Items of Note

Posted on February 8, 2009. Filed under: Public Square |

A quick update here,

Firstly, the New York Times has a decent piece on the situation of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, titled ‘ As Sri Lanka fighting seems near an end,  fears rise over what comes next’;

Even with the end of conventional warfare, anger and resentment are likely to linger for many Tamils in the north — anger at what they call decades of official marginalization, and resentment over what they say are discriminatory education policies and the suppression of the Tamil language by administrations dominated by the Sinhalese Buddhist majority.
Until those issues are addressed, and unless the war ends on equitable terms, many people here — Tamils and Sinhalese alike — say they fear that the war will not so much end as change form, as a new generation of Tamils comes of age discontented

Moving to an entirely different sphere of politics and influence, the Foreign Policy Passport blog breaks news of an interesting contender preparing to run for the Presidential Office in Iran,

Mohammed Khatami, the reformist former president, has announced that he’ll be challening Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June.

What remains to be seen is to what extent Khatami’s entry into the race will energize young Iranians — especially in Tehran — who have become deeply disillusioned with politics. And, of course, Ahmadinejad and his hardline allies will probably stop at nothing to win. As the LA Times notes, the president has the Interior Ministry firmly under his thumb, and Khatami is not known as a fighter.

Another big question now: How will Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei play it? In ideology and temperament, he’s much closer to Ahmadinejad, who he supported in 2005. But Khamenei’s expressed some displeasure with the incumbent over the past year and he certainly doesn’t want to be associated with the lousy Iranian economy. Maybe he’ll decide to sit this one out?

No matter who wins, Iran’s elections this year are going to make things difficult for Hillary Clinton and her squadron of super-envoys, but a win for Khatami could fundamentally change the local and international dynamics that have been mostly static for the last 30 years.


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4 Responses to “Items of Note”

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Hopefully the poor state of Iran’s economy will convince Khamenei to support Khatami. It will be interesting to see how it plays out, especially watching the effects on our own government.

Iran’s economy will influence the Ayatollah, but I would hope that isn’t the Ahmadinejad deal-breaker for him, because it would be easy for Mahmoud to campaign against that saying it’s really down to a global recession that was caused by, as far as he is concerned, the ‘Great Satan’, America.

Instead, if Khamenei can see the shoddy management of the country over the past few years, and recognise that the world seems to be ready for a shift in its relationship with Iran, and thus endorse Khatami, that would be a much more satisfying decision, as far as I’m concerned.

Right well I don’t believe our country’s opinion on their leader will affect Iran whatsoever, I am simply hoping that the effect will be positive on the ‘Great Satan.’

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