Iran Election Guide

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Saturday
Nov272010

WikiLeaks' Early Christmas Present: Secrets of Israeli-American Relations?

This weekend, the website WikiLeaks is expected to release hundreds of thousands of classified American diplomatic cables sent to Washington from US embassies throughout the world.

On Friday, the US Embassy in Tel Aviv approaches the Israeli Foreign Ministry because, according to sources, some of the diplomatic cables might deal with Israeli-American relations.

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Friday
Nov262010

A Video for Dissidents: Vaclav Havel on Activism, Opposition, and the Situation in Iran

I would recommend to [Iranian activists] what I have been talking about --- to do certain things because they are the right things to do, because we believe that human beings should be free, that their human dignity should be respected, that there should be free elections....To stick to these basic ideals regardless of the odds of an immediate success.

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Friday
Nov262010

The Latest from Iran (26 November): Connect the Meetings

2055 GMT: Parliament v. President. Ali Motahari, the leader of the movement to summon Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Parliamentary questions, said that the demand will be made after the implementation of subsidy cuts. Motahari again said that there were nearly enough signatories --- 1/4 of the 290 MPs --- to call in Ahmadinejad, and that most of those signing were principlists.

Khabar Online, linked to Speaker Ali Larijani, posts a recent history of Parliament-President relations, documenting how Ahmadinejad has faced possible questioning on several previous occasions.

Khabar also claims that the battle for control of the Central Bank continues. Parliament recently voted to take oversight away from the President.

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Friday
Nov262010

EA's Lebanon Special: "Justice and Politics --- Hariri, The Special Tribunal, and Hezbollah"

EA WorldView has a special interest in Lebanon. Scott Lucas works with the Center for American Studies and Research at American University Beirut, and we have a number of colleagues in this beautiful, vibrant, and maddeningly complex country.

After months of stalemate, a coalition government was formed in November 2009. However, little is rarely settled in Lebanon, and the country has been shaken by news that the United Nations Special Tribunal for Lebanon, investigating the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, may soon be blaming several Hezbollah members for the murder.

Today, we post a three-part special package on the latest developments and the political significance:

*A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation special investigation, based on unnamed sources, blames Hezbollah for the death of Hariri.

*Sharmine Narwani dissects the politics behind and following the claims.

*Claudio Gallo analyses the tensions and manoeuvres that have put these allegations in the spotlight.

Friday
Nov262010

Lebanon Special: Queries over the Special Tribunal, Hariri, and the Accusation against Hezbollah

Claudio Gallo writes for EA:

The search for truth about the Hariri case has once more sunk into a poisonous marsh threatening another Lebanese civil war. Hezbollah continues to maintain that there is Israeli hand behind the attack and that the Tribunal is politicised. In August, the Hezbollah leader Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah introduced TV footage, apparently stolen from an Israeli drone, which seemed to show surveillance by Israeli intelligence of the route of  Hariri’s car. The issue now is whether Hezbollah goes beyond accusation to launch a political move pressuring or even taking control of the Lebanese Government.

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Friday
Nov262010

Lebanon Special: Justice or A Death Blow for Beirut? (Narwani)

This Tribunal is no longer about justice. To weigh one man's death against the lives of four million Lebanese and countless other millions who could be caught up in a regional conflagration is sheer madness.

Imagine the trauma of this Levantine nation as the trial draws out, day after day, week after week, month after month - creating divisions, frictions, suspicions to the detriment of Lebanon's fledgling government which has made admirable strides in maintaining its equilibrium and learning the art of compromise this past year.

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Friday
Nov262010

Lebanon Special: The CBC Video and Article "Who Killed Rafik Hariri?"

Evidence gathered by Lebanese police and, much later, the UN, points overwhelmingly to the fact that the assassins were from Hezbollah, the militant Party of God that is largely sponsored by Syria and Iran. CBC News has obtained cellphone and other telecommunications evidence that is at the core of the case.

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Friday
Nov262010

Terrorism Analysis: Does the Far Right Encourage Violent Extremism?

The far right, to win votes, capitalises on a fear of Muslim extremism, especially terrorism. That aids extremists by playing into a narrative long cultivated by a spectrum of radicals, including Osama bin Laden.

In this narrative, Islam is under attack from western Christian nations as part of a clash of civilizations. Muslim-bashing in the West becomes further evidence that Muslims are unwelcome in these places and will never be accepted because of their religious faith. Alienation rises, and the most alienated are drawn into the web of the extremist recruiters and potentially into terrorism cast as defenders of the faith. If a terrorist act ultimately occurs, then that is more fuel for the far right. And so on and so on in a potentially long-running cycle.

If this cycle has begun and when it will end are questions that go far beyond the English Defence League and indeed beyond "England".

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Friday
Nov262010

Egypt: Who Disabled Facebook's "We Are All Khaled Said" Page?

UPDATE 1520 GMT: An activist reports, "Facebook reinstated the [Egyptian] groups but the moderators as of last night remain suspended, i.e., the groups are dead in the water."

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As Presidential elections approach, tension is rising in Egypt. On Thursday, authorities arrested 156 protesters over Wednesday's  clashes between Christians and police, sparked by the government's refusal of a permit to build a church. Those arrested have been accused of planning to kill policemen, and the public prosecutor has ordered their detention for two weeks.

One sign of the concern is the apparent decision to block the Facebook page "We Are All Khaled Said". In June, Said was allegedly beaten to death in Alexandria by two policemen after he refused to give them money. 

The case has sparked widespread, continuing protests, and the page gathered more than 3000 followers.

So, with more restrictions on information likely as the vote draws near, is Facebook --- which is a leading social media site in Egypt --- collaborating with the authorities?

Friday
Nov262010

Israel-Palestine Analysis: Is Knesset Playing a Peace-Deal Trick on Israeli Public?

The opinions of Israel's people will be sought only if the Knesset has approved an agreement signed by the government; those opinions will have no value if the Knesset has rejected a proposal. Haaretz's Akiva Eldar concludes that "the referendum bill uses public as peace-deal rubber stamp".

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