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Iranian soft power in southern Iraq 3, October 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Iran, Iraq.
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Visser over at the preeminent Gulf Analysis blog has an excellent example of Iran expanding its soft power in southern Iraq.

Earlier this week, the head of the Daawa-led Basra provincial council announced that a solution for Basra’s freshwater crisis was in the making. Specifically, he had signed a deal with Iran’s consul in Basra, Muhammad Rida Baghban, according to which Iran will supply Fao with 1,000 tons of drinking water on a daily basis to compensate for changes the Iranians made to the river flow of the Karun (which empties fresh water into the Shatt al-Arab near the head of the Gulf and thereby affects the saline content of the water.) The water supplies will be shipped to Basra by Iranian vessels.

Faking it 3, October 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Middle East.
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There’s a show in the UK called Faking It. An ordinary member of the public is trained by professionals in a month or so to do a vastly different profession that they are ostensibly suited to. They are then judged against people who have been practising said profession for years by panel who don’t know who’s trying to Fake It. More often than not, the recently trained faker wins as the most convincing ‘x’ in the group.

I was reminded of this by a recent posting on the Emirates Economist about hymen replacement surgery. A delightful topic I’m sure you’ll agree. Women have to go through such an operation to obtain a certificate of virginity before they get married in some parts of the Arab world. Head more here and here.