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After the Saudis invested 300 million dollars in Twitter, the social network agreed to block content for regional users. Facebook has already adopted a similar censorship policy.

Their move blocked hopes that social networks can revolutionize protest movements in dictatorships by allowing such movements to function without leaders or offices.

The White House, while spending considerable money on bombs and aid, neglected to address this major development, which shields totalitarian countries from democratic protests.

Twitter

The first stage of the Red-Dead will transport just 200 million cubic meters of water annually. Half of that volume will be delivered to Jordanian desalination plants, and the balance will go into the Dead Sea.

But about half the Dead Sea belongs to Jordan, and after a peace treaty with the Palestinians Israel will own only a quarter of the sea. Thus we will pay close to 300 million dollars to supply Jordan with water and to refill the sea, of which we own only a small part.

Iranian oilThe Iranian parliament will discuss the immediate cessation of oil exports to Western Europe if the EU adopts a phased embargo.

The Iranian move is highly sensible: it makes it impossible for the EU to openly adapt by switching to other suppliers. If the Europeans decide to abandon Iranian oil in the future, they will lose it immediately.

With this possibility in mind, the EU is unlikely to institute an embargo on Iranian oil.

The case of the Syrian town of Zabadani on the Lebanese border proves that Assad is after the rebels and does not seek the senseless massacre of his citizens. In Zabadani, town elders agreed with the Syrian army that local residentsówho are armed, like most Arabs in the regionówill push the rebels out into Lebanon, clear the streets of barricades, and generally cease hostilities. For its part, the Syrian army undertook to refrain from entering the town.

So far, the agreement holds.

Zabadani

January 2012
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