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Sunday
Jan162011

Libya and Egypt Videos: Politics and Protest

Clip of protest and gunfire in Beida

Clip from website Al Manara of protest:

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Saturday
Jan152011

Israel Snapshot: The Left Targets Foreign Minister Lieberman

Following the Knesset's approval of an enquiry into the activities and funding of left-wing organizations, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday: "These organizations are terror supporters whose only goal is to weaken the IDF [Israel Defense Force], weaken its resolve to defend the citizens of Israel."

On Friday, Haaretz's Yossi Sarid responded with the warning that Israel was becoming a second "corrupt" Russia, thanks to the Liebermans who came from this "non-democratic" country. Sarid added: "Lieberman and his serfs have a dream that is a nightmare - to turn the Jewish and democratic state into a Jewish and Soviet state: corrupt judges, bribed policemen, frightened prosecutors, submissive journalists, human rights activists in handcuffs, and an opposition for decoration only."

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Saturday
Jan152011

Tunisia and the Real Net Effect: Getting It Right on Protest and Social Media

As with the uprising in Iran in 2009, this month's protests in Tunisia, culminating in the ousting of President Zine El Abidine Bin Ali, have sparked a debate about the role of social media in public resistance. While many seem to have been inspired and given hope by the roles of social media in helping to mobilise action or to spread news of developments, eternal net skeptic Evgeny Morozov continue to dissent.

But he and his allies aren’t just dissenting.

Morozov, in his "First Thoughts on Tunisia and the Role of the Internet", re-invents the course of  events to fit his pre-set narrative minimising the place of social media in activism. While I may not be a net-positive, I’m not as net-negative as Morozov and Co.

To be up-front and accurate, I’m replying to Morozov's entire article, paragraph by paragraph.

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Saturday
Jan152011

Tunisia Videos: Tidying Up

Claimed footage of arrest of Slim Chiboub, former volleyball star and son-in-law of President Ben Ali:

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Saturday
Jan152011

WikiLeaks, Iran, & Assassination Special: Why A Kickboxing Champion Became An "Israeli Spy" 

This week Iranian authorities, supporting their claim of an Israeli plot --- including the assassination of Iranian scientists --- to undermine the regime, put Majid Jamali Fash on national television. Fash dutifully confessed to worked for Israeli's intelligence service Mossad, receiving training overseas before returning to Iran to carry out nefarious plots.

What Iranian TV, and indeed the Minister of Intelligence detailing the conspiracy, failed to mention is that Fashi already had an established vocation before he supposedly colluded with the enemy.

How did a promising kickboxer, and a supporter of President Ahmadinejad, wind up before the cameras --- and possibly on the gallows --- as an Israeli agent?

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Saturday
Jan152011

Tunisia LiveBlog: What Emerges Today?

2045 GMT: Speaking on the BBC World Service, a young Tunisian said men between the ages of 18 and 40, armed with baseball bats, are gathering in neighbourhoods to protect their homes.

1830 GMT: Privately-owned Nesma TV is reporting that Imad Trabelsi --- the nephew of Leila Trabelsi, the wife of deposed President Ben Ali --- is dead.

There are no details, but earlier in the day rumours had circulated on Twitter that Trabelsi had died as the family's homes in the Tunis suburbs were being ransacked yesterday.

Trabelsi, the nephew was named in a 2008 US diplomatic cable as a "particularly important economic actor" in the corruption of the Trabelsi family. In 2006, he had caused a scandal by reportedly stealing the yacht of a well-connected French businessman, Bruno Roger, Chairman of Lazard Paris.

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Saturday
Jan152011

Tunisia Pictures: Is This A New Military and a New Country?

The letters come down at what was Zine El Abidine Ben Ali airport in Tunis:

An Army stop-and-search:

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Saturday
Jan152011

Tunisia Analysis: 4 Lessons for the Arab World (Khouri)

The dramatic developments in Tunisia in the past weeks that have seen street demonstrators send former President Zein el-Abedeen Ben Ali fleeing the country may prove to be the historic turning point that many in the Arab world have been predicting and anticipating for decades: the point at which disgruntled and often humiliated Arab citizens shed their fear and confront their leaders with demands for serious changes in how their countries are governed. The overthrow of Ben Ali by fearless citizens who were no longer intimidated by their police and army is historically significant because of four main reasons:

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Saturday
Jan152011

The Latest from Iran (15 January): The Regime's Fizzling Displays

1715 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Mehdi Yarmohammadi, who worked for Mir Hossein Mousavi, has been sentenced to three years in prison.

1610 GMT: Energy Watch. Iranian officials said natural gas consumption had hit a record high due to cold weather, despite recent subsidy cuts.

Earlier this month, the officials had said consumption had dropped about 5% since the introduction of the cuts.

1545 GMT: Execution Watch. Kurdish detainee Hossein Khezri was executed in Oroumiyeh in northwestern Iran this morning.

Khezri was accused of being a member of the Kurdish insurgent group PJAK. He was arrested in July 2008 and sentenced to death in July 2009 for mohareb (”war against God”) and “endangering state security."

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Friday
Jan142011

Tunisia Special: What Happens When an Uprising is Ignored? (Shahryar)

Photo: Al JazeeraToday, as dismayed as I was, I got an answer to my question: What happens when the media ignores a revolution? Sometimes,the answer is: Nothing. The media can help mobilize support for victims of earthquakes like the one in Haiti. The media can also help create an atmosphere where people can feel  that they should care about those overseas. But, when the media refuses to cover a revolution, it really does not carry any impact.

That’s what people in Tunisia proved today by forcing their dictator to jump ship and leave the country. In a few hours, those US outlets who paid no heed will tell you how important it is that, for the first time in decades, a country in the Middle East has forced out an autocrat. Then you’ll have analysts telling you how important it is for US interests that this wave continues or maybe doesn't continue. There will be cute little graphs that Anderson Cooper can pull around on those big computer screens. Hey, it’s all going to be happening!

But this will be too late. The mainstream will not be part of the global wave of online support who witnessed a ground-breakingly inspirational event that will live on in memories for years to come and that could influence views on the Middle East, democracy, and human rights for decades.

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