The major shift in power over the last few years has been the rise of Ahamdinejad's faction and its alliance with [Supreme Leader] Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Sepah (the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) to oust the supporters of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and sideline the old clerical conservatives. Having weakened their major competitors --- reformists are almost completely shut out now --= and harboring potentially serious ideological and practical policy differences, many people think that there is a good chance the Khamenei and Ahmadinejad factions will face off in the coming year or two.
When thousands took to the World Wide Web from Tehran to protest the result of the presidential elections the summer of 2009, traditional western media's first instinct was to turn a blind eye. It wasn't until days later when massive networks of activists and students were operating strictly through Twitter that outlets like CNN finally figured out covering this phenomenon was probably worth their while. Unfortunately after everything was said and done, many of my fellow journalists in newsrooms across the world concluded the Tehran Twitter protests were an isolated occurrence --- until now. After weeks of unrest in Tunisia seen only through videos uploaded on Facebook, it seems as our psychological apprehension to rely on social networks as a news source will finally come to an end.
2135 GMT: One of a number of photos from a rally in Bizerte, on the northern coast of Tunisia:
2125 GMT: In Algeria, a woman "about 40 years old" tried to set herself on fire on Tuesday in the resort of Sidi Ali Benyoub, 600 kilometres (370 miles) west of Algiers.
It is the 7th case of self-immolation in the last week in Algeria.
2130 GMT: The President's Right-Hand Man. He may be disliked by many, but Presidential Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai is still putting about his wise words. Akhbar Rooz reports that books of the thoughts of the aide and Ahmadinejad confidante are being distributed to Government officials.
2120 GMT: Worst Diplomatic Statement of the Week. The Iranian Embassy in Kabul issued a statement on Monday, “Currently 16 fuel tankers are waiting at the Meelk-Dogharon border....for their turn to enter Afghanistan, and will enter Afghanistan's soil during next few days after legal formalities are completed.”
16? Iran is currently holding up to 2500 tankers at the Afghan border.
2035 GMT: Competition Time. A photo of President Ahmadinejad getting a lovely present from the staff of the Islamic Republic News Agency this morning. You supply the caption....
Prime Minister Mohamed GhannouchiSo Tunisia is now in a 60-day phase between the announcement of the Government, replacing the deposed regime of President Ben Ali, and elections. While the contest on the streets against Ben Ali's former security men seems to have been won, we wait to see if the second challenge in our analysis yesterday will be met: will this Government be seen as legitimate?
A symbolic answer was attempted by about 1000 protesters on Monday in Tunis. A demonstration that started peacefully was dispersed by water cannon and tear gas when demonstrators tried to approach Government buildings, but the political demands remain.
Terrorism Weekly: How Britain's Police Infiltrated the Environmental Movement (and Why It Will Continue)
In Britain this week the story of an eco-warrior and professional mountain climber was front-page news. We learned of Mark Stone was a keen supporter of environmental causes and active in a variety of protest movements. Even better, he owned a van allowing him to transport his comrades to various gatherings.
So far, a tale of a dedicated activist. But Stone actually had a different job and a different name. Mark Kennedy was a policeman who had grown his hair long, left behind his wife and children, and gone deep undercover for seven years, travelling to 22 different countries, to infiltrate the environmental movement and solve the problem of domestic extremism". He had spied on all those who thought he was a keen protector of the environment, leaving behind a profound sense of betrayal when the truth of his identity emerged.
"We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."
Hope –-- no matter how difficult it might be to keep –-- is more important than the damage the earthquake, the Duvaliers, and the inattention of the world did to Haiti all these years. It was that hope that gave birth to a nation. And it is that hope that will define the future of that nation.
The effects of last year’s earthquake will disappear in time. The homes that have been destroyed will be rebuilt. The children who have been orphaned will grow up. The souls that were tortured by the past year of hell will heal. They will rebuild Haiti. They will cleanse it of the vermin that have been feeding off it from inside and outside.
Jean-Claude Duvalier and his saprophytic kin will die.
But hope will live. And with it, Haiti will too.
"In the past years, they used to excuse their inefficiencies and failures by referring to the corrupt regime of Shah. Now they have pretexts such as the conspiracies by United States and Israel to cover their violations, mistakes, and ineffectiveness. They constantly use phrases like 'soft' war, combatant [against God], the 'fifth pillar' [spy], corruption, and traitor in their speeches."