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The Odd Couple Iran and Qatar: Two regional misfits Iran and Qatar have sustained an unlikely relationship of mutual tolerance for best part of 30 years. But in today’s international climate Qatar have opted to side more and more with their GCC neighbors, while Iran attempts to cope with increased pressures. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani meets with Ayatollah Ali Khamanei in 2009 (© The Center for Preserving and Publishing the Works of Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) Iran-Qatar relations face unprecedented uncertainty. The Odd Couple
Michael Dobbs | FOREIGN POLICY
False Flag - By Mark Perry False Flag - By Mark Perry Buried deep in the archives of America's intelligence services are a series of memos, written during the last years of President George W. Bush's administration, that describe how Israeli Mossad officers recruited operatives belonging to the terrorist group Jundallah by passing themselves off as American agents. According to two U.S. intelligence officials, the Israelis, flush with American dollars and toting U.S. passports, posed as CIA officers in recruiting Jundallah operatives -- what is commonly referred to as a "false flag" operation. The memos, as described by the sources, one of whom has read them and another who is intimately familiar with the case, investigated and debunked reports from 2007 and 2008 accusing the CIA, at the direction of the White House, of covertly supporting Jundallah -- a Pakistan-based Sunni extremist organization.

It is that time of the year again. Volunteers at train stations and shopping centres, often wearing military uniforms, are selling little red paper and plastic poppies to 'remember the service' of British veterans. The poppies have taken over the official remembrance day and turned it into a month long ritual from which one cannot opt out without having to take a position. Well, here is my position. I don't like the coerciveness of the poppy ritual, the way it tries to bring everyone together around a single shared narrative of remembrance, with its compulsory yet glib emotions of gratitude and sadness. The Philosopher's Beard The Philosopher's Beard
Surveillance Inc: How Western Tech Firms Are Helping Arab Dictators - Trevor Timm & Jillian C. York - International Surveillance Inc: How Western Tech Firms Are Helping Arab Dictators - Trevor Timm & Jillian C. York - International As democratic movements spread in the Middle East, governments are cracking down, and that means big business for the companies who help them do it. A computer systems coordinator at Tunisia Television in Tunis / Reuters Reliance means vulnerability, and the activists and citizen journalists of the Arab uprisings rely heavily on the Internet and mobile technology. They use text messaging to coordinate protests, for example, or social media sites to upload the photos and videos that then make it into mainstream global media.
One of the most peculiar, and least understood, features of the Washington policy process is the extraordinary dependence of policymakers on the work of think tanks. Most Americans — even most of those who follow politics closely — would probably struggle to name a think tank or to explain precisely what a think tank does. Yet over the past half-century, think tanks have come to play a central role in policy development — and even in the surrounding political combat. Over that period, however, the balance between those two functions — policy development and political combat — has been steadily shifting. And with that shift, the work of Washington think tanks has undergone a transformation. Today, while most think tanks continue to serve as homes for some academic-style scholarship regarding public policy, many have also come to play more active (if informal) roles in politics. Devaluing the Think Tank > Publications > National Affairs Devaluing the Think Tank > Publications > National Affairs

The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers

All revolutionaries want their stories told to the world, and no one has conveyed the hopes and dreams of Egyptians more vividly than Alaa Al Aswany. The dentist turned author rose to fame with his 2002 novel, The Yacoubian Building, which charted Egypt's cultural upheaval and gradual dilapidation since throwing off its colonial shackles. Aswany used his prominence to help found the Kefaya political movement, which first articulated the demands that would energize the youth in Tahrir Square: an end to corruption, a rejection of hereditary rule, and the establishment of a true democratic culture. The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers
Foreign policy - Politique étrangère - Diplomacy - Diplomatie

U.S. - Saudi

Source: Creamer’s Media South African Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has confirmed that the country will increase its naval budget. Answering a question from Engineering News Online at a press conference at the 2012 Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) in Cape Town on Wednesday, Sisulu stated that the amount would be announced in her department’s budget. “When we adopted the [Southern African Development Community (SADC)] Maritime Security Strategy, we committed ourselves to giving more money to the navy. This is a top priority for us.” Africa Defense Journal Africa Defense Journal