Iran Election Guide

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Friday
Dec032010

Wikileaks Iran Special: US Diplomats Assess the Green Movement and the Political Situation (January 2010)

"The GPO [Green Movement] has a strong 'brand' - green, freedom, peace signs, silent marches, stolen election and martyrs like Neda Agha Soltani. But like the regime that seeks to crush it, the GPO is not monolithic. To characterize the GPO's active core as now primarily (but not exclusively) university students and university-age youth in a country so demographically young (for example, approximately one quarter of the population is in its twenties) is not to belittle its potential. Outside of the active GPO core group there is a larger, relatively passive group, whose support now mostly manifests in the anonymous shouts of 'God is Great' from night-time North Tehran rooftops or who scrawl or stamp anti-regime slogans on ten thousand Toman currency notes. Presumably many of them have fled the field due to fear of regime reprisal but might be drawn back into the fray if the prospects of a GPO victory, however defined, became more real to them than the prospect of blows from a Basiji baton."

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Friday
Dec032010

WikiLeaks: Today's Guide to EA's Coverage

NEWS

The latest on the attempt to shut down WikiLeaks: "Irony: 'Authoritarian Governments Condemned as Site 'Killed'".

ANALYSIS

Shibley Telhami gets behind the revelations to evaluate "Iran and the Arab States".

FEATURES AND DOCUMENTS

1. A State Department officials meets the leaders in Afghanistan, including President Karzai, and discusses "Bad Guys on Our Side and Iranian Involvement".

2. American and British officials make a secret deal to allow the US to keep banned cluster bombs on British territory.

EA Coverage for 2 December: US Pushes Back Berlusconi over Putin, Russian Campaign Against Georgia, Assessment of Pakistan's and Afghanistan's Zardari, Israel "Not Embarrassed"

Friday
Dec032010

Wikileaks Special: How US Kept Banned Cluster Bombs in British Territory

On 6 May 2009, representatives from the State Department and Department of Defense hosted officials from Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) "to discuss progress on [Britain's] national legislation implementing the Convention on Cluster Munitions ".

Ostensibly, the British delegation's "primary focus at this meeting was to inform Washington of an accelerated date for the request of the removal of U.S. munitions from UK territory". In fact, the two sides were going to discuss an arrangement to allow the Americans to maintain the storage and transit of cluster bombs in that territory.

The solution? The Foreign Office, led by David Miliband, established "temporary exceptions" for the US to store the bombs on a "case-by-case" basis for specific military operations, such as those in Afghanistan.

And in the May 2009 meeting, there was a neat twist. The Foreign Office delegation had an arrangement to keep the deal with the Americans a secret from the British Parliament....

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Friday
Dec032010

Wikileaks Afghanistan: "Bad Guys on Our Side"; Dealing with Iran Involvement

Karzai retorted, “My question for you is, do you want a bad guy on your side or working for the Taliban? Where Afghans are in charge, drugs are less but where the international community is in charge, drugs are up.”...

[Foreign Minister] Spanta also shared that Karzai had raised the issue of Iran’s involvement in smuggling weapons into Afghanistan with Iranian President Ahmedinejad, who Spanta said, “denied it, of course, but the point was made.”

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Friday
Dec032010

Wikileaks Analysis: Getting Behind the Revelations on Iran and Arab States

Shibley Telhami writes for The National Interest:

One of the highlights of the most recent Wikileaks release has been the focus on Arab attitudes toward Iran. The headlines suggest Arab unanimity in support of a U.S. or Israeli military attack on the Islamic Republic, as long as Arab governments are allowed to keep their heads low to the ground. There was much evidence, and many colorful quotations, to make the case, especially from Saudi, Bahraini, and United Arab Emirates' leaders. And although some of the quotations were jaw-dropping, in truth it was all a bunch of stuff we've heard before. But analysis by the media that followed, and the sweeping conclusion that "Arabs support attacking Iran", is misplaced and ignores significant differences among Arab governments about how to deal with Iran and especially missed the boat on true attitudes of the Arab public.

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Friday
Dec032010

Iran Feature: A Cartoon Reply to Tehran's Apologists over Human Rights

This morning a pro-Government website pays tribute to the recent US public-relations tour of Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of the human rights section of Iran's judiciary. Posting the transcript of his interview with Charlie Rose of the US Public Broadcasting Service, they hail Larijani's "glimpse of how important supporters of the Islamic Republic regard the rule of law as a governing principle of their political order".

I think Mana Neyestani is far more eloquent with just one cartoon:

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Friday
Dec032010

Egypt Elections Analysis: "The Door for a Challenge to Mubarak is Closed" (Iskander)

The door for a challenger in 2011 to President Hosni Mubarak or, if he declines to run, his son Gamal now seems closed. The failure of the opposition parties to win seats and the withdrawal of al-Wafd from this Sunday’s second round of elections [Editor's Note: The Muslim Brotherhood has also pulled out], comes on top of only eight victories for opposition and independent candidate in the first round.

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Friday
Dec032010

The Latest from Iran (3 December): A Phantom Bombing

2020 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch (Power Politics Edition). Keep your eyes on this story....

A group of 16 Iranian political prisoners, including prominent reformist politicians Mohsen Aminzadeh and Mostafa Tajzadeh and journalists Bahman Ahmadi Amoui and Mohammad Nourizad have written an open letter to former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, describing their continued incarceration “in violation of the law” and in the “framework of settling political accounts”.

Addressing Rafsanjani in his role as head of the Expediency Council, the detainees said the treatment of political activists in the Islamic Republic today “bears no sign of the principles of the Revolution and its constitution". They maintain that their charges are fabricated and the “heavy sentences and restrictions that they have been handed are part of a political and security plan by the establishment to completely erase the political opposition”.

The prisoners compared the current situation to the political detentions before the 1979 Revolution, with officials forcing prisoners to give false confessions and then issuing sentences based on them: “The issued sentences in view of level and kind of punishment seem to indicate that they have been set by security officials based on their own ideas and personal preference, and relayed to the judges.”

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Friday
Dec032010

Wikileaks Irony: "Authoritarian Governments" Condemned as Site Killed

UPDATE 1120 GMT: The WikiLeaks documents are now available at http://213.251.145.96/cablegate.html

In Pakistan, the High Court has rejected a petition seeking a ban on the WikiLeaks website.

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Friday
Dec032010

Palestine Analysis: Why Palestinian Divisions Overshadow the Peace Process

Trapped between the proverbial rock and a hard place, the Palestinian negotiating team’s most viable strategy would be to avoid peace negotiations with Israel in the short-term and immediately begin negotiating the devastating divisions that dominate Palestinian society. In recent times, it has been foreign mediators, such as Turkey, Libya, Qatar, Yemen, Egypt, and several others, and not the PLO who have attempted to arbitrate the divisions within Palestinian society. In the current climate, in which a unified Palestinian polity appears as the most important condition for restarting effective peace negotiations, the PLO would be well advised to reverse this trend, to take a more pronounced and aggressive role in mediating these internal conflicts, and to focus its attention on achieving the difficult, yet auspicious goal of a unified Palestinian constituency.

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