Middle East

Iran to Probe State-built Homes Destroyed by Deadly Quake

SARPOL-E-ZAHAB, IRAN —  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani launched an investigation Tuesday into why government housing built by his hard-line predecessor collapsed while others withstood a powerful earthquake near the border with Iraq that killed more than 530 people. In the Kurdish town of Sarpol-e-Zahab, which was reconstructed in the decades …

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From Heady Aspirations to Dashed Dreams, Separatists Analyze Mistakes

ROME —  Breaking up is hard to do, as separatists in Iraqi Kurdistan and Spain’s Catalonia have discovered. Even Scotland’s separatists have had to shelve plans for yet another independence vote, following signs Scots aren’t ready to revisit the question. Monday, Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont bowed to defeat, saying …

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Iraqi Kurds Pledge to Respect Court Ruling Banning Secession

Iraqi Kurdish authorities said Tuesday they will respect a Supreme Court decision banning secession. The development comes two months after voters in the semi-autonomous region overwhelmingly voted in support of an independence referendum. Iraq’s central government rejected the vote, saying it violated the constitution. “We believe that this decision must …

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US to Fight Islamic State in Syria ‘As Long As They Want to Fight’

WASHINGTON —  The U.S. military will fight Islamic State in Syria “as long as they want to fight,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday, describing a longer-term role for U.S. troops long after the insurgents lose all of the territory they control. As U.S.-backed and Russian-backed forces battle to …

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Russian, Turkish Leaders Meet as Cracks in Rapprochement Start to Show

ISTANBUL —  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets Monday with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, the fourth encounter between the two leaders this year and part of a warming of relations in the wake of tensions following Turkey’s 2015 downing of a Russian warplane …

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