives, Children of Suspected Militants to Baghdad

Iraqi authorities have moved hundreds of foreign wives and children of suspected Islamic State militants from a detention center in northern Iraq to Baghdad, citing security concerns and the difficulties of keeping them in a remote location. Local officials, security and aid agency sources said more ...

Diplomatic Maneuvering Aims to Defuse Lebanon Crisis

France and Egypt are trying to shape a regional accommodation between Iran and Saudi Arabia in a bid to prevent Lebanon from being destabilized. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was to meet Tuesday with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo before heading back Wednesday to Beirut ...

Syria a Smoldering Ruin But Assad Still in His Seat

His nation is a smoldering ruin, much of it held by rival armed factions, domestic or foreign. Half the population is displaced, hundreds of thousands have died and much of the West regards him as a tyrant and human rights abuser. But Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appears to have survived the war ...

Russia, Syria Say Presidents Discuss Syrian Political Resolution

Syria and Russia disclosed Tuesday a meeting between President Bashar al-Assad and President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, saying the leaders discussed the need to focus on a political resolution for the Syrian conflict. Reports from the Kremlin and Syria's SANA news agency said Putin described military ...

US Targets Iranian Counterfeit Scheme in Yemen

U.S. officials are spotlighting Iran’s efforts to spread its influence across the Middle East with what they describe as a “large-scale” counterfeiting operation, sophisticated enough to fool some European regulators. Treasury officials in Washington exposed the counterfeiting ring ...

UN Envoy Says Conflict Likely If Palestinians Fail to Unite

 The U.N.’s Mideast envoy says reconciliation talks between Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas must succeed, warning that failure “will most likely result in another devastating conflict.” Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council Monday that “critical intra-Palestinian ...

Israel Moves to Deport 40,000 African Migrants

The fate of 40,000 African migrants in Israel remains unclear after lawmakers approved a proposal to deport them. The Cabinet in Jerusalem voted unanimously Sunday to close the isolated Holot detention facility in the Negev Desert. Holot houses thousands of Africans who entered Israel illegally. The ...

15 Dead, 5 Hurt in Stampede for Food Aid in Morocco

A stampede in a southern Moroccan village left at least 15 people dead and five others injured Sunday as food aid was being distributed, the Interior Ministry said. The crush took place in Sidi Boulalam, in the province of Essaouira, as a local association was distributing food aid in a local weekly ...

Turkey Hosts Iranian, Russian FMs as Ankara-NATO Dispute Festers

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Melvin Cavusolgu is hosting his Russian and Iranian counterparts at the Mediterranean Sea resort of Antalya to prepare the ground for Wednesday’s summit in Russia to discuss Syria. Despite Ankara backing opposing sides to Tehran and Moscow in the Syrian civil war, ...

Police Question Israeli Leader Over Corruption Accusations

Police have arrived at the official residence of Israel's prime minister in what is believed to be part of an investigation into corruption allegations. Police have previously questioned Benjamin Netanyahu over allegations that he received gifts from Hollywood and business figures. A separate probe ...

Saudis, Allies Discuss Iran Ahead of Arab League Meeting

Saudi Arabia asked Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Sunday to condemn what Riyadh and its allies see as Iran's meddling in Arab affairs and its alleged support for militias in the region, according to Arab diplomats.   The diplomats said a Saudi draft resolution is proposing a declaration ...

Saudis Bristle at German Official’s Lebanon Remark

Saudi Arabia has summoned its ambassador in Germany home for consultations over comments by German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel about the political crisis in Lebanon. The Saudi foreign ministry said the government also handed Germany’s representative in Riyadh a protest note over what it ...

US-backed Forces Deny They Allowed IS Fighters to Evacuate Raqqa

Officials of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces are dismissing claims they brokered a covert deal with the Islamic State last month to allow safe passage to hundreds of besieged IS fighters evacuating from Raqqa, the de facto capital of the so-called Islamic State in northern Syria. The BBC on ...

Palestinians Vow to Suspend Talks If US Closes PLO Mission

The Palestinians threatened Saturday to suspend all communication with the United States if the Trump administration follows through with plans to close their diplomatic office in Washington. The potential rupture in relations threatens to undermine President Donald Trump's bid for Mideast peace, a ...

Egypt Orders Detention of Prominent Activist Mahinour el-Masry Over Protest

An Egyptian court has ordered a prominent activist to remain in custody pending trial on charges of participating in an illegal protest against the government's transfer of two strategic Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, a rights lawyer said on Saturday. Mahinour el-Masry, a rights lawyer herself and ...

Hariri Says He Will Return to Lebanon on Wednesday, Explain His Situation

Saad al-Hariri, who resigned as Lebanon's prime minister earlier this month, said he would return to Beirut on Wednesday and explain the surprising resignation announcement he made in Saudi Arabia. Hariri spoke Saturday at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris with French President Emmanuel ...

'Pocket Hercules,' 3-time Olympic Champion, Dies at 50

Naim Suleymanoglu, the Turkish weightlifter who won three Olympic gold medals and was known as "Pocket Hercules," died Saturday. He was 50. Suleymanoglu was considered one of the sport's greatest athletes and earned his nickname for his strength and diminutive size. He died at an Istanbul hospital ...

Hariri 'Visit' to Paris a Coup for French Diplomacy

Lebanon’s Saad Hariri arrived in Paris Saturday, in the latest twist to a bizarre crisis that leaves the onus — or credit — on France and its young leader, Emmanuel Macron, to help resolve it. Hariri, whose resignation on Saudi TV earlier this month as Lebanon’s prime minister ...

US Puts Palestinians on Notice: DC Office May Be Shuttered

The Trump administration put the Palestinians on notice Friday that it will shutter their office in Washington unless they’ve entered serious peace talks with Israel, U.S. officials said, potentially giving President Donald Trump more leverage as he seeks an elusive Mideast peace deal. ...

Iraqi Forces Recapture Last Islamic State-held Town

Iraqi forces on Friday captured the border town of Rawa, the last remaining town under Islamic State control, signaling the collapse of the group's self-proclaimed caliphate. Rawa's capture marks the end of Islamic State's era of territorial rule over a so-called caliphate that it proclaimed in 2014 ...

IS Bomb Kills More Than 20 Displaced People in Syria

At least 20 internally displaced persons were killed by a car bomb Friday in Syria — an attack blamed on Islamic State. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor put the death toll at 26, adding that 12 of the victims were children. Syrian state broadcaster SANA said that 30 others were ...

Security Council Considers 30-day Extension on Syria Experts

The U.N. Security Council met Friday to discuss a 30-day extension to the mandate of the expert body charged with determining responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria after rival U.S. and Russian resolutions were defeated. The defeats came during a dramatic and highly contentious ...

Turkish President Slams US Policy in Syria

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan used an address to party officials Friday in Ankara as an opportunity to launch a blistering attack on the U.S. policy in Syria. Erdogan openly asked why the U.S. is involving itself in a country 12,000 kilometers away. He then accused Washington of breaking ...

Hariri: My Stay in Saudi Arabia Was to Discuss Lebanon's Future

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Friday he has been in Saudi Arabia, from where he announced his shocking resignation, for discussions on the future of the region. "My stay in the kingdom is aimed at conducting consultations on the future of Lebanon and its relations with its Arab ...

Red Cross: 1 Million Yemenis at Risk of Cholera Outbreak

One million people across three Yemeni cities are at risk of a renewed cholera outbreak and other water-borne diseases following the closing of airports and sea ports by a Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen's Shiite rebels, an international aid group said on Friday. The International Committee of ...

China's Xi Offers Support for Saudi Arabia Amid Regional Uncertainty

China supports Saudi Arabia’s efforts to safeguard national sovereignty and achieve greater development, President Xi Jinping told Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, at a time of regional tensions between Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon and Yemen. China has traditionally played little role in Middle ...

Russia, US Reject Rival Chemical Weapons Resolutions on Syria

Russia on Thursday vetoed a U.S.-sponsored Security Council resolution that would have extended the international probe into chemical weapons use in Syria. Hours later, the council rejected a Russian-sponsored resolution after it failed to get the required nine-vote minimum for passage. The Russian ...

Lebanon's Hariri Finds Himself Caught in Regional Feuds

Saad Hariri has seen a lot in his 47 years. His father, Lebanon’s charismatic leader and influential businessman Rafik Hariri, was assassinated in a 2005 bombing that rocked the country and thrust the young man into a political career before he was ready.   He led an uprising that ended ...

Iraqi Kurds to End Parliament Boycott

Iraq's Kurdish lawmakers are returning to Baghdad this week in an apparent end to their boycott of the national parliament, a senior Kurdish official said Thursday. The move is a concession to Baghdad after a military and political standoff that followed the controversial Kurdish independence vote ...

Save the Children Says 130 Children Die Every Day in Yemen

An international aid group says an estimated 130 children or more die every day in war-torn Yemen from extreme hunger and disease. Save the Children said late on Wednesday a continuing blockade by the Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen's Shiite rebels is likely to further increase the death rate. It ...

Iranian-Turkish Relations Deepen with Shared Regional Goals

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to attend a summit with Iranian and Russian leaders to discuss Syria. It will be Erdogan's second meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a month. Bilateral relations have warmed significantly in recent months between the regional rivals, since ...

Saudi Foreign Minister: Message to Iran is: 'Enough is Enough'

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said on Thursday the kingdom's actions in the Middle East were a response to what he called the "aggression" of Iran. Long-standing arch-rivals, Riyadh and Tehran are waging a contest for power on several fronts across the region, notably in Yemen and ...

Israeli Army Chief says Ready to Share Information with Saudi Arabia

The Israeli army's chief of staff told an Arabic anguage online newspaper that Israel was ready to share "intelligence information" with Saudi Arabia, saying their countries had a common interest in standing up to Iran. Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot told the privately Saudi-owned Elaph in what it ...

French FM Visits Riyadh to Meet Lebanese Prime Minister

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir has again insisted Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is "not being detained against his will" in Saudi Arabia, while accusing Iran and its Hezbollah proxy militia of trying to dominate Lebanon and meddling in Yemen and Bahrain. Visiting French Foreign Minister ...

UN Agencies Renew Pleas to Lift Blockade on Yemen

Three United Nations agencies have renewed pleas to a Saudi-led coalition to lift a blockade that has halted the flow of essential supplies into Yemen, warning that the lives of "untold thousands" of people are at stake. "The cost of this blockade is being measured in the number of lives that are ...

Turkish FM: Turkish-Iranian Gold Trader Jailed in US Was Relocated

U.S. authorities told Turkey that Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, arrested in the United States, was moved to a different location and is in good medical condition, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday. Cavusoglu said U.S. authorities had not replied to a first ...

French Military: Coalition Opposed IS Withdrawal From Raqqa

France's military said on Thursday the coalition battling Islamic State in Syria had opposed a deal allowing fighters of the militant group to withdraw from their former bastion of Raqqa. The coalition had also been unable to launch air strikes against the fighters because they had mingled with ...