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Category Archives: Middle East

Wissenschaft in Iran – Kopftuch und Nanotechnik 

“Das ist das MIT Irans”, raunt eine Studentin ehrfürchtig, als sich eine Labortür im Obergeschoss der Teheraner Sharif-Universität öffnet. Der stolze Vergleich mit dem berühmten Massachusetts Institute of Technology wirkt beim Betreten des Raums zunächst bizarr. Das Labor sieht aus wie eine Bastelstube. Auf einem Tisch steht eine längliche Kiste, in die ein Assistent mit einem Gartenschlauch Wasser füllt. In dem Geblubber leuchtet ein grüner Laserstrahl. Doch es ist wie so vieles in Iran: Der äußere Schein trügt. Mit unbestreitbarer Kompetenz erklären die anwesenden Physiker, wie die Dispersion des Laserlichts unter Wasser von Sauerstoff- und Salzgehalt abhängt. Und ein Schaubild an der Wand zeigt, dass der Laser im Wasserbecken keine Spielerei ist: Es ist der erste Schritt zu einem vernetzten Kommunikationssystem für U-Boote. Ein Unterwasser-Internet.

In anderen Laboren der Universität arbeiten Nanotechniker, Quantenphysiker, Biotechnologen und Robotiker. Sharif, das ist Irans führende Adresse für Natur- und Ingenieurwissenschaftler. Von den etwa 700 000 Schülern, die jedes Jahr einen landesweiten “Concours” absolvieren, eine mehrstündige Eignungsprüfung, werden die hundert begabtesten an die Elite-Uni zugelassen. Mit besonderem Stolz blickt die Universität im Herzen Teherans auf ihre ehemalige Studentin Maryam Mirzakhani. Die heute als Professorin im amerikanischen Stanford forschende Mathematikerin hat 2014 die höchste Auszeichnung ihres Fachs erhalten, die mit einer Million Dollar dotierte Fields-Medaille.

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/wissen/wissenschaft-in-iran-kopftuch-und-nanotechnik-1.3412021

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Donald Trump’s speech to the Muslim world was filled with hypocrisy and condescension

So after inventing “fake news”, America’s crazed President on Sunday gave the world’s Muslims a fake speech. Donald Trump said he was not in Saudi Arabia to “lecture” – but then told the world’s Islamic preachers what to say, condemned “Islamist terrorism” as if violence was a solely Muslim phenomenon and then announced like an Old Testament prophet that he was in “a battle between good and evil”. There were no words of compassion, none of mercy, absolutely not a word of apology for his racist, anti-Muslim speeches of last year.

Even more incredibly, he blamed Iran – rather than Isis – for “fuelling sectarian violence”, pitied the Iranian people for their “despair” a day after they had freely elected a liberal reformer as their president, and demanded the further isolation of the largest Shiite country in the Middle East. The regime responsible for “so much instability” is Iran. The Shiite Hezbollah were condemned. So were the Shiite Yemenis. Trump’s Sunni Saudi hosts glowed with warmth at such wisdom.

Source: Donald Trump’s speech to the Muslim world was filled with hypocrisy and condescension | The Independent

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2017 in Middle East, North America

 

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Donald Trump puts US on Sunni Muslim side of bitter sectarian war with Shias

It was crude stuff. President Trump called on 55 Muslim leaders assembled in Riyadh to drive out terrorism from their countries. He identified Iran as a despotic state and came near to calling for regime change, though Iran held a presidential election generally regarded as fair only two days previously.

He denounced Hezbollah and lined up the US squarely on the side of the Sunni against the Shia in the sectarian proxy war that is tearing apart the Middle East.

The impact of US presidential visits and speeches abroad are generally over-rated and turn out to have far less influence than was claimed at the time.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/donald-trump-saudi-arabia-trip-sunni-shia-sectarian-war-iran-a7748386.html

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2017 in Middle East, North America

 

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What It’s Like to Stand Alongside the Kurdish Women Fighting ISIS 

Our unit’s rotation on the moving front finished yesterday, so they’ve given us a few days off. So I hitched a lift with the logistics van to Qamishlo [a city in northeastern Syria] to meet some old friends and do some shopping. I need T-shirts and socks. There’s something weird going on with Syrian socks—they always make my feet smell, no matter how much I wash them. Sorxwin won’t stop taking the piss out of my stinky feet.

I got the socks and went for lunch with the three other Western women in the YPJ—two Swedes and a Canadian. I had two hamburgers and a beer. I can’t tell you what a treat that was after a month of chicken spam and Dairylea. And it was only the third beer I’ve drunk in a year. Kurdish girls aren’t allowed to drink for religious reasons, and you can’t drink in front of them. It tasted like heaven. I think I was a little tipsy.

https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/what-its-like-to-stand-alongside-the-kurdish-women-fighting-isis

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Middle East

 

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‘I Was Showered in Blood’: What Happened When ISIS Came to Our Camp 

I woke up at 3AM this morning for guard duty—two hours alone on the roof of our sleeping quarters. Squinting out into the night, I could see nothing but darkness. I nibble on a packet of sunflower seeds.

I’m always terrified on guard duty. All I think is, “Oh god, what if an ISIS sniper pops me off with one shot and sneaks into the building and blows up my friends?” I’ve never heard of that happening, but it’s a psychological thing. There’s no way to prevent being shot by a sniper if you’re on guard. That would be it—lights out. I wouldn’t know a thing. But like my commander, 30-year-old Sorxwîn, always says: “Fear is good; it keeps you alert.’

https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/i-was-showered-in-blood-what-happened-when-isis-came-to-our-camp

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Surprising Things I Learned as a Woman Fighting ISIS 

I woke up 7AM this morning to the sound of radios going crazy. Friends said they could see movement, but no one was sure. Then I heard gunfire.

We’ve spent the past week liberating frontline villages along the Euphrates River towards Raqqa, ISIS’ capital city. Last night, my tabur [platoon]—a mix of eight YPJ women and six YPG men, plus a female commander named Sorxwin— camped in a town a few hundred metres behind the frontline. Today was supposed to be our day off, which is why we’d slept in later than usual. ISIS often attack then. They think they can catch us off guard behind our lines. But they are lashing out like a cornered dog: we’re stronger, more organized, have the might of coalition airstrikes on our side, and have almost completely encircled Raqqa. They’ve nowhere left to run.

https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/surprising-things-i-learned-as-a-woman-fighting-isis

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Rouhani’s victory is good news for Iran, but bad news for Trump and his Sunni allies

So it’s a good win for the Iranian regime – and its enormous population of young people – and a bad win for Trump’s regime, which would far rather have had an ex-judicial killer as Iranian president so that Americans would find it easy to hate him. Maybe Hassan Rouhani’s final-week assault on his grim rival candidate and his supporters – “those whose main decisions have only been executions and imprisonment over the past 38 years” – paid off. Who among Iran’s under 25s, more than 40 per cent of the population, would have wanted to vote for Ebrahim Raisi whose hands had touched the execution certificates of up to 8,000 political prisoners in 1988?
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/iran-election-rouhani-saudi-arabia-trump-bad-news-a7746146.html?amp

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Donald Trump’s extravagant trip to Saudi Arabia is a desperately-needed distraction from his crisis at home

President Trump arrives in Saudi Arabia tomorrow, mere hours after US bombers attacked pro-Assad militiamen whom the US military say were threatening a base in southern Syria where US and British Special Forces are training rebel fighters.

It would be naïve to imagine that the timing of the US attack, the first intentionally made against Syrian government ground forces in six years of war, was not geared to Trump’s Saudi visit. It has the additional great advantage, from the point of view of the White House, of distracting attention from Trump’s disasters in Washington since he sacked James Comey as head of the FBI and saw a Special Counsel appointed to investigate links between his associates and Russia.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/donald-trump-middle-east-trip-saudi-arabia-airstrike-syria-distraction-tactic-fbi-comey-russia-a7745296.html

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2017 in Middle East, North America

 

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US air strikes in Syria: Why America really attacked pro-Assad militia convoy

The Pentagon’s account of its Thursday-night air strike on pro-Assad militia forces in Syria concealed the real story of a race to the Syrian-Iraqi border by armed groups working for both the Americans and the Syrian regime. Even the targets listed by the US appear to have been wrong. Indeed, what was described by the Americans as a minor action was part of a far more important struggle between the US and the Syrian regime for control of the south-eastern frontier of Syria – a vital supply line for Iran to maintain its forces in Syria.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/us-syria-airstrikes-why-bashar-al-assad-militia-convoy-iraq-border-training-camp-rebels-a7744091.html

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Middle East, North America

 

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This is the aim of Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia – and it isn’t good for shia communities

Donald Trump sets off on Friday to create the fantasy of an Arab Nato. There will be dictators aplenty to greet him in Riyadh, corrupt autocrats and thugs and torturers and head choppers. There will be at least one zombie president – the comatose, undead Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria who neither speaks nor, apparently, hears any more – and, of course, one totally insane president, Donald Trump. The aim, however, is simple: to prepare the Sunni Muslims of the Middle East for war against the Shia Muslims. With help from Israel, of course.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/donald-trump-saudi-arabia-iran-iraq-kurdish-population-shia-muslims-a7742276.html

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2017 in Middle East, North America

 

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