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Kurdish independence in Iraq likely 'not if but when' - U.S. general

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An Iraqi Kurdish push for independence from Baghdad appears likely to be a question of "not if but when," in a significant challenge to Iraq's stability, the head of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency said on Tuesday.


Saudis, United States blacklist a Hezbollah leader

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia said on Friday it had blacklisted Hashem Safieddine, a prominent leader of the Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah that is a close ally of Riyadh's arch-regional adversary Iran.


Five years, billions of dollars needed to rebuild Mosul - officials

MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Mosul's wrecked roads, bridges and broader economy will take at least five years to repair and need billions of dollars of development that Iraq's government will struggle to afford, officials returning to the battle-scarred city said.


In Indonesia, pious 'punks' promote Islam

BANDUNG, Indonesia (Reuters) - "Prophet Mohammad forever," chant the young Indonesian Muslim musicians. But instead of a mosque, the men are singing at an outdoor concert with a mosh pit full of followers of the country's first Islamic punk movement.

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Chinese official demoted for 'not daring' to smoke in front of Muslims in Xinjiang

BEIJING: A Chinese official who allegedly declined to smoke in front of Muslims in Xinjiang has been demoted for taking an "unstable political stance," a state-run newspaper reported Tuesday.


Kurds 're-energise' independence referendum plan for post-jihadist Iraq

ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraq's Kurds plan to hold a referendum on independence this year to press their case for "the best deal" on self-determination once Islamic State is defeated, a senior Kurdish official said.


Indonesia police arrest five ahead of demonstration - TV One

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian police on Friday arrested five people for suspected treason linked to planned demonstrations by hardline Muslim groups demanding the removal of Jakarta's Christian governor, city police spokesman Argo Yuwono told broadcaster TV One.


UAE summons Swiss ambassador over UN Bahrain statement

RIYADH/GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates summoned the Swiss ambassador on Sunday to denounce a statement Switzerland made to the United Nations Human Rights Council the week prior criticizing fellow Gulf state Bahrain's human rights record.


U.S. envoy to U.N. says 'we need to get Iran' out of Syria

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States supports the U.N.-led Syria peace talks, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said on Wednesday, saying Syria could no longer be a "safe haven for terrorists" and that it was important "we get Iran and their proxies out."


Iraqi forces push deeper into western Mosul as civilians flee

MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S.-backed Iraqi forces pushed deeper into western Mosul on Saturday, advancing in several populated southern districts after punching through the defences of Islamic State's last major urban stronghold in Iraq a day earlier.