Middle East

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Iraqi Kurdish leader calls for nonbinding vote on independence (03.02.2016)

The president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region called for a nonbinding referendum on independence on February 2, saying national borders that have separated the region's Kurds for a century were "a big mistake."

Iraq builds wall and trench around Baghdad to stop militant attacks (03.02.2016)

The interior ministry’s spokesman, police Brigadier General Saad Maan, told the Associated Press that work began this week on a 100km (65-mile) stretch of the wall and trench on the northern and northwestern approaches of the capital.

Lebanon's Christians bury the hatchet amid turmoil (30.01.2016)

Two arch-rivals have resolved their differences, raising hopes that Lebanon will finally be able to select a president. Samir Geagea, head of the Lebanese Forces (LF), announced last week his endorsement of Michel Aoun, an ex-army general and head of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), for...

Palestinians losing hope under ‘stifling’ Israeli occupation – UN chief (27.01.2016)

Amid ongoing violence in the Middle East, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated today that he can understand why Palestinians are losing hope in the face of nearly 50 years of Israeli occupation, a statement that has provoked criticism that he was “giving terror a tailwind.”

Iraqi leader asks U.S. for help to train police forces, officials say (23.01.2016)

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq privately asked Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter this week for additional help training Iraqi police forces used to secure cities that have been retaken from the Islamic State … The request opens the door for the US and other countries — particularly Italy,...

Kurds displacing Arabs in Iraq in what could be ‘war crimes’ (19.01.2016)

Kurdish forces in northern Iraq, close partners of the United States, have burned and bulldozed the homes of Arab families in actions that may constitute war crimes, Amnesty International alleged in a new report.

‘Staggering’ civilian death toll in Iraq – UN report (19.01.2016)

A United Nations report released today details the severe and extensive impact on civilians of the ongoing conflict in Iraq, with at least 18,802 civilians killed and another 36,245 wounded between January 2014 and October 2015, while another 3.2 million people have been internally displaced due to...

Lebanese Christian leader pulls out of presidential race in surprise move (18.01.2016)

Samir Geagea has withdrawn his candidacy in support of his rival, Michel Aoun. The move is an effort to break an ongoing political deadlock in Lebanon, which has been without a president for nearly two years.

Fears of more Iraq strife as regional Sunni-Shiite row escalates (06.01.2016)

Sectarian attacks south of Baghdad have aroused local fears that an escalating row between the region's Sunni and Shiite powerhouses could plunge Iraq back into all-out civil conflict.

German cabinet approves more soldiers for Iraq (06.01.2016)

The German cabinet agreed to increase the numbers of soldiers training Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to up to 150 from 100.