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Entries in Los Angeles Times (25)


Libya Analysis: 7-Point Guide to Success After the Revolution (Achy)

Photo: Alexandre Meneghini (The country needs to begin the process of creating a constitution that makes the government accountable to the Libyan people. Such a framework would need to define power sharing rules to overcome potential post-revolution conflicts between the country's two most powerful regions: Cyrenaica and Tripolitania. The framework will also need to mitigate center-periphery frictions by creating an institutional basis for a decentralized political system that promotes regional development. Most important is to ensure that regional and local institutions are offered adequate technical support and the fiscal resources to deliver services.

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Syria Feature: Defecting Military Officers Tell Their Stories (Knickmeyer)

Days before Syrian forces launched a deadly offensive against street protesters in the western city of Baniyas, the colonel leading the attack gathered up six of his officers. The colonel, one of the officers later recounted, put his cellphone on the loudspeaker setting, for all to hear.

The voice of Syria's then-defense minister, Ali Habib, boomed out, providing chilling orders for a crackdown on Baniyas' civilian protesters:

"Any kind of gathering, you disperse it with sheer force. You shoot," the minister said that day in May, recalled a 21-year-old lieutenant in the quwat-al-khassat, or special forces, who said he was one of the six gathered around the colonel's phone.

"And the officer who cannot handle that and disagrees, we will deal with them directly."

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The Latest from Iran (4 July): Pick Your Fight

2025 GMT: President v. Revolutionary Guards. Back to our main story of the day and our questions about how to interpret the statements of President Ahmadinejad and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps over "smuggling" (see 0800 GMT).

An EA correspondent gets to the point, "[IRGC Commander] Jafari wouldn't have reacted, if Ahmadinejad's allusions were not so obvious. Ahmadinejad's speech, between the lines, is completely apparent."

And one might add that the Supreme Leader wouldn't have reacted as well (see 1345 GMT)....

See also Iran Special: Ahmadinejad v. The Revolutionary Guards

2020 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. The Speaker of Germany's Parliament, Norbert Lammert, has asked his Iranian counterpart, Ali Larijani, to pursue the release of photojournalist Maryam Majd, detained on the eve of her departure for the Women's Football World Cup in Germany.

Lammert denounced the arrest "not only as an attack on media freedom but also as a striking breach of internationally guaranteed freedom rights and human rights".

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Afghanistan: 12 Die in Protest over NATO Raid (King)

Protest in Taloqan on Wednesday (Reuters)Furious anti-American protesters poured into the streets of a city in northern Afghanistan on Wednesday, shouting out objections to an overnight U.S.-led military raid that killed four people, including two women. Subsequent clashes with security forces trying to quell the demonstration killed 12 people, provincial officials said.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a strongly worded statement condemning the raid on the outskirts of Taloqan, the capital of Takhar province, and dismissing NATO's contention that the four people killed in it were armed insurgents.

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Bahrain Interview: Electroshocks and Abuse for Detained Medical Staff (Maskati)

Q: There have been reports police used electroshock on the detainees -- did anyone tell you about that? What did they say was done to them?

A: Yes. You know an electric shaver? It looks like that but it is for electroshock. What was explained to us, it is the same size, the same style, but it shocks.

Q: How would police use that in interrogations?

A: They say they put it for 10 seconds, then they take it. Some of them, they say, they say they put it on sensitive places.

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Libya First-Hand: Cut Off from Reality in Tripoli (Daragahi)

It's not just that Moammar Kadafi's portrait adorns every square and roadway; that he and his family dominate all aspects of the country's political and economic life; that his security forces have infiltrated society through multiple layers of "committees" that replace civic life.

It's not just that Moammar Kadafi's portrait adorns every square and roadway; that he and his family dominate all aspects of the country's political and economic life; that his security forces have infiltrated society through multiple layers of "committees" that replace civic life.

It's also that state television shows nonstop coverage of rallies in support of Kadafi; that his enforcers stand in traffic and demand that taxi drivers unfurl banners; that every single song on the radio is about Kadafi, the 1969 coup that brought him to power, and how happy and blessed Libyans are for all that he has bequeathed them.

"All the people of the world know that we are happy," go the lyrics of one song set to the catchy rhythms of Arab wedding music, "because we are following our leader."

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UPDATED Afghanistan Feature: How Did A US Drone Manage to Kill 23 Innocent Men and Boys? (Cloud)

UPDATE 0635 GMT: US military officials have said that a Marine reservist and a Navy corpsman were killed in a Predator drone airstrike in Afghanistan last week in an apparent case of friendly fire.

A Marine unit under fire called in a drone attack on "hot spots" moving in their direction. Those "hot spots" turned out to be Marine reinforcements, including the two US troops killed in the strike.

This is believed to be the first time that US personnel have been killed by a Predator.

Nearly three miles above the rugged hills of central Afghanistan, American eyes silently tracked two SUVs and a pickup truck as they snaked down a dirt road in the pre-dawn darkness.

The vehicles, packed with people, were 31/2 miles from a dozen U.S. special operations soldiers, who had been dropped into the area hours earlier to root out insurgents. The convoy was closing in on them.

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Tunisia Snapshot: Turning Repression Into People's Art (Sandels)

Photo: Jonny Wallstrom (Zero Silence)Wassim Ghozlani is part of a collective of Tunisian artists and photographers called Artocracy in Tunisia who are aiming to bring the voices of the people back to the streets of the country, breathe new life into places like the police station in La Goulette and shed old images of government repression through a photography project called "Inside Out."

In several places inside La Goulette's former police headquarters hang portraits of regular Tunisians. They're young, old, women and men. One of them, flanked by a police stop sign and graffitti thrashing Ben Ali, shows a young woman staring angrily at the camera. Outside the station, passers-by are greeted by the portraits showing a young man and woman making funny faces, below.

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Iran First-Hand: Voices in Tehran on Protests and the Opposition

Protest on 14 February, TehranThe Los Angeles Times posts a small but interesting cross-section of opinions from Tehran on the political situation, protests, and the opposition movement.

There is a range of views on whether the opposition protests are building and whether the challenge has gone beyond figures such as Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, with comments such as "we are subversive" and "we need militant groups". But while there is division on those important questions, seven of the nine respondents are united by the perception of discontent --- and thus the likely continuation of some form of resistance --- within Iran.

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Iran Nuclear Snapshot: How the US Media Missed the Important Story About the Talks

US newspapers, recapping the failure of the discussions on uranium enrichment in Istanbul, seem to be oblivious to the core issue.

We reported yesterday, drawing from information from Reuters, that the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China) appear to have put a much tougher proposal to Iran than the offer in October 2009, which led to weeks of negotiations before stalling.

In the talks 15 months ago, the 5+1 asked that Tehran send 60% of its low-enriched uranium, which is about 3.5% quality, to Russia and France --- later Russia and Turkey --- for processing. In this weekend's discussions, the 5+1 proposed that Iran send about 90% of its low-enriched uranium abroad. In addition, Iran would have to send all or almost all of its 20% quality uranium, which it began producing last year, to other countries.

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