1. Why are the Iranians protesting?
There are many factors that have brought Iranians out to protest, many of these reasons are linked to the state of the economy, and mostly, years of political and social repression.
The endemic corruption, fraud, and mismanagement of the government have caused the people of Iran to grow tired of the leadership in place and its funding of terrorism abroad while their economy is suffering. It is estimated that almost half of the countries GDP goes to the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) for continued involvement in proxy wars in the Mideast. Iran is proud of their increased status as a result of fighting in Syria and Yemen but at what cost will this continue?
Due to the inflation in the region, the cost of living is so high most people need to work multiple jobs in order to keep their families afloat.
2. What are they asking for?
Iranians are asking for their government to listen to them. Iran needs a fundamental change in it's economy and government. Many believe this is an impossible task to accomplish without breaking the stranglehold of groups like the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) on the Iranian economy.
3. How has the government responded?
Due to travel restrictions and limitations on internet access in the region media networks have limited ability to report on the ongoing unrest. The government also limited the use of the internet and social media in order to disrupt its citizens ability to continue to organize protests as well as remove online footage that would incite more of its citizens to protest violently.
4. When did this begin?
The first protest began Thursday, December 28, 2017, in Mashhad, Iran's second largest city, and holy site. There, protesters were found shouting "leave Syria alone, think about us" Referring to Iran's military involvement in Syria.
5. What will happen in the coming weeks?
Although we have no way of knowing how this development will continue to unravel in the weeks and months to come, many experts expect the regime to grow increasingly repressive. The IRGC is no stranger to containing protests such as these and is prepared for much worse.
In Tehran alone 450 protesters have been arrested in the last 3 days. Although Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has said, "People are free to express their criticism and to protest," The head of Tehran Revolutionary Court warned on Tuesday that arrested protesters could potentially face death penalty cases when they come to trial. Some Iranians even fear the IRGC has allowed the protest to fester as a pretext for expanding their authority in the name of national security
The nation of Israel is one of the United Sates' most important allies, and the Israeli and American people share a special bond that contributes to the alliance. Here are 5 reasons why I support the state of Israel:
1. Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East, and Israel is a defender of free government and equality in the region.
2. Israel and the United States share intelligence on terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and Middle Eastern politics to help make the world a better and safer place.
3. Israel is a "start up nation" with more start-up business on average than any country in the entire world.
4. Israel produces state of the art technologies that save lives and help people all over the world.
5. Israel holds many of the worlds most important religious and historical sites including for the world's three largest religions; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The nation of Israel preserves and cares for these locations and allow people of all faiths to visit and worship at the most important holy sites.
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May 26, 2017
By: Jack Rosen
Jack Rosen is the President of the American Jewish Congress and CEO of Rosen Partners, LLC.
Now that the President has firmly touched down in Europe and attention has moved away from the Middle-East, we wanted to look at the five take-aways from his visits to Israel and Saudi Arabia, what we can expect and how they will impact the region going forward.
1. Trump’s vows on extremism
The President’s comments on extremism were extraordinary, the leader of the free world drew a crowd of prominent Arab leaders and told them to ‘drive out’ extremism from their countries. This was unprecedented. He was rightly applauded for encouraging leaders to rid themselves of terror and do everything they can to face up to terrorism. America needs to play an active role in the region, if they are the policeman we often see a change in behaviour from across the Middle-East. Trumps speech is an important step and we all hope that it will have an effect on the war on terror. His behaviour was the opposite of what many had predicted, would it be too much to call it a U-turn?
2. Direct flights
If Trump was out to make a point on this trip it wasn’t through his normal disruptive behaviour. No matter what your opinions on his views, he certainly knows how to get a reaction. On this trip we saw none of that. Rather the focus was on diplomacy and extending the hand of friendship. One possible exception was his direct flight from Saudi Arabia to Israel. The difficulty in travelling between the two countries is known but the President was out to make a statement, Israel is his ally and he was not ashamed to express it.
3. Trump at the Kotel
The image of Trump at the Western Wall, was very powerful. He wanted to take in the majesty of Israel and became the first serving President to visit. This was Trump reaching out to the Jewish community following a number of months where there has been an obvious tension between his premiership and our communities. We may find out what his note said, as it seems likely that it will end up online, but the contents shouldn’t matter. This was an important and necessary gesture and we should be pleased he did it.
4. The Iran Nuclear Deal
The Iran Nuclear Deal was disastrous for Israel and the Israeli people. It was no surprise that when Trump stated ‘Iran will not be a nuclear power,’ that he was greeted by applause. It came in the context of Trump reaffirming his commitment to Israel and the peace deal saying, ‘we will get it done.’ While actions speak far louder than words, this was an important engagement with both sides and one that we hope will lead to progress. We have always argued for greater dialogue and this was the first step.
5. Don’t mention the Embassy
While the Ambassador seemed to accompany Trump throughout his visit, there was no mention of moving the Embassy. This key election pledge seems to have disappeared. While it may not have been the deciding factor in the peace process, it may have been a catalyst for a faster and more efficient process. It shouldn’t overshadow a successful trip but it certainly represents another U-turn from the President. Add that to his cordial meeting with the Pope on Wednesday and the predictions that his talks with NATO will be softer than expected, all in all we saw a new President. Let’s hope he is effective.