Middle Orient

Top general says current level of troops in Iraq may be needed through 2009

WASHINGTON — The US army is planning for the possibility of keeping the current number of soldiers in Iraq — well over 100,000 — for four more years, the army’s top general said. In an Associated Press interview Saturday, Gen. Peter Schoomaker said the army is prepared for the “worst …

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Muslim Brotherhood urges voters to cast ballots in polls

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s largest Islamic group vowed Sunday to back none of the 10 candidates for this country’s first presidential election on Sept. 7, including President Hosni Mubarak, but still urged Egyptians to vote in the landmark polls. Speculation has been rife over whether the vastly popular Muslim Brotherhood, …

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Ahmadinejad pushes Cabinet, says no to liberalism

TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran’s hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad put his proposed Cabinet to parliament Sunday, lashing out at the West and liberalism and promising a government that will “promote virtue and prohibit vice.” Signalling his shock election win had delivered a clean break from the previous reformist administration of Mohammad …

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First week of Israel’s historic withdrawal sweeping, dramatic, relatively smooth

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — So far Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza is as significant for what did not happen as for what did. No major attacks from Palestinians. No use of weapons by settlers. No significant disruption of life inside Israel. No mass refusal of soldiers to carry out orders. The army …

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Israel resumes evacuation

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — The Israeli Cabinet yesterday formally approved the evacuation of the remaining settlements in the Gaza Strip and four in the West Bank, as bulldozers tore down 30 houses in the Nissanit settlement, the first large-scale demolition of settler homes in the evacuated Gaza settlements. An Israeli court …

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Bush invokes 9/11 to defend war

CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) — President George W. Bush said on Saturday US troops in Iraq were fighting to protect Americans at home from more attacks like those of Sept. 11, 2001, starting a five-day focus on his case for the war amid growing public discontent. “Our troops know that they’re …

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Palestinian elections set for January 25

GAZA CITY (AP) — Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas signed a decree Saturday appropriating Jewish settlement land for public use once Israel’s evacuation of Gaza is complete, and announced that overdue Palestinian legislative elections will be held January 25. Both measures are meant to ease suspicions among Abbas’ political rivals over …

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Pakistan to meet with UN nuclear agency on Iranian uranium contamination

VIENNA (AFP) — The UN nuclear watchdog is to meet here next week with Pakistani officials as part of its efforts to determine if Iran was using smuggled Pakistani equipment to make enriched uranium that could be used for atom bombs, diplomats said Saturday. Pakistan had in May sent centrifuge …

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S. Arabia announces tighter measures to try to curb polio

CAIRO (AP) — As millions of Muslims prepare to make the annual Hajj to Mecca this January, Saudi Arabia is adopting stricter measures to stop a new and startling spread of polio across the region, Saudi and United Nations officials said Saturday. The country that hosts the annual Islamic pilgrimage …

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