World View: Syrian Regime Bombs Civilians with Russian Jets

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
  • Syria's envoy to Cyprus defects as regime continues assault on civilians
  • In dramatic escalation, Syrian regime bombs civilians with Russian jets
  • China establishes Sansha City in the South China Sea
  • Taiwan ready for military deployment in South China Sea
  • Bond panic continues in Europe as Spanish yields surge

Syria's envoy to Cyprus defects as regime continues assault on civilians

Syrian envoy Lamia Al Hariri speaks to Cyprus foreign minister in February, 2012 (mfa.gov.cy)
Syrian envoy Lamia Al Hariri speaks to Cyprus foreign minister in February, 2012 (mfa.gov.cy)

The regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad suffered its third defection of a senior diplomat on Tuesday when the Syrian chargé d'affaires to Cyprus Lamia al-Hariri defected and arrived in Qatar. Syria's ambassador to Sweden defected in December, and the ambassador to Iraq defected two weeks ago. It's believed that other Syrian ambassadors, including the envoys to Germany, the Czech Republic, and Belarussia, have defected, but have not announced it publicly due to fears over government reprisals. Al-Jazeera

In dramatic escalation, Syrian regime bombs civilians with Russian jets

Syrian warplanes, believed to be Russian MiG bombers, bombed residential neighborhoods in Aleppo on Tuesday. This attack, the first of its kind since the protests began early last year, was a dramatic escalation of the attack on Syrian civilians, and was part of a coordinated assault by government forces that included heavy artillery shelling and rockets launched from military helicopters. The assault destroyed entire neighborhoods. The BBC World Service interviewed on resident who said, "Why doesn't Assad just use his chemical weapons and finish us off once and for all?" Washington Post

Bond panic continues in Europe as Spanish yields surge

Spain's 10-year bond yields (interest rates) continued to surge into a higher crisis level on Tuesday, as an apparent bond panic gathers steam in Europe. Spain's 10-year bond yields spiked up to 7.5% on Monday, and surged higher to a record 7.64% on Tuesday. Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, meeting with Spain's economy minister, blamed the markets for the bond panic:
"The current levels of interest rates on sovereign debt markets don’t correspond to the fundamentals of the Spanish economy."

Pressure is building on the European Central Bank (ECB) to "print money" and use it to purchase Spanish bonds, in order to bring down yields. Germany opposes such a move because it make Germany an indirect guarantor of the bonds. German officials are already bristling because Moody's put Germany's AAA rated debt on "negative watch" yesterday, indicated that Germany may be downgraded because of exposure to the euro crisis. Bloomberg

China establishes Sansha City in the South China Sea

South China Sea, with blue line added to show region claimed by China as part of its sovereign territory
South China Sea, with blue line added to show region claimed by China as part of its sovereign territory

In order to pursue its claims that the entire South China Sea is China's sovereign territory, to be controlled entirely by China, a gala ceremony marked the establishment of the city of Sansha in the middle of the South China Sea. The Chinese flag was hoisted, the national anthem was played, and there were military displays. Wang Chunyan, who works for the supermarket, says she likes living there. Huang Liangshan, a local fisherman, plans to open a small sea food restaurant. "It will make my fishing hauls sell better," he said. China has pretty much made it clear that any non-Chinese who insists on fishing in the South China Sea will be killed. Xinhua

Taiwan ready for military deployment in South China Sea

Taiwan's military is poised to deploy 120 mm mortars and 40 mm guns on Taiping Island, part of the Spratly Island group. Taiwan claims sovereignty over Taiping Island, as well as all the Spratly Islands, challenging the sovereignty of China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei. A recent visit to Taiping Island by a government official found that there was insufficient military weaponry on the island to provide for a sufficient defense. Focus Taiwan


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