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Tuesday
Dec072010

Wikileaks and Iran: The Regime's Ninja Assassins?

And in the category of "Strange...But True?" from the WikiLeaks documents....

In September 2009, an Iranian political source --- who also happens to be trained in martial arts --- tells the US Embassy in Azerbaijan that the regime is pressuring martial arts clubs, despite suspicions that they could be assisting opposition groups, to provide instruction for the Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards.

The outcome supposedly went beyond training: the source maintains that one of his acquaintances killed at least six intellectuals and young "pro-democracy activists" before he himself was eliminated.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec072010

The Latest from Iran (7 December): 16 Azar

2115 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Journalist Masoud Lavasani has been summoned to Evin Prison to serve his 4 1/2-year prison sentence.

Lavasani was arrested on 26 July 2009 at his home.

Ahmad Reza Khadem of the National Front has been sentenced to 40 months in prison.

Muhammad Nawaz, a follower of the detained Ayatollah Boroujerdi, has been detained.

2043 GMT: Parliament v. President. I know 16 Azar has been dramatic, but don't forget the ongoing story of the challenge to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

MP Darioush Ghanbari says that several reformists have signed the letter, organised by principlists opposing the President, to summon Ahmadinejad to the Majlis for questioning.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec072010

Iran Snap Analysis: Resistance and National Students' Day

Already I am having to revise my Monday assessment that the protests for 16 Azar will mainly be through written statements. Visible demonstrations may occur.

Any show of resistance is likely to be scattered, "flash mob" protests. And do not underestimate the efforts of the Government and security forces to quell even these limited displays.

Still, it would be resistance that counters the narrative of a Government which is now secure after 18 months of post-election conflict. And then the question is how much that resistance brings other "fire from under the ashes".

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec072010

Turkey-Israel Latest: Firefighting Leads to a High-Level Meeting 

Last weekend,  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan by phone for the planes that Ankara sent to help fight fires in northern Israel.

Now the follow-up: officials from both countries met in Geneva on Sunday.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec062010

Palestine Snap Analysis: As Latin Americans Give Recognition, Where Are Washington's "Vital Security Interests"?

On Monday, Argentine and Uruguay followed Brazil's recognition of the state of Palestine based on 1967 borders.  Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman read the letter sent by President Cristina Kirchner wrote to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmud Abbas: "The Argentine government recognizes Palestine as a free and independent state within the borders defined in 1967." 

Uruguayan deputy foreign minister Roberto Conde said, "Uruguay will surely follow the same path as Argentina in 2011. We are working towards opening a diplomatic representation in Palestine, most likely in Ramallah."

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec062010

Iran Video: Tonight's Allahu Akbar (God is Great) Rooftop Chants in Tehran

Monday
Dec062010

Iran Video Special: Tehran University Protests on the Eve of 16 Azar

Claimed footage of protests at Tehran University this afternoon, a day before 16 Azar (National Students Day):

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec062010

Wikileaks and Iran: Europe, Ahmadinejad, and The Worst Inauguration Protest Ever

The Europeans were going to convert their unknown dissent into known dissent if the President --- who had no idea, as he was being inaugurated, that a non-protest was occurring over his possible non-election --- mentioning the killing of Jews, past or future.

Well, not quite:

[French official] Paucelle admitted that since non-Muslims had never before received an invitation to the inauguration ceremony presided over by the Supreme Leader, EU diplomats in Tehran have never entered the building where the event will take place, and so they are not sure how they will stage their walk-out, logistically, should they need to do so. They are worried that the doors may be locked.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec062010

Egypt's Elections: The Outcome (Howeidy)

Claimed footage of vote-rigging arrangements by supporters of ruling National Democratic Party in Alexandria:

Amira Howeidy of Ahram Online summarises the state of the new Egyptian Parliament after yesterday's second-round voting:

In the parliamentary election’s second round, preliminary results indicate that the NDP [ruling National Democratic Party] has swept 96 percent of the available seats.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec062010

WikiLeaks: A Guide to EA's Saturday-Monday Coverage

ANALYSES

1. A two-part special evaluating the January 2010 assessment of the Green Movement and Iranian politics by the US Consulate in Dubai:

Part 1: "US Diplomats Assess the Green Movement and the Political Situation"

Part 2: "US Diplomats Assess Green Movement and Politics 'From Crisis to Stalemate'"

2. Getting behind misleading headlines to assess the claim "Saudi Arabia: A Cash Machine for Terrorists"

3. Getting to the real significance on an American assessment of the situation in Iraq: "Comparing the Threats from Saudi Arabia and Iran"

FEATURES AND DOCUMENTS

1. A November 2009 diplomatic episode involving the US and Libya: "When the Nuclear Deal Almost Unraveled...Because Qadhafi Couldn't Camp in New York"

2. The State Department warns students, "Link to Documents and You'll Never Work for Us"