Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Barack Obama (348)


Iran Live Coverage: The Pre-Election Fight Escalates with Ahmadinejad

1300 GMT: Obama Conspiracy Watch. Joanna Paraszczuk writes....

Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the commander of the Basij militia, has accused President Obama of "congratulating the Iranian people in Persian but acting in Hebrew" in his message for Iranian New Year.

Naqdi accused Washington of spouting rhetoric and expecting the Iranian people to believe its slogans. Referring to a 2010 nuclear deal put forward by Iran, after mediation by Turkish and Brazilian leaders, the commadner said that Obama had promised to solve the issue but had refused to accept that deal.

Naqdi also commented on Michelle Obama's announcement of the Best Picture Oscar for the "anti-Iranian film" Argo, saying that her actions proved that the annual awards were political in nature.

"We are glad that these facts were made clear to the Iranian people," he said, noting that Michelle Obama had shown the world the truth about the Oscars.

Naqdi's comments follow those of a senior military commander, Yaghoub Soleimani that some "supporters of the Islamic Revolution" want to organize a prize for Michelle Obama for proving that Hollywood movies are politically and not artistically motivated.

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Israel, Palestine (and Beyond) Live Coverage: US Restarting Negotiations?

US Secretary of State John Kerry with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

See also Syria Live Coverage: Regime Rejects UN Human Rights Enquiry
Saturday's Lebanon (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Prime Minister Resigns --- What Next?

1731 GMT: Mali. Clashes between the army and Islamists killed seven people Sunday, including a soldier and two civilians, after the insurgents infiltrated northern Mali's largest city, Gao.

The army carried out what it called a "clean-up" operation after Islamists opened fire on an army camp overnight.

The city was now "calm" again, an "African military source" said, adding that the army, "backed by French and African troops, had the situation under control".

1725 GMT: Egypt. President Morsi has prompted speculaton and concern, following outside the Muslim Brotherhood's Cairo headquarters on Friday, with remarks on his Facebook page: "If I am forced to do what is required to protect this nation, then I will do it. And I fear that I might be on the verge of doing it."

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Israel, Palestine (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Obama Concludes Trip with Netanyahu Meeting

President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu at the grave of Theodor Herzl at Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem (Photo: Getty)

See also EA Video Analysis: Iraq, 10 Years Later --- 5 Points About the "Intelligence" Factor
Israel Video and Analysis: President Obama's Speech in Jerusalem
Syria Live Coverage: Damascus Suicide Bomb Kills 42, Including Top Cleric
Thursday's Israel, Palestine (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Obama Visits West Bank

2002 GMT: Lebanon. The statement of Prime Minister Najib Mikati as he resigned, citing divisions on key issues and calling for the formation of a national unity government: "I announce the resignation of the government, hoping that this will open the way for the major political blocs to take responsibility and come together to bring Lebanon out of the unknown."

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Israel Video and Analysis: President Obama's Speech in Jerusalem

President Obama spoke in Jerusalem, to a largely-student audience, on Thursday.

Perhaps in line with my cynicism about any substance on this trip to Israel and Palestine, I was not moved as I heard the speech. But perhaps I am being harsh --- many others saw this as a forthright speech, asking the Israeli people to press their leaders for movement on the Palestine issued.

In particular, this passage raised attention, as a sign that Obama will push the Israeli leadership to act on the Jewish settlements and military occupation that are blocking progress:

the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and justice must also be recognized. Put yourself in their shoes – look at the world through their eyes. It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of her own, and lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements of her parents every single day. It is not just when settler violence against Palestinians goes unpunished. It is not right to prevent Palestinians from farming their lands; to restrict a student’s ability to move around the West Bank; or to displace Palestinian families from their home. Neither occupation nor expulsion is the answer. Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land.

See full transcript of Obama speech

I am still withholding judgement. Attention to this section overlooks other parts of the Obama speech, including one which effectively told the Palestinians that they cannot press their case outside a US-supported "peace process". Signficantly, the President slapped down the successful Palestinian attempt to get Observer State recogntion at the UN: "The United States will oppose unilateral efforts to bypass negotiations through the United Nations."

Yet, at the same, time, Obama's Secretary of State John Kerry let it be known that Washington will not lead any attempt to revive that peace process.

So how will Obama's words be translated into meaningful action after he leaves Israel and Palestine today?


EA Video Analysis: What Does Obama Visit to Israel and Palestine Mean? (Very Little.)

A five-minute forecast, filmed just before President Obama arrived in West Jerusalem, of his visit to Israel and Palestine....

So far I think I've got it right: "President Obama will not have the political will --- I might even say courage --- to do anything significant."

But there is more:

There will be very little said because the fact of the matter is that the US is no longer at the centre of these Middle East questions. The US is no longer the power that can wave a magic wand or carry out shuttle diplomacy. ...

The Israeli leaaderhip will do what it wishes to do while hoping that Washington is alongside, but not necessarily depending on it. The Palestinians will try to persist and obtain a meaningful State, even if that is a halting process, whether or not Washington supports that.


Israel, Palestine (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Obama Visits West Bank

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on Wednesday

1331 GMT:Palestine. President Obama's statement on Jewish settlements today, as he stood beside Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas:

One of the challenges [to the resumption of negotiations] has been continued settlement activity in the West Bank area. I've been clear with prime minster Netanyahu...that we do not consider continued settlement activity to be constructive, to be appropriate, to be something that can advance the cause of peace.

Asked about the Israeli-backed plan for settlements in the E1 area in the West Bank near Jerusalem, Obama said:

I think that is an example of a public statement by the Israeli government that would be very difficult to square with a two-state solution. And I've said that to prime minster Netanyahu. I don't think that's a secret.

However, Obama declared that the West Bank leadership should not demand a freeze on settlement before resuming discussions with Israel:

What I shared with President Abbas is that if the expectation is that we can only have direct negotiations when everything is settled ahead of time then there is no point for negotiations. It is important to work through this process even if there are irritants on both sides. The Israeli have concerns about rockets firing into their cities last night....

Even though may have areas of strong disagreement maybe engaging in activities that the other side considers to be a breach of good faith, we have to push through those things.

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Syria Live Coverage: The Uncertainties Over Chemical Weapons

President Assad on Wednesday with families of those killed in the conflict

See also today's Israel, Palestine (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Obama Visits West Bank
Wednesday's Syria Live Coverage: Trading Blame Over "Chemical Attacks"
Syria Special: Assessing Tuesday's "Chemical Weapons Attacks"...and Who is Responsible

1938 GMT: Whole Neighborhoods Leveled in Aleppo. In the last two days, many districts in Aleppo have been intensely bombed by Assad's airforce. By the end of last night, more than a dozen civilians were killed and dozens more injured as homes collapsed in the Sukary district, trapping many in the rubble.

Today, this video shows some of the devastation in the Tal Zarazir district, in the southwestern part of the city, close to Sukkary (map).

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Israel (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Obama Pays A Visit

1908 GMT: Israel Press Conference. Obama was pressed (with at least 4 questions) from Chuck Todd to explain his slow progress with regards to the peace process with Palestine. Obama seemed to insinuate that he'd like to focus more on this issue in term two, but that politics in Israel and Palestine have gotten in the way, just as they have with his domestic agenda.

He stressed that Israel will be more secure, Palestine stronger, and the entire region enriched by a solution, but it's a six-decade-old problem that won't be easy to solve.

Netanyahu, seeming to forget all of Todd's questions, went back to Iran. He said that Iran was enriching uranium, but that they could develop a weapon within a year. The enrichment process is ongoing, however, so every day is one day closer to a nuclear Iran.

Neanyahu stressed that Obama had pledged historically-significant levels of support for Israel, including a ten-year commitment to extend military support for Israel.

1905 GMT: Israel Press Conference. Netanyahu stressed that Israel has a right to defend itself. Obama stressed that there was "not a lot of daylight between our two countries" as far as their intelligence concerns with Iran were concerned.

Each country has to make its own decision re military action.

On the Palestinian issue, Obama stressed that he was disappointed with the rate of progress. He did praise the role of the Palestinian Authority, and suggested that he hoped that Palestinians could feel that they were "masters of their own fate" and that they could take part in a thriving regional economy.

This hasn't happened, neither has Israel been freed from the fear of rockets falling on them.

Then an interesting line from Obama - he'll consider the trip of a success if he spends more time listening than talking.

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Iran Live Coverage: Getting Over-Excited About a US Drone

See also Iran Special: How Western Media Missed The Important Story from Israel
Thursday's Iran Live Coverage: The Clerics Vs. Ahmadinejad

2035 GMT: Media Watch. Reader Arshama (see Comments) brings the story that Serat News, reportedly close to the Basij militia, is on-line again after being blocked by the Filtering Commission today.

Farda News claimed that the filtering occurred after Serat ran a story about a "certain political group". Reportedly the site posted a video linking the pro-Ahmadinejad group that interrupted Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani's speech, in Qom on the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, to the hard-line Constancy Front.

The offending article has now disappeared.

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EA Video Analysis: Obama Re-Brands the War on Terror to "Associates of Associates of Al Qa'eda"

Five minutes --- prompted by a Washington Post article, fed by the Obama Administration, which received far too little attention --- on how the Obama Administration is expanding the authorisation for the use of deadly force to "associates of associates of Al Qa'eda":

So President Obama, his military, his CIA --- they don't have to go out anymore and say, "Will the real Al Qa'eda please stand up?" They just have to say, "Whether you're standing up of sitting down, you're a target."