TOP NEWS: Nat’l Security / Foreign Affairs: August 6, 2012
- Syrian Prime Minister defects to Jordan
- The risks of inaction in Syria
- Mario Draghi Cannot Save the Euro
- Optimism in Greece After Talks With Lenders
- Gunmen Kill 15 and Steal Vehicle at Egypt Base
Excerpts and more top stories
SYRIA/ PRIME MINISTER: Syrian Prime Minister Riyad al-Hijab reportedly defects to Jordan
Liz Sly, Washington Post – Syria’s prime minister defected to Jordan on Monday, according to news reports, becoming the most senior official yet to quit the embattled government of President Bashar al-Assad.
John McCain, Joseph I. Lieberman and Lindsey O. Graham, Washington Post, Opinion – As fighting inside Syria intensifies and the opposition there renews its plea to the world for help, the Obama administration’s hands-off approach is increasingly at odds with both America’s values and its interests.
EUROZONE/ MARIO DRAGHI: Mario Draghi Cannot Save the Euro
Simon Johnson, Bloomberg – European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has been making pronouncements that many have interpreted as positive for the future of the euro. I think his words mean things are going to get ugly.
EUROZONE/GREECE: Optimism in Greece After Talks With Lenders
Niki Kitsantonis, NY Times – Envoys of Greece’s international creditors on Sunday wrapped up a review of the country’s progress in meeting the terms of its second bailout and said they would return in September for a final assessment that will determine whether further money would be released and a potentially disastrous default averted.
ISRAEL/ EGYPT: Gunmen Kill 15 and Steal Vehicle in Attack on Egypt Base
Kareem Fahim, Mayy El Sheikh – After the attack on an Egyptian army barracks in the northern Sinai peninsula, near the country’s border with Israel, the militants seized armored vehicles and tried to infiltrate Israel, according to officials.
ISRAEL/ EGYPT: Israeli Defense Chief Says Egypt Attack a ‘Wake-Up Call’
Jodi Rudoren and Kareem Fahim, NY Times – The Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, said on Monday that a terrorist attack that killed 15 Egyptian soldiers on Sunday night should serve as “a wake-up call” to the new Egyptian president about the growing danger in the Sinai Peninsula and the border between the two nations.
ISRAEL/PALESTINE: Israel Bars Foreign Envoys From West Bank Meeting
Jodi Rudoren, NY Times – Israel on Sunday barred the delegations of five countries from attending a diplomatic conference in Ramallah, in the West Bank, upending plans by the Palestinian president to announce his intention to renew the Palestinians’ bid this September for enhanced status in the United Nations.
John Campbell and Ralph Bunche, CFR – Thousands of Malians are fleeing the fighting and Ansar Dine’s harsh regime. In Bamako, Mali’s capital, a brokered settlement between the military junta and an interim civilian government of the elites is not working.
Adam Nossiter, NY Times – Hundreds of young men are stuffed into makeshift training camps near this provincial capital of Mopti, Mali, arising at 4 a.m. for physical exercises and simulated hand-to-hand combat in preparation for the day when they can free their north Mali homeland from the radical Islamists whose harsh rule has driven tens of thousands of frightened, desperate civilians to flee the country.
Pelin Turgut, Time – Syrian-Kurdish fighters last week took control of towns across northern Syria after Assad ceded them to shore up his forces in Damascus and Aleppo. Two weeks earlier, Iraqi-Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani had brokered a deal between rival Syrian-Kurdish groups, forming a national council and vowing to suppress their differences in order to pursue common Kurdish interests.
Edward Wong, NY Times – China’s state-run news agency and central state television network have begun publishing reports from the beachside town of Beidaihe on the activities of top Communist Party visitors from Beijing, suggesting to some political observers that China’s leaders have begun congregating there to discuss the power transition expected to take place this fall.
Patrick Chovanec interviewed by Christopher Alessi, CFR – China’s gross domestic product for the second quarter declined to 7.6 percent (WSJ) in July, its lowest level since the height of the global financial crisis in 2009. At the same time, the International Monetary Fund reduced its 2012 growth forecast (CBS) for China by 0.2 percentage points to 8 percent.
CHINA/ COUNTERFEITING: 2,000 Arrested in China in Counterfeit Drug Crackdown
David Barboza, NY Times – Chinese government authorities have detained nearly 2,000 people as part of a nationwide crackdown on the sale of fake or counterfeit drugs and health care products, according to a report on Sunday from Xinhua, the official news agency.
Financial Times – Communist party’s conclave will finalise plans to hand power to a new generation of leaders amid the most serious crisis to hit the party in years.
Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten, Washington Post – David Plouffe, a senior White House adviser who was President Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, accepted a $100,000 speaking fee in 2010 from an affiliate of a company doing business with Iran’s government. A subsidiary of MTN Group, a South Africa-based telecommunications company, paid Plouffe for two speeches he made in Nigeria in December 2010, about a month before he joined the White House staff.
Anne Gearan, Washington Post – If this small nation, with a per capita income of less than $3 a day and a life expectancy of 53, offers a hopeful model for fighting the scourge of AIDS in Africa, then large and relatively prosperous Uganda shows how quickly progress can run off track.
Kevin Sieff, Washington Post – Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Sunday that he will respect the Afghan parliament’s decision to remove two key ministers from office, a dramatic change in leadership during a pivotal stage in NATO’s 11-year war.
GLOBAL FOOD PRICES: U.S. Drought and Rising Global Food Prices
Isobel Coleman interviewed by Christopher Alessi, CFR – The ongoing drought in the Midwest has affected approximately 80 percent of the U.S. corn crop and more than 11 percent of the soybean crop, triggering a rise in global food prices.
JAIMAICA: Who Is Jamaica?
Carolyn Cooper – Fifty years after independence, Jamaica should revise its fictive national motto, rejecting the homogenizing myth of multicultural assimilation.
More News, Analysis and Opinion on Syria
SYRIA: US official says defection of Syrian prime minister more evidence Assad regime ‘is crumbling’
AP via Washington Post – A senior U.S. official says the defection of the Syrian prime minister and other top government ministers is more evidence that the Assad regime “is crumbling.” The American official traveling with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Africa called on other senior members of the Syrian government and military to break with President Bashar Assad.
Damien Cave and Hwaida Saad, NY Times – President Bashar al-Assad fired his prime minister on Monday, Syria’s official media reported, as activists countered that he had defected with several officials and military commanders in what seemed a further indication of disarray among government loyalists following a series of high-level defections and a rebel bomb attack last month that killed four of the Syrian leader’s closest security aides.
SYRIA/ AL-QUEDA: Al-Qaeda’s Specter in Syria
Ed Husain, CFR – The Syrian rebels would be immeasurably weaker today without al-Qaeda in their ranks. By and large, Free Syrian Army (FSA) battalions are tired, divided, chaotic, and ineffective. Feeling abandoned by the West, rebel forces are increasingly demoralized as they square off with the Assad regime’s superior weaponry and professional army. Al-Qaeda fighters, however, may help improve morale.
SYRIA: Next Steps in Syria
Martin S. Indyk, Brookings Institution – Testimony on the humanitarian crisis in Syria, as hundreds of thousands flee fighting in the country’s main cities of Damascus and Aleppo and cross Syria’s borders into Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.
SYRIA/ ASSAD INTERVIEWER: Writer Defends His Handling of Interview With Assad
Rick Gladstone, NY Times – Jürgen Todenhöfer, a critic of conflict, defended his interview with Syria’s leader and spoke of his motivation to hear what his subject had to say.
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