Sunday Reads

Iranian Election Brings Certainty, But Post-Election Remains Uncertain
Writing in the Financial Times, Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations says no one should be under any delusion that the upcoming Iranian election will resemble a democratic election. First, women have been banned from participating in the process.

Second, it is generally accepted that despite a number of candidates, the victor will be chosen by the regime.

“Ultimately, the decision about who will govern is likely to be made in the  Islamic Republic’s back rooms rather than its voting booths,” Takeyh asserts, who also holds the belief that Iran “can no longer be reformed through its own constitutional provisions and electoral processes.”

While the outcome appears more certain, what happens post-election is uncertain – even for the regime itself. Rasool Sanaeirad, the head of the Iranian Republican Guard Committee’s political bureau, acknowledged a ‘Russian-style’ uprising across the country could occur, a development that could further destabilize the region.

Will The World Bank Embrace Or Reject Reform?
Sir Michael Barber charge is quite simple – reform the World Bank. Actually achieving the needed change is not quite so simple. The man whom World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has selected to lead the reformation has his hands full.

A profile in the Washington Post says Barber is known for his brutal honesty and focus on acquiring feedback from staff – a leadership philosophy which is at odds with an organization that is painfully slow to adopt changes.

“With 188 member nations and an activist board of political appointees, change can be painfully slow. The bank has been trying since 2005 to let countries with adequate social or environmental regulations skip some of the paperwork involved in bank lending and rely on their local laws. Only a handful of cases have been authorized,” the Post notes after speaking with several outside analysts.

Adam Wagstaff, who writes for the World Bank’s development blog, takes a closer look at how the Bank can improve their delivery services and what challenges lie ahead.

Israel Raises Possibility Of More Air Strikes On Syria
In response to claims that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has installed high-tech weapons that could reach Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu has raised the possibility of additional air strikes.

In an interview with Argentina’s Clarín newspaper, Assad argued he is “realistic” about the prospects of a successful peace process. “We do not believe that many Western countries really want a solution in Syria,” he told the newspaper at a time his regime continued to barrage rebel towns throughout Syria.






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