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Tag Archives: sectarianism

US offers army aid to calm situation in Lebanon

U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland met with Lebanese leaders on Thursday, on a visit whose schedule was thrown off by the deadly Tayyouneh clashes — the most dangerous round of sectarian fighting that the country has witnessed since 2008. Speaking at a press conference that followed …

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Iraqis protest latest round of elections, swarm Baghdad

Hundreds of Iraqis marched in the center of Baghdad on Friday to mark two years since mass anti-government protests erupted in the Iraqi capital and southern provinces calling for reforms. Around 1,000 protesters took part in the event, including a significant number of women, many carrying photos of loved ones …

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Christians, Shiites fight over fuel in southern Lebanon

A dispute over scarce fuel supplies ignited sectarian tensions between neighbouring Shi’ite Muslim and Christian villages in southern Lebanon over the weekend, forcing the army to intervene, a security source said. Clashes mostly centred on the crippling gasoline and diesel shortages have become a daily occurrence in Lebanon, prompting growing …

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Sadr wants to run for Iraqi parliament

Iraqi populist Shi’ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said on Friday that he and his supporters would take part in an October general election, reversing a decision last month to stay out. Sadr’s bloc is part of a coalition that holds the most seats in parliament now, and is likely to …

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Maronite patriarch angry over Hezbollah rockets, defended by President

Michel Aoun

President Michel Aoun on Tuesday condemned criticism of Lebanon’s Christian Maronite patriarch after he expressed opposition to the Iran-backed Shi’ite group Hezbollah, warning that insults must be avoided to safeguard national unity. Following a cross-border salvo between Israel and Hezbollah, Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai was sharply critical of Hezbollah on …

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Eid celebrations in Iraq marred by Sadr city bomb

An explosion ripped through a busy market in the Iraqi capital Monday killing at least 35 people, according to medical sources, in an apparent suicide bombing ahead of Eid holiday celebrations. In one of the worst attacks in Baghdad in recent years, body parts of victims lay scattered across the …

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Death toll reaches 92 for Iraqi hospital fire

The death toll from a fire that tore through a coronavirus hospital in southern Iraq rose to 92, health officials said on Tuesday, as authorities faced accusations of negligence from grieving relatives and a doctor who works there. More than 100 people were injured in the blaze on Monday night …

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Nasrallah wants Iranian oil to solve fuel crisis

In a speech seen as an act of defiance against the Lebanese state and the US, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Wednesday insisted that Lebanon should be “negotiating with Iran to buy gasoline and diesel with the Lebanese currency if Lebanon’s shortages persist.” Seemingly unconcerned about the possibility that this …

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Saad Al-Hariri wants more money for UN assassination probe

Prime Minister-Designate Saad Hariri asked the Lebanese government on Saturday to pay its dues to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and for the international community to shoulder its responsibility. The tribunal was set up to prosecute those behind the 2005 assassination of Hariri’s father, Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. It is …

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Attempts to mend bridges between Aoun, Hariri

Lebanese President Michel Aoun did not intend to revoke prime minister designate Saad al-Hariri’s mandate when he wrote to parliament last week declaring that Hariri could not form a government, Aoun’s son-in-law said on Saturday. Veteran Sunni Muslim politician Hariri was nominated in October to form a cabinet after Hassan …

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EU wants to sanction Lebanese politicians

The EU is drawing up sanctions on politicians in Lebanon seen as blocking the formation of a government, readying the bloc’s first penalties on its Middle Eastern ally in frustration at the ruling elite’s mismanagement, diplomats said. Led by former colonial power France, the bloc is seeking to ramp up …

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Army refuses to put down Lebanese protesters

Lebanon’s president told the army and security forces on Monday to clear roadblocks after a week of protests over a collapsing economy and paralysed government, but the army chief warned that troops should not get sucked into the political deadlock. President Michel Aoun issued the call to open up the …

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Pope Francis to talk with Sistani in March Iraq visit

Pope Francis is set for an historic meeting with Iraq’s top Shi’ite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, during a trip to Iraq planned for March, the patriarch of Iraq’s Chaldean Catholic Church said on Thursday. The visit, which eluded Francis’s predecessors, takes place amid deteriorating security in some parts …

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Iraq postpones planned general election

Iraq’s cabinet decided on Tuesday to postpone the general election to Oct. 10 from June, the state news agency INA said. The government last year set a general election for June 6, 2021, roughly a year ahead of when it would normally be held, but Iraq’s Independent High Election Commission …

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Michel Aoun wants proof for US sanction of son-in-law

President Michel Aoun said on Saturday that Lebanon would seek evidence and documents from the United States that led Washington to impose sanctions on his son-in-law Gebran Bassil, a prominent Christian politician. The United States on Friday blacklisted Bassil, leader of Lebanon’s biggest Christian political bloc, accusing him of corruption …

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Protests break out, quashed in Baghdad again

Iraqi security forces clashed with anti-government demonstrators in Baghdad on Sunday with at least 39 people, most of them police officers, injured by projectiles unleashed from each side, security officials said. Police sources said tear gas canisters being fired by security forces had injured at least seven people. A separate …

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EU angry at Lebanon for failed cabinet reshuffle

The EU on Monday criticized Lebanese politicians for their failure to form a government, after the country’s prime minister-designate quit at the weekend due to pressure from Hezbollah and its allies over key ministerial jobs. Lebanon has experienced almost a year of intense turmoil, which has been exacerbated by the …

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Death, injuries in mysterious clash south of Beirut

Two people were killed and at least three wounded in clashes in a town south of Beirut, the Lebanese capital, on Thursday evening, the state news agency and a security source said, as several political parties urged calm. The Lebanese army said on its Twitter account that it had deployed …

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Bloodletting on Baghdad streets with latest protests

Clashes between Iraqi protesters and security forces in central Baghdad killed at least two demonstrators overnight, security and medical sources said on Monday. It was the first such deadly incident in months at Tahrir Square, which became a symbol of anti-government protests during months-long mass unrest last year. The protesters …

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Iraqi forces take up pro-Iranian militia in Baghdad

Iraqi security forces raided a headquarters belonging to a powerful Iran-backed militia in southern Baghdad late on Thursday and detained more than a dozen members of the group, government officials and paramilitary sources said. The raid was the most brazen action by Iraqi forces against a major Iran-backed militia group …

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What Is Behind the Leadership Tensions Inside Syria?

A regular survey of experts on matters relating to Middle Eastern and North African politics and security (By MICHAEL YOUNG) Assaad al-Achi | Executive director of Baytna Syria, Syrian civil society activist Although leadership tensions, at least public ones, are extremely rare in Syria, they have always existed since Hafez …

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Iraq bomb blast at Shiite mosque on Friday

A bomb blast at a Shi’ite Muslim mosque in eastern Baghdad wounded at least seven people on Friday, security sources said, correcting earlier reports of seven killed. Police sources said on Friday a suicide belt or improvised explosive device had been used in the attack in the Baladiyat neighbourhood, for …

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Iraqi forces demand Kurdish troops’ withdrawal from Kirkuk area

Iraqi forces have demanded that Kurdish troops withdraw from oil fields and military bases around the contested city of Kirkuk, Kurdish officials and a senior militia leader said Friday, leading to a tense standoff around the city. Kurdish peshmerga soldiers rallied to protect Kirkuk on Thursday night, as Interior Ministry …

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