Forty maps that explain the Middle East.
Includes sections on Middle East history, the region today, Israel-Palestine, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and oil, Iraq and Libya, and "points of light." [more inside]
Amnesty International believes
has executed at least 600 people in 2011
in what it calls "a killing spree of staggering proportions". [more inside]
Ahmadinejad allies charged with sorcery.
Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested in recent days and charged with being "magicians" and invoking djinns (spirits). Increasingly, there is a rift
between the President and his Supreme Leader
Current TV previously & previously
, the media company founded by Al Gore after the 2000 election, has picked up the kinds of in depth long form journalism being rapidly dropped by major networks, but has been tantalizingly unavailable for those without cable; until now. They have been putting their Vanguard episodes up on their website and on YouTube. [more inside]
As the "ground zero mosque"
story approaches bipartisan consensus
, thanks to unexpected statements
by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (joining a growing opposition
), several journalists trace the origins
of how the Park 51 community center became(warning: CNN) a toxic subject
. What they found was Pamela Geller
, a blogger at Atlas Shrugs
, who has some very interesting vlogs
. You may previously know her from this cozy 2006 interview
with Bush's infamous anti-UN UN ambassador John Bolton
Today is the 20th anniversary of the permanent fatwa pronounced by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
against the life of Salman Rushdie
for writing his novel The Satanic Verses
. Said the Ayatollah: "Even if Salman Rushdie repents and becomes the most pious man of all time, it is incumbent on every Muslim to employ everything he has got, his life and wealth, to send him to Hell."
The Princeton Shahnama Project
is an "archive of book paintings--commonly known as Persian Miniatures--that were created to illustrate scenes from the Persian national epic, the Shahnama (the Book of Kings). The Shahnama is a poem of some 50,000 couplets that was composed by Abu'l Qasim Firdausi over a period of several decades in the late tenth and early eleventh centuries. The core of this archive is a fund of 277 illustrations
from five illustrated manuscripts
of the Shahnama that are housed in Princeton University's Firestone Library." The site also has the complete Shahnama in the Warner & Warner translation but here's another translation by Helen Zimmern [more inside]
Satanist Rave Shut Down outside Tehran.
Iran's drive to enforce Islamic morals netted revellers from Britain and Sweden after police swooped on a "satanic" concert organised over the internet.
Police arrested 230 people and seized drugs, alcohol and 800 illicit CDs after raiding the event in Karaj, 12 miles west of Tehran. Those arrested included young women in skimpy and "inappropriate" clothing, officers said.
A group of Mennonites at the University of Waterloo has come under fire for inviting a fundamentalist Iranian cleric to speak at a religious-studies conference. Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi
, who has openly supported human-rights violations in Iran
, once lovingly declared: "If anyone insults the Islamic sanctity, Islam has permitted for his blood to be spilled, no court needed either." While Iranian-Canadians are up in arms, academic dean Jim Pankratz defends the invitation: "We really do believe it's important to talk to those who take opposing, even hostile, views." Persian bloggers
see it quite differently.
22 basic suggested readings on the Middle East
from history professor and informed commenter on Middle Eastern affairs Juan Cole
"Is the Administration’s new policy aiding our enemies in the war on terrorism?" New article by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker.
is home to the Blue Mosque
and other buildings with their unique blue tiles
which are beautifully shown in photographs
by flickr's horizon
Esfahan is a world heritage site and is home to many examples of traditional Persian Architecture which is made up of eight traditional forms
which taken together form the foundation on which it was based in the same way that music
was once based on a finite number of notes.
Animated video broadcast on Iran's IRIB
state television, apparently aimed at children, seemingly promotes the virtues of becoming a suicide bomber. Coralized wmv link
Iranian students demonstrate
outside Italian embassy in Iran.Chanting anti-Zionism slogans, the ralliers called for the withdrawal of the Zionists from the occupied Palestine.
They also called for the Italian government's explanation on the Nov 15, 2000 assassination of the Eduardo Agnelli
suspiciously at the hand of the zionists.
, born in June 9, 1954 in New York of a Christian father and a Jewish mother, had converted to Islam four years before the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979.
He was the only son of the Italian tycoon Gianni Agnelli -director and the main shareholder of Fiat and Ferrari automaking factories - who died of prostate cancer in January 24, 2003.
Some pictures which prove he was a Moslem.
What of Iran's nuclear program? That was not a pressing concern for the young people I met. None of them raised the issue in conversation with me. When I asked them about it, they fell into two groups... Yet both insisted with equal vehemence that an American or Israeli bombing of nuclear installations, let alone an Iraq-style invasion, would be a wholly unacceptable response to Iran's nuclear ambitions... A perceptive local analyst reinforced the point. Who or what, he asked, could give this regime renewed popular support, especially among the young? "Only the United States!" If... whatever we do to slow down the nuclearization of Iran does not end up merely slowing down the democratization of Iran; and if, at the same time, we can find policies that help the gradual social emancipation and eventual self-liberation of Young Persia, then the long-term prospects are good. The Islamic revolution, like the French and Russian revolutions before it, has been busy devouring its own children. One day, its grandchildren will devour the revolutionSoldiers of the Hidden Imam
In case of emergency, nuke Iran.
From the folks
who brought you Operation Iraqi Freedom
and the "last throes"
of the insurgency, the latest strategy for enhancing homeland security and US global standing is to launch a nuclear first-strike against Iran in the event of another 9/11-style attack -- whether Iran has ties to the attackers or not. As Juan Cole points out, turning a Shiite Muslim nation into the next Hiroshima could have disagreeable consequences
. (First reported by the American Conservative
, not your typical liberal rag, and via DailyKos
two teenagers. Their crime? Making love. Homosexuality is a crime under Sharia
law. Meanwhile, newly "liberated" Iraq moves closer to embedding traditional Islamic laws in its new constitution, reducing rights for women
. Will Iraqi gays
be the next to suffer the wrath of "Allah's law" after years of secular oppression under Saddam Hussein?
An amazing piece of animation made all the better by its magical subject:
the lovely architecture of Persia and its storybook capital for some 200 years, Isfahan
. Cristobal Vila, principle of Eterea Studios, shares behind the scenes
information... and you can even purchase a print from the movie
, if you're so inclined.
Be sure to check out his other works
Via Times & Seasons
Criticize Iran? Obviously, you're with the Mossad.
As it turns out, Al Jazeera
is run by Americans and Zionists bent on discrediting Islam in the West, heightening tensions among Islamic countries, and obstructing President Khatami's Dialogue Among Civilizations initiative. Tehran Times has the scoop
Iran expelled me, but its press restrictions play into the hands of the west's fantasies about Islamism:
"Contrary to the fantasies of neo-conservatives, Iran is not on the verge of revolutionand, if it was, the US wouldn't be able to orchestrate it. There is no coherent political opposition or leader able to harness public discontent. A significant number of Iranians are profiting from an economic boom and are not ready to risk their livelihood for democracy protests," writes Dan De Luce, the Guardian's reporter in Tehran who has recently been expelled
by the Iranian goverment.
"Who you gonna believe — me or your own eyes?"
NYT's. Safire projects some troubling future.