Monday, July 6, 2009

Iranian Election Fallout and Other Recent Events

It's been several weeks since I've written here.

The major news stories from June 1 through today have included:

1. The elections in Iran. The run-up in the last couple of days prior to voting was intense, with lots of predictions that Mir Hossein Mousavi would actually win. Then, the day after the vote, the Iranian Interior Ministry announced that Ahmadinejad had won over 60% of the vote (less than 50% would have triggered a mandatory run-off), and the streets of Iran were enveloped with protests for about two weeks. It appeared that Mousavi and his supporters would compel either an official recount or some sort of unity government, but then (1) Khamenei came out fully in support of Ahmadinejad, (2) there were several days of violence against the protesters, and (3) now, the protests -- or at least American media coverage of them -- has stopped almost completely.

2. The death of Michael Jackson. This has been the huge story the past week and a half, with surprisingly laudatory coverage and with my own surprise at the level of nostalgia I felt when I heard the music and saw a number of the videos again.

3. Continued attacks by US forces against the Taliban in Afghanistan, culminating in last week with what sounds like a surge of 5-10,000 US troops into previously left-alone Taliban strongholds in southern Afghanistan.

4. Lots of debate and opinion pieces about Obama's health care reform package, with the number one issue being whether it will include a "public option."

5. A coup in Honduras. Yesterday the ex-president attempted to fly back into Tegucigalpa, but the army blocked his plane from landing on the runway. It sounds as though the OAS is desperately trying to figure out how to problem-solve and that both sides are digging in their heels.

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