Are new sanctions on Iran enough?

Are new sanctions on Iran enough?

November 25, 2011

This Update features three pieces commenting on the international debate about a new round of sanctions on Iran – with the US, Britain and Canada announcing new measures on Monday, and Europe agreeing “in principle” to expand sanctions a couple of days later

First up is an editorial from the Washington Post, in which the paper argues that the new sanctions announced by the US Administration amount to “half-measures”. Instead, the paper argues, the sorts of tough sanctions proposed by French President Nicholas Sarkozy early this week should be adopted – including a freeze on the assets of Iran’s central bank, and a complete embargo on all petroleum purchases from Iran being adopted by a coalition of Western states.

Media Week - One-Sided History; Freedom Riders?; Newton's Nonsense

Media Week – One-Sided History; Freedom Riders?; Newton’s Nonsense

November 25, 2011 | Jamie Hyams

As part of its “Lost Worlds’ series, SBS TV is showing a seven-part series from Britain’s Channel 4 titled “The Bible: a History”. The second instalment (13/11), “Abraham”, was presented by Rageh Omaar, a former BBC journalist now with al-Jazeera. He described Israel as “land the Palestinians have occupied for centuries and which the Jews believe belongs to them.” He seeks to cast the Jewish claim to Israel solely in religious terms, neglecting to mention that Jews have occupied the land continuously for thousands of years.

Pinkwashing pejorative wiping tolerance away

“Pinkwashing” pejorative wiping tolerance away

November 24, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Fast becoming a viral sensation, a new YouTube video (below) shows two Spanish men “photobombing” an al-Jazeera broadcast by engaging in a long, passionate kiss in frame as the reporter is talking. 

The irony of the video is that while the two were supposedly making a point about marriage equality in Spain, they happened to do so on a state-owned network from a country in which homosexuality is punishable by lashings and imprisonment. Indeed, a report from the UN High Commission for Refugees has this to say on homosexuality in Qatar:

Homosexual behavior is illegal [in Qatar]. Islamic laws against homosexuality are applied. [In Qatari society], homosexuality is taboo. There is no visible social support for gay and lesbian rights.

On the topic of homosexuality in the Middle East, Sarah Shulman has written in the New York Times on the prominence of the gay community in Israel and Israeli officials speaking out against the intolerance shown to homosexuals in…

Iran fighting to control the message

Iran fighting to control the message

November 23, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

New York Times journalist Rick Gladstone has reported on a rare act of defiance from Iran’s internal media, stemming from an all-too-familiar crackdown on the messages that media officials disseminate.

Iran’s main government-run newspaper was published Tuesday without a front-page headline, replaced by photographs of its headquarters during an assault the day earlier by forces working for the judiciary who briefly arrested its top official – the media adviser to the president – and more than 30 others.

The presentation of the front page appeared to be an act of protest by the newspaper over the unusual episode on Monday, which judiciary officials described as…

More UN DysfUNctionalism

More UN DysfUNctionalism

November 22, 2011 | Allon Lee

In another example of UN dysfunctionality, Syria has been admitted as the Arab representative to UNESCO’s human rights committee, just a day after a UN report criticised the country’s massacre of 3,500 anti-government protesters.

The decision is even more bizarre in light of the Arab League suspension of Syria over the Assad regime’s human rights’ abuses.

Worsening Middle East instability

Worsening Middle East instability

November 22, 2011

This Update provides analysis of the increasingly “Arab Spring” instability which seems to be developing across the Middle East – in Egypt, Syria and Jordan.

First up are Washington Institute experts David Schenker and Eric Trager on the background and implications to the re-ignition of significant violence between Egypt’s military SCAF goverment, and protestors gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square over the weekend – which has led to the death of upwards of 24 people and hundreds of injuries.

Media Week - Wild Woolcott; Bedouin Brouhaha; Sober Warning

Media Week – Wild Woolcott; Bedouin Brouhaha; Sober Warning

November 18, 2011 | Jamie Hyams

Former DFAT head Richard Woolcott wrote a piece for the Age (11/11) critical of Australia’s vote against Palestinian membership of UNESCO. Having spent more than half his article setting out the merits of Australia obtaining a seat on the UN Security Council, he then wrote, “In these circumstances, I find it both surprising and a decisive setback to our election prospects that the Prime Minister decided Australia should vote against the admission of Palestine to UNESCO.”

Freedom to print falsehoods

Freedom to print falsehoods

November 18, 2011 | Allon Lee

A media stunt by a group of Palestinians trying to falsely tar Israel as an apartheid state not only caused some in the fourth estate to fall hook, line and sinker but to abrogate basic journalistic standards.

Six Palestinians called The West Bank Freedom Riders cynically tried to lay claim to the legacy and imagery of African Americans who fought against segregation in the 1950s/60s in the United States by “proving” they are banned from using Israeli public buses to cross over from the West Bank into Jerusalem.

But an analysis by Simon Plosker from Honest Reporting of the claims made by the six “Freedom Riders” and the media coverage shows the absurdity of the stunt and how easily it could be proved as dishonest propaganda.

How much land do West Bank settlements take up?

How much land do West Bank settlements take up?

November 18, 2011 | Tzvi Fleischer

A constant talking point on the Middle East is that Israeli building in settlements in the West Bank is supposedly taking up more and more land and supposedly making Palestinian statehood unviable…

So how much of the West Bank is covered by settlements?..

Palestinians at a strategic crossroads

Palestinians at a strategic crossroads

November 18, 2011

The Palestinians appear to have failed in their bid to even force the US to veto a UN Security Council decision to recognise them as a UN member state, and seem a bit confused about their next step. PA President Mahmoud Abbas seems to be now pushing for a unity government with Hamas following secret talks in Cairo. He is planning to meet Hamas head Khaled Meshaal next week, and it seems likely PA Prime Minister Salem Fayyad may be forced out of office.

This Update deals with the general state of play in terms of where the Palestinian could head next.

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