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Iran FM Discusses Yemen Conflict in Neutral Oman

Iran's foreign minister held talks in neutral Oman Tuesday about ending the conflict in Yemen where a Saudi-led coalition is waging a bombing campaign against Tehran-backed rebels, Iranian media reported.

Oman, which maintains good relations with Iran, is the only one of the six Gulf Arab states that has not joined the coalition air war in its western neighbor.

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Litany of Problems Keep Iraqi Army Weak

Iraq's leadership was indignant after U.S. accusations that its forces lack the will to fight but assessments of the army's ability suggest the rank-and-file have reasons to shy from battle.

Pentagon chief Ashton Carter said Sunday, a week after the loss of Ramadi to the Islamic State group, that there was "an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight".

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Kuwait Court Restores ex-Lawmaker's Citizenship

The Kuwaiti lower court on Tuesday overturned a decision by the Gulf state's government to revoke the citizenship of a former Islamist opposition lawmaker and his family, his lawyer said.

"Thank God, the court has scrapped the decision and restored the citizenship of the Barghash family," lawyer Al-Humaidi al-Subaie wrote on his Twitter account.

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HRW Says Warring Parties Trapping Civilians in Benghazi

Militias in Benghazi are trapping civilians in the strife-torn eastern Libyan city, leaving them in dire conditions without food, medical care and electricity, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.

The New York-based watchdog appealed to warring factions in Benghazi to give residents safe passage out of the city and to permit aid agencies access to deliver crucial supplies.

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Saudi Executes 88th Person this Year, Topping 2014 Total

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday carried out its 88th execution so far this year, surpassing the total for all of 2014 despite activists' concerns that trials are not conducted fairly.

The interior ministry identified the latest to be put to death as Saudis Awad al-Rowaili and Lafi al-Shammary, who were convicted of smuggling amphetamines.

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Iraq Forces Tighten Noose around Ramadi

Iraqi forces closed in on Ramadi Tuesday and launched an operation aimed at cutting off the jihadists in Anbar province before a major offensive to retake the city.

Ten days after the Islamic State group's shock capture of the capital of Iraq's largest province, a spokesman said the latest operation was only a preparatory move before an assault on Ramadi.

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War Leaves 16 Million Yemenis without Clean Water, Says Oxfam

Almost two-thirds of the population of war-torn Yemen have no access to clean water, two months into the Saudi-led air campaign against rebel forces, relief agency Oxfam said Tuesday.

"Ongoing air strikes, ground fighting and fuel shortages mean that an additional three million Yemenis are now without drinking water, raising the total number of Yemenis without a clean water supply and sanitation to at least 16 million," the Britain-based organization said.

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Australian Mother Abandons Children to Join IS

A Sydney mother has abandoned her two children and fled to Syria for a new life under the Islamic State group, media reported Tuesday, becoming one of more than 100 Australians who have joined the jihadists.

The Australian government said it was deeply disturbed by the report and that it was monitoring the situation closely.

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Britain and Russia Agree to Resume Talks on Syria

Britain's David Cameron and Russia's Vladimir Putin have agreed to re-start talks on finding a solution to the crisis in Syria, a statement from Cameron said on Monday.

The Russian president phoned Cameron to congratulate him on his re-election as prime minister and the two agreed that Syria talks should resume, a spokeswoman from Cameron's office said.

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Morocco Jails Three for Homosexuality

Three Moroccan men accused of homosexuality have been sentenced to three years in jail each by a court in northeastern Morocco, a rights group said on Monday.

Homosexuality and sexual relations outside marriage are forbidden in the conservative North African nation. 

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