TOP NEWS: Nat’l Security / Foreign Affairs: August 2, 2012
- His Peace Plan Ignored, Annan Resigns as Syria Envoy
- ECB’s Draghi: Bank may intervene on borrowing costs
- U.S. and Israel Intensify Talks on Iran Options
- Amid Political Prosecution, Russia Court Rules For Tycoon
- Turkey: Ex-military chief tells of unease about government
Excerpts and more top stories
Rick Gladstone, NY Times – The resignation, effective at the end of August, comes after months of repeated failure to achieve even a basic cease-fire in the Syrian conflict.
EUROZONE: ECB’s Draghi – Bank may intervene on to drive down countries’ borrowing costs
AP via Washington Post – European Central Bank head Mario Draghi says the bank is ready to intervene in the bond market to drive down countries’ high borrowing rates, and urged European leaders to get their bailout fund ready to intervene as well.
Elizabeth Bumiller & Juddi Rudoren, NY Times – A series of public statements and private communications from the Israeli leadership in recent weeks set off renewed concerns in the Obama administration that Israel might be preparing a unilateral military strike on Iran, perhaps as early as this fall.
ISRAEL/IRAN: Former Israeli spymaster says Iran should be worried by Israel’s attack threats
AP via Washington Post – A former Israeli spymaster on Thursday cautioned Iran not to dismiss Israel’s talk about possibly attacking Iranian nuclear facilities.
Amid signs of a broadening campaign to prosecute opposition politicians and activists in Russia this summer, the country’s Supreme Court has issued a rare ruling in favor of the most prominent political prisoner, the jailed oil tycoon Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky.
RUSSIA: Top British rockers seek release of Russian punk band as Putin visits London
AP via Washington Post -The musicians say the band members were involved in legitimate protest and should not be facing up to seven years in jail for their actions.
Ace Toksabay, Reuters – Turkey’s former military chief told a court trying coup plot charges on Thursday that unease about the Islamist-rooted government had led commanders to raise the idea of issuing a written warning to it in 2003.
TURKEY: Turkish warplanes, helicopter gunships pound Kurdish rebel positions in southeast Turkey
AP via Washington Post -Turkish warplanes and attack helicopters pounded Kurdish rebel positions Thursday in a rugged southeast region, a clash that comes as Turkey grows increasingly concerned that Kurdish rebels may be trying to expand their reach by establishing bases in conflict-ridden Syria.
PALESTINE: Palestinians brace for US, Israeli repercussions if they seek UN recognition, document shows
AP via Washington Post – The Palestinians are bracing for possible punitive reactions by the U.S. and Israel if they go ahead with plans to seek U.N. General Assembly recognition of “Palestine” as a non-member observer state, according to an internal document obtained Thursday.
SPAIN: Spain Arrests 3 Qaeda Suspects With Explosives
AP via NY Times – Police have arrested three suspected members of al-Qaida who had amassed explosives and may have been plotting attacks in Europe, Spain’s interior minister said Thursday.
Ernesto Londoño, Washington Post – Egyptian state media disclosed the broad outlines Wednesday of the country’s new cabinet, selections that suggest President Mohamed Morsi is unwilling or unable to assemble the kind of dynamic, politically diverse governing team many voters had hoped for.
Report: Mubarak’s 2 sons face new corruption allegations over 1993 land purchase
AP via Washington Post – The two — onetime heir apparent Gamal and wealthy businessman Alaa — are on trial for insider trading. They were acquitted on June 2 of separate corruption charges. They have been in detention since April 2011.
Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post – In Washington, Republicans are bashing President Obama for inflicting “European-style socialism” on the United States. Here in Paris, a genuine socialist took the presidential oath in May, and he has wasted no time implementing policies designed to soak the rich.
CHINA: China’s Twitter: Democracy accelerant or the best surveillance tool Beijing ever had?
AP via Washington Post – Launched in 2009, China’s leading microblog site, Sina Weibo, has given a digital megaphone to more than 300 million Chinese, prompting many to wonder if it might drive Arab Spring-style political change and democratic reforms. Others see the platform as a brilliant new surveillance tool for the communist government in Beijing.
CHINA: China sentences 20 people for up to 15 years for terrorism, separatism in Xinjiang region
AP via Washington Post – China has sentenced 20 people to up to 15 years in jail for advocating violence and separatism in the far western region of Xinjiang, where the central government has clamped down on dissent and restricted religious practices.
Randy Fabi & Chen Aizhu, Reuters, Opinion – First came the diplomatic offensive, then the flexing of military muscle. Now, China is opening a third front to assert its claims in the South China Sea – moving ahead with its first major tender of oil and gas blocks in disputed parts of its waters.
CHINA/INDIA: Diplomats Jostle, Militaries Prepare
Mohan Malik, World Affairs Journal – Tensions between the two powers have come to influence everything from their military and security decisionmaking to their economic and diplomatic maneuvering, with implications for wary neighbors and faraway allies alike.
IRAQ: Iraqi court refuses to send Hezbollah commander for US trial in 2007 deaths of American troops
AP via Washigton Post – An Iraqi court has rejected a request to send a terror commander to the United States for trial, a decision that apparently ends the Obama administration’s efforts to prosecute the Lebanese Hezbollah figure held in Iraq for the 2007 killings of five American soldiers.
Randal C. Archibold, NY Times -The former second-highest ranking secretary at the Defense Ministry and three other former officers have been formally charged with aiding drug traffickers, in the biggest military corruption case in recent years.
Uzbekistan is moving to ban foreign military bases on its territory, local media reported on Thursday, ending speculation it could allow the United States to reopen a base for operations in neighboring Afghanistan.
Anthony Faiola and Eliza Mackintosh, Washington Post – Britain gambled $15 billion on hosting the Olympics, an investment being watched closely across crisis-battered Europe, where the debate over stimulus vs. austerity has reached a fevered pitch. But early evidence is suggesting just how hard it can be for modern host cities to cash in on the Games.
David Milliken, Reuters – The Bank of England left its monetary policy unchanged on Thursday, judging that its July decision to expand purchases of government bonds is enough stimulus for now despite the danger of a prolonged slump.
Stuart Grudgings, Reuters, Opinion- More credit is coursing through Southeast Asia than at any time since the region’s 1997 financial crisis, much of it finding its way to an ebullient new middle class in the form of credit cards, car loans and mortgages.
Too Much Baggage: Romney Needs a New Foreign Policy Team
David Rothkopf, Foreign Policy – Welcome home, Mitt. It’s time to unpack the baggage from your trip. Unfortunately for you, you came home with more than you left with. And the memories you made are not ones you’ll be sharing with your friends at the club anytime soon.
AFGHANISTAN: Afghan forces thwart insurgent attack on Kabul
AP via WSJ - Afghan forces killed five insurgents who were planning to attack Kabul in an early morning gun battle Thursday just outside of the capital, officials said.
MORE SYRIA NEWS:
Damien Cave, NY Times – Syria’s rebels shelled an airport near Aleppo on Thursday in what was described as one of the first known instances of insurgents using captured heavy weapons.
UN General Assembly sets Friday vote on resolution asking Syria’s Assad to relinquish power
AP via Washington Post – Arab countries pushed ahead Wednesday with a symbolic U.N. General Assembly resolution that tells Syrian President Bashar Assad to resign and turn over power to a transitional government, and that the Syrian army stop its shelling and helicopter attacks.
Patrick Markey, Reuters, Opinion – Tuesday’s high-profile assault on a anti-terrorism police unit in Baghdad was the latest in a drive by the Islamic State of Iraq, al Qaeda local affiliate, to make good on a pledge to win back ground lost in its war with American troops – its leader has even threatened to strike at the United States.
SYRIA/UK/RUSSIA: Black belt Putin tackles Cameron on Syria
Mohammad Abbas & Maria Golovnina, Reuters – Prime Minister Cameron tried to push the former KGB spy to take a tougher line on Syria, Russia’s firmest foothold in the Middle East, and stop blocking Western-backed resolutions aimed at stepping up pressure on President Bashar al-Assad, in a meeting on Thursday.
Reuters via Chicago Tribune - Up to 3 million Syrians are likely to need food, crop and livestock aid in the next 12 months as the conflict raging in their country has prevented farmers harvesting crops, U.N. agencies said on Thursday.
PANETTA/JORDAN: Panetta, Jordan’s King Abdullah agree Syria’s Assad must step down
AP via Washington Post – A spokesman for U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the Pentagon chief and Jordan’s King Abdullah agree that Syrian leader Bashar Assad must give up power.
Martin Fackler, NY Times – As Japan has ceded dominance in industry after industry that once lifted this nation to economic greatness, there has been plenty of blame to go around. A nuclear disaster that raised energy costs. A lack of entrepreneurship. China’s relatively cheap work force.
AFRICA: Clinton, in Africa, readies security talks with Uganda, South Sudan leaders
AP via Washington Post – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took off Thursday for the next stops in her seven-nation tour of Africa, flying across the continent from Senegal to Uganda and South Sudan for security talks with those countries’ leaders.
AFRICA /CHINA: Senegalese slipper-makers refuse to sell to Chinese, as country’s shadow grows long in Africa
AP via Washington Post – The Senegalese government has so far not regulated the import of Chinese-made replicas of local crafts, so the most prominent shoemakers of Ngaye Mekhe have come up with their own retaliation: They are refusing to sell their slippers to Chinese visitors.
NORTH KOREA: UN – North Korea in dire need of emergency food aid in wake of deadly rains
AP via Washington Post – North Korea needs immediate food assistance after heavy rains killed scores of people and submerged vast swaths of farmland, an U.N. office said Thursday.
More Eurozone News:
EUROZONE: S&P downgrades Cyprus sovereign debt a notch deeper into junk on bank fears
AP via Washington Post – Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s lowered Cyprus’ sovereign debt grade one notch deeper into junk territory on Thursday and warned of further downgrades over concerns that the country’s troubled banks will continue to strain public finances.
GREECE: Greece resumes austerity talks with debt inspectors after coalition government dodges crisis
AP via Washington Post – Greece’s coalition government has resumed austerity negotiations with international debt inspectors, after narrowly avoiding a political crisis that officials said had threatened the country’s future in the eurozone.
The Common Good publishes an international news digest every weekday, available here.