Egypt’s first democratically elected president was overthrown on 3 July after mass protests. Since then he’s not been heard from. He is being held, Egypt’s military insists, in a “safe place” – even if it won’t say where. No charges have been filed, although it’s been suggested that Morsi could be charged with “conspiracy with foreign actors” or “insulting the judiciary”. These circumstances, says Amnesty International, are tantamount to “enforced disappearance”.
The mystery over Morsi’s whereabouts and fate comes amid new evidence that Egypt’s generals are planning a wider crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.
On Wednesday army chief Abdel Fatah al-Sisi called for nationwide rallies on Friday to give the military a mandate to confront what he called “violence and terrorism” – not much of a code for those who have been protesting against Morsi’s detention and this month’s army-backed coup.… Seguir leyendo »
The continuing currency crisis in Iran, which has seen the rial go into freefall, has been cited, with some celebration in certain quarters, as proving that US-led sanctions are “working” against Tehran. Increasingly shut out from international banking and struggling to sell its oil, Iran has been forced to sell more cheaply while buying raw materials at a higher cash price. This, in turn, has led to currency speculation that the government has done nothing to halt, and to sharp devaluation.
But what does “sanctions are working” actually mean? Some hawks have read it as the possible beginning of the end for Iran’s nuclear programme and the collapse of the clerical regime.… Seguir leyendo »
In WH Auden’s poem Musee des Beaux Arts, ordinary life continues unimpeded by the miraculous and dreadful, “the torturer’s horse” scratching “its innocent behind”. What Auden did not describe, but could have done, is the banalities of the life of the torturer himself.
The leaked emails, purportedly written by Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma, are shocking not because they conform to a cliched journalistic stock narrative of the human rights-abusing dictator as a grandiose figure, but because how they show how ordinary are so many of their preoccupations.
There is no cunning plan revealed to smuggle in weapons of mass destruction, only evidence of how Assad got round the US sanctions imposed on him to buy items from iTunes.… Seguir leyendo »
There are words with meanings corrosive as acid. Heavy with the stench of historic crimes. Words that damn those who use them. One such word is “Judenrein“, the Nazi-era word that means “cleansed of Jews”. It is a surprise, then, to learn that it is a word that has been appropriated by Binyamin Netanyahu to describe the Palestinian demand for the dismantling of the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. More shocking still, according to reports yesterday, it was used in talks between Netanyahu and Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier, foreign minister of a country still haunted by the guilt of its Nazi past – who was compelled to nod in embarrassed silence.… Seguir leyendo »