Iran Election Guide

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Wednesday
Dec082010

US Politics Audio: Scott Lucas on BBC World Service "Obama and the Politics of Tax Cuts"

This morning I appeared on the BBC World Service's World Update, speaking about the politics behind President Obama's decision to extend the 2003 tax cuts of the Bush Administration. The discussion includes Brian Carney, the Wall Street Journal's editorial page editor in London, and American comedian Dave Fulton.

The item begins at the 14-minute mark.

See also on EA: US Politics Analysis --- The Progressives Attack Obama

Wednesday
Dec082010

WikiLeaks: Now It's A CyberWar (and MasterCard Just Became a Casualty)

For later updates, please see Thursday's story.

UPDATE 2305 GMT: Twitter has just suspended the account of the hackers Anonymous.

UPDATE 2255 GMT: Looks like former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin wants to get in on the act. She is e-mailing journalists that, as she is a dedicated foe of WikiLeaks, her website and her credit card information has been targeted by Operation Payback.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec082010

US Politics Analysis: The Progressives Attack Obama

US Politics correspondent Lee Haddigan writes:

The President has lost the support of his most committed and enthusiastic activists. And they are not about to sit idly by while Obama cruises to the Democrat nomination for President in 2012. I think it was Shakespeare who once wrote that “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. 

It will be interesting to see over the next few months whether Hillary Clinton tries to remake herself surreptitiously as the new voice of progressivism.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec082010

The Latest from Iran (8 December): Back to the Smog

2205 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Actually, I don't want to finish with smog. Instead, I note Fereshteh Ghazi's interview with journalist Emaduddin Baghi just before he returned to Evin Prison to serve a seven-year sentence. Baghi explains, "It is impossible to work through legal channels in the Islamic Republic."

2200 GMT: Back to the Smog. To almost end the day where we began....

Like the Washington Post, the Financial Times prefers to discuss pollution rather than protests: "Tehran residents are blaming the Iranian government’s production of poor-quality petrol for the serious air pollution affecting Iran’s capital city."

Do not fear, however. The solution is at hand. Reviving a proposal offered by Tehran Friday Prayers leader Ayatollah Emami Kashani, the Basij-e Mostazafin organisation has issued a statement to the people: Pray for Rain.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec082010

Iran Feature: If a Protest Occurs and No One Notices, Does It Make a Sound?

For some, it is as if the demonstrations on National Student Day --- 16 Azar --- never happened.

You will not, for example, find any reference in Iranian state media to the protests on campuses across the nation. Press TV's top story prefers the relative security of the nuclear discussions, with Iran's National Security Council "call[ing] on Western powers to exercise commitment to agreements they make with the Islamic Republic".

I guess that's understandable --- no one really likes to mention domestic arguments. A bit more surprising that CNN's website forgot to mention 16 Azar.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec082010

Turkey-Israel Snap Analysis: Talks Continue in Geneva, Sides Close to Agreement

Turkish diplomatic sources say that Israel and Turkey are close to agreeing on a document that will include Israel's apology and compensation for the nine Turkish citizens killed in the May attack on the Freedom Flotilla.

Questions remain. For instance, if Israel offers a clear and simple apology, will there be legal consequences? Will Turkey's immediate political gains crumble when it becomes clear that its other demands have been flatly rejected by West Jerusalem? To sweep away recent tensions and current suspicions over regional manoeuvres by both sides, will a letter of apology be enough?

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Wednesday
Dec082010

Israel-Palestine Analysis: US Declares "Fresh Start" Despite Failure over Israeli Settlements and Palestinian Recogntion

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, addressing the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday, said discussions over another moratorium on expansion of West Bank settlements had been suspended in the wake of the WikiLeaks crisis and the tensions between North and South Korea. 

A senior Israeli official went further, declaring said that the talks over the settlements had reached a dead end, and West Jerusalem and Washington would find new ways to advance the peace process. A senior US official confirmed, "After consultation with the parties, we have determined that a moratorium extension will not at this time provide the best basis for resuming direct negotiations."

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec072010

Iran Analysis: Protests and Options --- What Now for the Greens and the Government?

Today’s protest showed both the limited capacity of the Greens to muster huge number of protesters because of Government repression, but at the same time it demonstrated how weak the government has become in dealing with its foes.

With options running out on both sides, the real question is: who is going to give in first and cross the point of no return on its nuclear option?

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec072010

Egypt Shocker: "Israel Equipping Sharks with GPS for Attacks"

Speaking on the public TV program "Egypt Today" yesterday, a specialist introduced as "Captain Mustafa Ismail, a famous diver in Sharm El Sheikh," said that the sharks involved in the attack are ocean sharks and do not live in Egypt's waters.

When asked by the anchor how the shark entered Sharm El Sheikh waters, he burst out, "no, it's who let them in?"

Urged to elaborate, Ismail said that he recently got a call from an Israeli diver in Eilat telling him that they captured a small shark with a GPS planted in its back, implying that the sharks were monitored to attack in Egypt's waters only.  

"Why would these sharks travel 4000 km and not have any accidents until they entered Sinai waters?" asked Ismail.

Earlier today, General Abdel-Fadeel Shosha, the governor of South Sinai, backed Ismail's theory. In a phone call to the TV program, he said that it is possible that Israeli intelligence, Mossad, is behind the incidents and that they are doing it to undermine the Egyptian tourism industry. He added that Egypt needs time to investigate the theory.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec072010

Iran Latest Video: The 16 Azar Protests

Homy Lafayette's blog offers valuable translation and interpretation of several of these videos:

Buali-Sina University in Hamedan, singing "Yar Dabestani" (My Classmate):

Click to read more ...