Middle East News

  • Australia rejects Vietnamese refugee claims in 40 minutes

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia secretly held a group of 46 Vietnamese asylum seekers on a warship at sea for almost a month and rejected their refugee claims during interviews that took as little as 40 minutes before returning them all to Vietnam last month, officials said.

    Associated Press
  • IT chief at Bangladesh Coca-Cola unit arrested as Islamic State suspect

    By Ruma Paul and Serajul Quadir DHAKA (Reuters) - An IT manager at a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Co was one of two men arrested in Bangladesh on suspicion of planning to fight for Islamic State in Syria, police and company sources said on Monday. The pair were detained during a raid in the capital,…

    Reuters
  • Islamic State faces battle in Iraq, U.S. reassures Abadi

    BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Islamic State poured more fighters into Ramadi as security forces and Shi'ite paramilitaries prepared to try to retake the Iraqi city, while Washington scrambled on Monday to reassure Baghdad after a U.S. official's sharp criticism of Iraqi forces. U.S. Vice…

    Reuters
  • Iran will need to spend most of any post-sanctions windfall at home

    By Lesley Wroughton and Sam Wilkin WASHINGTON/DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranians will demand their government spend a windfall from the lifting of economic sanctions on improving the quality of life at home, limiting the degree to which a future nuclear deal could fund Tehran's allies on Middle East…

    Reuters
  • US defense chief's criticism of Iraqis raises questions

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Islamic State group's takeover of the Iraqi provincial capital Ramadi has prompted criticism from Defense Secretary Ash Carter and raised new questions about the Obama administration's strategy to defeat the extremist group.

    Associated Press
  • U.N. urges Lebanon to pick president, end political vacuum

    A United Nations envoy urged Lebanon's feuding political leaders to pick a new president, warning on Monday that the country's year-long power vacuum had undermined its ability to deal with the impact of the Syrian crisis and a host of other problems. Lebanese politics has long been dogged by…

    Reuters
  • Only Iran is confronting Islamic State, paramilitary chief says

    The general in charge of Iran's paramilitary activities in the Middle East said the United States and other powers were failing to confront Islamic State, and only Iran was committed to the task, a news agency on Monday reported. Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the elite Quds Force…

    Reuters
  • Israel ex-PM Olmert sentenced to 8 months for corruption

    Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced to eight months in prison for corruption on Monday, the latest legal blow in a spectacular fall from grace. Lawyers for Olmert, who was premier from 2006 to 2009, crowning a political career spanning decades, immediately announced they would…

    AFP
  • Defense chief: After Ramadi, Iraq's 'will to fight' at issue

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Islamic State group's takeover of the provincial capital of Ramadi is stark evidence that Iraqi forces lack the "will to fight," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a TV interview that aired Sunday. The harsh assessment raised new questions about the Obama administration's…

    Associated Press
  • Top Muslim body urges protection of Syria's Palmyra

    Leading Sunni Muslim body Al-Azhar said Sunday the world must unite in a "battle of all humanity" to prevent the Islamic State group from destroying Syria's ancient city of Palmyra. The appeal came a day after Syria's antiquities director said that IS fighters had entered the museum in Palmyra and…

    AFP
  • As Russia growls, EU goes cool on eastern promises

    It might have been the mantra recited by the Europeans to six ex-Soviet neighbors at the so-called Eastern Partnership Summit, who went away with EU pledges of aid and trade. For the first partnership summit since the flare-up of the Ukraine conflict last year was dominated by Russia.

    Reuters
  • Italy coast guard rescues 70 Afghan, Iraqi migrants from crowded boat

    Seventy Afghan and Iraqi migrants were rescued from a packed boat off the southeastern coast of Italy and brought to shore on Sunday, Italy's coast guard said. Italy closed down a specialized naval mission to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean last year, but continues to bear the brunt of the…

    Reuters
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  • Official: Israel thanked US for blocking nuclear document

    JERUSALEM (AP) — A senior Israeli official says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has thanked the U.S. for blocking a global document at the United Nations aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons, a rare bright spot amid strained relations between the two countries.

    Associated Press
  • At Mideast forum, officials seek world's help

    SOUTHERN SHUNEH, Jordan (AP) — Mideast-weary though it may be, the international community has a duty and an interest in helping the countries of the region both rebuff violent extremists and fix the refugee crisis that in part has resulted from the fight with them — that was the message coming…

    Associated Press
  • Israel thanks U.S. for stand on Mideast nuclear arms ban at U.N.

    By Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the United States for blocking an Egyptian-led drive on a possible Middle East nuclear weapons ban at a major United Nations conference, an Israeli official said on Saturday. It was a rare expression…

    Reuters
  • AP Interview: Leader says Mideast pays price for gender gap

    SOUTHERN SHUNEH, Jordan (AP) — Bring more Arab women into the workforce, invest in "bite-sized" infrastructure projects and get the private sector more involved in training young job seekers — these are the prescriptions of a leading Gulf entrepreneur for growing Middle Eastern economies and…

    Associated Press
  • Dispute over Mideast nuclear arms ban torpedoes U.N. conference

    By Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A month-long review conference on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty ended in failure on Friday after its members were unable to overcome disagreements on an atomic weapons ban for the Middle East, which the United States blamed on Egypt. After…

    Reuters