Politics

Assad Tells Putin His Government Will Help with Syria Ceasefire

MOSCOW, Feb 24 – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that his government was ready to assist in implementing a ceasefire in Syria, the Kremlin and the Syrian presidency said. The United States and Russia announced plans on Monday for a cessation of hostilities in Syria, excluding Daesh and Nusra Front

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Syrian Rebels See Flaws in U.S.-Russian Truce Plan

By Arshad Mohammed and Tom Perry WASHINGTON/BEIRUT, Feb 23 – The United States and Russia announced plans for a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria that would take effect on Saturday but exclude groups such as Daesh and al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, a loophole Syrian rebels immediately highlighted as a problem. Monday’s agreement, described by a U.N. spokesman as “a first

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Saudi Arabia Says War Games Will Boost Military Ties With Muslim Allies

RIYADH, Feb 22  – The Middle East’s largest ever war games are now underway and will boost military cooperation between the 20 Muslim nations taking part, host country Saudi Arabia said on Monday, as it seeks to check the growing influence of arch rival Iran. The Northern Thunder exercises, which began on Feb. 14 and

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With Eye on Downing Street, Boris Bets All On Brexit

By William James and Estelle Shirbon LONDON, Feb 22 – With one hand in his suit pocket and the other mussing his signature blond hair, Boris Johnson on Sunday took the riskiest gamble of his career: to oppose Prime Minister David Cameron by campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union. If the stars align

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Violence Rages In Syria As Kerry and Lavrov Reach Provisional Deal On Ceasefire

By Patricia Zengerle and John Davison AMMAN/BEIRUT, Feb 22 – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday he and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, had reached a provisional agreement on terms of a cessation of hostilities in Syria and the sides were closer to a ceasefire than ever before. Meanwhile, violence continued to rage in Syria. Multiple

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Iraq’s Abadi Keeps Iran at Arm’s Length in War On Daesh

By Maher Chmaytelli BAGHDAD, Feb 21 – As fighting in Iraq raged last summer, Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani came across unexpected opposition to his plans to defeat Daesh. Soleimani is the commander of Iran’s Al Quds brigade and has been a key figure in the fight against the Sunni Islamist group in Iraq. That fight

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Moderates Could Gain Influence Over Choice of Next Leader in Iran Vote

By Babak Dehghanpisheh BEIRUT, Feb 21 – Iran’s Assembly of Experts, made up mostly of elderly clerics, has not mattered much for years. The body’s main task is choosing Iran’s supreme leader, but that job has not come vacant since 1989. This time it’s different. Given the ailing health of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,

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Assad Says He is Ready For Syria Truce if ‘Terrorists’ Do Not Exploit It

BEIRUT/MADRID, Feb 21 – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Saturday he was ready for a ceasefire, on condition “terrorists” did not use a lull in fighting to their advantage and that countries backing insurgents halted support for them. His comments were made as the Syrian opposition said it had agreed to the “possibility” of

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Saudi Arabia Halts $3bn Package to Lebanese Army, Security Aid

DUBAI, Feb 20 – Saudi Arabia said on Friday it suspended a $3 billion aid package for the Lebanese army in what a official called a response to Beirut’s failure to condemn attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran. Saudi Arabia was enraged when Iranians, protesting against the kingdom’s execution of a Shiite Muslim cleric, raided its missions last month –

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Turkey Blames Kurdish Militants for Ankara Bomb, Vows Response

By Ercan Gurses and Humeyra Pamuk ANKARA/ISTANBUL, Feb 18 – Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu blamed a Syrian Kurdish militia fighter working with Kurdish militants inside Turkey for a suicide car bombing that killed 28 people in the capital Ankara, and he vowed retaliation in both Syria and Iraq. A car laden with explosives detonated

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