Iran claims to have antivirus for “Flame”

The United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union has issued its most serious warning after the discovery of the Flame computer virus in Iran and other areas of the Middle East. Iran has implicated Israel in this latest cyber attack, and Israel’s Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said such measures would be "reasonable" to stifle Iranian nuclear ...

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

The United Nation's International Telecommunications Union has issued its most serious warning after the discovery of the Flame computer virus in Iran and other areas of the Middle East. Iran has implicated Israel in this latest cyber attack, and Israel's Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said such measures would be "reasonable" to stifle Iranian nuclear ambitions. The data-mining virus, Flame, has caused the most destruction to Iranian data since the Stuxnet virus destroyed several centrifuges for Iran's nuclear program in 2010. However, Iran's Information Technology Organization claimed it developed a detection and clean up device in early May which is now ready for distribution.

Syria

Thirteen countries have expelled top Syrian diplomats in efforts to pressure President Bashar al-Assad to halt over 14 months of violence. The expulsions have come after international envoy, Kofi Annan, met with Assad in Damascus, appealing to him to end violence. The countries, including the United States and Turkey, are protesting the killings of 108 people in the villages of Houla, near Homs, on Friday. According to Syrian Arab News Agency, SANA, Assad stated "armed terrorist groups escalated their terrorist acts noticeably as of late in various areas across Syria." In contrast, the head of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous, said that evidence was strong that the government carried out the attack because some victims were killed by heavy artillery, resources only possessed by the Syrian regime. Russia and China have continued to stand by Syria. Russia issued a statement that the U.N. Security Council should not forward new measures to resolve the conflict, and said it would block any form of military intervention. China said it also opposed a military intervention, as well as a regime change by force. The United Nations Human Rights Council has scheduled a special session for Friday to address Friday's massacre.

The United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union has issued its most serious warning after the discovery of the Flame computer virus in Iran and other areas of the Middle East. Iran has implicated Israel in this latest cyber attack, and Israel’s Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said such measures would be "reasonable" to stifle Iranian nuclear ambitions. The data-mining virus, Flame, has caused the most destruction to Iranian data since the Stuxnet virus destroyed several centrifuges for Iran’s nuclear program in 2010. However, Iran’s Information Technology Organization claimed it developed a detection and clean up device in early May which is now ready for distribution.

Syria

Thirteen countries have expelled top Syrian diplomats in efforts to pressure President Bashar al-Assad to halt over 14 months of violence. The expulsions have come after international envoy, Kofi Annan, met with Assad in Damascus, appealing to him to end violence. The countries, including the United States and Turkey, are protesting the killings of 108 people in the villages of Houla, near Homs, on Friday. According to Syrian Arab News Agency, SANA, Assad stated "armed terrorist groups escalated their terrorist acts noticeably as of late in various areas across Syria." In contrast, the head of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous, said that evidence was strong that the government carried out the attack because some victims were killed by heavy artillery, resources only possessed by the Syrian regime. Russia and China have continued to stand by Syria. Russia issued a statement that the U.N. Security Council should not forward new measures to resolve the conflict, and said it would block any form of military intervention. China said it also opposed a military intervention, as well as a regime change by force. The United Nations Human Rights Council has scheduled a special session for Friday to address Friday’s massacre.

Headlines

  • Bahraini activist, Zainab al-Khawaja, who had been arrested for protesting prior to the Formula 1 Grand Prix, was released from prison after paying a fine.
  • Egyptian activists have called for a "million-man" march on Friday against presidential candidate, Ahmed Shafiq, criticizing him of being an "enemy of the revolution."

Arguments & Analysis

Al Qaeda in Yemen’ (Frontline Documentary, PBS) 

A journalist for the Guardian, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, traveled throughout Al Qaeda-controlled territory in Yemen to investigate how the group has gained control of cities and towns and won the allegiances of some of the local population. He was accompanied by an Al Qaeda spokesman who explained that their ultimate ambition in Yemen is to create their own state:"Our fighters always wanted an Islamic state. They didn’t just want to fight. They wanted a state with services and institutions, a state to take care of its citizens and [which] represents Islamic law."

Nudging Bahrain, Without Pushing it Away’ (Room for Debate, The New York Times)

Ali Al-Ahmed: "Because of the American/Iranian adversarial relations, the Saudi painting of the Bahraini uprising as Iranian-engineered was logical. The U.S. was quick to embrace the Saudi narrative. The U.S. has limited its options in Bahrain through its support for the monarchy and has given both Iran and Saudi Arabia greater chances to intervene on the island known as the Pearl of the Gulf."

Matar Ebrahim: "The U.S. needs to expand its vision when it comes to Bahrain. First, an accurate assessment must come from the U.S. about the situation there. Political rights should be consistently supported. Also American diplomats should convince Saudis to think constructively about Bahrain. Such advice costs nothing."

Farideh Farhi: "But the noise and outrage from Tehran and subsequent indignant responses from Manama and Riyadh should not hide the reality that the unity move, if it is to happen, has very little to do with Iran’s designs for Bahrain and everything to do with the desire to quell the political challenge posed by the democratic forces to Bahrain’s authoritarian leadership. It also has quite a bit to do with the Saudi worries regarding the spillover effect in its Eastern Province."

‘Predictable Responses to the Baghdad Talks’ (Paul Pillar, The National Interest)

"Responses to the negotiations last week between Iran and the P5+1 are falling into familiar patterns. The outcome of this round of talks could be discerned from what each side brought to the table on the first day. Iran had made it clear it was willing to make the key concession of ending enrichment of uranium to the worrisome 20-percent level but that it would expect something significant in return, with the obvious something being some relief from the ever-more-onerous sanctions that have been imposed on the country. Except for an offer of spare airplane parts, the P5+1 did not budge on sanctions. Although the entire record of what transpired over the conference table is not public, it appears the P5+1 have never indicated what Iran would have to do to gain any significant relief from sanctions. This silence, on top of the overall inflexibility of what they are hearing from their interlocutors, gives the Iranians ample reason to question the good faith of the other side and-especially amid all the talk about regime change and going to war-to wonder if, no matter what they do, all they can expect to face is pressure and more pressure."

‘Syria: The blood of future massacres is on Russia’s hands’ (David Ignatius, The Washington Post)

"The answer to the Syrian tragedy isn’t complicated: It’s a political transition, starting now, from the regime of President Bashar al-Assad to a government of national unity that includes the opposition but also retains the basic structure of the Syrian state…So why doesn’t it happen? The answer is that Russian President Vladimir Putin is playing a cynical game of power politics, delaying the transition that he nominally supports. He gives lip service to U.N. diplomacy as an alternative to war, but does nothing to advance it. So the question shouldn’t be how to turn up the heat on Assad, but rather, how to turn up the heat on Putin. Washington needs to be more persuasive with Moscow, but the heavy lifting here will be done by America’s partners in the region-Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, India-whose friendship or, at least, tolerance is important to Putin’s vision of Russian restoration."

–By Jennifer Parker and  Mary Casey 

<p>Mary Casey-Baker is the editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Daily Brief, as well as the assistant director of public affairs at the Project on Middle East Political Science and assistant editor of The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. </p> Twitter: @casey_mary

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