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TOPIC: iran protests

Geopolitics

Sabotage, Desertions, Gamers? Why It's Getting Harder For Iran To Squash Protests

Faced with the resilience of the national protests, Iran's security forces are now facing unusual acts of sabotage on state installations, and clerical authorities have started to wonder which of their loyalist forces can be firmly relied on still to defend the regime.

Ten weeks into the nationwide anti-state uprising in Iran, the regime's security agencies face a crisis driven by four key factors: 1. Losses among the ranks through disobedience, desertion or negligence on the streets; 2. insufficient forces because of casualties from clashes; 3. rising number of acts of subversion and sabotage, especially targeting strategic installations; 4. cyber-attacks and security traps laid from abroad.

At the same time, the Iranian regime is facing an apparent change of tactics among protesters compared to previous rounds of unrest, which is particular to the new generations involved in this movement. Senior officials of the Revolutionary Guards corps — the body effectively coordinating the repression — say the protesters are mostly aged between 15 and 25 years.

It is a kind of Gen-Z brigade working with older and experienced protesters who led previous rounds of protests in 2009, and especially 2017 and 2019 when public unrest reemerged with particular vigor.

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Kyiv In The Dark, China’s COVID Record, Stuttgart Christmas Market

👋 Goedemorgen!*

Welcome to Thursday, where 25% of Kyiv remains without power after heavy Russian air strikes on energy infrastructure, China sees record COVID cases, and sorry Thanksgiving, t’is the season for German Christmas markets. Meanwhile, Portuguese news website Mensagem reports from the city of Sintra, in western Portugal, where single parents have banded together to create a new model of joint child care.

[*Flemish]

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How Iranian Protesters Unmasked The Regime's Old Game Of "Divide And Rule"

Iran's clerical regime has worked hard over 40 years to set Iranians against each other on multiple bases, and must now watch a nation united in opposition to itself and breaking its red lines, notably those set around gender, faith and even ethnicity.

-Analysis-

In Iran, after decades of organized social segregation and the Islamic Republic's exclusion of the vast majority of Iranians in favor of a small minority of devotees, a nation has now risen to fight segregation — or apartheid — in all its forms.

Perhaps to attract wider attention worldwide and win over the opinion of Western democracies, wedded as they are to the ideal of gender equality, public declarations and reports have spoken of Iran's ongoing protests as a 'women's revolution' or the 'first women's revolution.'

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Java Quake Death Toll Jumps, Defiant Iranian Soccer Players, Monster Goldfish

👋 Kaixo!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where the death toll in Indonesia’s earthquake rises to 252, the Iranian soccer team refuses to sing their national anthem in apparent support of protests, and holy carp, that’s a nice catch. Meanwhile, Suman Mandal in Indian website The Wire looks at how the deaths of migrant workers and Qatar's poor human rights record will linger over the World Cup.

[*Basque]

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Geopolitics
​Elahe Boghrat

Will Iran's Uprising Trigger An Islamic Reformation Across The Middle East?

The showdown between Iranian protesters and the clerical regime is another episode in a decades-long clash of theocracy and Western-style secular modernity. Its outcomes will reverberate across the entire Islamic world, so the West needs to pay attention.

-Analysis-

The Middle Ages returned to the Middle East in 1979, when Iran became an Islamic Republic. Like Europe in previous centuries, this regime, which succeeded a secular, Westernizing monarchy, turned religion into "a business”, as described by the 20th-century Iranian writer Ahmad Kasravi — who was himself murdered by a fanatic.

Islamists were present in the region before the ayatollahs took power in Tehran, but they had no government with which to impose their dogmas — excluding certain traditionalist countries such as Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.

In Europe, modernity arose in reaction to the Catholic Church's oppression and crimes. But in the Middle East, the mosque became the response to an influx of Western modernity that made traditional, and mostly Muslim, societies face certain historical contradictions. Traditionalism and religion — and even superstitions and bigotry — were briefly hidden behind a thin, modernizing façade, the values of which were barely understood, let alone put to use for social progress.

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Geopolitics
Firoozeh Nordstrom

Is Elon Watching? How Chaos At Twitter Could Impact Iranian Protesters

Two anonymous Iranian Twitter users spoke about their hopes that Iran's protests could hasten the end of the unpopular regime, and what Elon Musk's takeover of the the platform could mean for them.

The world has been paying special attention to the scope and endurance of anti-state protests in Iran that erupted in September after the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. A key to maintaining momentum and attention has been social media, with users and activists eager to stay in contact and communicate around what many in Iran hope will be the movement to end the 40-year Islamist reign.

Social media's role in resisting oppressive regimes dates back to the protests of the Arab Spring, and more than 10 years later, Twitter in particular (with the option to have an anonymous account) is being used again in Iran.

However, since Elon Musk's takeover of the platform, serious concerns have been raised about whether the platform will survive. Ciaran O’Connor, senior analyst at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, said in an interview that "If Twitter was to ‘go in the morning’, let's say, all of this—all of the firsthand evidence of atrocities or potential war crimes, and all of this potential evidence—would simply disappear."

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Geopolitics

Unnerved By Protests, Tehran Is Now Hounding Foreign Embassies And Iranian Ex-Pats

Amid increasing tensions prompted by ongoing anti-government protests, reports from Tehran show increased surveillance of some foreign embassies. Iranian agents are said to be particularly curious about visas to get out of the country.

As anti-government protests in Iran persist, well-informed sources in Tehran say state authorities have begun tracking and intimidating more targets it deems suspicious, which now includes intensified surveillance of foreign embassies.

One source told Kayhan London this week that Iranian employees of the British and German embassies have received threatening calls from unidentified private numbers, thought to be Iranian security officials, summoning them for questioning The practice of sinister invitations to undocumented interrogations has become standard in the 40-year regime of Iran's Islamic Republic.

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Geopolitics
Kayhan-London

Report: As Iranian Protests Continue, Regime Officials Are Fleeing To Venezuela

Reports from Tehran suggest that some senior officials may be "quietly" taking exile in the South American nation led by Nicolas Maduro, a trusted ally of the Iranian regime.

As the Iranian public persists with weeks of angry protests against the country's clerical regime, reports from Tehran's airport suggest some senior officials may have begun to pack their bags and leave the country.

Ordinary Iranians will wonder where they could go to hide, given Tehran's relative lack of friends and allies around the world. They may travel to countries the regime has helped in past decades — even if they are not the first-choice destinations for anyone keen to enjoy their ill-gotten gains. A quick look around the world map limits the choices.

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In The News

Le Weekend ➡️ Ghibli Park Opens, New Zulu King, World Ballet Day

November 5-6

  • Welcome to Listenbourg
  • Peru’s Avengers police
  • France’s funeral cargo bike
  • … and much more.
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In The News
Renate Mattar, Sophia Constantino, Laure Gautherin and Anne-Sophie Goninet

North Korea Fires 23 Missiles, Bibi’s Comeback, Lions On The Loose Down Under

👋 Ahoj!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where North Korea fires an unprecedented barrage of missiles, Benjamin Netanyahu looks set for a comeback in Israel, and Twitter’s coveted blue tick now comes at a price. Meanwhile, in Egyptian media Mada Masr, political scientist Fatemeh Sadeghi looks at the mass protests shaking Iran and their long-lasting effects on society.

[*Czech]

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Geopolitics
Lina Attalah

Yes, Iran's Protests Are Different This Time — But How Will It End?

Mass demonstrations and civil disobedience continue to take place in Iran, shaking both its ruling regime and the world. But beyond the headlines, gauging what effects they will really have is a trickier exercise. Mada Masr asked Iranian political scientist Fatemeh Sadeghi about the biggest acts of civil disobedience Iran has seen in decades.

CAIRO — Iranian protesters have continued to take to the streets of their country six weeks since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was killed by the country’s morality police after they arrested her for “unsuitable” attire.

Protests have spread across the country, with girls in schools, students in universities and labor groups in workplaces galvanized by the movement. Amnesty International reported that military bodies instructed province commanders to “severely confront” the protesters. Rights groups estimate that over 200 people have been killed, including at least 23 children, while thousands have been arrested.

On Oct. 15, a deadly fire broke out in Tehran’s Evin Prison, known to hold human rights activists, journalists, students, lawyers and other opposition figures, raising questions about the circumstances behind the incident. Eight prisoners died, according to official statements, but human rights groups estimate the casualties to be higher.

In this conversation with independent Egyptian media Mada Masr, Fatemeh Sadeghi, a political scientist focused on political thought and gender studies and living between Tehran and London, where she is a research associate at the UCL Institute for Global Prosperity, charts the protests’ evolution over the past month and the state’s response to it.

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In The News

Le Weekend ➡️ Musk’s Bird, Rescue Rats, Soulages Back To Black

October 29-30

  • Kadyrov's long game
  • Musk’s Twitter, to leave or not to leave
  • Rescue rats in the rubble
  • … and much more.
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