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.
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.
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.
It has been widely suggested that the riots have been food or hunger riots, in that they were supposedly triggered by the steep increases in the prices of staple goods, notably sugar and olive oil. These increases were not decreed by the government; the private sector traders appear to have raised prices of their own accord, in reaction to the government's attempts to impose new regulations on their transactions. The government's decision was, in principle, part of the necessary and long overdue attempt to curb the rampant informal sector of the economy by subjecting the trade in foodstuffs to basic regulation and so bring it back into the formal sector. But if so, the government has clearly had no conception of the political difficulty and magnitude of this task and seems to have supposed that it could effect changes of this nature by simple ministerial fiat.
But there can be little doubt that the price increases were simply the last straw. The greater part of Algerian society has been in a permanent state of moral revolt against the regime for the last four or five years. In particular, riots have been a frequent -- one might well say a regular -- feature of the Algerian political landscape for the last decade, since the massive and protracted riots in Kabylia, the main Berber region, in 2001. Since 2005, scarcely a fortnight has gone by without a riot somewhere in the country.
I did a series of interviews for BBC radio and television about this weekend's shootings of 20 people, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, in Arizona. Discussion focused on the context for the violence and what this means for US politics and society.
One of the interviews was with Radio 5 Live. The item begins about the 2:05:00 mark.
The Tunisian uprising is beginning to get more coverage in the English-language media, so this may be a suitable moment to look at the sort of coverage it is getting.
Considering the horrific violence meted out by the police over the weekend, the Ben Ali regime is being given an extraordinarily easy ride.
All those who have come out so far to blame "violent rhetoric" for the slaughter in Tucson have only added to the problem of divided and confrontational politics in the United States. The accusation will fuel resentment within the Tea Party against the liberal left –-- who enjoys being smeared as an accomplice to murder? –--- and only strengthen their resolve to vigorously promote the virtues of overthrowing the establishment in Washington.
A source forwards an English translation, posted on the opposition website Rah-e-Sabz on 5 January, of the Tehran military prosecutor's 27-page indictment against 12 alleged perpretrators of the post-election abuses and killings at the Kahrizak detention centre. The text is introduced with a lengthy analysis:
The full text of the indictment against the accused in the Kahrizak case, signed by the Deputy Military Prosecutor of Tehran, Abbas Parsapour, has recently come to the possession of the Jaras (the Rah-e Sabz (Green Path) Movement). The document, file number 88/4703 and dated 25 Azar 1388 (16 December 2009), is organized in 27 pages. Twelve names appear in this indictment as the accused.
Eleven of the 12 accused who are charged with the crimes in this case are members of the armed forces and one person is a civilian, a hooligan who worked with the law enforcement forces. The highest ranking accused in this case is the commander of the Law Enforcement Forces in the Greater Tehran area (Brigadier General Azizollah Rajabzadeh).
The names of several high-ranking officials of the judiciary also appear in the indictment, but apparently these individuals who issued the orders (making the detainees subject to the conditions in the Kahrizak Detention Center) have not been officially acknowledged by this document as the accused.
Polls have opened for the second day of voting in southern Sudan's historic referendum to determine whether the region will become an independent nation or continue to be part of Sudan.
On Sunday, the first day of voting passed off largely peacefully but more clashes in the disputed border region of Abyei left at least six dead.
In the southern capital Juba, the atmosphere was festive with voters queueing for hours outside polling stations.