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Sunday
Jan232011

Tunisia (and Beyond) LiveBlog: A Scorecard for the Protests

Saturday's Protest in Algiers1655 GMT: Egypt's Minister of Industry and Commerce Rachid Mohammed Rachid has raised worries over investment because of the effects of the situation in Tunisia, which "worries lots of people" and "raises questions about political stability". Rachid told reporters he was instructing assistants to issue daily statements about new foreign investment to give a reassuring message.

Egypt's stock market dropped 8% last week.

1650 GMT: In Tunisia, Larbi Nasra, the owner of Hannibal TV, and his son have been arrested and charge with high treason and conspiracy against state security.

The broadcasts of Hannibal TV have been suspended.

Nasra was close to the family of Leila Trabelsi, the wife of former President Ben Ali.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan222011

Algeria and Tunisia Videos: Saturday's Protests in Algiers and Tunis

Latest footage of Saturday's protest in Algiers:

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4-minute clip of Saturday's protest and clashes w police in Algiers:

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan222011

The Latest from Iran (22 January): Documenting the Prisoners

1625 GMT: Why the Nuke Talks Stalled. A significant detail from Reuters....

The agency reports, from a "Western diplomat", that European Union foreign policy representative Catherine Ashton, speaking for the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, Germany, China, Russia, France) proposed that Iran send abroad 2,800 kilogrammes of low-enriched (3-4%) uranium and 40 kilogrammes of 20% uranium.

As Iran, according to Reuters, has a stockpile of "more than 3000 kilogrammes" of low-enriched uranium, the 5+1 Powers were effectively telling Iran that up to 90% of its uranium stock should be sent outside the country for processing.

Compare that with the offer on the table in Geneva in October 2009, which led to further talks before discussions stalled the following months: the 5+1 proposed that Iran send 60% of its low-enriched uranium (then estimated at 2000 kilogrammes) to Russia and France --- later Russia and France --- for processing. (At that point, Iran had no confirmed stocks of 20% uranium.)

Given Tehran's insistence on enriching uranium inside its borders, it's not too surprising that the 5+1's offer --- far worse for Tehran than what was on the table 15 months ago --- has not been welcomed.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan222011

Turkey Analysis: The "Extraordinary" Davutoglu and Ankara's New Rules For Foreign Affairs (Traub)

In a world that the U.S. no longer dominates as it once did, President Barack Obama has sought to forge strong relations with rising powers like India and Brazil. Turkey, however, is the one rising power that is located in the danger zone of the Middle East; it’s no coincidence that Obama chose to include Turkey in his first overseas trip and spoke glowingly of the “model partnership” between the two countries. This fits perfectly with Turkey’s ambition to be a global as well as a regional player.

And yet, despite all the mutual interests, and all of Davutoglu’s energy and innovation, something has gone very wrong over the last year. The Turks, led by Davutoglu, have embarked on diplomatic ventures with Israel and Iran, America’s foremost ally and its greatest adversary in the region, that have left officials and political leaders in Washington fuming. Obama administration officials are no longer sure whose side Turkey is on.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan222011

Tunisia (and Beyond) LiveBlog: A March in Algeria?

1830 GMT: From Alec Ross of the US State Department: "Secretary Clinton spoke with Tunisia PM Ghannouchi today. She encouraged transition to open democracy and on-going reforms."

1710 GMT: In Mauritania, the family of Yacoub Ould Dahoud, who set himself on fire on Monday inside his car in front of the Senate building in Nouakchott, has confirmed that he has died.

1650 GMT: EA readers looking for an introduction to the current issues in Algeria may wish to read analyses by Hugh Roberts and by Amal Boubekeur.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan222011

Iran Snap Analysis: Nuke Talks? What Nuke Talks? 

While discussions started in the morning and continued late last night, "Western" broadcasters and the press --- with a couple of notable exceptions --- were silent after CNN correspondent Ivan Watson got the day started with the incisive report, "On eve of Iran nuke talks,diplomats from P5+1 & Iranian negotiator all sat at same table for dinner hosted by Turks in Ottoman palace."

There is more substance this morning in a report from Steven Erlanger in The New York Times, based on unnamed "Western diplomats", that the late-night sessions was "tense and even acrimonious".

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan222011

Tunisia (and Beyond) Video Discussion: Social Media and Reform in the Arab World

A discussion on Al Jazeera English considering the impact of Tunisia's popular uprising on neighbouring countries, including the role of social media: participants are Sami Ben Gharbia (@ifikra on Twitter), the co-founder of the Tunisian website Nawaat.org, Nasser Weddady (@weddady), the outreach director at the American Islamic Congress, and Wael Abbas (@waelabbas), an Egyptian blogger and activist.

Friday
Jan212011

US Politics Music Video Special: A Battle Hymn for Sarah Palin

Because the Good Lord says it is not too soon to campaign for President in 2012:

SING-ALONG LYRICS

She’s a cold blast from Alaska
Ingrained with common sense.
She’s not a Harvard lawyer, but she knew what the Founders meant.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan212011

Tony Blair's Back Video: "Iran is a Looming Threat...If Necessary, Use Force"

Out of courtesy, I will not besiege readers with my thoughts on today's testimonial by former Prime Minister Tony Blair --- replete with evasions, distortions, and some outright deceptions --- justifying the 2003 Iraq War to a British enquiry.

It is worth noting, however, that he would do it all again...this time with Iran.

Friday
Jan212011

Lebanon Latest: Talks Fail as Prime Minister Hariri Remains Defiant (Shadid)

Lebanon’s worst crisis in years escalated dangerously on Thursday as a last-ditch effort to negotiate a solution ended in failure and the American-backed caretaker prime minister struck a defiant note toward Hezbollah and its allies, which brought down his 14-month-old national unity government this month.

The events cast the crisis into an unpredictable moment, as each side became ever more entrenched in positions with little common ground over indictments expected to name members of Hezbollah, the Shiite Muslim militant movement, in the assassination of the prime minister’s father, Rafik Hariri.

Click to read more ...