but we are actually all winds
ever more than before
even ever more than before 
towards future 
and redeeming laughters
and happiest laughters
Start page JUMO | Code for America | good.is |
“If you want to free a society, just give them internet access. Because people, the young guys, you know, are all going to go out and see biased media, see the truth about other nations and their own nation and they’re going to be able to contribute and collaborate together.”
What it’s saying in Chinese is not really making sense to me for now - 
oh. simply saying
以色列 (israel)
国家 (Nation-State)
总理 (Prime Minister) 

What it’s saying in Chinese is not really making sense to me for now - 

oh. simply saying

以色列 (israel)

国家 (Nation-State)

总理 (Prime Minister) 

▸ Despite endgame fears, no need to rush Iran nuclear talks, PJ Crowley, Former US Assistant Sec of State, BBC News

Meanwhile, next year’s election in Iran gives Ayatollah Ali Khamenei a chance to repair the political fissure that has developed with current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and see him replaced with someone the West feels it can do business with.

Thus, for a variety of reasons, mostly political, success is not likely this year.

Better negotiating conditions may have to wait until 2013, when both sides are in a better position to give something to get somewhere. More time works to the advantage of all sides.

The current talks serve an important purpose, keeping time on the clock until a peaceful resolution becomes possible. There is no reason to rush to failure. That is what happened in Iraq.

May 28, 2012, 8:51pm  0 notes      

▸ Hopes fade for progress at Iran nuclear talks in Baghdad - Scott Peterson, CSMonitor

Well. Next talks in Moscow is coming up soon thus this can be just a passing (insignificant) detail of latest Baghdad talk. But this CS Monitor piece is reporting West did not offer any deal in Baghdad. 

But those incentives do not include the quid pro quo Iran expected – easing the US, UN, and European Unionsanctions that have targeted Iran’s central bank, SWIFT access, and exports of oil, the lifeblood of the Iranian economy.

"This is what we were afraid of," says the Iranian diplomat. "No one is going to accept these things this way. The 20 percent and shutting down Fordow, in return for nothing? Nothing?"

"Last time they said the right things, in the right way," said a Western diplomat prior to the start of talks. "This time they are saying the right things, in the right way, with the right details."

On the eve of the talks, however, American and European diplomats were reported to have ruled out any quick sanctions relief for Iran, regardless of the steps Tehran might take.

"Just hope the Iranians are not deluding themselves they are going to get sanctions relief now – that’s not going to happen at this stage," a Western official told Laura Rozen, according to a piece in Al Monitor yesterday.

May 27, 2012, 3:00pm  5 notes      

▸ U.S. to seek Russia's help in removing Assad in Syria [Yemen style transition plan], Helen Cooper, Mark Landler NY Times

WASHINGTON — In a new effort to halt more than a year of bloodshed in Syria, President Obama will push for the departure of President Bashar Assad under a proposal modeled on the transition in another strife-torn Arab country, Yemen.

The plan calls for a negotiated political settlement that would satisfy Syrian opposition groups but that could leave remnants of Assad’s government in place.

Its goal is the kind of transition under way in Yemen, where after months of violent unrest, President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to step down and hand control to his vice president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, in a deal arranged by Yemen’s Arab neighbors. Hadi, though later elected in an uncontested vote, is viewed as a transitional leader. […]

Russia’s openness to the Yemen model, skeptics said, is motivated less by a desire to remove Assad than to forestall U.S.-led military action. Some experts warned that the biggest risk to the proposal is that it becomes too closely identified with the Obama administration.

"There’s a deep strain of anti-Americanism at the heart of Putin’s Kremlin," said Carroll Bogert, a deputy executive director of Human Rights Watch, who has also discussed the Yemen option with Russian officials. "When a proposal is perceived as something the Americans want, it can automatically become less desirable to the Russians."

Still, she and other human-rights activists said the plan was worth trying, even if the odds are against winning wholehearted Russian backing, much less the acquiescence of Assad.

In current, another spike of attention - yeah this kind of corresponds to it. And keep talking about this option really won’t escalate the tension? - and as time goes by - we will see how the regime is going to be able to stay in - or something changes and it really starts become weakened…

May 27, 2012, 12:32pm  0 notes      

IAEA Chief Amano to Visit Tehran Monday [IAEA-Iran deal possibly close], Fredrik Dahl, Reuters

"I assume he wouldn’t go without being fairly sure they will deliver," one Western diplomat said about the trip to the Iranian capital by Director General Yukiya Amano of the International Atomic Energy Agency, a Vienna-based U.N. body.

"Amano’s visit is clear evidence that a deal between the IAEA and Iran is finally about to be consummated. Or at least Iran has given the IAEA clear reason to think so," said nuclear proliferation expert Mark Fitzpatrick.

"Iran apparently wants to go into the Baghdad meeting with a positive wind at its back, demonstrating a posture of flexibility that it hopes will rebound to its benefit" in the meeting, said Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies think-tank.

To foster progress in Baghdad, Iran should agree to grant IAEA access “without the conditions and limits” it proposed earlier this year, said Greg Thielmann of the U.S.-based Arms Control Association, an advocacy and research group.

Still just can be a maneuver. But.

Source: moneycontrol.com
May 18, 2012, 3:32pm   0 notes
▸ Juan Cole | Saudi-Egypt Crisis Points to Conflict between New Democracies, Old Autocracies


The closure of the Saudi embassy and consulates in Egypt, and the continued demonstrations in Cairo in front of the Ministry of Interior, point to a coming crisis in the Arab world between the revolutionary states and the conservative ones.

So far that potential conflict has not riven the Arab League, because there have not been clear lines dividing the two. Saudi Arabia was opposed to the fall of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. But it supported the revolution against Muammar Qaddafi in Libya, and against the Baath Party in Syria. It played a role in easing Ali Abdullah Saleh out of office in Yemen. So the assumption that Saudi Arabia is always reactionary and is solidly a status-quo power is given the lie by any thorough consideration of their actual role in the Arab Spring. Of course, they have tried to bribe their own demonstrators to go home, and have largely succeeded, in Saudi Arabia itself.

But the norms of governance of the new Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen are diametrically opposed to those of the Saudi monarchy, especially in the realm of freedom of speech.

Read more

I’ve added this to the my roundup post from earlier.

Well, ‘the rift’ can really become a big trouble for - Egypt’s govt/military. 

Probably it’s a message from Saudi monarchy to ‘reign in’ FJP/Muslim Brotherhood types? (Egyptian MB’s one top issued a statement that they will topple Kuwait monarchy by 2013. Though, those excessive loose cannon statement from MB tops are almost everyday common thing.)  

Egyptian government is expecting total 2.7 Billion USD worth of aid from Saudi. (And needless to point out, Egypt’s economy is heading towards crisis.)

cf: Egypt sees Saudi financial aid by the end of April (Reuters, April 19th) 

(Reuters) - Saudi Arabia will deposit $1 billion at the Egyptian central bank and buy T-bonds worth $750 million by the end of April as part of a $2.7 billion package to support Egypt’s battered finances, an Egyptian official said on Thursday.

And Bloomberg’s take on this today is here. 

Egyptian officials said Saudi Arabian financial aid to the country is not in jeopardy despite a mass protest in front of the kingdom’s embassy in Cairo strained ties between the two countries. […]

“It will arrive for sure,” Egypt Central Bank Governor Farouk el-Okdah said of the aid without elaborating. “This has been agreed on between the two countries.”


And Egypt’s Salafis (al-Nour) is calling for ‘love and appreciation’. 

The Salafi al-Nour Party called for a rally of “love and appreciation” for Saudi Arabia in front of the country’s embassy on May 1, the state-run Middle East News Agency reported today. Salafis are followers of a strict interpretation of Islam similar to that adhered to in Saudi Arabia.

And balanced? statement from FJP:

The FJP said that Egyptian-Saudi relations are “far greater than any problems” and that “dialogue and transparency in these relations can solve any problems.”

The party called on Egypt’s military rulers to “take concrete steps to solve the el-Gizawy issue in a manner which ensures Egyptians’ dignity, and at the same time preserves” the strong ties between both nations.

And ah, the most interesting bit of Juan Cole’s take is:

Some leftist Egyptians are celebrating that it might be possible to dislodge Saudi influence from the journalism and politics of the new Egypt.

But then how do you manage (fix, improve and grow) the economy. That question - I barely see any sides within Egypt seriously addressing or being prudent - yet. 

Reblogged from roxygen.

Apr 29, 2012, 6:00pm  8 notes      

▸ [Iran] [Obama's message to Iran, USA can accept civilian nuclear program] - David Ignatius, Washington Post

President Obama has signaled Iran that the United States would accept an Iranian civilian nuclear program if Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei can back up his recent public claim that his nation “will never pursue nuclear weapons.”

This verbal message was sent through Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who visited Khamenei last week. A few days before traveling to Iran, Erdogan had held a two-hour meeting with Obama in Seoul, in which they discussed what Erdogan would tell the ayatollah about the nuclear issue and Syria.

Source: Washington Post

Apr 06, 2012, 11:08am  1 note      

▸ US hopeful as Russia endorses Annan plan for Syria - Bradley Klapper, Associated Press

Seems the point is whether Russia’s posture of pressuring Assad is - real - or otherwise. (Russia is now giving support to Kofi Annan’s ceasefire/political settlement plan.) Still may take some time to see Russia’s real position. 

Mar 20, 2012, 5:42pm  0 notes      

▸ [On Qatar's Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani] Peter Goodspeed, National Post

The old emir returned to the Gulf the following year [1996], publicly disowning his son and trying to drum up support for a counter-coup, but Sheik Hamad snuffed out the plot by freezing billions of dollars in his father’s overseas bank accounts.

Then, just 44 and the youngest ruler in the Gulf, he set about to reform and redefine Qatar.

Surrounding himself with young, Western-educated advisors, he drew up a long-term plan to develop a post-oil knowledge-based economy.

He has allocated 40% of Qatar’s budget between now and 2016 to massive infrastructure projects, including an $11-billion international airport, a $5.5-billion deep-water seaport and a $1-billion transport corridor in Doha, as well as $20-billion in new roads.

He has also invited foreign universities to establish Middle East campuses in a $100-billion Education City in Doha.

Without an elected parliament to advise him, the Emir has final say in the disposition of the country’s $70- billion to $100-billion sovereign wealth fund, which has made it a financial powerhouse internationally by investing heavily in everything from German carmakers Porsche and Volkswagen to the Agricultural Bank of China, Harrods department store in London, a Brazilian bank, Chinese oil refineries, a Spanish soccer team and a French fashion house.

The Emir’s most influential investment was his creation of the 24-hour Arab-language Al Jazeera television network in 1996.

Granted a level of editorial independence unheard of in the Arab world, Al Jazeera is encouraged to report freely and aggressively on everything but Qatari politics, and is the most watched TV network in the Middle East.

The broadcaster was widely regarded as one of the driving forces behind the spread of the Arab Spring.

“Qatar hopes to insert itself as the key mediator between the Muslim world and the West,” Mr. Roberts said.

“Qatar sees its role as a highly specialized interlocutor between the two worlds, making — from the West’s point of view — unpalatable but necessary friendships and alliances with anti-Western leaders.”

Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasem Al-Thani, Qatar’s Prime Minister and a distant cousin of the Emir, likes to say his country is small and has to be proactive to protect its interest and avoid being run over by more powerful neighbours.

“Our policy is to be friendly with everybody,”

the Emir said recently in a television interview. “We are looking for peace. It doesn’t mean if two parties turn against each other, we have to go to one party. No, we would like to stick with the two parties.”

A very neat piece on Qatar.

Worth reading in full. 

Feb 26, 2012, 6:10pm  1 note      

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) meets Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal at the Friends of Syria Conference in Tunis, February 24, 2012. Reuters/Jason Reed

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) meets Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal at the Friends of Syria Conference in Tunis, February 24, 2012. Reuters/Jason Reed

“China’s embassy in Damascus said Zhai would meet his Syrian counterpart on Friday night, hold talks with Assad on Saturday and also meet opposition figures in Damascus.”

More protests, attacks in Syria after U.N. condemnation - chicagotribune.com

This is Reuters and Chinese embassy in Damascus saying Chinese envoy will meet the opposition figures inside Syria. 

Will that really happen? 

February 17, 2012, 3:46pm  0 notes

▸ Fear is the cheapest room in the house.: In the name of crushing incompetence, screw the UN.



Not that its incompetence is anything new.

Poor Bosnians.

Poor people of Rwanda.

Poor Syrians.

Poor world.

Filled with sensationalistic, opportunistic manipulations.

That’s how news or media disguise to have some brain left for serious subjects in the middle…

Obama administration had a real chance, an opportunity - to engage Iran (thus issues of Syria together) around 2008-2009 - when it just came into power. New, fresh administration. There was a chance. 

But somehow that didn’t fly - most likely due to pressure from US allies such as Israel and Gulf Sunni states. It got quickly shelved. 

And then that lead to losses of leverage in Iraq and Afghanistan, and also, I’m afraid, reinforced this ‘imagery’ of 

  • there is nothing you can do - you can’t even talk with Iran-Syria’s regimes (those are just crazy, bad people.) 

especially because it all went really quickly without really engaging public about the idea of rapprochement/detente with Iran  - and then shelving it without clear indication to the public.

And now there is the outcomes of this decades-old, mechanical ‘hardline’ stance USA has been taking against Iran and Syria are becoming more real. The scale and complexity of uncertainy is - quite enormous. 

Understanding this sidelined episode that ‘there was such possibility, detent with Iran’ - in past 4 years - might be more important and suggestive than - just repeating ‘Save Darfour’ - this time on Syria. 

Esp the idea of negotiation, or even possible detent/engagement with Iranian regime - I think is less likely to lose importance  - especially in terms of general - quite global - public’s understanding of what’s happening there right now - and what’s going to follow further. 

Or, if Sunnis are going to take care of everything - maybe that’s more simple plot. (I’ve been wondering why Obama and Hilary - administration decided to start calling openly that Assad must step down. )

Have to wait and see how many of involved parties are really prepared - esp strategy-wise. 

Reblogged from roxygen.

Feb 04, 2012, 7:48pm  19 notes      

▸ A Single Roll of the Dice, Obama's Diplomacy with Iran - Yale University Press

Trita Parsi, a Middle East foreign policy expert with extensive Capitol Hill and United Nations experience, interviewed 70 high-ranking officials from the U.S., Iran, Europe, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Brazil—including the top American and Iranian negotiators—for this book.

Parsi uncovers the previously unknown story of American and Iranian negotiations during Obama’s early years as president, the calculations behind the two nations’ dealings, and the real reasons for their current stalemate.

Contrary to prevailing opinion, Parsi contends that diplomacy has not been fully tried. For various reasons, Obama’s diplomacy ended up being a single roll of the dice. It had to work either immediately—or not at all. Persistence and perseverance are keys to any negotiation. Neither Iran nor the U.S. had them in 2009.

Feb 04, 2012, 3:52pm  0 notes      

▸ ["A Single Role of the Dice: Obama's Diplomacy with Iran" by Trita Parsi, Yale University Press] U.S., Iran Both Squandered Opportunities for Détente - IPSnews

The United States, he asserts, should also have sought to engage Iran on a broader agenda, including issues like Afghanistan where the two sides might more easily find common ground. But he acknowledges that Iran failed, too, and says that its leaders are likely to realise in hindsight that they blew a major opportunity to escape from growing international isolation. 

Parsi predicts that the stalemate will persist “for some time” no matter who wins U.S. presidential elections in 2012. One can only hope that war can be avoided, giving time for more creative and flexible policies to emerge in Washington, Jerusalem and Tehran. 

Feb 04, 2012, 3:49pm  0 notes      

▸ Iran to restart IAEA nuclear talks, Julian Borger, The Guardian

[Olli Heinonen:] "The important thing is that Iran gives unfettered access to people, sites and information. The first step is to agree on the process. We will probably not see an outcome for some months to come."

Speaking earlier this month, [Rafael] Grossi said that if Iran refuses to discuss the suspected weapons work, the IAEA secretariat would “call the board of governors, who will take the issue to the security council.”

"It would be very serious for Iran as, up until now, China and Russia have blocked sanctions on the grounds that Tehran is cooperating with the agency. If the IAEA tells the world that Iran is not cooperating, Russia and China will be left without justification for their support," he said.

So Iran already once decided not to cooperate with IAEA’s demands (for full access) in 2008. IAEA withdrew without having access to ‘everything’.

If it’s going to be ‘replay’ of that same process - and if UNSC and sorting out Russia, China’s reaction takes up ‘months’ long - then it also becomes reasonable that the world to think ‘Iran is hiding something’ and all these diplomatic engagements are just to ‘buy more time’.

But will Iran open up everything?

Jan 27, 2012, 2:56pm  0 notes