World View: Syria Threatens Saudis, Israelis with Chemical Weapons

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
  • Syria threatens Saudis and Israelis with chemical weapons
  • With American troops gone, al-Qaeda in Iraq launches widespread bombings
  • Dual Greece / Spain financial crises put Europe on the brink
  • Philippine president says will not back down to China's demands

Syria threatens Saudis and Israelis with chemical weapons

Syria bragged on Monday that they had chemical and biological weapons, and that they might use them against foreign adversaries. According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi, such weapons would only be used for "foreign aggression": 

"Any stocks of WMD or any unconventional weapons that the Syrian Arab Republic possesses would never, would never be used against civilians or against the Syrian people during this crisis at any circumstances, no matter how the crisis would evolve, no matter how."

In a later e-mail message, Makdissi appeared to back off slightly, using the words "if they exist": 

"[Syria would] "never use chemical and biological weapons during the crisis... and that such weapons, if they exist, it is natural for them to be stored and secured."

As far as I know, the Syria's Bashar al-Assad regime has used every possible weapons -- from handguns to helicopter gunships to missile-armed jets -- against unarmed civilians, and with al-Assad in a state of total desperation, it's not really credible that al-Assad would stop at using chemical or biological weapons against innocent Syrian civilians. 

Makdissi did not spell out which countries would be targeted with chemical and biological weapons, but we may assume that he meant Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel and possibly Turkey. Reuters and al-Jazeera

With American troops gone, al-Qaeda in Iraq launches widespread bombings

At least 19 coordinated terrorist explosions and attacks in 13 cities and more than 40 locations across Iraq on Monday killed more than 100 people and injured 180. The attacks were aimed principally at military targets and Shia communities, and are thought to be the work of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), a terrorist group that has been suppressed since the introduction of the military "surge" in 2007. However, AQI has promised a resurgence since the American withdrawal. In an audio message last week, an AQI leader warned, "We are starting a new stage. The first priority in this is releasing Muslim prisoners everywhere, and chasing and eliminating judges and investigators and their guards." According to one analyst, the attacks have "sparked fears that security forces will not be able to handle what appears to many people to be a resurgence of al-Qaeda" in the absence of US troops, who pulled out of the country at the end of last year. Al-Jazeera and Washington Post

Dual Greece / Spain financial crises put Europe on the brink

Spain 10-Year bond yields at 7.5% on 23-Jul-2012
Spain 10-Year bond yields at 7.5% on 23-Jul-2012

European officials can't handle more than one crisis at a time, and now they've got three at once. Greece is going to need a third bailout package, and it's not going to get it, as we reported yesterday. And ten-year bond yields (interest rates) for Italy rose to 6.34%. But the big shock on Monday was Spain. Last week, Spain's Valencia region said it was going to need bailout money from Madrid. That request has opened the floodgates, and it's now expected that 17 other heavily indebted regions of Spain are going to make similar requests. The result is that Spain's 10 year bond yields surged to a crisis level 7.5%, with a full-scale bond panic clearly in progress. Officials are saying that Spain doesn't need a bailout and that Germany and the IMF won't pay for another Greek bailout, but the "Kick the Can Theory" that I've proposed predicts that both will get their bailouts, one way or another, and the crisis will continue to get worse. Globe and Mail and Reuters

Philippine president says will not back down to China's demands

Philippine President Benigno Aquino reacted strongly to China's announcement that it would establish a prefecture-level government called Sansha city in the Spratly Islands, and that a military garrison will be deployed there to carry on military operations. In his annual state of the union address, he said:

If someone entered your yard and told you he owned it, would you agree? Would it be right to give away that which is rightfully ours?

Vietnam has also criticized the establishment of Sansha, calling it "serious violation" of Hanoi's sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly chains, which it claims as part of Danang city and Khanh Hoa province respectively. VOA

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