Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Iran (101)


Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Protests Continue Across Country

People defy the state of emergency's curfew in Suez Canal cities in Egypt (Photo: Ahram Online)

See also Palestine Feature: Getting Rich From Gaza's Tunnels
Syria Live Coverage: Fighting Near Damascus and Its Airport
Monday's Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi Declares 30-Day State of Emergency

1550 GMT: Israel. Israeli representatives have boycotted a regular review by the United Nations Human Rights Council, the first time a country has ever taken such action.

A decision last year to investigate Jewish settlements in the West Bank prompted Israel to announce it would no longer co-operate with the Council.

Tuesday's meeting was suspended and a course of action will be decided.

1350 GMT: Egypt. Dozens of gunmen raided and looted the InterContinental Semiramis hotel on Cairo's Nile Corniche early this morning, as staff called in vain for help from security forces.

Anti-government demonstrators secured the besieged hotel and helped guests flee in taxis to the airport. Protesters later helped security forces in arresting 12 people.

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Turkey Analysis: The Opposition, the Government, and the “Grand Kurdish Settlement”

Abdullah Ocalan and Recep Tayyip ErdoganThe challenges to a "grand Kurdish project" go beyond Ankara. The first is over the crisis in Syria --- indirectly involving Iran --- where the Erdogan Government has no intention of repairing times with Syrian Kurds of the Democratic Union Party. The second is the inclusion of Iraq's Massoud Barzani in a political process: it is unclear what incentive Ankara has to acknowledge, let alone accept, the demand of the pro-Kurdish opposition party BDP.

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Syria and Iran Feature: 2130 Civilian Prisoners To Be Released in Exchange for 48 Iranian "Pilgrims"

UPDATE 1230 GMT: A photograph of the freed Iranians:

Turkey's State news agency Anatolia reports that Syria will release 2130 civilian prisoners, including "many Turkish nationals", in exchange for 48 Iranian men seized by the Syrian opposition last August.

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EA Special: 10 Predictions for 2013 --- Assad Gone, an Angry Middle East, and Little Change on "Human Rights"

See also 2012 in Review: How Did EA's Predictions Turn Out?

1. Syria --- The Assad Regime Will Fall It remains unclear what happens once President Assad is gone, but his regime will crumble in 2013. It may find some corner of Lattakia or Tartous to claim as a new capital for some time, but this will not last.

Assad's presence in the east has been reduced to a single airbase near Deir Ez Zor. Insurgents, led by Islamists, are also moving into Raqqa Province, and Hassakah will soon be cut off. The regime's supply lines to Aleppo are completely cut, with insurgents picking off military bases outside the city.

Eventually, Aleppo will fall. Insurgents will march south from Idlib Province, first taking Hama, then Homs, and then on to Damascus. If the Assad regime survives and is not overtaken by a surge in the capital before this, then the regime will have its back against the wall. The majority of Syria will already be in someone else's hands.

But whose hands?

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2012 in Review: How Did EA's Predictions Turn Out?

The Question We Asked Last Year: A Reliable Prediction? --- Right to Left: Tunisia's Ben Ali, Egypt's Mubarak, Libya's Qaddafi, Yemen's Saleh, Syria's Assad, Iran's Khamenei

On 1 January, I offered some predictions about the year ahead. How did they turn out?...

4. Speaking of Syria, things will get worse before they get better. The Arab League observers will produce a middling report, one that speaks of a crisis that needs fixing but will be slow to blame the highest levels of the Assad regime. International outcry will be loud. Eventually, someone will crack, and there will be intervention.

However, I would be shocked if this happened before April, and absolutely bewildered if it happened before March. The opposition is still, in the eyes of the world, not organised enough to serve as a skeleton upon which the international community can build a mission.

In the meantime, the protests will not go away, and more and more people will defect. Those defections, however, will not reach a tipping point for a long time for the regime, unless that international intervention happens.

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Syria Video and Transcript: President Assad's Interview with Russia Today

RT: There are many people who were convinced a year ago that you would not make it this far. Here again you are sitting in a newly renovated presidential palace and recording this interview. Who exactly is your enemy at this point?

BA: My enemy is terrorism and instability in Syria. This is our enemy in Syria. It is not about the people, it is not about persons. The whole issue is not about me staying or leaving. It is about the country being safe or not. So, this is the enemy we have been fighting as Syria.

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Turkey Special: A Tangled Situation --- Ankara, The Kurds, and US Messages

Recep Tayyip ErdoganAn intervention from the US Ambassador, a challenge from Washington's top military commander --- what is “Erdogan’s country” to do now? Facing the Americans, Iraq's Barzani, and the PKK --- all in the context of the evolving Syrian crisis --- will Ankara change its tough-on-Kurds inside Turkey? Will it make a move regarding Syria's Kurds? Or will it try to gain time until Ankara can see a clearer message from Washington following the US elections?

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Israel-Palestine Live Blog (23 October): Gaza, Settlements, Iran, and Elections

Tzipi Livni and Ehud Olmert1830 GMT: In a ceremony attended by Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, the former laid the foundation stone for Hamad Medical City project in the Gaza Strip. 

1825 GMT: A rocket fired from Gaza hits Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries reported. 

1740 GMT: The IDF says the army is better than the intercepted Finnish-flagged Gaza-bound civilian vessel when it comes to efficiency. 

1615 GMT: Greek activists who were arrested aboard the Finnish-flagged Estelle by Israeli commandos on Saturday denounced the Israeli army's action.

Vaguelis Diamantopoulos, a Greek MP, said: "The balaclava-clad commandos from the Israeli marine carrying heavy weapons came aboard the boat and acted like a militia." 

The boat's captain Vangelis Pissias said: "They sent out the army for 30 activists."

Activists claimed that Israeli soldiers had used tasers on board. However, Israeli officials denied such accusations. 

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A New Diplomatic Initiative?

See also EA Video Analysis: How to Use American Deaths to Win a Presidential Election
Libya Report: Militias "Massacred" Qaddafi and His Loyalists
Tuesday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: UN Envoy Brahimi Moves Through the Region
The Latest from Israel-Palestine (16 October): Netanyahu's Threats That Will Dominate the Elections

1921 GMT: Syria. Another plane shot down? This video was reportedly filmed over Hanano, Aleppo. At least one parachute is clearly visible:

We'd like to see multiple angles, just so we can compare it to other videos of planes being shot down. However, if confirmed, this is another sign of how weak Assad's air forces are becoming.

The Guardian and C.J. Chivers think so too.

Last August, Chivers wrote that Syria’s fleet of Mi-25 Hind-D attack helicopters, which numbered 36 at the start of the conflict, was insufficient to hold back the rebels.

He also cited estimates that only half the regime's helicopter fleet may be operational at any given time – "maintenance technicians are struggling to keep the machines aloft" – and that some of the original 36 helicopters have been cannibalised for spare parts.

That was late August --- but Assad is now losing helicopters and airplanes at a rate of one to two per day.

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The Latest from Israel-Palestine (16 October): Netanyahu's Threats That Will Dominate the Elections

Photo: Marc Israel Sellem

1945 GMT: The State Attirney's Office announced that it is appealing the acquittals of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the Jerusalem District Court corruption case to the Supreme Court. At a time when Olmert was mulling a political comeback, he could go to jail if the appeal is rejected. 

1900 GMT: Israel Defense Forces have confirmed that a Strela (SA-7) anti-aircraft missile was fired at an Israeli helicopter over the Gaza Strip for the first time last week.

1825 GMT: A rocket fired from Gaza hits Hof Ashkelon Regional Council in southern Israel. No injuries reported.

1730 GMT: The Palestinian Authority's public workers union has called for full strike Wednesday, Thursday and again next week in protest of the government's failure to pay salaries. 

1650 GMT: The leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, says the elected government of Gaza in 2006 was "the first model which led to the breakout of a sweeping Arab revolution in the Islamic region."

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