Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

Summer 2009: Tehran’s Prague spring?

16 June, 2009

So Ahmadinejad tried to steal an election, and has been met by mass popular resistance, a “victory celebration” for the losing candidate, led by students and the poor.

The fear is that the hope will die in bloodshed as it did in Prague in 1968, in Beijing in 1989. Yet the Iranian supreme court has granted a partial recount, and grounds for optimism remain. A victory for democracy at the hands of the Iranian people would be a glorious thing, and could change the whole balance of the Middle East.

Update 21/03/2010 I felt I needed to add something to this, after leaving it hanging for so long. We all know now how it went, though the movement has not ended and hope remains. I’d like to express my support for the people of Iran, and my absolute opposition to any brutal, bloody stupid intervention by the governments of the U.S., U.K. and Israel.

How do you sabotage a deal before it’s made?

14 June, 2009

It’s simple – set conditions in a advance that you know the other side cannot accept.

The good news is that Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netenyahu has said that he will back a Palestinian state. However, his conditions:

  • Recognition of the state of Israel
  • The Palestinian state must be completely demilitarised…
  • … with no control over its own borders…
  • … or its own airspace
  • No suggestion that there will be any halt in the building of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land
  • No right-of-return for the Palestinian families who were driven out of Israel
  • Of these, the first condition is almost certainly achievable, and the last probably would be with the removal of the settlements. How could any Palestinian authority agree to conditions 2-4, though, especially in light of the recent massacres carried out by the Israeli military?

    Still, the fact that he has said that he is willing to engage in direct talks with the Palestinians, without pre-conditions, is a major step forwards. It is to be hoped that this just represents his initial bargaining position.