Iran Election Guide

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Thursday
Jan132011

Tunisia Snapshot: How Its Youth Moved from Fear to Whispering to the "Jasmine Revolution" (Sam)

And then, WikiLeaks reveals what everyone was whispering. And then, a young man immolates himself. And then, 20 Tunisians are killed in one day.

And for the first time, we see the opportunity to rebel, to take revenge on the "royal" family who has taken everything, to overturn the established order that has accompanied our youth. An educated youth, which is tired and ready to sacrifice all the symbols of the former autocratic Tunisia with a new revolution: the Jasmine Revolution – the true one.

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Thursday
Jan132011

Egypt Snapshot: "Tunisia and Algeria Riots Won't Happen Here" (Sarant)

Riots seen recently in Algeria and Tunisia are unlikely to spread to Egypt despite deteriorating economic conditions, experts say.

Although Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt are countries which, to a certain extent, are facing similar challenges --- bleak job prospects, unemployment, skyrocketing staple prices and the looming crisis of aging leaders--Egypt’s peculiar political context could render it immune to North Africa’s social upheaval.

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Thursday
Jan132011

The Latest from Iran (13 January): President's Right-Hand Man in Trouble?

2145 GMT: Sanctions Watch. The US Treasury added 26 firms to its sanctions list, claiming that 24 have ties with state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines --- linked to the Revolutionary Guards --- and two were affiliated with Aerospace Industries Organization, a subsidiary of Iran's Ministry of Defense.

Still, such news is a trifle for Press TV: it gleefully reports that Italy's oil imports from Iran are up 92%.

1730 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. More than 170 activists have signed a letter calling for the release of female detainees Reyhaneh Tabatabai, Nazanin Khosravani, Sajadeh Kianoush-Rad and Farzaneh Roustaei.

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Thursday
Jan132011

Lebanon Special: A Beginner's Guide to the Collapse of the Government (Emserrs)

The power-sharing Government was 14 months old and had taken five months to form. It consisted of 30 ministers, with the provision that the resignation of a third would bring it to a halt. Yesterday afternoon, 10 ministers allied to Hezbollah handed in their resignation after demanding that current Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri call a Cabinet meeting to discuss the tribunal or face the consequences.  Independent Shia MP Adnan Hussein followed suit shortly afterwards, dissolving Hariri’s government at around 17.00 Beirut time.

Premier Hariri was at the time in New York meeting President Obama.  It is likely that the resignations were timed to coincide with the meeting and cause optimum embarrassment to Hariri, leaving the most powerful man in the world in a meeting with an ex-Prime Minister.

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Thursday
Jan132011

Tunisia LiveBlog: Concession or Confrontation?

2140 GMT:Comment of the Night via Twitter....

"Just switched to Tunis TV.There is a democratic debate going on.Is this a joke or what? The country turned democratic in one hour."

2040 GMT: The Tunisian authorities have lifted the block on the multimedia site Nawaat and on the video site YouTube and Daily Motion.

It is also reported that the photographic site Flickr and even sites for pornography are now accessible.

2030 GMT: Just to round off the highlights of the President's speech: he also ordered the reduction of bread, milk, and sugar prices.

1914 GMT: Ben Ali says, "We will give freedom to the media and we will put an end to censorship of the Internet. We must find social remedies."

He assures, "This is not a Presidency for life" and asks those who wish to campaign in 2014 to present themselves.

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Thursday
Jan132011

Iran Interview: Wife of Jafar Kazemi, Condemned to Death, "We Request the Help of All Our Compatriots"

Jafar Kazemi, a lithographer for textbooks and pamphlets for Amir Kabir University, was arrested on 18 September 2009, apparently for putting up posters supporting the opposition. Soon he faced more serious charges.

Kazemi was accused of "mohareb" (war against God), a crime which carries the death penalty. Like others who have been executed in Iran, the public support for the allegation appears to be that Kazemi has a relative --- in this case, a son --- who is in Camp Ashraf in Iraq. The camp is home to many members of the People's Mojahedin of Iran, a banned organisation which has sought the overthrow of the Iranian regime for more than 30 years.

Kazemi was convicted and sentenced to hang. In recent weeks, activists have expressed increasing concern that his execution is imminent.

Masih Alinejad, working for the oppostion site Rah-e-Sabz (Jaras), interviewed Roudabeh Akbari, the wife of Kazemi, this week. The translation is by Siavosh Jalili.

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Thursday
Jan132011

US Video and Transcript: President Obama's Memorial Speech on Arizona Shootings

To the families of those we've lost; to all who called them friends; to the students of this university, the public servants gathered tonight, and the people of Tucson and Arizona: I have come here tonight as an American who, like all Americans, kneels to pray with you today, and will stand by you tomorrow.

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Thursday
Jan132011

Turkey Analysis: Erdogan's Message of Brotherhood and Business to Arab Neighbours

Through solidarity, we can overcome the Palestine problem and end the pain in Iraq and Afghanistan. We do not have to apply at others to help us. Yet, at foremost, we need to establish our own union. We can strengthen stability in Lebanon and prevent terror acts in Egypt. Through solidarity, we can overcome poverty in the region. This is Turkey's goal. We have established high level cooperation mechanisms with certain countries. We have established a cooperation mechanism in the Gulf region. We can establish a better tomorrow together. We do not need others to determine relations between our countries. We can take nice steps together.

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Wednesday
Jan122011

Israel-Iran Analysis: Assessing Israeli Government's Latest Moves Towards Tehran

There are "moderates" who are against a military strike on Iran and "aggressors" who, at least, want the option on the table. Despite President Shimon Peres's efforts, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, whom the premier wants to keep as close as possible, insist Iran should be presented as an "existential threat". However, Mossad, including its new head Tamir Pardo), Shin Bet, and military intelligence are maintaining distance from a war scenario, since it will be their heads off first if objectives cannot be achieved quickly. The Obama Administration is also on the side of the moderates.

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Wednesday
Jan122011

Belarus Feature: Crackdown on Dissent Continues (Schwirtz)

As Belarussian diplomats scrambled on Wednesday to assuage European concerns about the sweeping crackdown on dissent in their country, the authorities in Belarus were stepping up their campaign against the family of a former presidential candidate whose three-year-old son they have threatened to seize.

The security services conducted a search of the home of the former candidate, Andrei Sannikov, as well as the apartment of his wife’s mother, who has been caring for the child, Danil.

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