News and Analysis (2/10/14)

“The new powers, once approved by the president, will let authorities block web pages within hours, in what the opposition has said is part of a government bid to stifle discussion of a corruption scandal”

An IAEA statement Sunday said Iran had complied with the first steps of that deal and both sides on the weekend signed off on an additional “seven practical measures” to be implemented by Iran by May 15. The Islamic Republic’s official IRNA news agency said Iran will provide information on mines, facilities and source materials of nuclear and laser activities”:

“Speaker after speaker stood up to berate Damascus at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons …, until it came to Russia’s turn…. Russia defended President Bashar al-Assad and said his government needed more time to ship the chemicals safely through territory where it is fighting rebels” …

… as peace talks resume with no optimism …

… and “[r]elief convoys carrying humanitarian aid into a besieged rebel-held area of the central Syrian city of Homs came under fire for a second consecutive day on Sunday despite an appeal by the UN to government and rebel forces to respect a ceasefire, which is due to expire on Monday”:

Two can play at the “big stick” game. Fars said the plan was part of “Iran’s response to Washington’s beefed up naval presence in the Persian Gulf”:

“Egypt’s interior ministry said on Sunday it had broken up a ‘military wing’ of the Muslim Brotherhood, allegedly formed to attack policemen…. The Brotherhood …said it rejected violence decades ago and believes in peaceful protest against the new, military-installed government:

“Afghanistan has improved voting procedures to ensure April’s presidential election is not plagued by the complaints of irregularities and fraud that marred the last vote in 2009, a senior official said”, but he did worry that violence could disrupt the voting in [the country’s] first democratic leadership transition”:

“The change now allows officials to consider whether the support was not only limited but potentially part of ‘routine commercial transactions or routine social transactions’. The change does not specifically address ‘freedom fighters’” leaders of Arab Spring uprisings:

USAID announces “three new development initiatives worth almost $300 million is part of a U.S. effort to ensure that Afghanistan, as its ‘war economy’ ends, won’t slide backwards into greater poverty or reverse gains made over the last 12 years in health, education and other areas”:

There are plenty of sound reason to oppose foreign aid, but Rand Paul joins the “Muslim witch hunt” up to which his more courageous father stood by engaging in “the ugliest type of neoconservative fear-mongering: Muslim-baiting”:







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