The long reach of repression

DEVELOPMENT: Ten years after the Arab Spring, is democracy on the verge of failing in Tunisia? President Kais saied On Sunday, the prime minister was removed from office and suspended parliament. Many Tunisians, unhappy with the economic situation and the Covid-19 crisis in the country, celebrated the relocations in the hours that followed, but on Monday, street clashes were reported outside the parliament building. Saied’s decisions came amid popular anger at the Islamist Ennahda party, the largest in parliament, which many Tunisians blame for the country’s woes. Ennahda leaders called Saied’s actions a “coup”.

Hi all! I am Nahal Toosi, POLITICO Foreign Correspondent, and I take over the management of Global Translations for a few days, with the help of your usual host, the insightful Ryan heath. I’m also doing our new daily national security newsletter this week, so please send prayers and advice.

Send tips and ideas to [email protected] or follow Ryan on Twitter.

She knew that the Iranian Islamist regime despised her, but Masih alinejad is still in shock how far he was willing to go to silence her.

According to a recently unveiled US federal indictment, the Iranian-American journalist and human rights activist was the subject of an attempted kidnapping concocted by Iranian intelligence agents. They used private investigators to track his movements in Brooklyn and even considered taking him on a speedboat that could have traveled to Venezuela first, a country friendly to Iran, prosecutors said.

The case is the latest example of the growing phenomenon of transnational repression, in which governments use various means to try to silence critics beyond their borders. For Alinejad, it is also the last proof of why the United States cannot trust Iran and should suspend nuclear talks with Tehran.

Alinejad has spent much of the past week meeting with US lawmakers and officials in the Biden administration, including the national security adviser. Jake sullivan and secretary of state Antoine Blinken. She urged them to devote more attention to exposing Iran for its human rights violations. She shared some thoughts with Global Translations (edited for clarity):

WITHOUT FEAR: “Being afraid or being afraid of the diet is not in my DNA. But at the same time, I don’t know with every word I say here, how they are going to treat my family. I don’t know what they are going to do to my innocent brother who is in jail right now. But my big family, it is the mothers who send me videos every day to talk about their children who were killed in Iran in protest… I will not give up. If I do, it’s a betrayal for them. They are my heroes.

LESSON: “When a regime dares to challenge the American authorities on American soil, imagine what they are doing to their own people in Iran… For me, this regime acts like ISIS… The regime only understands the language of pressure… [it] is not going to reform.

WHAT WE LEGISLATORS SAID TO HIM: “There is a strong anger among them all, Democrats and Republicans. Both sides said it should not be acceptable for a foreign government to challenge the United States on American soil. Some of them said the US government should suspend nuclear talks in Vienna. Some have said that the US government should not separate nuclear talks from human rights.

FIGHT AGAINST TRANSNATIONAL REPRESSION: “Dictators are more united than freedom fighters. [In] Russia, China, we see it – it’s not just about Iran… What we can do here is so simple… The leaders of the free world should unite and take strong action against all these kidnapping plots. Strong condemnations and actions must be taken. ”

Speaking of transnational repression, check out ProPublica’s riveting investigation into how China is militarizing family ties; how does the latest spyware scandal fit in; and how a country like Rwanda has become “a spy machine”.


-Olympic Games! Despite the damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to these Games, they remain one of the few events that brings the world together in something close to happiness. I need this, people. (Also, whoa! It’s the USA vs Iran in men’s basketball on Wednesday!) That being said, if you’re a public relations person, avoid headlines from press releases like this one I received the other day: “On Japan and nuclear weapons, Biden still has a chance to. winning Olympic gold at home. ”

—Blinken visits India and Kuwait. The discussion in India will certainly cover relations with China and the pandemic. (Check out The Doorstep podcast review of Biden’s Indian politics.) The Kuwait talks come as the United States has asked the wealthy Persian Gulf state to temporarily host some Afghans who have asked to immigrate to the states -United after working with American forces in their campaign.

US and Russia set to meet in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday for their bilateral dialogue on strategic stability (read: nuclear weapons). Under Secretary of State Wendy sherman, who has been on the road for several days already, will lead the American delegation.

whispers and why

DOG DAYS: Members of the U.S. military and diplomatic community are seriously upset by the recent decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to temporarily ban people from importing dogs that have traveled to countries considered to be at high risk for rabies. The CDC lists over 100 countries that fall into this category.

Americans serving in the military and foreign service abroad, many of whom own dogs, have urged the CDC to reconsider the restrictions. A petition has more than 6,000 signatures. “This is not how Americans serving overseas deserve to be treated by their own government,” he said. US Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) Wrote to the CDC about the “patte-licy”, asking them to work to finally lift the ban.

ANOTHER VISA PROHIBITION: The State Department never specifically announced this, but for the record, we learn that the Secretary of State has established visa restrictions for Russians responsible for assassination attempts using chemical weapons as well as for Russians significantly involved in the country’s chemical weapons program. It’s a way the United States punishes Russia for poisoning and imprisoning opposition activist Alexei Navalny. The Biden administration love visa bans.

FLORIDA COUPLE: Remember when Jared kushner and Ivanka trump were, in essence, diplomatic envoys to the United States? Eve peyser has the latest information on their whereabouts and activities.

LATIN AMERICA – CENSUS DELAYS THREATEN VULNERABLES: Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia have postponed their census surveys, which means that social support could be misdirected when it needs to be targeted most on pockets of growing poverty. “Outdated numbers can leave neighborhoods that have become impoverished or more populated with insufficient resources. ”

REGIONAL INEQUALITIES AS A THREAT TO DEMOCRACY: Here is a reading from a transatlantic symposium of over 100 government officials, practitioners, and academic experts from eight Western countries examining whether and how deindustrialization is causing the rise of right-wing populist movements.

The theory: Older industrial communities are geopolitically important as fears of losing their place in the world lead millions to embrace “nativism, nationalism, isolationism and economic nostalgia” peddled by right-wing populist leaders, and ” these populist movements encourage anti-democratic behavior ”. The takeaway: Democracies need to focus on managing their hearts as a better way to consolidate democracy than to contain China.

What a new global debt architecture might look like: From the Center for Global Development Policy at Boston University.

LONG READING: Inside Big Tech’s angry, geeky and often petty war for your privacy (Issie Lapowsky) [a] niche community of engineers to wrangle over what privacy really means, how the web can be more private in practice, and how much power the tech giants should have to unilaterally embrace this change.

LOOK FOR: Academic Aaron Stein’s book “The US War on ISIS: How America and Her Allies Defeated the Caliphate” is due out in January. Stein tells me he includes never-before-reported details of the conflict. Check out this extract (paywalled).

THINK ABOUT IT: A RefugePoint report finds that the already slim chances of being resettled in a third country are even worse than they were for the world’s refugees: “Data from 2018-2020 showed that on average, only one One-third of 1% (0.33%) of the world’s refugees have been submitted for resettlement each year, and submissions have only reached 5% of global needs each year. ”

LOOK AT THIS: The film “Limbo” finds a group of refugees on a remote Scottish island awaiting their asylum claims. It’s billed as a “deadpan comedy,” but don’t be fooled by the ironic and absurd opening scene – it’s a chilling reminder, literally, that life isn’t easy, even for the lucky ones who. arrive in a location where resettlement is a possibility.

A FUN THING: How basketball became a global sport and the National Basketball Association an international league. #BucksInSix, baby!

Thanks to the editor Ben Pauker.

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