gary's choices - Is this another Iranian revolution?

gary's choices - Is this another Iranian revolution?
Early days to tell, but Gary Sick draws the parallels with 1979 as well what may be coming Tiannamen 1989 moment for the Iranian regime. I must say I am puzzled why this issue cannot be defused internally by the regime, through a negotiation with Moussavi to get him to draw down the protests -- although if he is going along with them, rather than leading them, as it appears then perhaps the situation is past Moussavi now.
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Iran

Like many, I think, I've been watching the footage of the massive demonstrations and state brutality and the internet updates (Now here's a real use for Twitter, to put all the banal, compulsive over-sharing of politicians and correspondents to shame) coming out of Iran over the last few days. It's all worrying and exciting and very confusing to me--how and to what extent were the elections rigged? Is there any chance that this outpouring of indignation will have an effect?  I do think President Obama struck the right tone. Since we are (thankfully) not currently planning on bombing and invading Iran, there is no point is making strident ultimatums or threats--they will just be used by the clerical regime to tar their opponents; they're already accusing the U.S. of interference.
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Swine flu makes Americans pariahs?

Interesting first-person essay in the Daily News Egypt (which jives with a few other anecdotes I've heard) about how swine flu hysteria--I know it's a serious health threat, but the reaction has been out of proportion--is affecting the treatment of foreigners in Cairo. I also read in the Egyptian press today that Saudi Arabia may not allow pilgrims from countries where cases have been found to come to Mecca this year.
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عمر سليمان

عمر سليمان
Blog dedicated to advocating Omar Suleiman as Egypt's next president - today's front page story in al-Dustour. Its slogan: "no to the Brothers, no to Gamal". I think this representative of a fairly large constituency in Egypt, but you have to wonder: Mubarak-haters are unhappy with his son, understandably, but why then go with his right-hand man? The other thing you have to wonder - who's behind the blog? Is this a test balloon by the Omar Suleiman people as we approach succession? The game is on, people, the game is on.
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Hezbollah in Egypt: The Politics of Conspiracy and Resistance - The Jamestown Foundation

Hezbollah in Egypt: The Politics of Conspiracy and Resistance - The Jamestown Foundation
A good overview of the Hizbullah-Egypt standoff, noting that Iranian and Hizbullah's reach will continue to be strong as long as they can rely on secular, non-sectarian appeals for support, mostly the Palestinian cause.
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An Artist as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran?

An Artist as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran?
On Iranian presidential hopeful Mir Hossein Mousavi:
Something’s happening here. In one of the largest street demonstrations in Tehran since the 1979 Revolution, thousands filled Vali Asr Street (formerly known as Pahlavi Street) on Monday, forming a human chain nearly 12 miles long and stopping traffic for nearly five hours. They wore strips of green cloth around their wrists and heads in support of presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi.
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Saudi princess and (unpaid) €70,000 lingerie bill | World news | The Guardian

Saudi princess and (unpaid) €70,000 lingerie bill | World news | The Guardian
Typical al-Sauds:
When Maha al-Sudairi's representative arrived at a Paris boutique bearing a vast order for top-of-the-range lingerie, payment to follow, the owner did not hesitate. As well as being a valued customer for eight years, the Saudi princess is married to Naif bin Abdulaziz, the country's interior minister and one of the most senior members of a royal family not known for struggling to pay bills, even ones for €70,000 (£60,000) in undergarments. But, more than a year later, Jamila Boushaba, who runs the O Caprices De Lili store, says she is still waiting for her money – as, it is reported, are a whole series of luxury shops and hotels dotted around the French capital's most exclusive arrondissements.
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An Artist as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran?

An Artist as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran?
On Iranian presidential hopeful Mir Hossein Mousavi:
Something’s happening here. In one of the largest street demonstrations in Tehran since the 1979 Revolution, thousands filled Vali Asr Street (formerly known as Pahlavi Street) on Monday, forming a human chain nearly 12 miles long and stopping traffic for nearly five hours. They wore strips of green cloth around their wrists and heads in support of presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi.
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Saudi princess and (unpaid) €70,000 lingerie bill | World news | The Guardian

Saudi princess and (unpaid) €70,000 lingerie bill | World news | The Guardian
Typical al-Sauds:
When Maha al-Sudairi's representative arrived at a Paris boutique bearing a vast order for top-of-the-range lingerie, payment to follow, the owner did not hesitate. As well as being a valued customer for eight years, the Saudi princess is married to Naif bin Abdulaziz, the country's interior minister and one of the most senior members of a royal family not known for struggling to pay bills, even ones for €70,000 (£60,000) in undergarments. But, more than a year later, Jamila Boushaba, who runs the O Caprices De Lili store, says she is still waiting for her money – as, it is reported, are a whole series of luxury shops and hotels dotted around the French capital's most exclusive arrondissements.
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Qadhafi in Rome

h_4_ill_1205047_e8ac_157840.jpg.jpeg Italy -- I love Italy, some of my best friends are Italian as they say -- but really how high of a standard can you set for a country run by a gangster who's actually been re-elected despite the many financial and other scandals around him? (Yes I feel the same way about the US and Bush). Still, rather disappointing to see a major European power honor and play host to Muammar al-Qadhafi, now the longest-serving dictator in the world. As always Qadhafi's amusing attire detracts from his brutal record:
Gheddafi è accompagnato da una folta delegazione, comprese le "amazzoni", la celebre guardia del corpo tutta al femminile con baschi rossi e divise militari. Occhiali neri, cappello e alta uniforme, il colonnello non passa inosservato. In particolare le attenzioni (e le polemiche) si sono concentrate su una foto appuntata sulla divisa: ritrae un eroe della resistenza libica contro gli italiani, Omar Al Muktar, noto come il "leone del deserto". Non solo: l'ultimo discendente di Al Muktar, ormai ottantenne, è sbucato dall'aereo subito dopo il leader libico.
Sure, there are a lot of oil and other contracts for the Italians, and many diplomats and grandees from other countries are lining up for those interminable waits at Qadhafi's presidential palaces, beady eyes darting to and fro under sweaty brows as they feverishly imagine all the money there is to be made from this poor, unlucky country. But luckily not all Italians are happy about the half-mad Libyan dictator's visit, and some have made this nice posted telling Qadhafi his tent (he famously travels with his Bedouin tent) is not welcome in Rome. Gheddafi+no+camping.jpg Get the high-rez version here. By the wonderful artist Gianluca Costantini.
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The Trouble With Obama’s Cairo Speech -- In These Times

The Trouble With Obama’s Cairo Speech -- In These Times
Noam Chomsky hints at my interpretation of Obama's Middle East peace process moves, i.e. that the US will now push not for the international consensus on the issue as defined by UNSC Res. 242 and others, but the creation of a weak Palestinian state as an alternative to the no-Palestinian-state solution of the neocons. This is the essential difference between a Bibi Netanyahu and an Ehud Olmert, and Obama (as much as his choices is limited by that framework) is an Olmertian. Chomsky also points out that:
It is also worth remembering that the Bush I administration went a bit beyond words in objecting to illegal Israeli settlement projects, namely, by withholding U.S. economic support for them. In contrast, Obama administration officials stated that such measures are “not under discussion” and that any pressures on Israel to conform to the Road Map will be “largely symbolic,” as the New York Times reported on June 1.
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