TOP NEWS: Nat’l Security / Foreign Affairs: August 23rd, 2012
- U.N. Visit Will Set Back a Push to Isolate Iran
- Afghanistan Blames Foreign Spies for Insider Attacks
- The Air War in Aleppo
- The Powder Keg in the Pacific
- Greece, Germany at Odds Ahead of Talks
Excerpts and more top stories
IRAN: U.N. Visit Will Set Back a Push to Isolate Iran - NYT
Despite American-led efforts to marginalize Iran, Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the United Nations, plans to attend the annual meeting of the Nonaligned Movement being held there.
IRAN: The Origins of Iran’s Bellicosity – NATIONAL INTEREST
Twenty year’s after Ayatollah Khomeini’s passing, the Islamic Republic remains an outlier in international relations. Iran’s leaders are still committed to his worldview. The resilience of Iran’s Islamist ideology in the country’s foreign policy is striking.
IRAN/ISRAEL: To Strike or Not to Strike: Israel’s Debate over Iran – THE ECONOMIST
AFGHANISTAN: Afghanistan Blames Foreign Spies for Insider Attacks - TIME
Afghan officials claimed that foreign intelligence services were behind the wave of killings of Western troops by Afghan forces, a statement directly at odds with NATO’s assessment of the crisis.
AFGHANISTAN: Kabul deploys spies on police and army - FT
Afghan officials are sending dozens of undercover intelligence officers to security units nationwide to combat a spate of ‘insider’ attacks on coalition troops
SYRIA: The Air War in Aleppo - FP
The battle for Syria’s north is not a fair fight. But the rebels are winning anyway.
SYRIA: What Syria’s Soldiers See - ROBERT FISK, THE INDEPENDENT
Robert Fisk hears the Syrian forces’ justification for a battle that is tearing apart one of the world’s oldest cities.
SYRIA: Near Damascus, a Rebel Riddle - WSJ
Just 15 miles from Damascus, one antiregime mountain village hasn’t been attacked since early this year.
SYRIA: Al-Qaeda Is Winning the War for Syria – NATIONAL REVIEW
Our collective excitement at the possibility that the Assad regime will be destroyed is blurring our vision and preventing us from seeing the rise of al-Qaeda in Syria…
SYRIA: What’s Behind Syria’s Proxy War? - ASIA TIMES VIA REAL CLEAR POLITICS
Weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) are back.
ASIA: The Powder Keg in the Pacific - FP, OP-ED
Over the past decade, East Asian countries have surprised observers with their eagerness to work together, but observers shouldn’t get their hopes up: Modern rivalries and historical baggage still stand in the way of transforming these arrangements into genuine regional cooperation.
MISSILE DEFENSE/ASIA: U.S. Plans New Asia Missile Defenses - WSJ
The U.S. is planning a major expansion of missile defenses in Asia, a move American officials say is designed to contain threats from North Korea, but one that could also be used to counter China’s military.
EUROZONE: Greece, Germany at Odds Ahead of Talks – WSJ
Germany and Greece sparred ahead of a meeting that could decide whether Athens wins a reprieve on painful changes.
EUROZONE: Europe Arrives on Highway to Hell – THE NATION
Europe is in the midst of a massive run on bank deposits in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ireland. While the last out-of-office auto-responses zip across the continent in multiple languages, the bank runs continue to accelerate.
EUROZONE: All You Should Know About Europe’s Situation - FORTUNE
Summer fun in Europe is about to come to a screeching halt, as fund managers and government officials will return in September to what appears to be a hopeless situation.
EUROZONE: GREECE: Athens Is Serious About Austerity – SPIEGEL
Many German politicians accuse Greece of not doing enough to cut spending. But studies show that, measured in relative terms, Athens has carried out the most brutal austerity program in the EU’s history.
CHINA: China Manufacturing Gauge Slumps - WSJ
A preliminary gauge of manufacturing activity in China fell to a nine-month low, sending another warning signal on the state of the world’s second-largest economy.
CHINA/UNITED STATES: Chinese acquisitions in US near record – FT
A total of $7.8bn Chinese deals buying into the US is approaching the full-year record of $8.9bn set in 2007, according to Dealogic
CHINA/JAPAN: Japan and China’s History Problem - FT
In a world moving from US unipolarity to multipolarity, in the words of Yukio Hatoyama, then prime minister, Japan would rediscover Asia as its “basic sphere of being”.
JAPAN: Japanese Leader Meets With Antinuclear Protesters – NYT
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda met with opponents of nuclear power plants for the first time since he approved the reopening of several reactors that were shut down after the Fukushima disaster last year.
EGYPT: Egypt requests $4.8 billion loan from IMF - CFR
EGYPT/ISRAEL: Egypt’s Mursi Can’t Have It Both Ways on Israel - BLOOMBERG, OPINION
To Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, Israel is an anathema. Yet to maintain international credibility, and $1.3 billion in annual U.S. aid, he must maintain relations. So he’s been trying to have it both ways: disrespecting Israel, but not too much.
EGYPT/ISRAEL: Developments in Iran and Sinai Deepen Israel’s Worries About Egypt - NYT
With Egypt’s deployment of tanks in the Sinai Peninsula and its president’s upcoming trip to Iran, Israeli officials are increasingly worried about what has long been a critical regional relationship.
UNITED KINGDOM: Austerity Will Topple UK Coalition - THE SCOTSMAN, VIA REAL CLEAR POLITICS
WITH DEBT soaring and the UK stuck in recession, Cameron and Osborne have few cards left to play. When the central pillar of a government’s economic policy starts to unravel, coherence and credibility soon follow.
UNITED KINGDOM/ECUADOR: Ayslum for Assange - THE ECONOMIST – OP-ED
UNITED KINGDOM/CHILE: Anglo nears deal to end Codelco dispute - FT
Chilean miner poised to buy 24.5% of London-listed group’s Sur assets for $1.8bn in a move that would bring to a close the long-running dispute
BIN LADEN BOOK: Book on bin Laden raid a surprise - WP
A U.S. commando involved in the mission that killed the al-Qaeda leader has written an inside account, according to the publisher. Pentagon and CIA officials said they have not reviewed it.
GERMANY: Gay-Rights Bill Shows German Coalition Split - WSJ
Germany’s justice ministry circulated draft legislation to grant homosexual couples in civil unions many of the same rights as married heterosexuals, blowing open a dispute within the ruling coalition.
CHILE: Harry G. Barnes Jr., 86, helped end military rule in Chile – WP
As U.S. ambassador to Chile, the career diplomat served an important role in making dictator Augusto Pinochet step down from power.
LEBANON: Cease-Fire Reached in Tripoli - BBC
Local officials in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli have brokered a cease-fire between Sunnis supporting the Syrian opposition and Alawites supporting the Syrian regime after days of clashes that left at least twelve people dead.
INDIA: Satisfying India’s thirst for power could be nation’s biggest challenge - WP
India will need staggering levels of investment, and a fundamental change in the way its government works, if it is to keep pace with its rapidly growing demand for power.
INDIA: India’s Northeast: Troubled Region as Global Flashpoint - TIME
In the world’s largest democracy, recent fears of pogroms and ethnic violence have highlighted just how fractious and febrile India’s social makeup is.
INDIA: Hold your nose - THE ECONOMIST
India’s public-sector banks are sitting on something unpleasant
ETHIOPIA: The Meles Zenawi I Knew - FP
Ethiopia’s late dictator was a complex and sophisticated leader — a self-taught ex-guerrilla who brought his people economic growth and repression.
ETHIOPIA: Meles Zenawi and Ethiopia’s Grand Experiment - NYT, OP-ED
Meles saw himself as a builder of institutions. He wanted his legacy to be stability and the conquest of poverty.
ETHIOPIA: Death of a Strongman - IHT, OP-ED
Ethiopians may be mourning the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, but they should worry about the legacy of his personality-centric development agenda.
VIETNAM: In Vietnam, Growing Fears of an Economic Meltdown - NYT
In Vietnam’s major cities, a once-booming property market has come crashing down, adding to an economic slowdown that is being compared to the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
RUSSIA: Russia joins WTO after 19 years of talks - FT
World Bank economists estimate resulting boon for Russia’s economy of $49bn a year over midterm from increased competition and foreign investment.
RUSSIA: Pussy Riot Was Carefully Calibrated for Protest - NYT
It’s been a long time since punk carried a sense of danger, and longer still since it carried the beat of political change.
RUSSIA: The Life and Death of a Great Russian City - FP
The tragic plot to destroy Nizhny Novgorod’s centuries-old historic city center.
SOUTH AFRICA: South African mining unrest spreads – WP
Platinum and gold prices surge as investors brace for supply disruptions after police killed 34 miners at South African mine.
COSTA RICA: Ex-Costa Rica leader disillusioned in years since peace deal – WP
For former Costa Rican president Oscar Arias Sanchez, the late 1980s seemed the dawn of an era peace and democracy in Central America. But 25 years later, he looks at the violence-plagued region with lament.
S.KOREA: BUSINESS: Hyundai, Kia Exports Plunge on Strikes - WSJ
Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors exports from South Korea fell 23% in July due to the prolonged strike at the nation’s biggest auto group.
GUANTANAMO/STORM: Tropical Storm Isaac heads toward Guantanamo Bay - WP
Warnings of heavy winds and rain force the postponement of hearings for the Sept. 11 suspects.
GOP FOREIGN POLICY: GOP plan for foreign policy and defense platform is predictable – WP
The main points of the Republican draft included criticism of President Obama for engaging with Iran, allowing leaks of classified information and supporting the sequestration of defense funding.
FRANCE: France to Ease Work Restrictions for Roma - EURONEWS
The French government announced yesterday it will ease restrictions on Roma immigrants from eastern Europe who are seeking employment and residence rights, amid a controversy over the government’s recent evictions of Roma from illegal sites.
NIGERIA: Nigeria Threatens Intervention in Mali - M&G, VIA CFR
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said the Economic Community of West African States would intervene militarily in northern Mali, which has been occupied by radical Islamists for months, if negotiations between the interim government and rebels fail.
NIGERIA: Pirates Release Hostages - REUTERS
Pirates have released four foreign workers with the Netherlands-based Sea Trucks Group who were kidnapped off the Nigerian coast earlier this month, the company and Nigerian navy confirmed today.
BOLIVIA: Bolivian leader losing indigenous support - FT
Controversy over a Brazil-funded highway crossing a pristine natural Amazonian reserve in the north of the country has caused a problem for Evo Morales.
WEST AFRICA: Cholera Epidemic Envelops Coastal Slums in West Africa -NYT
The spread of the disease that is transmitted through contact with contaminated feces was made worse this year by flooding in the sprawling shantytowns of Sierra Leone and Guinea.
MORE EUROZONE STORIES:
EUROZONE: Greece Faces New Pressure on Cuts - WSJ
Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker warned that Greece faced a “last chance” in proving its credibility to creditors, and said a decision on Athens’s proposal to extend deadlines on overhauls wouldn’t come until next month.
EUROZONE/GERMANY: Time for Germany’s Bundesbank to Put Up or Shut Up - BLOOMBERG, OP-ED
The future of the euro and maybe of the European Union itself will turn in the next few weeks on a disagreement between Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, and Jens Weidmann, head of the Bundesbank. Draghi wants the ECB to do “whatever it takes” to preserve the single currency. Weidmann doesn’t.
EUROZONE: FRANCE: Hollande government responds to criticism - WSJ
President knows his credibility with both his European partners and the financial markets depends on delivering on his budgetary promises
EUROZONE: Europe Stocks Trim Gains - WSJ
European stocks pared early gains as an initial burst of enthusiasm over last night’s Federal Reserve minutes gave way to concerns about the euro zone’s economic outlook.
EUROZONE/MARKETS: Europe’s Stock Markets Ask, ‘What Crisis?’ - BLOOMBERG, OPINION
Germany’s government and central bank may have had a falling-out over how best to solve the euro crisis, but stock-market traders don’t seem to have noticed.
EUROZONE: IRELAND: Irish business hit as loan refusals soar - FT
A quarter of applications for loans or overdrafts by small and medium companies are being refused – the second highest rejection rate behind Greece, a report shows.