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Syria in Limbo: Neither Reunification nor Partition Are Yet Possible

By Vahik Soghom, BA. AUB, MA. Univ of St. Andrews, Humboldt Univ of Berlin Is Syria headed toward some form of partition? Recent developments in the conflict give credence to a number of fears that have been making the rounds for quite a while now. Show More Summary

Round-Up: Palmyra, Contingency Planning for Regime Losses, UN Response to Enslavement Crisis

As some are saying that IS now controls 50% of Syria, see this thorough post on the significance of the regime’s loss of Palmyra: Islamic State captures Tadmur (Palmyra) in new sudden streak of offensives – Oryx Blog In a surprisingShow More Summary

Journalist Exiled the Day He Completes Six Years in Prison

Ahmad Zeidabadi, a journalist who served six years in prison for his work, was transferred to the city of Gonabad in northeastern Iran today to begin serving his time in exile. The Tehran Prosecutor’s Office informed Mr. Zeidabadi’s family earlier this week that he would be exiled to Gonabad immediately upon release from Rajaee Shahr […]

Writer Prosecuted for Facebook Posts Critical of State Censorship

Authorities in Iran are prosecuting another writer on national security charges for signing statements and writing posts that criticized state censorship on the Facebook page of the Iranian Writers’ Association. Reza Khandan Mahabadi, a member of the Board of Directors of the Iranian Writers’ Association, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that […]

New Dabiq Issue Reiterates Justifications for Yazidi Enslavement

Click here to download Dabiq issue #9. A new issue of Dabiq was released today (#9, They Plot and Allah Plots), which contains another article justifying the practice of slavery against enemies. (Thousands of Yazidi women were kidnapped and enslaved as concubines when IS attacked Sinjar in Northern Iraq, in August 2014. Show More Summary

The Alawi Community and the Syria Crisis – by Fabriche Balanche

The Alawi Community and the Syria Crisis by Fabriche Balanche – original post here “Alawis to the grave and Christians to Beirut!” This troubling slogan was chanted during demonstrations against the Assad regime in spring 2011, and exactly who was behind the chanting remains a controversial question. Show More Summary

Young Activist Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison for Facebook Postings and Peaceful Protest

A young civil activist who has been held at Evin Prison since October 2014 has been sentenced to seven years in prison at her interrogator’s urging, a source close to the case told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, for her Facebook postings and her participation in peaceful gatherings. Atena Daemi, 27, who […]

Basij Militia Unveils Messaging App that Gives State Access to All Conversations

The Basij paramilitary organization, a subsidiary of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), announced the launch of its new messaging service for mobile phones, “Salam,” which will give state officials full access to any content flowing across the service. The new messaging application, now available for download free of charge, will use servers owned and controlled by […]

Conference Announcement—Syria: Moving Beyond the Stalemate

Announcing the St Andrews Third Biennial Conference on Syria: “Moving Beyond the Stalemate,” 1-3 July in St. Andrews, Scotland. The international conference will bring together in one place the largest and most diverse concentration of scholars of Syria. Show More Summary

Orange Blossom Jam

I am coming to the end of my Sicilian stay, and this year I managed to be there for orange blossom season even if I arrived at the tail end of the season. I had Amy come back to visit, and one of the first things we did was to go down to the citrus grove to... View Article

Iranian Officials Re-Affirm Facebook Will Remain Completely Blocked in Iran

Despite the Iranian government’s stated intention to move towards the selective blocking of Internet content (“smart filtering”), a top government official proclaimed that the social networking giant Facebook would continue to be completely blocked in Iran. Show More Summary

Cartoon 113: Evin Prison to Become A Park

Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said this week that the Tehran Municipality is prepared to enter negotiations with the Iranian Judiciary to convert the Evin Prison complex in northwestern Tehran into a public park. For decades, the notorious Evin Prison has been one of the primary facilities where Iranian political prisoners have been detained, interrogated, […]

“No Books, No Book Fair,” Says Publisher of Banned Books

  Leading Iranian Publisher Boycotts Tehran International Book Fair Iranian publisher Shahla Lahiji has boycotted the annual Tehran International Book Fair for the fourth year running, to protest the government’s refusal to issue licenses to her publishing house. “Since 2014, I have suggested 55 books for publication, but none of them have been issued a […]

Iran’s New Search Engine Denies Access to Political or Human Rights Content on Internet

A new Internet search engine developed by the Iranian government, Parsijoo, has been designed to keep Iranian users from accessing any political or human rights-related content. According to research conducted by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, the new engine’s display of search results does not follow the norms of other engines used […]

Husband of Jailed Activist Narges Mohammadi Asks Rouhani’s Minister to Review Her Case

250 Activists and Journalists Sign Statement Calling for Her Release Iranian Judiciary authorities have advised the family of detained human rights activist Narges Mohammadi that her May 5, 2015 arrest and transfer to Evin Prison was in fact enforcement of her six-year prison sentence dating back from a 2011 judicial case, which she had been […]

Basij Militias Will Run 2000 Child Care Centers, 25% of All Day Care in Iran

Teaching Islamic Values Becomes Priority in Face of Flagging Public Support Iran’s Welfare Organization will allow the Revolutionary Guard’s volunteer paramilitary arm, the Basij, to establish and operate 2,000 child care centers, which would comprise 25% of all day care facilities in the country. The move reflects a growing preoccupation with what is perceived by […]

“Did Ali Mamlouk, Assad’s Spy Chief, Try to Carry out a Coup?” by Joshua Landis

[Addendum: 3 hours after posting: A trusted source says that Mamlouk has been working as normal this past week.] I have been asked about what I think of the latest Telegraph news story that claims that Ali Mamlouk, the head of intelligence...Show More Summary

Teacher Protests Sweep Iran despite Threats by Officials Not to Participate

Thousands Gather in Many Cities to Call Attention to Wages below the Poverty Line Another nationwide protest by Iranian teachers swept through dozens of cities throughout Iran on May 7, with thousands taking to the streets to draw attention to wages that are below the poverty line. Retired teacher and activist Hashem Khastar told the […]

“The evolving humanitarian response to the Syrian crisis,” by Marika Sosnowski

The evolving humanitarian response to the Syrian crisis Marika Sosnowski – @MikiSosnowski – http://marikasosnowski.com/ For Syria Comment, May 2015 In 2015, the UN has requested a staggering US$8.4 billion to help 18 million people within Syria and the immediate region. Show More Summary

Radical Website Calls for Murder of Musician, Iranian Officials Silent

 German Police Address Threat While Website Offers Reward for Shahin Najafi’s and His Fan’s Death The announcement by an ultra-conservative website in Iran on May 1, 2015, of a reward of approximately $155,000 for anyone who blows up the concert venues of German-based Iranian musician Shahin Najafi, has met with the defiant reaction of the artist. “This […]

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