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.”
August 21, 2013, 2:59pm   0 notes
▸ In Iran, Two Opposing Pictures of Syria [Internal Debate re: Continuing Support for Assad Regime] - Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian UK

On the international stage, leaders of the Islamic republic have shown unwavering support for the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. But at home, they have not been able to portray a country united over the crisis.

Since the uprising began in Syria, two contradictory pictures have emerged inside Iran of the way it is unfolding. Media outlets affiliated to the regime, like the state-run Keyhan newsapaper or Fars news agency, have mainly reported the official line, introducing Assad as the victim of western and terrorist-led efforts.

On the other hand, independent media who work under intense official censorship, like Etemaad and Shargh newspapers, have managed to report the uprising with relative objectivity, publishing articles on the scale of the Assad regime’s brutal crackdown against protesters.

Even conservative figures within the Iranian regime have begun to question Tehran’s support for Assad, implicitly calling upon their seniors to think twice about the man they are supporting.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that a group of Iranian diplomats have joined the public debate over Syria and “publicly questioning whether Tehran should continue supporting Syria’s regime”.

"The entire world is against Syria and we are standing here defending Syria, a country accused of crimes against humanity. We are not playing this game very well," the WSJ quoted Iranian diplomat, Mohamad Ali Sobhani, as saying, citing the semi-official news website, Khabaronline.ir. Sobhani has served as Iran’s ambassador to Lebanon and Jordan.

Mohamad Shariatai Dehaghanm, another diplomat, who served in Iran’s embassy in Damascus for four years, has described the Syrian uprising as a legitimate popular movement in an interview, the WSJ reported.

"Iran should not do anything in its diplomacy that would put it in a confrontation with the Syrian people. We will pay the price if we continue to encourage violent crackdowns on people," he said in April.

As the circle of the Syrian regime’s allies narrows, Iran appears to be contemplating a backup plan should Assad fall. Iran’s foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that his country has already contacted the Syrian opposition and is ready to host crisis talks between them and the Syrian government.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to sit down with the Syrian opposition and invite them to Iran," Salehi said in quotes carried by the semi-official Isna news agency. “We are ready to facilitate and provide the conditions for talks between the opposition and the government.”

Despite the supreme leader Aytollah Ali Khamenei and his revolutionary guards’ staunch support for al-Assad, an increasing number of people in the country appear to be asking themselves whether Iran is on the right side of history over Syria.

[July 16 2012]

And then bit old - but one formulation of coordinated transition path - as a log (Not that this will happen likely now. But if not ‘coordinated’ - what kind of further unravelling could continue - even Assad is gone anyway - is a real worry.)

(Paul Salem, Carnegie Middle East Center, Lebanon)

Source: Guardian

Jul 18, 2012, 11:03am  0 notes      

▸ Syria: A Russian Perspective - Dmitri Trenin, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

June 28 2012

Moscow’s policy is also informed by its assessment of the likely outcome in Syria. From the very start, Russian Middle East-watchers have been markedly less upbeat on the Arab Awakening. Vitaly Naumkin, probably the most prominent Russian expert on the region,called it the “Great Islamist Revolution.” While others saw a repeat of Europe’s democratic revolutions of 1848 or 1989, the Russians drew parallels to their own of 1917; the only question was which month would be the Red October. Early on, Russian policy-makers, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, feared an Islamist Spring, and regarded pro-Western liberals as paving the way for religious radicals or al-Qaeda allies. Eighteen months on, these predictions have borne out: in Libya with its post-Qaddafi chaos, reported al-Qaeda presence, arms proliferation, and destabilizing impact on neighboring Mali; and in Egypt with the electoral triumphs of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization which Moscow still officially designates as terrorist.

This fear is decidedly more pronounced in Syria where a violent ouster of Assad would be succeeded first by chaos, with radical groups and al-Qaeda-types gaining a foothold just a few hundred miles from Russia’s own troubled North Caucasus. Even though the issues at hand in the North Caucasus are domestic in origin, the local jihadis draw inspiration and support from the Middle East. With the Winter Olympics in Sochi less than two years away, Moscow seeks to prevent anything that might destabilize Russia’s southern borderland. 

For all these reasons, Moscow has preferred an order of brutality over chaos in Syria. Throughout 2011, Russian maneuvering hinged on Assad being able to crush the opposition—much like Saudi Arabia had done in Bahrain. But the conflict has dragged on—as a broad Western-Arab coalition has withdrawn recognition of the Assad regime and several states have begun arming the opposition—and Russia is increasingly weary of prolonged civil war and escalating violence. So far, however, nothing has happened to force Moscow to recalculate: the Syrian army has not turned against the Assads in the name of national salvation; and the merchant classes of Aleppo and Damascus (who hold the fate of the regime in their hands) have not withdrawn their passive support to the government. Only if these dynamics shift and turn the tide decisively against Assad will Russia be forced to fundamentally alter its calculus. 

Source: carnegieendowment.org

Jun 30, 2012, 7:14pm  2 notes      

▸ Moscow talks on Iran's nuclear programme in jeopardy, Guardian

This could mean that Tehran sees no future in the talks if a recognition of its right to enrich uranium and sanctions relief are not on the table as part of an initial deal. The six-nation group said in Baghdad that such issues would have to be part of a final settlement and have no place in an initial confidence-building agreement. The flurry of Iranian letters looks like an attempt to apportion blame in expectation of a breakdown. European diplomats are hoping that it is no more than gamesmanship and that Iran has too much at stake in the talks to walk out, not least the risk of angering the Russian hosts

Schedule: 18-19th.

Jun 12, 2012, 1:17pm  0 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      

▸ U.S. Asks Russia to Warn Iran of ‘Last Chance,’ Kommersant Says - Businessweek

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has asked her Russian counterpart to warn Iran that it has one “last chance” to reach a negotiated settlement over its nuclear program and avoid military action, Kommersant said.

Clinton delivered the message at a meeting with Sergei Lavrov at the United Nations on March 12, the Moscow-based newspaper said, without citing anyone. […]

Russia expects a strike on Iran by the end of this year, Kommersant said, citing an unidentified senior Foreign Ministry official

Mar 14, 2012, 4:42pm  0 notes      

▸ Beneath the radar, a Russia-Pakistan entente takes shape, Sanjeev Miglani, Reuters

One of the early calls that Vladimir Putin took following his expected victory in the Russian presidential election last weekend was from Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani.

He congratulated Putin on his success and invited him to visit Islamabad in September which the Russian leader accepted, according to newspaper reports citing an official statement.

It would be the first visit by a Russian head of state to Pakistan which stood on the other side of the Cold War […]

Mar 09, 2012, 2:52pm  1 note      

▸ Fears of police clashes grow as Russian protesters plan march - Tom Parfitt, Telegraph

Fears were growing of clashes between police and demonstrators over today’s presidential election in Russia, after calls to escalate protests against the government of Vladimir Putin.

Tonight (March 5th) - protest in Moscow is planned to take place. 

Mar 05, 2012, 6:32am  1 note      

▸ [Syria: Putin "Russia has no special relationship with Syria", political solution is necessary] RIA Novosti

“We don’t have a special relationship with Syria. We only have interests in seeing the conflict being resolved,” Putin said. “It is up to the Syrians to decide who should run their country,” Putin said.

Putin had an interview with the editors-in-chief of six foreign newspapers on Friday, including The Times, France’s Le Monde, Italy’s La Repubblica, Germany’s Handelsblatt, Canada’s The Globe and Mail and Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper in his Novo-Ogaryovo residence near Moscow.

“In order to solve this problem, you can not stand on one side of an armed conflict or on the side of one of the warring parties, sorry for the tautology. We need to look at the interests of both, get them to sit down, get them to cease fire,” Putin said.

March 2 2012. Interpretation of this Putin’s statement will vary. Could be ‘mere words’, or there might be something also  indicating real changes in Russia’s support & (military) aid to the regime. 

Mar 02, 2012, 2:07am  0 notes      

▸ Putin Says Iran Developing Nuclear Capability Would Risk Global Stability - Bloomberg

The progress made by Iran’s nuclear program is “more alarming for Russia than for many other countries,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in comments published Feb. 15 on the ministry’s website.

Even so, Russia sees no evidence that the Persian Gulf state is developing nuclear-weapons capability, Ryabkov said. It won’t back sanctions that seek regime change in Iran and favors a negotiated settlement, he added.

So nuclear Iran is undesirable, but ‘we don’t see any evidence Iran is developing nuclear weapon’, so we also oppose sanctions.

And Russia’s heavy involvement in Iran’s nuclear programs (Basically Iranian regime has been purchasing almost everything from Russia for its nuclear programs…)

Oh well

Feb 24, 2012, 6:03pm  0 notes      

Anti-Assad rallies kick off across Lebanon (photo: The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

Lebanese protesters burn Russian and Chinese flags during an anti-Assad rally in the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, Friday, Feb. 10, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

4000 showed up in Sidon, 700 Tripoli (Lebanon), and several more small ones. 

Anti-Assad rallies kick off across Lebanon (photo: The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

Lebanese protesters burn Russian and Chinese flags during an anti-Assad rally in the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, Friday, Feb. 10, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

4000 showed up in Sidon, 700 Tripoli (Lebanon), and several more small ones. 

"When will Russia stop backing Assad? 
When the USA stops backing Israel. 
Which means never. #Syria”
Source: http://twitter.com/#!/SooriMadsoos/

"When will Russia stop backing Assad? 

When the USA stops backing Israel. 

Which means never. #Syria”

Source: http://twitter.com/#!/SooriMadsoos/

▸ 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