Iran Election Guide

Donate to EAWV





Or, click to learn more

Search

Wednesday
Nov242010

Afghanistan: The Real Lesson of the Taliban Imposter (Cohen)

Yesterday's revelation in the New York Times that one of the Taliban officials with whom the Afghan government was meeting in peace talks with was actually an impostor is the proverbial hanging curve ball of Afghan-related snark.

Sure I could write a post about how this goes to show that the US and NATO --- even after 9 years of war --- have little understanding of the enemy with whom it's fighting. Even more directly, I could write a post about how this goes to show that the Petraeus/ISAF supposition that kinetic action was bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table was bunk.

But this story is yet one more reason to conclude that the time has come for the United States to trim its sails in Afghanistan, more toward military de-escalation and lay the groundwork for a long-term political settlement.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov242010

US Eyewitness: Veterans Recall When Interrogation Did Not Mean Torture

The group of World War II veterans kept a military code and the decorum of their generation, telling virtually no one of their top-secret work interrogating Nazi prisoners of war at Fort Hunt.

When about two dozen veterans got together yesterday for the first time since the 1940s, many of the proud men lamented the chasm between the way they conducted interrogations during the war and the harsh measures used today in questioning terrorism suspects.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov232010

Iran Special: Did Parliament "Push to Oust Ahmadinejad"?

There are therefore two explanations to the Khamenei intervention on behalf of the President.

1. He wanted to avoid major embarassment for Ahmadinejad, who could have become the first president since the 1980s to be called into question by Parliament for his conduct, and left standing, but smarting and humiliated in front of the nation, which could have ostensibly followed the procedure live.

2. He was wary of the fact that Parliament could have voted a no-confidence motion which would have forced him to either confirm or throw out the impeachment.

It has to be reiterated that the "istizah" procedure of Parliament, to which Ahmadinejad was summoned, does not necessarily lead to impeachment.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov232010

Israel: Knesset Makes Referendum Essential for Withdrawal from East Jerusalem

On Monday a law, proposed by the Likud Party, mandating a referendum before any decision to withdraw from sovereign Israeli territory was adopted 65-33 in the 120-member Knesset.

Because of the reference to "sovereign Israeli territory", there is no need for a referendum to withdraw from the West Bank. However, because the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem were annexed by the Knesset, a referendum will be required unless withdrawal is approved by a two-thirds majority of the legislators

Having strengthened its position vis-a-vis the Palestinians on the negotiation table, having passed the loyalty bill requiring new immigrants to pledge loyalty to the "Jewish and democratic" state, the Knesset is now purusing the "eternal and indivisible capital".

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov232010

Iran Art and Protest: "Voice Piece for Green Soprano"

The people of Iran refuse to be what their government wants them to be. We stand before you with covered mouths because the people of Iran do not enjoy the right to scream. We scream because they screamed and chanted in the night. We are peacefully making victory signs because we do not accept violence. Instead, we sing our Voice Piece for Green Soprano. We fear the regime’s capability for violence, so we have either covered our face or have given up on the hope to see our friends and relatives in Iran in the near future. We wear green, not because we want to exclude dissenting voices or insist on a single ideology, but because we want to affirm that the Green Movement is myriad, one out of many.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov232010

Breaking: North Korea Shells South Korea Island; Seoul on Highest "Non-War Alert"

UPDATE 1220 GMT: The South Korean President's office says Lee Myung-bak has ordered the military to strike North Korea's missile base around its coastline artillery positions if it shows signs of additional provocation.

The spokeswoman added that, in a video conference with Gen. Han Min-koo, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the President ordered "multiple-fold retaliation" against North Korea for its artillery attack today.

UPDATE 1130 GMT: The South Korean military has confirmed its two-day exercise on Yongpyeong Island before the North Korea attack, but it says South Korean forces fired west and not north.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov232010

Afghanistan: Oops! "Taliban Leader" in Peace Talks is An Imposter (Filkins/Gall)

NOTE: Not an Actual Photo of the ImpostorFor an intriguing follow-up assignment, consider: How did this story come to the reporters' attention and why?

For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement.

But now, it turns out, Mr. Mansour was apparently not Mr. Mansour at all. In an episode that could have been lifted from a spy novel, United States and Afghan officials now say the Afghan man was an impostor, and high-level discussions conducted with the assistance of NATO appear to have achieved little.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov232010

China This Week: President Hu at APEC; Investment Promises to Wal-Mart; Anti-Inflation Measures

Hu Urges Trade Liberalisation at APEC:  Chinese President Hu Jintao urged the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies to promote liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment.

Addressing the second session of the 18th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, Hu said, "APEC should continue to uphold the spirit of the Bogor Goals [of free and open trade and investment], adapt to the changing situation and actively tackle new challenges, leverage its own strengths and further improve itself."

Hu also defended the role of newly emerging markets in world economic recovery and gave assurances that China seeks to expand domestic demand growth and remains committed to reforming its exchange rate.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov232010

The Latest from Iran (23 November): More Arrests --- With a Twist?

1930 GMT: Close to Impeachment? Really? This morning (see 0609 GMT) we noted a Wall Street Journal story about the growing dispute between Parliament and President, commending it for noting the conflict but calling it "exaggerated". Here are the dramatic paragraphs:

Iran's parliament revealed it planned to impeach President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but refrained under orders from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, exposing a deepening division within the regime....

Conservative newspapers reported on Monday that lawmakers have started a motion to collect the 74 signatures needed to openly debate impeachment. Mousa Reza Servati, the head of the parliament's budgetary committee, was quoted as saying 40 lawmakers, including Mr. Servati, have signed the motion.

The move to remove the president from office marks the first time in the history of the Islamic Republic that parliament has discussed impeachment of a president. Though the legislature is backed by the Iranian constitution, lawmakers can't drive Mr. Ahmadinejad from office without the supreme leader's agreement.

Here is how EA reported the story on Monday: "About 40 lawmakers have signed a petition, sponsored by Ali Motahari, Alireza Zakani, Tavakoli, and Elyas Naderan to summon Ahmadinejad to the Majlis. At least 74 signatures are necessary for the President to be commanded to appear."

Note the important difference in emphasis. Summoning the President to answer questions in Parliament is not debate of impeachment. Instead, if Ahmadinejad's answers are not satisfactory, then the Parliament can take further action, asking him for better responses. If those are still not suitable, then impeachment may be an option.

That is a long way from the showdown portrayed in the Wall Street Journal. And it certainly does not mean that the Supreme Leader has intervened to block the President's removal.

We are now checking our interpretation, as the Journal story is being repeated as gospel truth by sources such as the BBC and Joe Klein of Time magazine.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov222010

Iran Videos: A Wasted Interview --- Judiciary's Larijani on Sakineh, Nukes, & Israel

In the American tour of Mohammad Javad Larijani, the high-level official Iran's judiciary, this two-part video is a fine example of how not to conduct an interview.

Click to read more ...