- Syria slaughter shifts from Homs to Idlib as Kofi Annan visits Assad
- Hostilities between Israel and Gaza militants escalate again
- Germany and Austria threaten to close borders with Greece
- China has largest trade deficit since 1989
- Pakistan Taliban demand release of bin Laden's widows
Syria slaughter shifts from Homs to Idlib as Kofi Annan visits Assad
Former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, who was vitriolically contemptuous of President George Bush but is best pals with Syria's genocidal president Bashar al-Assad, was made a fool of on Saturday, when he met with al-Assad in Damascus to convince him to end the violence. Al-Assad told him what he wanted to hear -- that he would make an "honest effort" to achieve peace in his country. At the same time, however, al-Assad regime forces were launching brutal attacks on civilians in Idlib. Al-Assad has massacred thousands of people in Homs, and it's now feared that the regime will treat Idlib in the same way. Since Idlib is near the border with Turkey, there will be thousands of refugees pouring into Turkey, which may force Turkey to react in some way. VOA
Although I don't mention this every day, Syria is in a generational awakening era, and so it's impossible that this will spiral into a major civil war. In the ten years since I've been posting these analyses, we've seen situations in other awakening era countries -- Iraq, Iran, Thailand and Lebanon -- where almost all mainstream analysts feared or predicted a civil war, but where the Generational Dynamics analysis, as I reported each time, was that a civil war was impossible, or that it would fizzle quickly if started. The same thing will undoubtedly happen in Syria. There will be an awakening era climax, just as there was in America's last awakening era, when President Nixon was forced to resign in 1974. The current hostilities will end in some sort of climax, with either al-Assad stepping down or completely crushing the opposition. Right now it looks far more likely that the latter will happen.
Hostilities between Israel and Gaza militants escalate again
After several months of relative calm, the hostilities between Israel and Gaza militants, have suddenly taken a sharp turn upward. Over 100 rockets have been fired from Gaza into southern Israel in the last two days, and Israel has responded with a series of bombing attacks on suspected militants in Gaza. Although Hamas is the governing organization in Gaza, they do not control everyone, especially as Hamas is increasingly seen as representing an older generation. It's most likely that the rockets are being fired by another militant organization, probably Islamic Jihad, representing a younger generation of terrorists. Jerusalem Post
Germany and Austria threaten to close borders with Greece
Germany and Austria warned that they would introduce border controls with Greece. But the reason given had nothing to do directly with the financial crisis. The problem is illegal immigrants entering Europe through the border between Greece and Turkey. According to Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner,
"The (Greek) border is open like a barn door. The pressure on Greece must be increased ... It cannot be that a member state which does not do its homework gets away with it scot-free."
Greece has failed to meet the terms of an EU-agreed plan to secure its borders -- Greece has so far hired only 11 out of 300 extra immigration officials. Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA)
China has largest trade deficit since 1989
In another sign of turbulence in China's economy, China announced that in February China had the largest trade deficit since at least 1989. China normally has a trade surplus. The February results were caused by a big fall in exports, thanks to the European fiscal crisis, and by a big rise in imports, probably related to the Lunar New Year celebrations. At the same time, the rate of inflation has been slowing, while industrial output and retail sales have slumped. China's economy has been spiraling downward at least since October, when the country's gargantuan real estate bubble started collapsing. Bloomberg
Pakistan Taliban demand release of bin Laden's widows
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Pakistan Taliban, are demanding that the three widows of Osama bin Laden be released immediately. The TTP vowed revenge after bin Laden’s death last year, and carried out high-profile attacks across Pakistan. It bombed an American consulate convoy, laid siege to a naval base and killed paramilitary cadets. Now the TTP are threatening revenge for the arrest of the three TTP widows:
"If the family of Osama bin Laden is not released as soon as possible, we will attack the judges, the lawyers and the security officials involved in their trial.
We will carry out suicide bombings against security forces and the government across the country."
On Thursday, Pakistan charged the widows will illegally entering and staying in the country. Reuters