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5. Dezember 2013, 22.09 Uhr:

Ein Reformpraesident und die Zensur

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Unter Rohani, dem vom Westen als Reformpraesident gefeierten Nachfolger Ahmedinejads, sollte, so eines seiner Wahlversprechen, mehr Oeffnung und weniger Zensur geben. Die Realitaet:

President Rouhani’s campaign promise to open up Iran’s cultural sphere, easing censorship and detentions, has been confronted this week with a series of arrests.

In the latest crackdown, 16 people have been arrested in Kerman Province for “cyber-crimes”.

Kerman’s Deputy Prosecutor General said, “These individuals…are accused of acting against national security through cooperation with foreign networks and designing websites and developing content for counter-revolutionary websites with the aim of overthrowing the Islamic Republic system.”

The arrests follow uncertainty over the status of the prominent technology website Narenji — based in Kerman — and its staff. (…)

Meanwhile, the Iranian Students News Agency reported that a popular underground musician nicknamed Amir Tataloo had been detained by the country’s morality police.


3. Dezember 2013, 21.25 Uhr:


von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

“Im Innersten wissen alle Menschen, ob sie es sich zugestehen oder nicht: Es wäre möglich, es könnte anders sein. Sie könnten nicht nur ohne Hunger und wahrscheinlich ohne Angst leben, sondern auch als Freie leben. Gleichzeitig hat ihnen gegenüber, und zwar auf der ganzen Erde, die gesellschaftliche Apparatur sich so verhärtet, dass das, was als greifbare Möglichkeit, als die offenbare Möglichkeit der Erfüllung ihnen vor Augen steht, ihnen sich als radikal unmöglich präsentiert“ (Theodor W. Adorno).

In den Vororten von Damaskus, die sich unter Kontrolle der Rebellen befinden, teilweise jene Vororte, die im August mit Giftgas beworfen wurden, aber auch in Yarmouk, einem sog. Palaestinenserlager, wird gehungert, inzwischen auch verhungert, denn das Regime hat mehr oder minder seit Monaten eine Totalblockade verhaengt:

Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that thousands of Syrians in besieged areas of West and East Ghouta, including the town of Moadamiyyat ash-Sham (Moadamiya), as well as in the Old City of Homs, are being denied vital humanitarian food and medical aid.

Residents from south Damascus, Moadamiya, and Eastern Ghouta told HRW that government forces have tightened the siege in the last several months.

Die Frage, die sich nun stellt ist: werden Unternaehrung und Hungertod die naechste Katastrophe fuer die syrische Bevoelkerung? Schon kursieren Bilder von Kindern, die alle Anzeichen akuter Unternaehrung aufweisen. Aber sind ja nur Syrer und ausserdem hat ja Assad sein Giftgas uebergeben und in der Opposition da kaempfen immer mehr Islamisten und auch Weihnachen naht und damit ganz andere Probleme.

2. Dezember 2013, 21.35 Uhr:

Aegyptens neue Verfassung

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Heute hat das Komittee zur Ueberarbeitung der Verfassung in Aegyptens eine Arbeit beendet und seinen Entwurf an den Praesidenten weitergeleitet. Al Ahram dokumentiert verschieden Stellungnahmen, etwa die von

Mohamed Abul-Ghar, chairman of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, (who)  expressed his happiness that for the first time, the Egyptian constitution states that Egypt is a civil state. “I am also proud to say that the chapter on freedoms and rights is much better than in free countries like France and Italy,” he said.

1. Dezember 2013, 21.14 Uhr:

Vergessene Stimmen aus Syrien

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Ein Gespraech  mit Hadi al-Abdallah, einem jungen syrischen Aktivisten. Und der, wie so viele andere auch, stellt erst einmal fest, wie auf sich alleine gestellt eigentlich jene in Syrien sind, die einfach nur gegen Diktatur und Unfreiheit, Unterdrueckung und staatliche Verdummung aufgestanden sind und heute von allen Seiten im Stich gelassen werden:

“We are left alone to fight the world. We are fighting the corrupt war lords, the regime, Hezbollah, Iranians, Iraqi Shiite militias, the Russians, and extremists.”

“We will stay and fight till the end,” Abdallah says

Und Abdallah faehrt fort:

He said that the real Syrian opposition has been silenced and vilified. He is right. Today we talk about beheadings and heart-eating fighters. We only talk about mass killings and chemical weapons.

Intelligence chiefs from the West, the Arab world, and Turkey meet to find a solution to the security situation in Syria. But how do they plan to stop the regime’s aggression against its own people, and how do they plan to stop ISIS from taking over?

Moreover, the West and its allies also fail to understand that the Syrian crisis today is a humanitarian issue and not a mere security concern.

The Syrian revolution gave ordinary people like Abdallah the chance to turn the idea of liberty into a reality. But two and a half years into the conflict, the dream of liberty is becoming increasingly elusive for most Syrians. A life without censorship that preserves the freedoms of speech, expression, and religious practice remains out of reach, even if the Syrian revolution initially inspired hope in Abdallah and many like him.

Amid daily aerial bombardments and artillery shelling, the Syrian resistance continues to fight not just the regime, but also religious extremists they are often mistaken for.

1. Dezember 2013, 12.41 Uhr:

Iran, der neue strategische Partner der USA?

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Dass sich gerade die geostrategische regionale Balance im Nahen Osten zu verschieben beginnt, ist nach der Annäehrung der USA and den Iran und der damit einhergehenden Behandlung klassischer US-Alliierter wie Saudi Arabien oder Israel inzwischen allzu deutlich geworden. Aber wie weit will Washington gehen, ja plant es gar eine Allianz mit den Mullahs und lässt etwa die syrische Opposition ganz fallen?.

Der Gedanke wurde in letzter Zeit schon öfters geäußert, nirgends aber so klar auf den Punkt gebracht, wie von Jonathan Spyer:

Assad has revived his fortunes in the course of 2013 mainly because of the massive Iranian assistance he has received. Washington, which officially backs the opposition, appears to be sponsoring a conference which will crown this achievement.

So is the US in fact changing sides in the contest between Iran and those regional forces seeking to contain and turn back its advance?

Michael Doran of the Brookings Institute, suggested this week that Washington is in the first phase of seeking a ’strategic partnership’ with Iran, an ‘entente cordiale’ which would see a US-Iranian alliance forming a lynchpin of regional stability.

If this is indeed what the welter of evidence detailed above portends, then the Middle East is headed into a dangerous period indeed. As Doran also notes, there is no reason at all to think that Iranian designs for regional hegemony have been abandoned.

The effect of US overtures to Teheran and undermining of allies will be to build the Iranians’ appetite. This will serve to intensify their continued efforts at expansion. The corresponding efforts by other regional powers, Israel and Saudi Arabia chief among them, to resist this process will also increase. That, in turn, is likely to mean greater instability across the region. An eventual direct collision could result.


29. November 2013, 17.11 Uhr:

Umsetzung des neuen Demonstrationsgesetzes

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Weil sie gegen das neue aegyptische Demonstrationsgesetz demonstriert hatten, dass vorsieht kuenftig sponate Demonstrationen nicht mehr zuzulassen, wurden sie verhaftet und wohl auch misshandelt:

Prosecutors have begun questioning prominent activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, who was arrested late Thursday on charges of breaking a controversial new protest law.

Abdel-Fattah was arrested at his home late on Thursday, according to a statement released by fellow activists.

“They (the police) had no search warrant and when his wife, Manal, demanded to see it they were both beaten,” read the statement, adding that the couples’ computers and phones were confiscated in the process.

“Their two-year-old son, Khaled, was asleep in the next room,” read the statement.

Arrest warrants were issued for Abdel-Fattah and Ahmed Maher, the founder of the April 6 Youth Movement, on Wednesday, based on charges that they had called for protests the day before without taking the necessary steps required by the new law on demonstrations.

The new legislation, which came into force on Sunday, requires protest organisers notify the police three days in advance of any public demonstration of more than ten people. Under the law, authorities are entitled to ban the protest if they think it constitutes a threat to public order. Those who violate the law may be subject to heavy jail terms.

28. November 2013, 21.42 Uhr:

Offensive der Rebellen?

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Ob die syrischen Rebellen sich gerade in der Offensive befinden und heute gar 250 Hizbollah Kaempfer in einem Damaszener Vorort getoetet haben, laesst sich bislang nicht verifizieren, der Vormarsch von Regime und alliierten Schiitenmilzen jedanfalls geht auch nicht wirklich voran, wie Enduring America berichtet, wird an allen Fronten heftig gekaempft:

After headlines earlier this months about regime offensives and advances, this week’s stories have been of a fight-back by insurgents across Syria.

While sketchy, the leading news comes from East Ghouta near Damascus, with opposition fighters in the 6th day of battles with regime forces. The insurgency, which launched attacks last Friday against military checkpoints besieging the areas, continues to claims hundreds of regime casualties and a retreat by the Syrian army and National Defense Forces, leaving Shia militias exposed.

However, the assertions of an opposition fight-back are not just near the capital. The insurgents continue to stall the Qalamoun offensive north and west of Damascus, maintaining the block of the Damascus-to-Homs road. There are claims, amid the insurgency’s take-over of Syria’s largest oilfield — in Deir Ez Zor Province in the east — that its brigades’ attacks have also cut off production of refineries.

And in Aleppo Province, where the Syrian military had opened a corridor to Aleppo city, EA sources are reporting insurgent attacks in the south of the province and near as-Safira, the town captured by regime forces earlier this month.

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