TOP NEWS: Nat’l Security / Foreign Affairs: August 14th, 2012
- Syrian opposition prepares for transition
- PM Who Defected Says Syrian Regime Near Collapse
- Egypt’s Morsi defies predictions
- Germany, France Defy Europe Gloom
- Greece Staves Off Default With Debt Sale
Excerpts and more top stories
SYRIA: Syrian opposition prepares for transition
Borzou Daragahi, FT – Activists fear reprisal attacks against the pro-government Alawites once the Assad regime collapses and envisage initial chaos in the postwar period
Jamal Halaby, AP – Syria’s prime minister who defected to the opposition said Tuesday that Bashar Assad’s regime was near collapse and urged other political and military leaders to tip the scales and join the rebel side. The comments by Riad Hijab were his first public statements since leaving his post and fleeing to Jordan.
Damien Cave, NY Times – The Assad government blamed technical failure in the downing of a fighter jet, but there was speculation about whether the opposition had acquired antiaircraft missiles.
SYRIA: Panetta: No-Fly Zone Not on the Front Burner
Lolita C. Baldor, Robert Burns, AP via CFR – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says plans to set up a no-fly zone over parts of Syria are “not on the front burner,” despite persistent calls from rebel forces there that they need the added protection from escalating regime airstrikes.
SYRIA/TURKEY: Assad presents Turkey with another dilemma
By David Gardner, FT – One possible consequence of the post-Assad world is suddenly becoming alarmingly clear to Turks: another Kurdish entity on its southern border when Ankara is nowhere near resolving its own Kurdish unrest, which is reigniting a nagging insurgency in south-east Turkey.
SYRIA/INTERVENTION: Without intervention, Syria will be dragged down with Assad
Faisal Al Yafai, The National via CFR, Opinion – With time, President Bashar Al Assad may still turn the tide of the uprising, as Syria crumbles beneath him in a war that drags on for years. The world cannot wait and watch while that happens. It is right that foreign powers intervene in Syria, and it is right that intervention has already begun.
SYRIA/INTERVENTION: In Syria, it’s past time for the United States to act
Richard Cohen, Washington Post, Editorial – The awful things that could have happened had the United States intervened in Syria are now happening anyway, — maybe because the best did nothing.
SYRIA/BREAKUP: Syria’s Coming Sectarian Crack-Up
Michael Doran, WSJ, Opinion – A “managed transition” is the new mantra in Washington. This isn’t a policy but a prayer. Syrian state institutions are inherently sectarian, and they are crumbling before our eyes. Assad’s forces will retreat to the north, and an Iranian-backed Alawite canton will be born.
SYRIA/REGIONAL COUNCIL: Regional group votes to suspend Syria
CNN Wire Staff – Foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation suspended Syria from the group in advance of a two-day emergency summit in Saudi Arabia.
EGYPT: Egypt’s Morsi defies predictions
Ernesto Londoño, Washington Post – The Egyptian leader,who was expected to be a relatively weak president, is increasingly asserting himself.
EGYPT: From alarm to relief in Washington amid Egypt’s military shakeup
Karen DeYoung, Washington Post – The Obama administration’s first reaction to Sunday’s news that Egypt’s military chiefs had been forced from office was deep alarm. By early Monday, the administration had exhaled a collective, if perhaps temporary, sigh of relief.
EGYPT: Morsi’s challenge to army domination
Heba Saleh, FT – The ousting of two top generals and quashing of army-enforced rules has stunned Egypt, which was expecting a drawn-out power struggle with the president.
Kareem Fahim, Mayy El Sheikh, NY Times – In his purge of Egypt’s top generals, President Mohamed Morsi leaned on the support of a junior officer corps that blamed the old guard for a litany of problems within the military.
Tony Karon, Time – President Mohamed Morsy’s recent actions in Egypt is telling of the country’s state of affairs — and the continuing struggle among its power players.
EUROZONE: Germany, France Defy Europe Gloom
Marcus Walker, WSJ – The euro zone’s two largest economies avoided shrinking between April and June, but the resilience of Germany and France wasn’t enough to prevent the currency bloc’s economy as a whole from falling back into contraction.
EUROZONE/GREECE: Greece Staves Off Default With Debt Sale
Jessica Mead, Costas Paris, WSJ – Greece completed its largest debt sale in two years Tuesday, ensuring that it will have the money to repay bonds held by the European Central Bank next week.
EUROZONE/RECESSION: Europe on the Edge of Recession
Pan Pylas, AP – Europe is edging closer to recession, dragged down by the crippling debt problems of the 17-country euro bloc, official figures showed Tuesday.
EUROZONE/ECB: This Will Not Be Enough, Mr. Draghi
Sebastian Mallaby, CFR – The European Central Bank should have opted to embrace quantitative easing rather than purchasing sovereign bonds.
EUROZONE/GERMANY: German Small Businesses Reflect Country’s Strength
Jack Ewing, NY Times – The small and midsize companies of the Mittelstand will play a key role in determining to what extent the German economy will continue to provide a counterweight to the recession in southern Europe.
EUROZONE/GERMANY/CANADA: Merkel Due in Canada for Trade Talks
Lee Berthiaume, Postmedia News via CFR – Prime Minister Stephen Harper and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet in Canada tomorrow for two days of trade talks. Harper is looking for Merkel to support a free-trade agreement while Merkel looks for help in the eurozone crisis.
EUROZONE/GERMAN LAWSUIT: German lawsuit challenges rescue fund
Quentin Peel, Jamie Smyth, FT – The case filed in the constitutional court in Karlsruhe raises possibility of delaying the creation of the eurozone’s permanent stability mechanism
EUROZONE/GREECE: Greek output shrinks in second quarter
Kerin Hope, FT – The 6.2 per cent contraction, based on data that was not seasonally adjusted, came on top of a 6.5 per cent fall in the first quarter.
ISRAEL/IRAN: Israel, Iran and Military Action
NY Times, Editorial – Israeli leaders are again talking about possible military action to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But diplomacy, not an attack, is still the best solution.
International Crisis Group – New dynamics in the Arab world present opportunities for Hamas and the West to redefine their relationship, but it will take a far greater display of pragmatism and realism than either has exhibited.
RUSSIA: The Stalin in Putin
Masha Gessen, NY Times, Op-Ed There’s a depressing continuum between Stalin’s last show trial against 13 intellectuals and Putin’s latest against the Pussy Riot.
BANKING/STANDARD CHARTERED: Trans-Atlantic Tensions Increase
Dana Cimilluca, Victoria McGrane, WSJ – Banking regulators in the U.S. and U.K., who typically enjoy a special relationship, are sniping over allegations against U.K. bank Standard Chartered.
BANKING/HSBC: HSBC Hires Ex-Sanctions Watchdog
Evan Perez, WSJ – HSBC is hiring a former U.S. government official who policed U.S. sanctions against narcotics traffickers and terrorists, following allegations that HSBC moved funds for drug cartels and other suspicious groups.
MIDDLE EAST BUILDUP: Obama’s critics on Middle East should consider the numbers
Walter Pincus, Washington Post, Opinion – Those who criticize the Obama administration for “leading from behind” in the troubled Middle East should consider, that a steady buildup in the number of U.S. ships and aircraft available for possible new military action in the Middle East has been underway for months.
IRAN/IMF: Iran Doesn’t Belong in the U.N. or IMF
John Bolton, Mark Wallace And Kristen Silverberg, WSJ, Opinion – Any member that persistently violates the U.N. Charter can be expelled. That certainly sounds like Tehran.
AFGHANISTAN: Afghan Talks with Former Taliban Leader
PAkTribune via CFR – Afghan officials have held talks with the Taliban’s former second-in-command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who is in prison in Pakistan. The move could help rekindle stalled peace talks (PakTribune) with insurgents, say senior officials from both countries.
AFGHANISTAN/BOMBING: Multiple Suicide Attacks Kill 27 in Afghanistan
Amir Shah, AP – A health official says the death toll in multiple suicide bombings in southwestern Afghanistan has risen to 27. The head of the Nimroz provincial health department says 110 people were wounded in Tuesday’s attacks in different parts of the city of Zaranj.
Matthew Hulbert,, Forbes, Opinion – For some, Iraq overtaking Iran is cause for celebration, proving that international sanctions are working, but it merely highlights profound global supply side problems.
Lolita C. Baldor, Robert Burns, AP via HuffPo- Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani told U.S. military officials Pakistan will soon launch combat operations against Taliban militants (AP) in a tribal area near the Afghan border that also harbors leaders of the Haqqani network
Jeremy Grantham, FT – All our food problems could be handled easily if we were rational.
INDIA/PROTEST: India arrests anti-graft campaigne
Victor Mallet, FT – Celebrity yoga guru and anti-corruption campaigner is arrested for leading a protest march on parliament without the authorities’ permission
JAPAN: Weak exports curb Japanese growth
Ben McLannahan, FT – World’s third-biggest economy struggled to adjust to strengthening yen and faltering growth in trading partners such as China and the EU, say analysts
CHINA: Chinese groups turn to law in disputes
Simon Rabinovitch, FT – Commercial litigation cases rise more than 25% as the economic slowdown forces companies to go through formal channels
Korea Times via CFR – North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s uncle, Jang Song-thaek, considered his key guardian and the man behind his power, is visiting China in a bid to increase economic cooperation as North Korea struggles with a collapsed economy.
Richard Alleyne, The Telegraph – President Rafael Correa says he hopes to decide this week whether to allow WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange to receive political asylum. Assange took refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy in London in June to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape and assault charges.
Mark Lewis, NY Times – An independent inquest rebuked the police and intelligence services for a series of errors in the handling of last summer’s bombing and gun attacks by Anders Behring Breivik.
OLYMPICS: Britain Basks in a Golden Afterglow
Alan Cowell, NY Times – Contrary to all the grumbling that preceded them, the Olympics offered a finer sense of a Britain relaunched.
MEXICO/ENVIRONMENT: Trying to Protect a Reef With an Otherworldly Diversion
Randal C. Archibold, NY Times – Nearly 500 statues in an underwater museum in Cancún, Mexico, serve as part of a conservation effort of the Mesoamerican Reef, the second-largest barrier reef system in the world.
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