The blood of your martyrs for revolution is too recent and too precious, and too often belonged to young people who sacrificed a bright future, for you to squander this once-in-a-century opportunity to put liberty and democracy on a firm foundation in your countries. You are young, and you still weep at the thought of freedom, and of those who died for it. You are having your weddings at Tahrir Square to celebrate a new beginning. Be careful. Be very careful. In my lifetime I have seen the American state spiral down into a brutal tyranny that tortures, spies, union-busts, engages in illegal wars, and plays dirty tricks on dissidents. We used to have something much more like a democracy. Maybe we can learn from you how to safeguard something so precious.
2010 GMT: Religion and Vote-Buying. Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi clarifies, "Buying votes is not allowed."
Makarem-Shirazi continues with the allegation that some MPs have bought voters w mobile phones, cash, food, and government allowances.
1955 GMT: CyberWatch (Battle Within Edition). For months, we have heard about the Iranian regime training cyber-warriors to wreak havoc on Tehran's enemies. However, it looks like the havoc-wreaking is happening within the establishment....
Three websites close to President Ahmadinejad and Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai have been knocked off-line today. Hafte Sobh --- set up in part to promote Rahim-Mashai as a Presidential candidate in 2013 --- Tamasha News, and 1Shanbeh are each left tonight with nothing but two words in English.
Kenan Malik's mono-causal explanation in The New York Times for the atrocity of six years ago is simplistic, divorced from history, ignorant of the scholarship on violent extremism, and oblivious to the evidence around the 7-7 bombings, including from the British security service MI5.
Official multiculturalist policies may indeed be a problem for western societies (although it is of interest that Malik omits from his analysis a country, Canada, that is more diverse than the UK and which for decades has embraced multiculturalism as an official aspect of its national identity), but it was not the sole cause of 7-7 or other post-9/11 acts of terrorism.
Unfortunately I am not allowed to see them all the time, and as a result of incarceration, the visits we have had are at best limited. Their appearance was during our last visit, however, extremely worrisome. They were both very pale and thin. Both my son and my daughter-in-law suddenly seemed to have lost a significant amount of weight. I am a mother, and this was apparent to me. I have no idea what they have had to endure.
For days Syrian security forces stayed out of Hama; not even traffic police were seen in the city. During these days, no armed gangs emerged from the shadows to terrorise and loot. Christians and Alawis were not rounded up and shot. Nobody was whipped for wearing an un-Islamic haircut. All that happened was day and night demonstrations against the regime swelled into crowds of hundreds of thousands --- men and women, adults and children.
Perhaps the security forces stayed out of the city on the request of Hama’s governor, and perhaps that’s why he was sacked. Now security forces have entered the city and brought plenty of insecurity in their wake.
Sanctions are biting harder than ever, but business still gets done through the leaks and loopholes. So it’s not changing the regime’s behavior where it counts: on its nuclear policy, specifically, its accelerating enrichment of uranium. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s policies have been largely bad for business and made life harder for most Iranians. Together, that could get Ahmadinejad booted from office, but it probably won’t topple the regime. Iran is rolling in oil money – a salve for all its economic wounds. But Iran can’t effectively tap the wealth underground, given the bans on foreign investment in the energy sector. That, combined with overall mismanagement, makes Iran’s economy is “fundamentally unsustainable,” in the words of one analyst – a “patient with many viruses.”
2106 GMT: The people of Sana'a, Yemen, protesting tonight in anticipation of more protests tomorrow:
Tonight's protests in the Qaboun district of Damascus, Syria:
2100 GMT: The people of Tahrir Square, Egypt, get ready for tomorrow's protests.
2040 GMT: The US Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, has traveled to the city of Hama and plans on spending the next 24+ hours with the protesters there. The State Department Spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, elaborates:
Video which has come in overnight testifies to the loud, large resistance to the Assad regime's probing attempts --- through raids and arrests by security forces and troops --- to control Hama, Syria's fourth-largest city. In the first clip, protesters shout to President Assad, "O Bashar, you are not Syrian; Syrians don't kill other Syrians":
Claimed footage of a protest last night in Hama, telling the President, "To Hell with You, Bashar"
2015 GMT: David Smith reports for The Guardian of London, "Tripoli: A Stronghold by Day, A Battleground at Night":
Anecdotal evidence suggests that there are now regular night-time clashes in the Libyan capital. .
The raids have turned parts of Tripoli, a city with no shortage of privately owned firearms, into a no-go area after dark. The man, who said he has stocked up on diesel in readiness for "zero hour", added: "Normally wedding parties go on until 2am, but now they finish at 8pm. No one goes out after sunset. They all stay at home."
1850 GMT: Reformist Watch. Ali Shakouri Rad, a senior member of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, has told an audience of young supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mohammad Khatami, "We do not trust the government and the Guardian Council, and if they want to monitor elections --- given the context of past elections --- they are meaningless."
1705 GMT: Media Watch. Fars tries to take the high ground in the current political conflict, claims that the "disclosures" of the Supreme Leader's and Ahmadinejad's followers against each other are "media charlatanism".
1700 GMT: Parliament v. President. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, in the midst of his play for support from the Supreme Leader, has declared that Ayatollah Khamenei, in a meeting with MPs, said the Majlis has the right to interrogate and impeach the President.