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Monday
Jan242011

Iran and the Real Net Effect: A First-Hand Response to the Pessimists (Siavashi)

While Evgeny Morozov uses the medium of Twitter to get out his essential  information --- "During our interview today David Frost discovered that in Russian 'Morozov' means 'son of frost'. He denies the rumor!" --- others are using the technology from different motives.

They are doing so, often in defiance of the control and repression that occupies Morozov, to change the world.

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Sunday
Jan232011

Israel-Palestine: Ramallah Rejects Foreign Minister Lieberman's Map

An Israeli official has said that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has submitted a map, envisioning an interim agreement with the Palestinian Authority, to the Prime Minister's Office. Israel would turn over between 45 to 50% of the West Bank to the provisional state, though additional land could be transferred to Palestinian control in future negotiations. 

On Sunday, chief negotiator Saeb Erekat rejected the plan for a Palestinian state with provisional borders.

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Sunday
Jan232011

Israel Latest: Turkel Committee on Gaza Flotilla Raid "Self-Defense for a Legal Blockade" 

In the first part of its findings,  the Turkel Commission, an Israeli panel of enquiry into last May's Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla, declared that commandos acted in self-defense when they boarded the lead ship, killing nine Turkish citizens. The committee said that Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip does not break international law, adding that Israel had also complied with the humanitarian conditions for such a blockade.

The official report did express some criticism of West Jerusalem, calling on officials to "examine the medical needs of the people of Gaza in order to find ways to improve the current situation" and to find ways to "focus its sanctions on Hamas while avoiding harm against the civilian population".

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Sunday
Jan232011

Al Jazeera Unveils Explosive Revelations in "Palestine Papers"

Tonight, in one of the most extensive and potentially most significant leaks in recent history, Al Jazeera is releasing more than 1600 internal documents on the Israel-Palestine conflict from 1999 to 2010>.

The Guardian of London is also publishing the documents, summarising some of the revelations:

• The scale of confidential concessions offered by Palestinian negotiators, including on the highly sensitive issue of the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

• How Israeli leaders privately asked for some Arab citizens to be transferred to a new Palestinian state.

• The intimate level of covert co-operation between Israeli security forces and the Palestinian Authority.

• The central role of British intelligence in drawing up a secret plan to crush Hamas in the Palestinian territories.

• How Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders were privately tipped off about Israel's 2008-9 war in Gaza.

Sunday
Jan232011

Iran Nuclear Snapshot: How the US Media Missed the Important Story About the Talks

US newspapers, recapping the failure of the discussions on uranium enrichment in Istanbul, seem to be oblivious to the core issue.

We reported yesterday, drawing from information from Reuters, that the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China) appear to have put a much tougher proposal to Iran than the offer in October 2009, which led to weeks of negotiations before stalling.

In the talks 15 months ago, the 5+1 asked that Tehran send 60% of its low-enriched uranium, which is about 3.5% quality, to Russia and France --- later Russia and Turkey --- for processing. In this weekend's discussions, the 5+1 proposed that Iran send about 90% of its low-enriched uranium abroad. In addition, Iran would have to send all or almost all of its 20% quality uranium, which it began producing last year, to other countries.

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Sunday
Jan232011

Iran Eyewitness: Farhad on Life in Tehran, the Economy, and the Revolutionary Guards

Many IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps] forces have turned their back on the government as well for the above-mentioned reasons. Contrary to general belief, the IRGC is not a monolithic bloc but is composed of supporters of several political camps, i.e. pro-hardliners, pro-[the late Grand Ayatollah] Montazeri, pro-Rafsanjani etc.

People always said this regime will last, but this time they said it cannot go on like this in the long-term. The general situation is near explosion, which could happen at any point. A major deterioration is to be expected in two or three months, when the impact of subsidy cuts gets real, i.e. when the people are confronted with the new power or water bills. The same goes for the start of subsidy cuts for gasoil and other energy sources, which has begun today. The impact for businesses is not predictable yet, but it will be grave as well.

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Sunday
Jan232011

Iran Journalism Special: Protecting the Nuclear Talks from Lady Ashton's Cleavage

Forget all the chatter about weapons, uranium stocks, and "break-out" capability at the nuclear discussions in Istanbul between Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, China, Russia).

The clear-and-present danger was the chest of Lady Catherine Ashton, the head of the 5+1 delegation.

It was the newspaper Iran, confronted with a picture of Ashton and her Iranian counterpart, Saeed Jalili, that saw the threat of cleavage. However, thanks to their quick-working editors and PhotoShop, the mutually assured moral destruction of the original photograph (right) was averted:

Sunday
Jan232011

The Latest from Iran (23 January): Back to the Domestic

1745 GMT: Where's Ali? Today the Supreme Leader paid surprise visits to the families of two assassinated Iranian scientists, Masoud Alimohammadi and Majid Shahriari.

1735 GMT: The Nuke Talks. Teymoor Nabili at Al Jazeera English picks up on our analysis, posted in a separate entry, of the key reason for failure at the Istanbul discussions on uranium enrichment and how it was missed by the US media.

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Sunday
Jan232011

Britain-US Special: Two Years into Obama's Era, The Right Takes Over The "Special Relationship" (Winter)

Relations between Britain and America have improved as the oil has dissipated in the Gulf, but what we see is not a progressive, liberal trend from either Obama or from the Liberal Democrats in the British coalition. Instead, what is emerging is an American-style big-society, small-state conservative and neo-liberal reshaping on British welfare, heath care, and education. The American charter school system is entering Britain through new "academies"; in October 2010, Geoffrey Canada, the founder and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone, travelled to Britain to meet with Minister of Education Michael Gove to discuss charter schools and education reform and the alleged threat of unions to such reform, as well as to address the Tory Party conference.

As Britain awaits the next round of Tory-Lib Dem cuts to balance the budget, rein in the deficit, and punish the poor in 2011, those meetings and our looks across the Atlantic are likely to continue. President Obama may be entering his third year, but it is "what they are doing on the Right" that may be more important.

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Sunday
Jan232011

Tunisia (and Beyond) Sunday Video: The Protests Continue

The march in Tunis today:

Al Jazeera coverage of the "Caravan of Liberation" from Sidi Bouzid reaching Tunis

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