Iran Election Guide

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Friday
Dec032010

Iran and US Hikers Video: Sarah Shourd's Song for Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal

In July 2009, three US hikers were detained along the Iran-Iraq border. Seven weeks ago, Sarah Shourd was released on a financial "guarantee" that she would return for trial, but Shourd's fiance Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal are still held, their trial repeatedly postponed (it is now scheduled for 6 February).

This is Shourd's song for her fellow detainees.

LYRICS

We walked across hard land
Into a human trap
They took us for one long ride
You're now in Iran, Iran

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec022010

Wikileaks: Today's Guide to EA's Coverage

Analysis

Aluf Benn says "The Fiasco Doesn't Embarrass Israel One Bit".

Features and Documents

1. US officials have "No Confidence in Pakistani Leader Zardari, No Alternative to Afghan Leader Karzai".

2. A year before the 2008 Russian-Georgian war, the US Embassy in Tbilisi documents "The Russian Campaign Against Georgia".

3. In 2009, the US Embassy in Rome intervenes in Italian politics: "Pushing Back Against Silvio Berlusconi, 'The Mouthpiece of Vladimir Putin'."

Thursday
Dec022010

Wikileaks Special: Pushing Back Against Italy's Berlusconi "The Mouthpiece of Putin"

To tackle the problem [of Berlusconi's affection for Putin] head-on, Post [the Embassy] has deployed a robust diplomatic and public affairs strategy targeting key figures inside and outside government. Our aim is two-fold: educate our interlocutors more profoundly on Russian activities and thus the context for U.S. policy, as well as build a counter-weight of dissenting opinion on Russia policy, especially within Berlusconi's political party.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec022010

Wikileaks Document: The Russian Campaign Against Georgia

Russia's goal is not Abkhazia or South Ossetia, but all of Georgia. While the Russians typically make some efforts to reduce their fingerprints on actions -- making it hard to say with 100% certainty that they are responsible for many of them -- the cumulative weight of the evidence of the last few years suggests that the Russians are aggressively playing a high-stakes, covert game, and they consider few if any holds barred.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec022010

Egypt Latest: "Elections Marred by Rigging & Violence"

UPDATE 1450 GMT: Jack Shenker in The Guardian of London: "[This election] was about sending a message that – whichever elements from within the existing autocracy triumph in the internecine battles to come – the transition from one pharaoh to another will take place wholly within that autocracy, with all other voices excluded."

UPDATE 1445 GMT: The Wafd Party has officially pulled out of the second round of voting.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec022010

The Latest from Iran (2 December): Choking

1855 GMT: Khatami Speaks. Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami has urged authorities to let the Islamic Republic pass through “threats and restrictions” into an atmosphere of “safety and freedom".

Speaking to families of political prisoners on Tuesday, Khatami emphasized that the constitution "should be the basis of everyone’s actions especially the government". He asked authorities to ensure free and healthy elections and inclusive policies.

1840 GMT: The Budget Battle. Reformist MP Nasrollah Torabi has declared that the remarks of Ayatollah Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, on a possible compromise over the 5th Budget Plan have no legal binding.

1816 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Prominent historian Abdollah Shahbazi, a supporter of Mir Hossein Mousavi, has been arrested in Shiraz.

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Thursday
Dec022010

US-Iran Analysis: Squeezing Tehran into an Agreement?

The latest statements from US officials are all on the winding path of US strategy from the start of the Obama Administration to now: hold out the prospect of reconciliation through talks by piling on economic pressure: "Iran has the possibility to be (in the international community). [We] hope it will take the chance because if not it will be squeezed more."

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Thursday
Dec022010

Iran Snapshot: The Politics of Smog

Earlier this year, the Majlis approved a $2 billion expansion of the Tehran subway system, with extension of the existing services and completion of two new lines , taking the Metro from the centre of Tehran to Imam Khomeini International Airport 25 miles away. 

But the Ahmadinejad Government has refused to allow the allocation. The reason? It is another front in the contest for control between Parliament and the President, but the financing would also hand more power to another rival of Ahmadinejad, Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf.

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Wednesday
Dec012010

Wikileaks Commentary: "Fiasco Doesn't Embarrass Israel One Bit" (Benn)

WikiLeaks did not succeed in penetrating the most sensitive channels of U.S.-Israel relations.

Even after yesterday's revelations, we still do not know what was really said in the meetings between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama, or between former prime ministers Ehud Olmert and Ariel Sharon during their talks with former U.S. President George W. Bush, or between Dagan and his counterparts at U.S. intelligence agencies.

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Wednesday
Dec012010

Israel Analysis: Defying Obama, Defying Netanyahu --- The Latest on Settlement Expansion

Israel's envoy to the UN, Meron Reuben, told Palestianian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas on Monday, "It takes two to tango, Israel cannot reach peace on its own." That statement can be taken a step further: within Israel, Netanyahu "cannot reach peace" on his own. Facing the resistance both at local level and within the Cabinet, he is dancing with himself.

Click to read more ...