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Syria peace talks in Astana close with no sign of rebels

The Levant News — Syrian peace talks in Kazakhstan closed on Wednesday without any substantive negotiations taking place, after rebels boycotted the meeting that took place as a deadly double suicide bombing marked the start of the civil war’s seventh year. The only concrete outcome from the third round of …

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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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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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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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RUMI’S UNTOLD STORY

by Shahram Shiva from near 30 years of research on Rumi http://www.rumi.net/about_rumi_main.htm Rumi is now one of the most widely read poets in America. I began translating Rumi in 1988, and performing his poetry in 1992. In all of these years I never thought that he would become so popular …

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Netanyahu to discuss ‘bad’ Iran deal with Trump

By Jeffrey Heller and Arshad Mohammed for Reuters | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he would discuss with Donald Trump the West’s “bad” nuclear deal with Iran after the U.S. president-elect enters the White House. Speaking separately to a conference in Washington, Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of …

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US Iran deal foes sharpen their knives

THE LEVANT NEWS – Advocates of the nuclear deal with Iran are convinced the pact is in mortal danger following Republican Donald Trump’s upset victory in the presidential election. Deal skeptics on Capitol Hill have already prepared a raft of bills that have a far better chance of making it …

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Iraqi troops on southern front battle for last town before Mosul

By Babak Dehghanpisheh for Reuters | NEAR HAMMAM AL-ALIL, IRAQ — Iraqi troops advancing towards Mosul battled on Saturday for the last town left between them and the Islamic State stronghold to the north, which is already under assault from special forces fighting inside the city’s eastern districts. Saturday’s attack on Hammam …

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Ashura rituals stir controversy among Shiites

THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE – By Dr. Haytham Mouzahem* — Each year, as they commemorate Ashura, the Shiites debate whether certain rituals are permissible. Some of those rituals are violent, such as Tatbir and hitting oneself with chains practices that harm one’s body and distort the revolution and objectives of Imam …

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Germany deliberates anti-terror response

Following multiple terror strikes across Germany, Bavarian authorities plan to boost the police force and use the army to help secure borders. Soldiers, however, warn that the Bundeswehr is no “auxiliary police.” The Munich cabinet wants to have more experts “monitoring extremists,” and to recruit more people for “special police …

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Khomeini’s Mind

By Hamid Algar – SEPTEMBER 23, 1982 ISSUE — In response to: Conjuring with Islam from the May 27, 1982 issue To the Editors: I ought, I suppose, to be flattered that Clifford Geertz has devoted more space to my commentary on Imam Khomeini’s writings than to the writings themselves …

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Syria and Unwarranted Optimism

By Kamran Bokhari for Stratfor — Since Putin announced Russia’s withdrawal, diplomats and media have been unreasonably hopeful about the future of the Syrian civil war. Russia’s military drawdown from Syria soon after the ceasefire has created a strange sense of optimism in the media regarding peace talks. Any substantive …

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Russia sends fighter jets to Armenia base near Turkey

THE LEVANT NEWS — The Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday that Moscow has deployed several fighter jets and a transport helicopter to Russia’s airbase in Armenia near the border with Turkey. Four fourth-generation Mikoyan MiG-29 aircraft and a number of modernized MiG-29S bombers and a Mil Mi-8MT helicopter have been …

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Saudi Troops into Syria: The “Gates of Hell” Will Be Open in the Coming Months.. Three Possible Scenarios

By Elijah J. Magnier for Global Research — There are three possible scenarios in Syria Participation of [Saudi] Arab troops  in Syria is not excluded. A high-ranking officer within the joint operations room in Damascus, which includes Russia, Iran and Syria and Hezbollah said, “ there are three possible scenarios in Syria: …

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