“A somber revolutionary anniversary in Iran”

AlJazeera: “According to an official poll, the underlying causes of the widespread discontent in the recent protests were social and political. The head of Strategic Analysis Centre, Hessamudin Ashna, said that the polls show 60 percent of the population want reform but another 31 percent want ‘substantial changes’.”

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“Israel’s ‘Safe Zone’ Is Creeping Farther Into Syria”

The Intercept: “The safe zone appears intended to keep the Syrian army and its Iranian and Lebanese allies as far away from Israel’s border as possible, as well as solidify Israel’s control over the occupied Golan Heights. Israel seized the Golan from Syria in 1967’s Six-Day War. Expanding a buffer zone would likely make any negotiations over the return of the Syrian territory more difficult in the future, because the Golan Heights will be surrounded on both sides by areas with significant Israeli influence.”

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“The Fire That Fueled the Iran Protests”

Prof Asef Bayat in The Atlantic: “How do we explain the eruption? Among the numerous observations, two broad explanations stand out. The first views the unrest as a prelude to a revolution. The other understands it as an example of how Iranians typically air their public concerns. The reality, however, seems different. Neither simply an extension of routine protests, nor a prologue to revolution, what transpired in Iran recently was an extraordinary popular revolt. At its core: The “middle-class poor,” the rising angry class produced by a neoliberal age in which people’s welfare is left to the mercy of the market. With the opening of Iran’s economy, this class has benefited from educational opportunities, but failed in the job market; their expectations are high, but their livelihood less certain. With a disposition distinct from both the middle class and the poor, this disenchanted and restless class is poised to haunt indifferent authorities.”

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“Iranian opposition cleric accuses Khamenei of abuse of power”

Reuters: “‘You have been Iran’s top leader for three decades, but still speak like an opposition,’ Karroubi said in an open letter to Khamenei published on Saham News, the official website of his reformist political party.”

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“Rouhani moves to leverage unrest to loosen IRGC grip on economy”

Al-Monitor: “In the aftermath of the recent protests in Iran, public announcements about a concerted effort to get the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Iranian army (Artesh) to divest from the economy seem to signal that President Hassan Rouhani remains firmly committed to his agenda. Indeed, unlike the past — when civil unrest was quickly assumed by default to weaken moderates as the security state stepped in — elite responses to the protests have this time acknowledged grievances. Believed to have initially been instigated by hard-line foes who sought to undermine him, Rouhani is now using the protests to leverage his efforts to restrict the influence of unaccountable centers of power.”

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