Thursday August 17, 2017

Opinion: Hezbollah and the Balance of Power in Lebanon

Hezbollah has been designated a terrorist organization by inter alia, the Arab League (of which Lebanon is a member) but apparently this has not affected its position as a major political player within Lebanon.

In an article by Neville Teller, who worked in the Civil Service, along with writing for BBC radio commenting on the Middle East political scene for some 30 years, with three books published on the subject, he writes, “Hezbollah has succeeded in infiltrating so deeply into Lebanon’s body politic that it has become a virtual ‘state within a state’.  It not only directly runs a range of social, health, infrastructure and media services, but its heavily armed military wing conducts itself much like an independent army.  Its political bloc, designated “March 8”, holds 57 of the 128 seats in Lebanon’s parliament.”


Iran's Upcoming Election: Choosing "Between the Worse and the Worst of the Worst"

Iran’s upcoming May 19 presidential election will likely not result in changes regarding the regime's behavior, and this should not be overlooked during the Trump administration’s major policy review for that country.

“What is worth understanding is the fact that the presidency in Iran lacks any significant authority and this post is under the heavy influence of the Supreme Leader,” explained Mohammad Mohaddessin, Foreign Affairs Chairman of the National Council of Resistance (NCRI) at an online conference they hosted last week with former Italian foreign minister Giulio Terzi.


Iran: State TV Censored Rouhani's Documentary Days Before Election

The Iranian News Agency, ILNA, reported that state TV cut parts of documentary released by President Hassan Rouhani's campaign, effectively censoring the film. 

A Rouhani campaign official, spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters, confirmed that a censored segment showed supporters chanting for opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi. A member of the Green Movement that hard-liners oppose, Mousavi has been under house-arrest since 2011.


Coal Mine Explosion Exploited by Iran's Rouhani in an an Attempt to Gain Votes Before the Election

At least 35 miners were killed and another 25 others were injured in a major coal mine explosion struck northern Iran last Thursday.  Many required hospitalization after inhaling gas from the blast during rescue efforts. The explosion occurred in the Zemestanyurt mine, outside of Azadshahr.

In an interview with state run Tasnim news agency, Ramezan Bahrami, head of the regime’s Mining & Industry House in Golestan Province said, “Financial problems resulted in the lack of safety precautions in the coal mine. The workers themselves are reduced to negotiating for their own demands.” He said further that contributing factors for the high fatalities included lack of safety standards and inadequate emergency services in mining areas.


First Sham Debate in Iran's Sham Elections

The first of three debates in the Iranian presidential election campaign has been televised. The debate was “hopeless” and “boring” according to the television viewers who watched it. 

The candidates participating in the debate are all current government officials and they made an effort to only speak about economic issues rather than political problems in the country.


Who is Hassan Rouhani?


Iran: Stock Losers of Financial Firms Rally in Mashhad, 6 June 2017

Iran: Protest In Tehran, In front of Parliament against Credit Institutions, 6 June 2017