Tag Archives | Middle East Unrest

Iran To Introduce Islamically-Correct ‘Halal Internet’

iraninternetI was initially excited, in the assumption that ‘Halal internet’ referred to a way of ordering mouth-watering kebabs online. Fast Company explains:

The Iranian government is planning to wall-off much of the country’s online access. A high-ranking Iranian official has their new solution: A “Halal Internet” that will run as a nationwide intranet and be subject to extensive censorship.

According to Iranian Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs Ali Agha Mohammadi, the ”Halal Internet” project is expected to be completed in 18 months. Mohammadi explicitly cited China’s extensive internet controls as an inspiration for the project, which will be completed with the help of what the Minister calls “foreign consultants.”

Iranian Minister of Information and Communications Technology Reza Taghipour Anvari is also on record as a supporter of the plan. Persian-language financial paper Donya e Eqtesad cited him as praising the nationwide intranet’s ability to censor “dirty and unethical” content.

In nearby Pakistan, Fast Company has already reported on the growth of explicitly Islam-oriented Facebook rival MillatFacebook.

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Juan Cole: Libya Is Not Iraq

liyaIs the bombing of Libya Obama’s Iraq redux? Informed Comment says no, laying out the factors that make the Libyan intervention ethical, non-imperialist, and fundamentally different from Bush’s 2003 invasion. Convincing or not?

On the surface, the situation in Libya a week and a half ago posed a contradiction between two key principles of Left politics: supporting the ordinary people and opposing foreign domination of them. Libya’s workers and townspeople had risen up to overthrow the dictator in city after city. Even in the capital of Tripoli, working-class neighborhoods such as Suq al-Jumah and Tajoura had chased out the secret police. In the two weeks after February 17, there was little or no sign of the protesters being armed or engaging in violence.

Then Muammar Qaddafi’s sons rallied his armored brigades and air force to bomb the civilian crowds and shoot tank shells into them. Members of the Transitional Government Council in Benghazi estimate that 8000 were killed as Qaddafi’s forces attacked and subdued Zawiya, Zuara, Ra’s Lanuf, Brega, Ajdabiya, and the working class districts of Tripoli itself, using live ammunition fired into defenseless rallies.

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Anti-Protest Laws Being Pushed Through Egyptian Government

Tahrir Square on 8 February 2011

Over 1 million protestors in Tahrir Square demanded the removal of the Mubarak regime on February 8, 2011. Photo: Jonathan Rashad (CC)

Ahram Online reports:

The Egyptian cabinet approved yesterday a decree-law that criminalises strikes, protests, demonstrations and sit-ins that interrupt private or state owned businesses or affect the economy in any way.

The decree-law also assigns severe punishment to those who call for or incite action, with the maximum sentence one year in prison and fines of up to half a million pounds.

The new law, which still needs to be approved by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, will be in force as long as the emergency law is still in force. Egypt has been in a state of emergency since the assassination of former president Anwar Sadat in 1981.

Since former president Hosni Mubarak stepped down on 11 February, Egypt has witnessed escalating nationwide labour strikes and political protests.

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