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Sawt Al Arab

A tit (is not) for tat

Jawad Anani Ibrahim Karaki is the mayor of one of the towns in Jordan. Israeli tourists happened to be close by, seeking to stay and enjoy the waters of a small brook. He managed to help them, despite a ban on touring in the area, and he drove with them …

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In Iraq, religious rap meets a chorus of controversy

MIDHATIYA, Iraq — As the black-clad rapper spat lyrics into the microphone on stage, the Iraqi boys below beat their chests in mourning. He was, after all, paying homage to slain Shiite figurehead Hussein. The ear-splitting drums reverberated around the hall as Iraqi teenagers shouted back rhymes venerating the Prophet Mohammad’s grandson and …

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Israel-Hamas truce: will it last?

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip agreed a ceasefire on Monday after a two-day flare-up that brought them to the brink of war, but analysts remain unconvinced any truce will last. What happened? On Friday two Israeli soldiers were shot and injured during protests and clashes along …

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Turkish Kurd leader Ocalan meets lawyers for first time since 2011

ISTANBUL — The leader of Turkey’s militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Abdullah Ocalan, has met his lawyers for the first time in eight years, one of them said on Monday.  “This is the first meeting with the lawyers since 2011. The meeting lasted approximately one hour” on May 2, Rezan Sarica …

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Syrian army attacks rebel stronghold — insurgent spokesman

BEIRUT — The Syrian army and its allies have launched ground attacks in the country’s northwest against the last major insurgent enclave after days of shelling and air strikes, a rebel official said on Monday.  Syria’s military, backed in the war by Russia and Iran, opened a fierce bombardment of …

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Libya’s Sarraj seeks Europe’s help to stop Haftar assault

TRIPOLI — Libya’s internationally recognised government said Monday its head Fayez Al Sarraj will tour Europe to seek support against an attack on Tripoli by strongman Khalifa Haftar, who urged his troops to “wipe out” government forces. Sarraj, who heads the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, will on Tuesday start …

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Erdogan’s party to seek rerun of Istanbul election

ISTANBUL/ANKARA — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP party on Tuesday said it will seek a rerun of Istanbul’s disputed mayoral election after the ruling party lost and authorities rejected its demand for a full recount. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) appealed citing irregularities after its Istanbul candidate was …

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Sudan police orders forces not to intervene against protests

KHARTOUM — Sudan’s police on Tuesday ordered its forces to avoid intervening against protesters as three Western nations threw their weight behind demonstrators’ demands for a political transition plan in the country. The call by the police, following a policy of non-intervention by the military, came as thousands of protesters …

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Crystal meth and crowded jails: Problems mount in Iraqi oil city

BASRA, Iraq — The southern Iraqi city of Basra is struggling to cope with a growing drug problem that has overcrowded prisons and strained police resources, only months after violent protests over poor municipal services. Basra’s prison system is clogged up and creaking. On a recent day in one police station, Reuters …

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Suffering grows from Libya conflict, militants exploit chaos

TRIPOLI/GENEVA — Casualties from the battle for Libya’s capital mounted on Tuesday while Daesh killed three people in a desert town, illustrating how terrorists may exploit renewed chaos. Medical facilities reported 47 people killed and 181 wounded in recent days as eastern forces seek to take Tripoli from an internationally-recognised government, …

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