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Middle East

Protests turn violent in streets of Beirut, Lebanon – YouTube

CNN’s Ben Wedeman reports from Beirut, Lebanon, as police fire tear gas at protesters shooting fireworks and hurling rocks amid anti-government demonstrations.

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Middle East Opinion Politics

Barr says DOJ was consulted before Soleimani strike as Trump blasts ‘Fake News Media’ and ‘Democrat Partners’ | Fox News

Barr says DOJ was consulted before Soleimani strike as Trump blasts media and their ‘Democrat partners’
Attorney General William Barr on Monday said President Trump had consulted the Department of Justice before ordering an airstrike that killed Iran’s top military general earlier this month.

Source: Barr says DOJ was consulted before Soleimani strike as Trump blasts ‘Fake News Media’ and ‘Democrat Partners’ | Fox News

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Middle East Opinion Politics

Thousands of Iranian protesters hit streets condemning leaders over downed plane – CNN

(CNN)Apologies from Iranian leaders over the downing of an airliner last week have done little to quell mass anti-government protests spreading across the country.

Thousands of demonstrators hit the streets this weekend condemning Iranian authorities for shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane and killing all 176 people on board.
The airliner disaster came hours after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi military bases housing US troops. That was retaliation for a drone strike at Baghdad airport that killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.
Amid rising tensions in the region, eight Katyusha rockets hit Iraq’s Balad Air Base, north of Baghdad, on Sunday, wounding four Iraqi air force officers, the Iraqi military said in a statement. No American or coalition forces were at the base when the rockets struck, a US military official told CNN.
In Iran, demonstrators are calling for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down and for those responsible for downing the plane to be prosecuted.

Source: Thousands of Iranian protesters hit streets condemning leaders over downed plane – CNN

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Middle East Military

President Trump assures ‘all is well’ following missile strikes on U.S. forces

The Pentagon confirms more than a dozen rockets were fired on two Iraqi military bases housing U.S. forces.

Source: President Trump assures ‘all is well’ following missile strikes on U.S. forces

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Middle East Military News Opinion Politics

Sec. Mike Pompeo speaks as US braces for more conflict with Iran – 1/7/2020 – YouTube

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers remarks in a press conference, a day after the Pentagon said that a U.S. general’s letter informing Iraq’s Defense Ministry that U.S.-led coalition troops would leave Iraq “was a mistake,” and American Defense officials insisted that the troops would remain there. Last week on President Trump’s order, U.S. forces launched an airstrike that killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.

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Middle East Military News Opinion Politics

Iran vows revenge after U.S. airstrike kills top Iranian General in Iraq – YouTube

 

The U.S. is sending thousands of additional troops to the Middle East after Iran vowed “harsh retaliation” for the death of a top Iranian general. Qassem Soleimani’s convoy was hit early Fridany morning in a drone strike ordered by President Trump. U.S. officials had been tracking Soleimani as he traveled in the region. CBS News’ national security correspondent David Martin reports from the Pentagon.

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israel Middle East

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Is Rushed Off Stage Amid Rocket Attack | NBC News – YouTube

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was rushed off stage after a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip into its southern territory. Netanyahu was speaking at a campaign event in the city of Ashkelon. The Israeli military said its air defense system intercepted the rocket and there were no reports of casualties. » Subscribe to NBC News: http://nbcnews.to/SubscribeToNBC » Watch more NBC video: http://bit.ly/MoreNBCNews

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Legal Middle East

American student freed from prison in Iran after three years

An American graduate student was released from prison in Iran after nearly three years as part of a prisoner exchange this weekend.

Xiyue Wang, a Ph.D. student of history at Princeton University, was released and flown from Tehran to Switzerland, where he was met by U.S. Special Representative Brian Hook. Wang, a Chinese national and naturalized American citizen, was in Iran studying the Qajar dynasty when he was arrested in August 2016. Wang, 38, was accused of attempting to smuggle documents and was convicted on two counts of espionage in April 2017.

Jason Poblete, Wang’s lawyer, bemoaned the political nature of his client’s imprisonment. “Hua & Shaofan are a remarkable young family on a new journey,” he said on Twitter. “Innocent, unjustly detained & for political reasons, suffered for over three years in Evin. This could’ve been avoided. Stakeholders on all sides should help secure the release of others and keep open a pathway.”View image on Twitter

Source: American student freed from prison in Iran after three years

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Legal Middle East News

American student freed from Iranian prison after three years

An American graduate student was released from prison in Iran after nearly three years as part of a prisoner exchange this weekend.

Source: American student freed from Iranian prison after three years

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Middle East Military

U.S. may deploy 14,000 more troops to Middle East – MarketWatch

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is considering a significant expansion of the U.S. military footprint in the Middle East, including dozens more ships, other military hardware and as many as 14,000 additional troops to counter Iran, U.S. officials said.

The deployment could double the number of U.S. military personnel who have been sent to the region since the start of a troop buildup in May. President Donald Trump is expected to make a decision on the new deployments as soon as this month, those officials said.

Trump, facing an election next year, has long sought to exit foreign entanglements and avoid new conflicts. But on Iran — and partly at the behest of Israel — he is convinced of the need to counter the threat his aides say Tehran poses, the officials said. He also could approve a smaller U.S. deployment, the officials said.

Source: U.S. may deploy 14,000 more troops to Middle East – MarketWatch

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Middle East Military News Opinion Politics

Trump says peace talks with Taliban have resumed during surprise visit to Afghanistan | Fox News

On a surprise trip to Afghanistan on Thursday, President Trump said that the United States has reopened peace talks with the Taliban – just three months after the president scuttled negotiations between Washington and the Afghan insurgents following a terror attack that killed 11 people, including one U.S. soldier.

Trump, who made his first trip to Afghanistan under a veil of secrecy for security reasons, told troops gathered at the Air Force base for Thanksgiving dinner that the Taliban “wants to make a deal very badly.”

“We’re going to stay until such time as we have a deal, or we have total victory, and they want to make a deal very badly,” Trump said. “The Taliban wants to make a deal — we’ll see if they make a deal. If they do, they do, and if they don’t they don’t. That’s fine.”

Source: Trump says peace talks with Taliban have resumed during surprise visit to Afghanistan | Fox News

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Middle East Military News Opinion

Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead | Fox News

Fresh airstrikes from Turkey reportedly targeted civilians and a group of foreign reporters in the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ayn, according to monitoring groups and Syrian Kurdish officials.

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said the airstrike killed at least nine people – including five civilians on Sunday, while other reports claimed that the convoy included foreign journalists, according to Haaretz.

A spokesman for the Kurdish forces put the death toll at 11 killed and more than 74 injured, but it was not immediately clear how many were civilians.

Source: Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead | Fox News

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Middle East Military News Opinion Politics

Defense secretary Mark Esper says Trump ordered near total withdrawal of troops from Syria – CNNPolitics

(CNN)President Donald Trump is ordering the remaining US forces out of northern Syria, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday,

The withdrawal order comes as Turkish forces are pushing further south into Syria.

Source: Defense secretary Mark Esper says Trump ordered near total withdrawal of troops from Syria – CNNPolitics

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Middle East Oil And Gas Opinion Violence

Iranian oil tanker near Saudi Arabia coast hit by missiles, officials say | Fox News

An Iranian oil tanker cruising 60 miles off the coast of Saudi Arabia was rocked by a pair of missiles Friday, causing an oil leak and more broadly threatening to further inflame fraught regional tensions between the two heavyweight Muslim nations.

Source: Iranian oil tanker near Saudi Arabia coast hit by missiles, officials say | Fox News

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Middle East Military

U.S. withdrawing troops from northern Syria – YouTube

In a major U.S. policy shift, American troops are pulling back to make way for Turkey’s planned invasion of part of northern Syria. Turkey is targeting U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters that have been key American allies in the fight against ISIS. The abrupt change follows a phone call Sunday night between President Trump and Turkey’s president. Holly Williams reports.

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Middle East

At least 31 dead in Iraq as anti-government protests grip country | Fox News

At least 31 people in Iraq have been killed and hundreds more wounded after three days of clashes between anti-government demonstrators demanding more opportunities and Iraqi security forces trying to quell the violence.

The spontaneous rallies began in Baghdad Tuesday by disenfranchised youths wanting jobs, improved services such as electricity and water, and an end to endemic corruption in the oil-rich country. By Thursday, the protests had spread to other regions of Iraq.

Source: At least 31 dead in Iraq as anti-government protests grip country | Fox News

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Middle East News Opinion Politics

Mike Pompeo on “Face the Nation”: Secretary of state says attack on Saudi oil plant was “act of war” by Iran – CBS News

“The United States will respond in a way that reflects that act of war by this Iranian revolutionary regime,” Pompeo told “Face the Nation

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continued on Sunday to accuse Iran of committing a “state-on-state act of war,” saying the Trump administration has irrefutable evidence that shows an attack last week on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia was organized and directed by the government in Tehran.

“This was Iran true and true, and the United States will respond in a way that reflects that act of war by this Iranian revolutionary regime,” Pompeo said on “Face the Nation” from New York, where he’s attending this week’s United Nations General Assembly. “The U.N.’s primary charter is to protect peace around the world. This was a state on state act of war.”

Source: Mike Pompeo on “Face the Nation”: Secretary of state says attack on Saudi oil plant was “act of war” by Iran – CBS News

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Middle East Opinion

Trump Sends More US Troops To Middle East After Saudi Oil Attack : NPR

The Pentagon provided few details on the deployment. The announcement appears to indicate that the president has not made a decision whether to take military action against Iran

President Trump has authorized the deployment of additional U.S. forces to the Middle East to strengthen air and missile defenses around Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the Pentagon announced late Friday.

Workers fix the damage in the Aramco’s Khurais oil field in Saudi Arabia, Sept. 20, 2019, after it was hit during Sept. 14 attack the U.S. alleges Iran carried out. Amr Nabil/AP

Defense Secretary Mark Esper called the move a first step and said that the deployment would be defensive in nature. He said the deployment comes in response to requests for help from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Source: Trump Sends More US Troops To Middle East After Saudi Oil Attack : NPR

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israel Middle East News Opinion Politics

Israel’s Netanyahu appears to suffer election setback – POLITICO

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fell short of securing a parliamentary majority with his religious and nationalist allies in national elections Tuesday, initial exit polls showed, setting the stage for a period of coalition negotiations that could threaten his political future and clear the way for him to be tried on corruption charges.

Initial results posted by Israel’s three major television stations showed challenger Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party tied or with a slight lead over Netanyahu’s Likud. While the results do not guarantee that Gantz will be the next prime minister, they signaled that Netanyahu, who has led the country for over 10 years, could have trouble holding on to the job.

Source: Israel’s Netanyahu appears to suffer election setback – POLITICO

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israel Middle East Opinion Politics

Trump says he discussed a mutual defense treaty with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Trump’s call comes only three days before Israel’s election. Netanyahu faces a tough re-election bid after a more than 13-year tenure as Israel’s prime minister.

KEY POINTS
  • President Trump’s call comes just three days before Israel’s election. Netanyahu faces a tough re-election bid after a more than 13-year tenure as Israel’s prime minister.
  • The right-wing leader has promised that if re-elected, he would extend Israeli sovereignty over Jewish settlements and up to a third of the occupied West Bank.
  • The controversial move would encircle the 2.5 million Palestinians living there and make a two-state solution more difficult.

Source: Trump says he discussed a mutual defense treaty with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu