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Monday
Jan312011

Latest Egypt Video: Friday's Battle of the Bridge, Sunday's Rally in Tahrir Square

Friday: The Battle of 6 October Bridge, Cairo

Sunday: Tahrir Square in Cairo "We Won't Leave. Mubarak Will Leave"

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan312011

Israel Snapshot: How West Jerusalem Can Benefit from Change in Cairo 

On Sunday, speaking to his Cabinet, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu underlined the importance of "stability and security" in the region:

We are anxiously monitoring what is happening in Egypt and [elsewhere] in our region. Last night, I spoke with US President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. I also held consultations with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and with Israeli intelligence officials.

Our efforts are designed to continue and maintain stability and security in our region. I remind you that the peace between Israel and Egypt has endured for over three decades and our goal is to ensure that these relations continue. Of course, at this time, we must show maximum responsibility, restraint and sagacity and, to this end, I have instructed my fellow ministers to refrain from commenting on this issue. Naturally, we are also holding consultations in the appropriate government forums.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan312011

Tunisia Feature: An Interview with Rached Ghannouchi (Abedin)

Yesterday Rached Ghannouchi, the head of the al-Nahda Party, returned to Tunisia after more than 20 years in exile.

Al-Nahda, banned by the Ben Ali regime, is generally labelled an "Islamist" party, and there has been a lot of chatter about its intentions and policies. Ghannouchi has been giving a series of interviews to try and assuage any concerns and to set out the possibilities for the party.

Last Thursday, Mahan Abedin interviewed Ghannouchi for the site Religioscope....

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan312011

Egypt in Pictures: Sunday in Tahrir Square in Cairo

Egyptian protester climbs traffic lights to place the national flag (Ahmed Desouki)

Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei speaks to supporters (Peter Macdiarmid)

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan312011

Egypt (and Beyond) LiveBlog: So What is an "Orderly Transition"?

2250 GMT: Ivan Watson of CNN reports that the Egyptian Ministry of Information has told them all cell phone service will be shut down just ahead of tomorrow's expected 'Million Man March'. 

2242 GMT: Are you in Egypt? Do you have a phone? Do you want to tweet about the uprising, but don't have internet because it has been shut down? Then, Google has good news for you and us all. Googleblog just ran this post:

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan312011

Iran Feature: Zahra Bahrami, the Netherlands, and The Failure of Quiet Diplomacy (Ashtary)

The execution on Saturday of the Dutch-Iranian citizen, Zahra Bahrami, is clear evidence of the failure of quiet diplomacy by the Government of the Netherlands.

The protection of human rights and quiet diplomacy do not have have anything in common. Human rights organizations focusing on Iran have long been saying that the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran pressures individuals and governments to keep quiet. When governments use quiet diplomacy to try and negotiate with the IRI. they are falling into a trap.

This is not a call for an end to diplomacy. The point is that the time is long overdue to make some noise. Human Rights organizations and defenders have been saying this for years.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan312011

The Latest from Iran (31 January): Hatching Freedom

1945 GMT: Execution Watch. Looks like the Iranian authorities are scrambling to justify their sudden execution of Dutch-Iranian national Zahra Bahrami (see separate feature)....

Press TV is claiming it has a video in which Bahrami explains how she concealed cocaine and opium in her house. In the video, Bahrami gives the camera crew a tour of her house, showing them how she concealed drugs in a compartment inside her bed, in cereal boxes and in an electric heater.

The style of the video sounds similar to Press TV's recent "documentary" in which Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, whose death sentence for adultery has also been condemned internationally, was released from prison to make a "confession" in her home.

The Tehran Prosecutor's Office now claims that, during a search of Bahrami's house, 450 grams of cocaine and 420 grams of opium were uncovered. Previously, Iranian officials said Bahrami was holding a kilogramme of cocaine.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan312011

US Politics Special: A New EA Series on the Debates Over the Economy

Two political stories will dominate US news coverage this year: the campaign for the Republican nomination to face President Obama in the 2012 election, and the efforts by both parties, bi-partisan commissions, and independent think tanks to find a solution for the state of the American economy. Included in the latter debate will be terms that turn us all bleary-eyed; debt ceilings, discretionary and non-discretionary spending, entitlement reform, tax reform, and a myriad of health,care acronyms like MSAs (Medical Saving Accounts). The grim reality beyond the terms is that the United States is facing a fiscal crisis, and this year will see the beginnings of policies that will have long-standing consequences for the future of America.

Over the next few weeks EA USA will post a series of articles looking in-depth at the various recommendations for changes.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan302011

Sudan LiveBlog: Developing Story --- Protests in Khartoum

0845 GMT: The Wall Street Journal has picked up on the Sunday protests, with an article by Sarah Childress.

0820 GMT: A statement from Sudanese police says its forces contained a “limited riot” staged by some students, including some “agitators". According to the police release, 40 students and 30 citizens were arrested, and all students were released on bail.

0755 GMT: Ahlia University in Omdurman has been closed for the rest of the week.

0500 GMT: Mohamed Abdelrahman, a student at Al-Ahlyaa University, was reportedly killed in the Khartoum demonstrations.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan302011

Egypt Snap Analysis: Sorting Rumours --- Will the Army Fire? Has Interior Minister Been Arrested?

Two very different rumours that we are watching....

1. The Army has been ordered to fire on protesters tonight. 
2. Minister of Interior Habib el Adly, as well as key ruling party figure and tycoon Ahmed Ezz, have been arrested. El Adly exited the Ministry of Interior amidst live fire this morning.

We're watching the situation carefully, but here is one interpretation. The story about el Adly was broken by the US Government's channel Al Hurra. That is the first occasion during this crisis that Al Hurra has been out front with news, and no other outlet is carrying this.

There were stories yesterday of a serious split between the civilian leadership in the Government and the military over whether to use live fire. And today it is notable that some have said el Adly was the Minister preparing the order to shoot.

So one interpretation is that someone high up in the US Government, which has been calling on Cairo to avoid violence, or someone in the Egyptian system close to Washington put out the story that el Adly had been detained. The signal would be that the Obama Administration does not want, in any circumstances, the bloodshed of protesters.

This is just speculation, of course, but it is as reliable at this point as the "news" which is circulating.