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Wednesday
Jan122011

Lebanon Breaking: Government Collapses as All 10 Minister of "March 8 Movement" Resign

2125 GMT: Before he left Washington, Prime Minister Saad Hariri got his meeting with President Obama and Washington's supportive words.

Obama and Hariri urged all parties to refrain from causing further instability, and the White House said:

The efforts by the Hezbollah-led coalition to collapse the Lebanese government only demonstrate their own fear and determination to block the government's ability to conduct its business and advance the aspirations of all of the Lebanese people.

Obama also stressed the importance of the UN Special Tribunal on Lebanon "to help end the era of political assassinations with impunity" in the country.

1810 GMT: Prime Minister Hariri has cut short his trip to the US and is returning homes. There are reports that he will stop in Paris for a discussion with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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Wednesday
Jan122011

Tunisia Video: The Latest Protests of "Tens of Thousands"

Demonstrators in Sfax -- for full size of the "10,000s" rally, see below --- singing the National Anthem:

A rally in Hammamet in northeast Tunisia:

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Wednesday
Jan122011

Israel-Palestine Analysis: Secret Talks in Israel But Confusion over Trip to US

On Saturday, the Israeli Prime Minister's office issued a statement that Israeli negotiator "Yitzhak Molcho and a Palestinian representative will travel to Washington next week with the aim of advancing the diplomatic process". Ramallah said they were unaware that any Palestinian official was going to the US.

On the eve of the departure to hear “new American ideas”, Palestinian top negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Tuesday that the peace talks with the Israeli government have ended and it is time for his side to make decisions. He reiterated Ramallah's position that there will be no negotiations until Israel agrees to halt all construction activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

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Wednesday
Jan122011

Tunisia and Algeria: How Protests Put "Arab Regimes on Edge" (Lynch)

It's very clear that most Arab regimes are on edge over the possibility of the spread of the protests in Tunisia and Algeria. Arab columnists and TV shows have been excitedly debating the real causes of the protests and what they might mean, while in country after country warnings are being sounded of a repeat of the "Tunisia scenario."

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Wednesday
Jan122011

Beyond The Arizona Shootings: The Real Danger of Divisive, Vitriolic Politics (Miller)

Cartoon: R.J. Matson (St Louis Post-Dispatch)In this important dialogue about the decency of our politics, an important point may be missed. The heated rhetoric, the hate speech, the shock-jocks, and the vitriolic politicians, have already claimed a prominent victim.

The truth.

The Greek dramatist Aeschylus wrote that the first casualty of war is truth, and if politics is war "by other means",  in the last decade it has moved from a chivalric duel to a scorched-earth campaign.

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Wednesday
Jan122011

The Latest from Iran (12 January): Challenging the Guardian Council

2120 GMT: On the Border. The Los Angeles Times summarises the fuel dispute between Iran and Afghanistan, with Tehran still holding up to 2500 tankers on the border.

1720 GMT: The President's Right-Hand Man. There now appears to be a dedicated campaign amongst some Iranian "hard-liners" to force out Presidential Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai. Stay tuned for an EA exclusive on Thursday, but meanwhile this claim from Mashregh News....

Rahim-Mashai supposedly gave $150 vouchers to clerics who came to his speech at a community meeting.

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Wednesday
Jan122011

Tunisia LiveBlog: Will President Ben Ali "Go the Way of Romania's Ceausescu"?

2215 GMT: Video has been posted claiming to be of a night-time protest in Hammamet in northeastern Tunisia, with a teenager killed by the police.

And this picture claims to be of riot police in Cite Ettadhamen near the capital.

2150 GMT: Reuters reports that hundreds of youths defied the 8 p.m. curfew in Tunis, setting fire to a bank and throwing stones at police, who responded with tear gas.

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Wednesday
Jan122011

Iran Interview: Mousavi's Response to The Regime's Propaganda --- "Promoting Awareness Peacefully"

For us being Green does not mean that we want to turn everyone into our colour and into a single colour, the same way the totalitarians and authoritarians prescribe their own colour and view for everyone. Green is living side by side each other while understanding the differences, varieties in views, opinions and tastes. If the totalitarians and their propaganda try to highlight the gaps created in families and society, by accepting these differences, we must try to propose a prescription for peaceful living side by side with each other. Promoting awareness peacefully is the most effective weapon against violence and the spread of division and ignorance.

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Wednesday
Jan122011

Israel Interview: Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon's Messages for Palestine, the US, and His Own Side

Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, appeared on Rusty Mike Radio on Tuesday. Excerpts from the chat:

Settlements and Deadlock: Ayalon said that Palestinians were doing everything except sitting with Israelis for negotiations. He said that Palestinians were doing three things: making excuses and pre-conditions, threatening to use unilateral action, and exerting political power on the international level. 

As for the issue of settlements, Ayalon had a message for the US: they have never been an obstacle to peace and it was a mistake to single out this issue.

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Tuesday
Jan112011

Tunisia Video: Tearing Down the President's Picture

(A graphic video of doctors trying to treat the injured in a hospital in Kasserine, where more than 20 people were killed this weekend, is racing around the Interent, even though YouTube has refused to allow it to be posted because of the bloody images. We are linking to it, but readers are warned that it is, in the words of the site that posted it, "horrendous and atrocious".)

Claimed footage of police use of ammunition and tear gas:

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