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The Levant

Iraqi forces see off ISIS attack, seize road out of Mosul

By Isabel Coles and Ahmed Rasheed for Reuters | MOSUL/SULAIMANIYA, IRAQ – Iraqi forces saw off an overnight ISIS counter-attack near Mosul’s main government buildings and took full control on Wednesday of the last major road leading west to the militant-held town of Tal Afar, the military said. Inside the …

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US ship changed course towards Iran vessels: IRGC commander

The Levant News — A commander with Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says an American warship recently drew its warning by sailing “unprofessionally” close to the force’s vessels near Iranian territorial waters. Mehdi Hashemi, who commands the IRGC Navay’s Zolfaqar Flotilla, said the American ship was sailing as part …

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Syrian army captures water station supplying Aleppo from Iٍ

The Levant News – The Syrian army and its allies have captured the main water pumping station that supplies Aleppo in a sweeping advance against Islamic State that has brought them to the bank of the Euphrates, a group that monitors the conflict said on Tuesday. The Syrian Observatory for …

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Iraqi forces in Mosul fight ISIS counter-attack

By Stephen Kalin for Reuters | MOSUL, IRAQ – ISIS fighters launched a counter-attack against advancing U.S.-backed Iraqi forces in western Mosul during an overnight storm, as the battle for control of the militants’ last major urban stronghold in Iraq intensified. Explosions and gun fire rang out across the city’s …

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Syrian army advances inside Palmyra

The Levant News — Syria’s army and allied forces advanced inside Palmyra on Thursday after ISIS pulled most of its forces back from positions inside the ancient desert city, a war monitor reported. The Syrian army, backed by Russia’s air force and Shi’ite militias supported by Iran, is attempting to …

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Israeli Plan to keep the Palestinian “Apartheid”

By Jasmin Rasheed — Following the visit of Prime Minister Netanyahu in Washington, his plan to enact the apartheid policy and liquidate the two state solution was uncovered. According to Palestinian sources, the plan of the Occupation Government is aimed at countering UNSC resolution 2334. This resolution clearly states that …

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Hezbollah torn between its local and regional roles

By Dr. Haytham Mouzahem for Al-monitor– On Jan. 17, the Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc, Hezbollah’s political wing in the Lebanese parliament, held its regular meeting and said in a statement that the meeting was mostly dedicated to discussing the national draft laws, in particular the electoral law. However, the …

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Some 5,000 Chinese Militants Fight in Syria- Syrian Ambassador to China

The Levant News — Syria’s Ambassador to China stated that approximately 5,000 fighters from the restive northwest Chinese region of Xinjiang are fighting alongside militants in Syria. BEIJING (Sputnik) – Approximately 5,000 fighters from the restive northwest Chinese region of Xinjiang are fighting alongside militants in Syria, Syria’s Ambassador to …

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The Blackwater of Jihad

By Rao Komar, Christian Borys and Eric Woods, Foreign Policy: Heavily armed and expertly kitted with body armor and ballistic helmets, the men can be seen defending bunkers, storming buildings, and even posing by whiteboards giving tactical lessons. Though the titles of these YouTube videos are written in Russian Cyrillic, …

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Saudis expel 39,000 Pakistanis over terror fears

By Richard Spencer for THE TIMES — Saudi Arabia has expelled 39,000 Pakistanis in the past four months amid what it says is a crackdown on terrorism, according to the Saudi Gazette. Most deportations were for standard visa violations, reported the English-language daily newspaper, published in Jedda. However, officials were …

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Syrian President Assad meets with Damascus manufacturers

The Levant News — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met with Damascus manufacturers affected by war on Tuesday, state media said, in his first reported meeting since rumors circulated that he was suffering from ill health. Assad greeted business owners from the capital and its countryside to discuss challenges they have …

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Hizbullah and the Politics of Remembrance by Bashir Saade

Cambridge University Press has recently published a book entitled “Hizbullah and the Politics of Remembrance: Writing the Lebanese Nation” by Bashir Saade. Description “Born out of the Israeli occupation of the South of Lebanon, the political armed group Hizbullah is a powerful player within both Lebanon and the wider Middle …

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Palestine in the Age of Trump

By Rashid Khalidi* for The New Yorker — With the advent in Washington of an Administration with radical new priorities regarding Israel, and a disdain for Palestinian rights, Palestine is facing a daunting reality. In recent years, ascendant political currents in America and Israel had already begun to merge. We …

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An inauguration—into what?

by Graham E. Fuller — With the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, it’s hard to know where first to focus attention. Rage and righteous indignation on all sides are mounting. There is more than enough blame to go around for how the US …

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Obama Belatedly Says No to Israel

If President Obama had confronted Israel over its illegal settlements earlier, he might have really achieved something, but his U.N. abstention as he heads out the door is better than nothing, observes Marjorie Cohn. By Marjorie Cohn for Consortium — For the first time in his eight-year presidency, Barack Obama …

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Hamas and Dahlan Coordinate Positions ahead of PLC Conference

By Jasmin Rasheed — Palestinian reliable sources revealed that Mousa Abu Marzook, member of the Hamas Political Bureau, met the representatives of Mohammad Dahlan to discuss future moves against Abu Mazen. According to these sources, a week ago, Abu Marzook met in Cairo two close associates of Mohammad Dahlan – …

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Iran’s Revolutionary Guards position for power

By Babak Dehghanpisheh for Reuters | BEIRUT — Iran’s Revolutionary Guards look set to entrench their power and shift the country to more hardline, isolationist policies for years to come following the death of influential powerbroker Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Former president Rafsanjani long had a contentious relationship with the …

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Trump-Putin Frenzy

by Graham E. Fuller* — I cannot recall a period in which the US public debate across the media has reached such implacably partisan and toxic proportions. The issues are indeed important—particularly the specific case of Russian involvement in helping make public the activities of the Democratic National Committee—information that …

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ISIS claims responsibility for Berlin truck attack

The Levant News — “The Islamic State” group (ISIS)claimed responsibility Tuesday for a truck attack at a Christmas market in Berlin that killed 12 people and injured 48 others. German police are still hunting for the driver of the truck. “The executor of the operation … in Berlin is a …

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Karak attackers planned further assaults

The Levant News — Assailants who staged attacks in Jordan’s southern city of Karak on Sunday had suicide vests and other weapons, and were planning further assaults, Interior Minister Salamah Hamad has said. Hamad did not give details on Monday on the identity or nationality of the attackers, saying an …

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Iran will reduce its heavy water exports

TEHRAN – Iran’s atomic agency says it will begin exporting less heavy water because of an oversupply in the international market. State TV quotes agency spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi as saying Tuesday that Iran will export some 20 tons of the material annually from now on. That’s much less that the …

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Syrian army says it will enter Aleppo enclave

The Levant News – Syria’s army broadcast messages into the last rebel enclave of Aleppo saying it would enter the area on Tuesday, a military media unit run by the government’s ally Hezbollah reported, urging insurgents to speed up their evacuation of the city. A rebel official based in Turkey …

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Syria army tells remaining rebels to quit Aleppo

ALEPPO, Syria: Syria’s army on Tuesday urged the last remaining rebels and civilians to leave the bombed-out eastern quarters of Aleppo as it prepares to take full control of the devastated city. The evacuation of east Aleppo is seen as a pivotal moment in the nearly six-year war that has …

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Kurd-led forces press ISIS near Syria’s Raqqa

The Levant News – Several villages held by Islamic State have been captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of militias backed by the United States that includes a strong Kurdish contingent, an organisation that monitors the war said on Monday. The advance is part of a military …

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Iranian FM, DM in Russia for Talks on Syria

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan have paid a visit to Moscow to meet with senior Russian officials and discuss issues of mutual interests, the Syrian crisis in particular. Heading high-ranking delegations, Zarif and Dehqan arrived in Moscow on Tuesday morning …

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