Iran Election Guide

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Tuesday
Jan112011

After the Arizona Shootings: Can the Approach of "No Labels" Succeed? (Haddigan)

Unfortunately, No Labels does not seem to have stirred the imagination or won the backing of Americans. It is still early days, and recent events may catapult them to prominence among citizens tired with the controversy over "violent rhetoric" and/or the motives of the alleged Arizona gunman, Jared Lee Loughner; however, their prospects for the 2012 elections do not look good. Currently, only 13,000 visitors to their site have signed the declaration to “join your neighbours who are asking their leaders to put the labels aside and do what's best for America", and there is no sign of acceleration.

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Tuesday
Jan112011

Iran Analysis: Former President Khatami's Manoeuvre on Elections (Sahimi)

"Our demands in the past as well as the present are clear, and have been emphasized even in the aftermath of the recent [2009 presidential] election. [Favourable] conditions for broad participation of people [in the elections] and guaranteeing their rights must be provided. In addition, the elections must be held in such a way that there will be minimum hindrance of free voting by the people and maximum conditions for materializing their demands and ideals.

"The minimum conditions for the Reformists' participation in the elections are the release of all the political prisoners, freedom for all political parties and groups and removal of all limitations [on their activity], commitment of all, particularly the officials, to the Constitution and the execution of all of its articles, especially its true spirit and holding free and fair elections."

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Tuesday
Jan112011

Tunisia Latest: Universities Closed as President Says Protests Are "Terrorist Act"

2255 GMT: Police have dispersed protesters in Ettadamen, 15 kilometres (9 miles) from the centre of Tunis.

Youths, chanting "We are not afraid, we are not afraid, we are afraid only of God," threw stones at police and vandalised shops, cars, and a government office. Security forces responded by firing tear gas canisters and shots into the air.

2120 GMT: Minister of Information Samir Abidi has said this evening that 19 demonstrators were killed (other reports say 21) on Saturday and Sunday in Thala and Kasserine. Abidi claimed more than 30 police were injured.

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Tuesday
Jan112011

Egypt Feature: Grumbles About Mubarak, But What to Do?

After 30 years of President Hosni Mubarak's ultra-cautious rule, some of Egypt's 79 million people feel change is overdue --- even his claim to be the guarantor of stability has looked shaky since a January 1 attack on Christians.

But restive Egyptians may have to wait a bit longer for an alternative to Mubarak.

Egypt may be ready for change. Just don't hold your breath.

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Tuesday
Jan112011

Israel-Palestine Analysis: To Get Peace, Replace the "Peace Game" (Narwani)

The Palestine-Israel conflict is no pesky regional skirmish. This century-long battle over territory threatens to draw the entire global community into its bowels if it is not dealt with soon, and the only way out of the current paralysis is to kill the "peace process" once and for all.

There is no other way to end our dependence on what is probably the least successful attempt at conflict resolution in modern history -- like wasted addicts, hoping that another tweak here or there might be the one to produce a breakthrough. No it won't, and we need to wean ourselves from this addiction in order to find a solution.

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Tuesday
Jan112011

Belarus Opinion: President Lukashenko's "Gulag" (New York Times)

Mr. Lukashenko clearly thinks that his improving relations with Russia means he can thumb his nose at the West. The Kremlin, of course, said nothing about the stolen election and has enabled him with recent oil and gas agreements. Europe and the United States must now push back hard. There is little hope for democratic change in Belarus unless Mr. Lukashenko is forced to pay a stiff price for his abuses.

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Tuesday
Jan112011

The Latest from Iran (11 January): Remembering Hundreds of Political Prisoners

2100 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. The son-in-law of detained journalist Emaduddin Baghi, Ali Maghami, has been released on bail.

Maghami was arrested last month. Baghi, detained in December 2009, was sentenced last autumn to seven years in prison.

Eight students of the Islamic Society of Arak University have reportedly been arrested.

2040 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. On Sunday we noted a speech by former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, marking the anniversary of a January 1978 protest that helped spur the Islamic Republic. A correspondent commented Rafsanjani made his historical parallel to jab directly at Ahmadinejad aide Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai and indirectly at the Supreme Leader: "those who build their power on cobwebs". He pointedly referred to the situation then of "fire under the ashes", a possible reference to the state of protest today, and blamed those who practiced "lies and hypocrisy".

Well, the newspaper Kayhan is not impressed.

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Tuesday
Jan112011

Tunisia and Algeria Video: The Protests and the Response by the "West"

On Monday, Al Jazeera's Inside Story considered the response --- or lack of response --- of the US and the European Union to the unrest in Tunisia and Algeria, speaking with analyst Hugh Roberts, Algerian lawyer Saad Djebbar, and Samuel Laufer of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's Union for a Popular Movement.

Tuesday
Jan112011

Israel Snapshot: Israeli Academics Boycott the Occupation

On Sunday, 165 Israeli academics issued a petition in which they vow not to take part in academic functions at the Ariel University Center, located in the West Bank. The petition says:

We, academics from a variety of fields and from all the institutions of higher learning in Israel, herein express publicly our opposition to the continued occupation and the establishment of settlements. Ariel was built on occupied land. Only a few kilometers away from flourishing Ariel, Palestinians live in villages and refugee camps under unbearably harsh conditions and without basic human rights. Not only do they not have access to higher education, some do not even have running water. These are two different realities that create a policy of apartheid.

It was established for the sole purpose of preventing the Palestinians from creating an independent state and thus preventing us, citizens of Israel, from having the chance to ever live in peace in this region.

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Monday
Jan102011

Tunisia Document: President Ben Ali's Speech "Hostile Elements in the Pay of Foreigners"

These incidents are the work of a small group of hostile elements who are offended by the success of Tunisia and who are are filled with resentment and grievance, because of the progress and development achieved by the country, as evidenced by the reports of institutions and international and UN organisations known for their objectivity and impartiality.

These ill-intentioned elements have used the issue of unemployment, exploiting an isolated act of desperation, as happens in all societies and in many situations.

Hostile elements in the pay of foreigners, who have sold their souls to extremism and terrorism, manipulated from outside the country by parties who do not wish well to a country determined to persevere and work.

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