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Middle East Political News

IRAN POLITICS: US Secretary of State Tillerson to Iranian-Backed Militias in Iraq: ‘Go Home’

IRAN POLITICS: US Secretary of State Tillerson to Iranian-Backed Militias in Iraq: ‘Go Home’

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday it was time for Iranian-backed militias and their Iranian advisers who helped Iraq defeat Islamic State to “go home”, after a rare joint meeting with the leaders of Iraq and Saudi

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SYRIA POLITICS: SDF ‘Liberated’ Raqqah But Won’t Hand It to Syrian Government

SYRIA POLITICS: SDF ‘Liberated’ Raqqah But Won’t Hand It to Syrian Government

SDF spokesman Talal Silo has said the group would hand over the control of the city to what he called “the Raqqah Civil Council,” likely a Kurdish body. Syrian Minister of National Reconciliation Affairs Ali Haidar reacted by saying that Raqqah’s future could only be discussed “as part of the final political structure of the Syrian state.”

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has, meanwhile, said that the SDF’s purported operations in Raqqah have killed civilians and damaged infrastructure in the city.

“When you’re killing around 1,200 civilians — nearly half of them women and children — and destroying 80 percent of the city, that’s not liberating Raqqah,” Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the SOHR, told Arab News daily.

The SDF is dominated by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia.

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IRAN POLITICS: Iran Nuclear Deal Vital for Strategic Stability: Russia

IRAN POLITICS: Iran Nuclear Deal Vital for Strategic Stability: Russia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected the need for further inspection of Iran’s nuclear sites beyond the JCPOA requirements, noting that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “performs regular checks and confirms their [Iran’s] strict fulfillment of obligations.”

Touching on US demands for renegotiating the JCPOA, Lavrov stated that any changes to the deal would require the approval of all the parties to the accord, including Iran.

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IRAN POLITICS: ‘Ballistic Missile Programme Will Accelerate’: IRGC Says

IRAN POLITICS: ‘Ballistic Missile Programme Will Accelerate’: IRGC Says

“Iran’s ballistic missile programme will expand and it will continue with more speed in reaction to Trump’s hostile approach towards this revolutionary organization (the Guards),” the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) said in a statement published by Tasnim.

“Imposing cruel sanctions against the Guards and hostile approach of the rogue and brute (U.S.) president shows the failure of America and the Zionist regime’s (Israel) wicked policies in the region,” the Guards statement said.

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IRAQ POLITICS: Kurds Abandon Territory in the Face of Iraq Government Advance

IRAQ POLITICS: Kurds Abandon Territory in the Face of Iraq Government Advance

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday the referendum “is finished and has become a thing of the past”.

Addressing a news conference in Baghdad, he called for a dialogue with Kurdish leaders “under the constitution”.

Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani said the vote for independence “won’t be in vain”. He did not call for dialogue, but added, “Kurds have always been against waging wars and have worked in pursuit of peace.”

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IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Forces Reestablish Security in Kirkuk

IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Forces Reestablish Security in Kirkuk

Iraq’s Alforat news agency also said army forces were now in control of all of the city’s government buildings, state-owned North Oil and North Gas companies, the Kirkuk International Airport, and K-1 Airbase.

Cited by Reuters, an Iraqi army officer said government forces had also taken control of all oilfields operated by the North Oil Company in the province. Government troops have also reopened the highway linking the Kirkuk City and the capital Baghdad, Iraq’s al-Sumariyah television network reported.

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SAUDI ARABIA POLITICS: UK Labour Party Calls for UK Arms Ban On Saudi

SAUDI ARABIA POLITICS: UK Labour Party Calls for UK Arms Ban On Saudi

The Saudi-led war has also triggered a deadly cholera epidemic across Yemen and has dragged the impoverished nation to the brink of a widespread famine.

When asked if Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn would push for UK arms embargoes against the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Egypt, Fabian Hamilton, the UK shadow minister for peace responded, “Absolutely.”

The Middle East has been a key market for the UK’s arms industry, which has sold more than six billion pounds of arms to Saudi Arabia since it began its bombing campaign in Yemen.

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SYRIA POLITICS: Syria Slams Trump for Refusal to Certify Iran’s Nuclear Deal

SYRIA POLITICS: Syria Slams Trump for Refusal to Certify Iran’s Nuclear Deal

Trump’s decertification of the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was “unacceptable,” Syria’s state news agency, SANA, quoted an official source at the Arab country’s Foreign and Expatriates Ministry as saying in a statement on Sunday.

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SYRIA POLITICS: Syria Chemical Probe Seriously Flawed: Russia Says

SYRIA POLITICS: Syria Chemical Probe Seriously Flawed: Russia Says

“In order to judge if it deserves an extension of the mandate, we need to see the report to be issued on October 26 and assess it,” Mikhail Ulyanov, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s non-proliferation and arms control department said.

“I ask myself what is the reason for the extension of the mandate of this mechanism if it is not capable and is not willing to fulfill its mandate,” he added, noting, “We will wait for the report and then we will define our position.”

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SYRIA POLITICS: 92% of Syrian Territory Free From Daesh: Russian Daily

SYRIA POLITICS: 92% of Syrian Territory Free From Daesh: Russian Daily

Colonel General Sergei Rudskoi of the Russian military’s General Staff said that Russian jets hit 993 Daesh targets in the area of Dayr al-Zawr alone in 383 sorties over the past week. He also noted that the area under the control of Daesh has shrunk to 14,800 square kilometers (5,714 square miles), or less than 8 percent of Syrian territory.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.

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IRAN POLITICS: EU, Russia, China Fully Behind Iran Deal Ahead of Trump Speech

IRAN POLITICS: EU, Russia, China Fully Behind Iran Deal Ahead of Trump Speech

If Trump refuses to certify the deal, the Congress will have 60 days to decide whether to restore the sanctions against the Islamic Republic that the US has agreed to waive.

Trump has been critical of the agreement since he started campaigning for 2017 presidency. He has called it “the worst deal ever” and an “embarrassment” to Washington.

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PALESTINE POLITICS: Official! Fatah, Hamas Reach Reconciliation Deal

PALESTINE POLITICS: Official! Fatah, Hamas Reach Reconciliation Deal

“EUBAM Rafah maintains readiness to redeploy to the Rafah crossing point when the security and political situations will allow,” said Mohammad Al-Saadi, press officer for the EU Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support.

Hamas and Fatah were also discussing a potential date for presidential and legislative elections and reforms of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which is in charge of long-stalled peace efforts with Israel. The last Palestinian legislative election was in 2006 when Hamas scored a surprise victory. This sparked the political rupture between Hamas and Fatah which eventually led to their short civil war in Gaza.

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ISRAEL POLITICS: Revealed! Israel Pressuring Trump to Cancel Iran Deal

ISRAEL POLITICS: Revealed! Israel Pressuring Trump to Cancel Iran Deal

“Donald Trump is getting advice from two very problematic people,” said Wayne Madsen, an author and columnist specializing in intelligence and international affairs.

Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and his senior advisor, is only interested in advancing the interests of Israel, Madsen said during a phone interview with Press TV on Tuesday.

“And the other person is Trump’s friend, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, whose friendship not only extends back to Donald Trump, but even includes Donald Trump’s father,” Madsen said.

“It’s not surprising that Trump is trying to sabotage the nuclear agreement,” the analyst noted.

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SYRIA POLITICS: Russian Sukhoi Su-24 War Plane Crashes, Crew Killed

SYRIA POLITICS: Russian Sukhoi Su-24 War Plane Crashes, Crew Killed

Russian Su-24 aircraft crashed Oct. 10 while taking off from the Hmeyimim airfield in Syria, according to a statement from the Russian Defense Ministry, Sputnik reported. The ministry said the crash killed all crew and could have been caused by a technical malfunction.

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IRAN POLITICS: Iran Vows to Give ‘Crushing’ Response If US Designates Elite Revolutionary Guards a Terrorist Group

IRAN POLITICS: Iran Vows to Give ‘Crushing’ Response If US Designates Elite Revolutionary Guards a Terrorist Group

“We are hopeful that the United States does not make this strategic mistake,” foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA at a news conference.

“If they do, Iran’s reaction would be firm, decisive and crushing and the United States should bear all its consequences,” he added.

IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari said on Sunday “if the news is correct about the stupidity of the American government in considering the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group, then the Revolutionary Guards will consider the American army to be like Islamic State all around the world.”

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IRAN POLITICS: ’10 Trumps’ Cannot Deprive Iran of Nuclear Deal Benefits: Rouhani

IRAN POLITICS: ’10 Trumps’ Cannot Deprive Iran of Nuclear Deal Benefits: Rouhani

Rouhani went on to say that no one can possibly reverse the effects of the deal, including Trump. “If 10 other Trumps emerged in the world” and sought to roll back the benefits of the 2015 nuclear agreement, they would still ultimately fail, he added.

“In negotiating [with world powers], we showed that we are not just strong at war [but] we’re also strong at peace,” he said, adding that “political power” that Iran got as a result of the negotiations cannot just “go away.”

“The party who makes a deal will not lose anything; rather, the one who breaches a deal loses face and dignity,” Rouhani added.

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SYRIA POLITICS: ISIS Warlords, Foreign Fighters Killed By Russian Airstrikes

SYRIA POLITICS: ISIS Warlords, Foreign Fighters Killed By Russian Airstrikes

“During the last day, [a] Russian Air Force task force in Syria [targeted] Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] reinforcements of foreign fighters coming from Iraq to the vicinity of the town of Abu Kamal near [the] Iraq-Syria border,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

As all terrorist targets, including command outposts, manpower and armored vehicles, were identified and confirmed within a week, a series of airstrikes followed, it added.

“An airstrike near Abu Kamal destroyed Islamists’ outpost, killing some 40 militants from Tajikistan and Iraq, as well as 7 SUVs with DShK and ZU-23-2 machine guns mounted on them,” the statement said.

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IRAN POLITICS: Donald Trump to Decertify Landmark Iran Nuclear Deal

IRAN POLITICS: Donald Trump to Decertify Landmark Iran Nuclear Deal

“We must not allow Iran … to obtain nuclear weapons,” President Donald Trump said during a meeting with military leaders at the White House on Thursday, adding:

“The Iranian regime supports terrorism and exports violence, bloodshed and chaos across the Middle East. That is why we must put an end to Iran’s continued aggression and nuclear ambitions. They have not lived up to the spirit of their agreement.”

Asked about his decision on whether to certify the landmark deal, Trump said: “You’ll be hearing about Iran very shortly.”

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SYRIA POLITICS: No Where to Run, No Where to Hide: Russian Submarines Hit Terrorist Targets With Kalibr Cruise Missiles

SYRIA POLITICS: No Where to Run, No Where to Hide: Russian Submarines Hit Terrorist Targets With Kalibr Cruise Missiles

Before the missile strikes, Russian surveillance detected Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) targets in Deir-ez-Zor province, including command centers, large ammunition depots and hangars housing terrorists’ armored vehicles, the ministry added.

“To hit these targets, Velikiy Novgorod and Kolpino submarines of the Black Sea Fleet have performed two multiple launches of Kalibr cruise missiles from the Mediterranean,” the spokesman said.

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SYRIA POLITICS: Abu Mohammad al-Julani in Coma After Hit By Russian Surgical Strike in Syria: MOD

SYRIA POLITICS: Abu Mohammad al-Julani in Coma After Hit By Russian Surgical Strike in Syria: MOD

The bombing, which led to Al-Julani’s injuries, caused chaos among Tahrir al-Sham members, according to the Russian military. After the field commanders of the “eastern sector” of Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra Front) in Idlib province gathered to work out further plans, the Su-34 precision airstrike killed 49 militants, including seven leaders.

The airstrike also destroyed a nearby “ammunition and explosives depot and six SUVs with large-caliber weapons,” Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the defense ministry, said.

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