Introducing the FPwomerati

Why didn't Foreign Policy include more women in its Twitterati list? Here's a list of 100 female tweeters around the world that everyone should follow.

When Foreign Policy published its 2012 Twitterati 100 list, we could not help but be struck by the lack of women. Of the 100 tweeters Foreign Policy said "you need to follow," nearly 90 percent are men. Given the strong presence of smart, powerful, influential women on Twitter, we found this a bit hard to take. So, beginning near midnight U.S. East Coast time on Monday, a group of women from around the world created a list of interesting and influential activists, journalists, analysts, economists, geeks and wonks. Within a few hours, we had more than 200 names and our list had begun to make the rounds on Twitter.

How is this list different than FP's original list? It includes many prominent, influential women who know and tweet about foreign policy and international affairs but were overlooked by FP. It includes women who tweet in languages other than English, or tweet multilingually, and women who work and lecture in areas rarely covered by FP -- such as international development.

Most importantly, this is a list generated by a global network of inspired and knowledgeable women worldwide who contributed possibly lesser-known but fresh and important voices. The #FPwomerati list includes the invigorating diversity of local voices with insider information and breaking news who are not to be missed.


Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) -- Journalist with ABC & CNN. Obviously famous.

Michelle Caruso Cabrera (@mcaruso_cabrera) -- CNBC's chief international correspondent.

Alex Crawford (@AlexCrawfordSky) -- Correspondent for Sky News currently based in South Africa. Also tweets on the Middle East.

Polly Curtis (@pollycurtis) -- The Guardian's deputy national editor, tweeting about large swathes of the world.

Hala Gorani (@halagorani) -- Anchorwoman on CNN's International Desk and one of the top foreign policy "influencers."

Lucy Kafanov (@LucyKafanov) -- Self-described "voracious consumer of stories neglected by mainstream media." Lucky for us, she shares those stories too.

Azmat Khan (@AzmatZahra) -- PBS Frontline producer. Knows her national security.

Laura Rozen (@lrozen) -- All-around interesting foreign-policy reporter. When Laura tweets, people pay attention.

Philippa Thomas (@PhilippaNews) -- BBC journalist sharing global news and views.


Pia Ahrenki (@ECspokesPia) -- Spokesperson of the European Union. Tweets are a bit  "official," but keep you abreast of EU news.

Laura Chinchilla (@Laura_Ch) -- President of Costa Rica. Describes herself as "Politóloga, esposa, mamá y Primera Servidora de la República de Costa Rica." Tweets in Spanish.

Amb. Eileen Donahoe (@ambdonahoe) -- U.S. permanent representative to the U.N. Human Rights Council. (We urge Madame Ambassador to step up her Twitter game if she wants to hang around here.)

Julia Gillard (@JuliaGillard) -- The official Twitter account of the prime minister of Australia is a must-follow on Ozzie politics. Gillard herself tweets at times.

Neelie Kroes (@NeelieKroesEU) -- Vice President of the European Commission, fanatical about digital inclusion and rights.

Cecilia Malmström (@MalmstromEU) -- EU Home Affairs commissioner with tweets on numerous subjects, including human trafficking.

Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch) -- Author and British member of Parliament. Mad tweeter of UK politics.

Marietje Schaake (@marietjed66) -- Dutch MEP with the D66 party, focused on human rights and Internet freedom. A trailblazer in the EU parliament.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (@NOIweala) -- Coordinating minister for Nigeria's economy and minister of finance, former Africa managing director at the World Bank.

Amb. Nirupama Rao (@NMenonRao) -- India's witty ambassador to the United States.

Viviane Reding (@VivianeRedingEU) -- No-nonsense EU commissioner for justice, citizenship, and fundamental rights. Also tweets about the Euro Cup.


Elmira Bayrasli (@endeavoringe) -- Expert on small and medium enterprise in emerging markets. Also knows Turkey inside out.

Sharon Bowles (@SharonBowlesMEP) -- Chair of the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and UK MP. A must-follow on the eurozone crisis.

Stephanie Flanders (@BBCStephanie) -- Economics editor for the BBC.

Melinda Gates (@melindagates) -- Chair of the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation. Tweets often on global, maternal, and child health.

How Matters (@intldogooder) -- Blogger writing about how to make aid more effective.

Molly Kinder (@MollyKinder) -- Former USAID staffer now working on food security issues with @ONECampaign.

Lauren Jenkins (@laurenist) -- Development blogger and Henry Kissinger of the zombie apocalypse.

Christine Lagarde (@lagarde) -- Director of the International Monetary Fund. Tweets a bit too "officially" at times but if you want to know what she says at the IMF, follow her.

Josette Sheeran (@JosetteSheeran) -- Vice chair of the World Economic Forum, formerly head of the U.N. World Food Programme.


Katharina Borchert (@lyssaslounge) -- CEO of SPIEGEL Online, Germany. Eclectic mix, great links.

Kseniya Sobchak (@xenia_sobchak) -- Russian opposition activist (tweets in Russian). Big following.

Miriam Elder (@MiriamElder) -- Moscow correspondent for the Guardian and 2011 Twitterati. We think she ought be on the list again this year.

Leila Nachawati (@leila_na) -- Spanish-Syrian activist crossing borders with her activism.

Theodora Oikonomides (@IrateGreek) -- Twitter handle not a misnomer. The woman is on fire on Greek politics and economics.

Claire Ulrich (@ClaireinParis) -- Editor of Global Voices. Tweets en français and then some.


Sarah Carr (@SarahCarr) -- Prize-winning Egyptian-British vlogger and blogger. Excellent analysis and live reporting of Egyptian activism.

Erin Cunningham (@erinmcunningham) -- Senior correspondent for the Middle East and North Africa for Global Post.

Dr. Nada Dhaif (@NadaDhaif) -- Bahraini human rights activist, previously sentenced to 15 years in prison, tweeting in Arabic and English.

Sanam Dolatshahi (@khorshid) -- BBC Persian reporter with expertise on Iranian cyberspace and women's movements.

Sarah Eldeeb (@seldeeb) -- AP correspondent in Cairo. Insightful reporting; great live tweeting of events on the ground.

Samia Errazzouki (@charquaouia) - D.C.-based Morocco editor of Jadaliyya's Maghreb page.

Dalia Ezzat @DaliaEzzat) -- Multilingual, Toronto-based Egyptian who tweets with great insight about Egyptian politics.

Razan Ghazzawi (@redrazan) -- Activist tweeting from the front lines of the Syrian conflict.

Jess Hill (@jessradio) -- Middle East correspondent @TheGlobalMail. Tweets and curates on the region.

Dima Khatib (@Dima_Khatib) -- Arab journalist, tweeting all Middle Eastern issues in three languages. Has 110,000+ followers.

Nadine Moawad (@nmoawad) -- Lebanese activist tweeting about feminism and rights.

Natasha Mozgovaya (@mozgovaya) -- Haaretz's chief U.S. correspondent, based in D.C. Smart and funny political insight.

Jodi Rudoren (@rudoren) -- Newly minted Jerusalem bureau chief of the New York Times.

Lara Setrakian (@lara) -- Freelance journalist and Middle East expert with a current focus on Syria; a 2011 Twitterati.

Hadeel Al Shalchi (@hadeelalsh) -- Middle East correspondent for Reuters in Libya.

Manal Al-Sharif (@Manal_alsharif) -- The activist behind Saudi's Women2Drive campaign. Tweets in Arabic mostly, with some English.

Elizabeth Tsurkov (@Elizrael) -- Always-thoughtful blogger and Global Voices contributor from Israel.


Africa Techie (@AfricaTechie) -- Pseudonymous tweets on technology, corruption, and more in Africa.

Semhar Araia (@semhar) -- Founder and executive director of @DAWNInc, building a network of powerful diaspora African women.

Saran Kaba Jones (@SaranKJones) -- Executive director of @FaceAfrica, tweeting primarily about business and Africa.

Celeste Hicks (@ChadCeleste) -- Freelance journalist specializing in Africa and the Sahel. Worked in Chad, Mali, and Somalia for the BBC. Knows her stuff.

Dana Hughes (@dana_hughes) -- ABC reporter covering the State Department and foreign affairs, previously ABC correspondent covering Africa.

Rosebell Kagumire (@RosebellK) -- Journalist and blogger tweeting primarily on Uganda.

Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenb (@wanjirukr) -- Founder and executive director of Akilli Dada, a leadership development incubator in Kenya; assistant professor at the University of San Francisco.

Solome Lemma (@InnovateAfrica) -- Co-founder of Africans in Diaspora, social entrepreneur, and emerging thought leader on African diaspora philanthropy.

Ory Okolloh (@KenyanPundit) -- Ushahidi co-founder and Google policy manager for Africa, tying together technology and politics.

Juliana Rotich (@afromusing) -- U.S.-based Kenyan co-founder of Ushahidi, tweeting about tech and politics from Nairobi.

Laura Seay (@texasinafrica) -- Political professor at Morehouse College, tweets brilliantly on community and NGO responses to state failure & conflict in central Africa. Also covers pirates.


Renata Avila (@avilarenata) -- Fiery Guatemalan lawyer and activist, tweeting about technology, WikiLeaks, and sharism.

Mariella Castro (@CastroEspinM) -- Daughter of Raul Castro and LGBT rights activist. Tweets mainly in Spanish.

Deborah Donello (@Mexicoreporter) -- Video reporter for AFP and FT, tweeting heavily about the drug war in Mexico.

Shannon O'Neil (@latintelligence) -- Council on Foreign Relations fellow on Latin America, tweets cover the region.

Sylvia Longmire (@drugwaranalyst) -- Former U.S. Air Force officer and security analyst based in Mexico. Just like the name implies.

Camila Vallejo (@camila_vallejo) -- Chilean leader of student movement. Tweets mainly in Spanish.


Xujun Eberlein (@insideoutchina) -- A thoughtful and unique perspective on China.

Kirsten Han (@kixes) -- Singaporean blogger tweeting on a wide range of issues.

Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) -- Writer and academic focused on the use of the Internet in Central Asia.

Louisa Lim (@limlouisa) -- NPR Beijing correspondent tweeting mostly about China.

Katy Pearce (@katypearce) -- Snarky university of Washington professor and Caucasus expert at the intersection of foreign policy and technology.

Angilee Shah (@angshah) -- Journalist covering local and international news, with an emphasis on Asia and globalization.

Gillian Wong (@gillianwong) -- Prolific Beijing-based tweets on China and then some.


Nighat Dad (@nighatdad) -- Freedom of expression and privacy activist in Pakistan.

Bharka Dutt (@bdutt) -- Anchor-Journalist at NDTV, India. Self-described argumentative and she is not kidding. Big following.

DushiYanthini Kanaga (@DushiYanthini) -- Sri Lankan journalist; tweets with a feminist twist.

Myra MacDonald (@myraemacdonald) -- Reuters journalist often found contextualizing South Asian politics.

Naheed Mustafa (@naheedmustafa) -- Award-winning Canadian journalist with deep knowledge and insight into Pakistan and Afghanistan. Often very funny.

Stephanie Nolen (@snolen) -- Award-winning Globe & Mail correspondent in India, sharing plenty of stories you will otherwise miss.

Sana Saleem (@sanasaleem) -- Pakistani Internet freedom activist and writer. Tells it like it is.

Urooj Zia (@UroojZia) -- Freelance journalist and rights activist with a no-nonsense take on Pakistan and much else.

Huma Yusuf (@humayusuf) -- Pakistani journalist, columnist, policy analyst, and media researcher.


Rebecca MacKinnon (@rmack) -- Author and activist focused on the rights of global Internet users. @FP_Magazine writer (included on list of FP'ers who tweet).

Katherine Maher (@krmaher) -- Always-informed tweets on a variety of topics, with some focus on the Middle East and technology.

Cynthia Wong (@cynthiamw) -- Indefatigable fighter for global Internet rights with the Center for Democracy and Technology in D.C.

Minky Worden (@minkysHighjinks) -- Director of Global Initiatives at Human Rights Watch. Tweets strongly on women's issues and human rights.

Diana Wueger (@dianawueger) -- Focused on small arms, arms trade, and conflict.


Valerie Amos (@ValerieAmos) -- U.N. under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator. Passionate tweeter.

Helen Clark (@HelenClarkUNDP) -- Administrator of the U.N. Development Programme and former prime minister of New Zealand. Not boring.

Corinne Woods (@corinnewoods) -- Director of the U.N. Millennium Campaign.


AnonymousMiss (@netanon) -- Anonymous tweeter focused on digital security, cyberthreats, privacy. Has useful cyber security tips.

Matisse Bustos-Hawkes (@matissebh) -- Communications manager for @Witness, tweeting on global human rights and video for change.

Biella Coleman (@biellacoleman) -- Studies Occupy Wall Street and Anonymous. Much smarter than your usual Anonymous coverage.

Katie Dowd (@katiewdowd) -- Department of State Office of Innovation. Gets that tech, innovation, and foreign policy are hard. Passionate nonetheless.

Jennifer Preston (@NYT_JenPreston) -- New York Times correspondent with tweets on social media, open government, and politics.

Linda Raftree (@meowtree) -- Senior ICT4D advisor for Plan International. Tweets focused on women, privacy, and technology.

Eleanor Saitta (@dymaxion) -- Tweets about Internet freedom, information security.

Kim Zetter (@KimZetter) -- Indefatigable Wired reporter covering civil liberties and cybercrime.


We should note that the women FP included in its Top 100 list would have made ours as well. We think they are well deserving of recognition, so here they are again:

Golnaz Esfandiari (@GEsfandiari)

C. Christine Fair (@CChristineFair)

Megan Greene (@economistmeg)

Jean Lee (@newsjean)

Eman Al Nafjan (@Saudiwoman)

Lydia Polgreen (@lpolgreen)

Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice)

Anne-Marie Slaughter (@SlaughterAM)

Liz Sly (@LizSly)

Matina Stevis (@MatinaStevis)

Hiroko Tabuchi (@HirokoTabuchi)

Zeynep Tufekci (@techsoc)

Contributors to the #FPwomeratti list include:

@DaliaEzzat, @pialiroy, @Semhar, @anastasiaashman, @innovateafrica, @krmaher, @endeavoringe, @rosefox, @J_Schiff, @fulelo, @missyasin, @gwbstr, @angshah and @aliisiningo.

Submissions were edited by @jilliancyork, @katrinskaya, and @lisang.


A Queen for a Queen

If the West really wants to halt Iran's uranium enrichment, it needs to get serious about scaling back sanctions.

In January of this year, Olli Heinonen declared that "it would take half a year [for Iran] to go from 3.5 percent enriched uranium to weapons-grade material for the first nuclear device." Well let's sound the all-clear: there is no hint whatsoever that Iran will have a nuclear device this summer, and its enriched uranium stockpile continues to be under the watchful eye of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In a new but equally breathless and alarmist account, Heinonen parades a litany of technical facts about Iran's uranium enrichment to 20 percent that worries him. Oddly, he then goes on to characterize Iran's offer to suspend enrichment to this allegedly highly dangerous level as Iran only offering a "pawn ... in exchange for the queen -- the lifting of oil sanctions."

Which is it? Is 20 percent enrichment merely a "pawn," or is it the imminent and mortal threat that Heinonen describes?

If it is merely a pawn, why bother negotiating about it?

If, however, Iranian enrichment is seen as a serious issue -- a "queen," say, in chess parlance -- then it requires serious reciprocity such as some significant relief on sanctions, perhaps even involving the EU oil embargo that is set to begin in July.

Heinonen makes a big deal about the IAEA's recent detection of uranium particles enriched to 27 percent at the Fordow underground enrichment plant in Iran. While this is well above the declared 20 percent enrichment level at the facility, the discovery is, in all likelihood, a technical glitch and not indicative of any sinister ploy. Indeed, the very detection of these particles is heartening in a way; that the IAEA could pick up "trace" amounts of such material should lend great credence to the IAEA's role as the "tripwire" for any serious diversion or over-enrichment of nuclear materials in Iran. As Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies recently stated, "There are good reasons to worry about Iran's enrichment work but this probably isn't one of them."

But how could such a technical glitch have happened? There are several possibilities. When a cascade of centrifuges is started up, only a small amount of uranium hexafluoride gas is fed through the system at first. Because the system is only doing work on a small amount of gas, this material gets over-enriched, but only temporarily. When the remainder of the gas is added, the overall enrichment level gets blended down to the target figure -- in this case 20 percent (19.75 percent, to be technically precise).

Importantly, this issue has cropped up before in Iran, and also wasn't a big deal then. In 2010, the IAEA detected "a small number of particles" at Iran's Natanz facility enriched as high as 7.1 percent when the target level there was 5 percent. At that time, the IAEA noted that the detected over-enrichment refers to "a known technical phenomenon associated with the start-up of centrifuge cascades."

Of course, such transient anomalies need not occur only when firing up centrifuges. In fact, the possibility of over-enrichment exists any time the uranium hexafluoride gas feed is reduced, or any time centrifuge speeds are increased beyond normal levels. This latter scenario, of course, is exactly what the Stuxnet virus is reported to have brought about in the hopes of destroying the centrifuges. Just recently, a new and powerful virus called Flame was detected in the Middle East. While it's unlikely, we can't rule out the rather ironic possibility that viruses that alter centrifuge speeds may also play a role in producing such over-enrichments.

Heinonen is also, evidently, very concerned about the possibility of conventional high-explosives testing at Iran's Parchin military facility, which may have taken place ten years ago and may have had nuclear weapons applications. The Iran-IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, however, only qualifies the diversion of nuclear material from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons as being a legal breach of agreement. Conventional explosive testing in Iran ten years ago, however worrying, was not restricted by law. Unfortunately, there is a great gulf between the non-proliferation ideal and what is legal.

If such conventional explosives testing took place with nuclear weapons applications in mind -- a matter on which there is much serious dispute -- it would most certainly be against the spirit of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). But getting into perceived violations of the spirit of the NPT is a lengthy and convoluted subject that implicates all nuclear-weapon states -- which were required to get going on nuclear disarmament at an "early date" back in the 1970s -- as well as some non-nuclear-weapon states.

Returning to the chess game: During the recent talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany), Iran indicated that it was willing to suspend enrichment to 20 percent in exchange for some significant sanctions relief. But by refusing to ease sanctions on Iran in any meaningful way, the P5+1 offered no serious reciprocity in return for Iranian compliance. By not striking a deal, these global powers are, in effect, helping Iran stockpile even more enriched uranium.

One gets the feeling that keeping sanctions and pressure on Iran is more important to the West than resolving the nuclear issue.

Heinonen seems to want to raise the negotiating stakes beyond just the 20 percent issue and settle for nothing less than a "more intrusive and timely inspection system, as well as Iran's agreement to follow the Additional Protocol of the Non-Proliferation Treaty" (the Additional Protocol allows the IAEA to conduct more intrusive inspections than are normally permitted). While that would be an ideal outcome, the adoption of the Additional Protocol is a voluntary step for signatory states of the NPT -- not something that is forced upon them under threat of force or sanctions. Importantly, both Argentina and Brazil enrich uranium but also have not adopted the Additional Protocol, and both pursued clandestine nuclear weapons programs in the past.

The successful implementation of the Additional Protocol requires great cooperation and goodwill between the IAEA and signatory nations, and the protocol is unlikely to be effective when threats of force are on the table. The recent assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and the apparently ongoing cyberattacks against Iran's nuclear facilities further poison the atmosphere. The possibility that IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano has been less than apolitical in dealing with Iran is also likely to hurt chances that Iran easily accepts the protocol. Robert Kelley, an ex-IAEA inspector and nuclear engineer, went so far as to characterize parts of Amano's November 2011 report on Iran as trying to misdirect opinion "towards their desired outcome," adding, "that is unprofessional."

Indeed, since the Additional Protocol would grant the IAEA free rein to carry out inspections in Iran, there may be a legitimate fear among Iranian officials that the IAEA could pass on a list of targets for a future military campaign to the United States or its allies. After all, close cooperation between the IAEA and Western intelligence has existed in the past. If the Additional Protocol is ever broached as a subject of future negotiations, as Heinonen suggests, it should be tied to the firm and permanent removal of military threats against Iran. In any case, such threats of force are against the U.N. Charter and specifically contravene U.N. Security Council Resolution 487, which "[c]alls upon Israel to refrain in the future from any such acts [of force] or threats thereof" (emphasis added).

U.S. sanctions, it seems, will be enforced no matter what Iran does with its nuclear program. By designing the sanctions in this way, the U.S. Congress is playing the role of spoiler in the talks between Iran and the P5+1 nations. They may as well kick the chess board.

By contrast, the removal of the EU oil embargo -- enacted but not yet implemented -- could be a useful quid pro quo for the suspension of Iranian 20 percent enrichment: a queen for a queen.

However one characterizes the chess pieces, let's not forget that chess originated in Persia.