Failure to reach a nuclear deal will drive Iran into Russia’s arms

Ariane Tabatabai* – Financial Times

It is vital a comprehensive deal on Iran’s nuclear programme is reached, writes Ariane Tabataba

Tehran and Moscow, facing similar political and economic pressures from the west, have developed strong ties since the Islamic Revolution. More recently, as relations between the US and Moscow have soured, the links have only intensified. But for Tehran, closer ties to Moscow are not so much a choice as the only viable option – and in the run-up to the deadline for a comprehensive international deal on the Iranian nuclear programme, Moscow’s influence looms dangerously large. Decisions made in the next few days by the US, China, France, the UK and Russia, plus Germany (the “P5+1”) and Iran, will determine whether that remains the case.

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Why Is the US Military So Interested in Chad?

Nick Turse – The Nation

The US military continues a long series of mistakes, missteps and mishaps across Africa.

Admit it. You don’t know where Chad is. You know it’s in Africa, of course. But beyond that? Maybe with a map of the continent and by some process of elimination you could come close. But you’d probably pick Sudan or maybe the Central African Republic. Here’s a tip. In the future, choose that vast, arid swath of land just below Libya.

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The United Nations: more consultants, fewer rights

By Le News , GENEVA

The United Nations both here in Geneva and worldwide is relying increasingly on consultants with short-term contracts to do its work, seriously hampering the organization’s overall professionalism. Consultants, many who have come to Switzerland with their families from other countries, or may be on mission elsewhere in the world, are sometimes only told on a Friday that their contract will be renewed Monday. Not only do such personnel often lack basic social or employment rights enjoyed by Switzerland and other European countries, but such fickleness is leading to a situation whereby many aid workers wonder whether it is worth continuing to commit to the UN and its members agencies.

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After Fearmongering Kills the NSA Reform Bill, What’s Next?

Zoë Carpenter – The Nation

For a few hours on Tuesday, the Islamic State looked like the best thing that ever happened to the National Security Agency. The USA Freedom Act, a modest bill seen as the best chance for reforming one of the NSA’s dragnet surveillance programs, failed to clear a procedural hurdle in the Senate by two votes after Republicans insisted that it would precipitate a terrorist attack.

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Radical face of Saudi Wahhabism

S. Irfan Habib* – The Hindu

The agenda of the Islamic State today is merely an extension of the devious plan laid down by Abdul Wahhab almost two hundred years ago
It is ironical indeed that the Turkish regime today is implicated in propping up a terrorist group called the Islamic State (IS), which has vowed to spread Wahhabi Islam all over the world.

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Turkey’s age-old grievances re-emerge

Daniel Dombey – Financial Times

Ankara’s rhetoric has become more anti-western since protests against the government last year

Istanbul – The three US sailors were enjoying their shore leave in old Istanbul when they fell victim to Turkey’s suspicions of the outside world.

In a videoed confrontation that went viral in Turkey and the US, ultranationalist Turks assaulted the frightened youths last week, throwing bags over their heads and chanting “killers” and “Yankee go home”. Joe Biden, the US vice-president who is visiting Istanbul this week, had better steel himself.

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Midterm Media Meltdown

Eric Alterman – The Nation

The election results reflect a complex reality; the press prefers simple narratives.

While many in the mainstream media are occasionally willing to take note of imperfections in America’s democratic practices, virtually none are willing to ask whether the system has simply ceased to function at all. No matter what may be odd or perhaps even unfair in this or that race, goes the argument, the central narrative remains unquestioned: Republican dominance of both houses of Congress represents a rightward turn on the part of the country as a whole—just look at the results.

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The wacky economics of Germany’s parallel universe

Wolfgang Münchau – Financial Times

The Council of Economic Experts says nothing about investment. It wants Merkel to be tougher

German economists roughly fall into two groups: those that have not read Keynes, and those that have not understood Keynes. To describe the economic mainstream in Germany as conservative misses the point. There are some overlaps with the various neoclassical or neoconservative schools in the US and elsewhere.

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A Cuban Brain Drain, Courtesy of the U.S.

By The New York Times’s Editorial Board

Secretary of State John Kerry and the American ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, have praised the work of Cuban doctors dispatched to treat Ebola patients in West Africa. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently sent an official to a regional meeting the Cuban government convened in Havana to coordinate efforts to fight the disease. In Africa, Cuban doctors are working in American-built facilities.

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“Why do they treat us immigrants like animals in Europe?”

Txema Santana – El País in English

Migrants taken away in garbage truck after landing in Canaries recount their experiences

Las Palmas NOV 2014 – Sitting inside the immigrant holding center (CIE) in Barranco Seco on Gran Canaria, the African migrants held for five hours on the beach where they landed last week out of fear they might have been infected with Ebola now recount their experiences.

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The Psychology of Victimhood: Obama, Cameron, Netanyahu, Clinton, Kissinger

Robert J. Burrowes*

Several years ago, someone said to me: ‘The victim wouldn’t have it any other way.’ When I first heard this comment, it made no sense to me, largely because I had never appreciated being a victim of violence when I was a child. However, I have since spent considerable time grappling with this comment by analysing what it means to be a victim. And I now agree that, in far more cases than I would like it to be, the victim wouldn’t have it any other way. Here’s why.

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Old wine, new bottles

Premen Addy* – Calcutta Telegraph

Russia, America and the New Cold War

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, George H.W. Bush, then president of the United States of America, issued this heraldic proclamation: “A world once divided into two armed camps now recognizes one, sole and pre-eminent power, the United States of America.” History had ended, the American nirvana had begun.

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The Sino-American comedy of errors

By Spengler* – Asia Times

BEIJING – Everything in tragedy happens for a reason, and the result always is sad; most things in comedy happen by accident and the outcome typically is happy. Sino-American relations are not destined for conflict, although that is possible. The misunderstandings that bedevil relations between the world’s two most powerful countries remain comedic rather than tragic. That probably is as good as it gets, for no amount of explanation will enable Chinese and Americans to make sense of each other.

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In Cuba, Misadventures in Regime Change


In 1996, spurred by an appetite for revenge, American lawmakers passed a bill spelling out a strategy to overthrow the government in Havana and “assist the Cuban people in regaining their freedom.” The Helms-Burton Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton shortly after Cuba shot down two small civilian American planes, has served as the foundation for the $264 million the United States has spent in the last 18 years trying to instigate democratic reforms on the island.

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Why Are G20 Governments Subsidising Dangerous Climate Change?

Analysis by Shelagh Whitley*

LONDON, Nov 11 2014 (IPS) – Just a week after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gave its starkest warning yet that the vast majority of existing oil, gas and coal reserves need to be kept in the ground, a new report reveals that governments are flagrantly ignoring these warnings and continuing to subsidise exploration for fossil fuels.

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The Iron Curtain fell because of Mikhail Gorbachev – yet today he is despised as a traitor by Russians

Rodric Braithwaite*

Britain’s Ambassador to Moscow in 1989 says we must not overlook the man whose reforms changed everything, and recalls the build-up to the fall

My wife Jill and I were in Warsaw when the Berlin Wall went up in August 1961 and in Moscow when it came down in November 1989. Over nearly three decades the drama of liberation was played out in the capitals of central and eastern Europe, and above all in Moscow, Warsaw, and Berlin.

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