7-Jan-12 World View — Kismet Strikes as U.S. Navy Rescues Iran's Fishermen Held by Pirates

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

  • Kismet strikes as U.S. Navy rescues Iran’s fishermen held by pirates
  • New terrorist bomb kills 26 in Damascus, Syria
  • Hungary’s desperate Premier Orbán backs down as Fitch downgrades
  • Tens of thousands protest Orbán’s policies in Hungary
  • Sarkozy warns the end of the euro could mean the end of peace
  • Sarkozy invokes Joan of Arc in France’s presidential election campaign
  • Arab League asks for help from Hamas to bring Syria to reason

Kismet strikes as U.S. Navy rescues Iran’s fishermen held by pirates


U.S. boarding team operates on the deck of the Iranian-flagged fishing dhow
U.S. boarding team operates on the deck of the Iranian-flagged fishing dhow

If you’re a Buddhist, it’s Karma. If you’re a Persian, it’s Kismet. Either way, the U.S. Navy, hated by Iran and ordered to get out, rescued 13 Iranian fishermen held hostage by Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea, only days after Iran warned the U.S. to keep its ships out of the Persian Gulf. Sailors from the guided-missile destroyer Kidd, part of the the John C. Stennis aircraft carrier strike group, boarded the Iranian dhow Thursday and detained 15 Somalis after one of the fishermen was able to reveal in a radio communication that his vessel’s crew was being held captive. The Stennis is the ship that Gen. Ataollah Salehi, head of Iran’s army, advised Tuesday not to return to the Persian Gulf after the carrier had passed through the Strait of Hormuz. LA Times

New terrorist bomb kills 26 in Damascus, Syria

As many as 26 people were killed on Friday when a suicide bomber detonated explosives near a bus in Damascus, the capital of Syria. Two weeks ago, dozens were killed by a pair of car bombs in Damascus. What’s interesting about these terrorist attacks is that no one is claiming responsibility for them, which is something that al-Qaeda linked terrorists always do. Thus, opposition leaders are saying that the regime of president Bashar al-Assad is responsible for the bombings, in order to provide proof to the Arab League observers that it’s necessary for the regime to continue its violence. BBC

Hungary’s desperate Premier Orbán backs down as Fitch downgrades


Hungary's 'Viktator' Victor Orban speaking on Monday while thousands of people demonstrated against him outside (AFP)
Hungary’s ‘Viktator’ Victor Orban speaking on Monday while thousands of people demonstrated against him outside (AFP)

Hungary’s Premier Viktor Orbán has been forced to back down on a series of policies designed to give him increased power, as the economy and the currency have weakened, leading the Fitch Ratings Service to downgrade Hungarian debt to junk status. Orbán had been seeking to take control of the country’s central bank, thus depriving it of its political independence. This and other policies caused the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union (EU) broke off talks last month on Hungary’s bid for a bailout after Orbán refused to withdraw a new central bank regulation the institutions said may undermine monetary-policy independence. Now, Orbán is backing off, and begging for the IMF to return to negotiations. Bloomberg

Tens of thousands protest Orbán’s policies in Hungary

Hungary’s Premier Viktor Orbán rose to prominence as a popular anti-communist who won a landslide victory last year by promising “a new social contract” and to create 1 million new jobs. Those jobs haven’t materialized, but what has materialized is a new constitution with provisions that are being described as anti-democracy. One is a new media law that creates a national media and communications board with the power to impose large fines for news coverage that is unbalanced or “offensive to human dignity.” Another provision essentially withdraws official recognition and tax-exempt status from more than 300 religious denominations, denying any official place in society for Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu congregations unless they have operated in Hungary for at least 20 years. He also changed the official name of the country from “Republic of Hungary” to just “Hungary.” Earlier this week, tens of thousands of Hungarians took to the streets of Budapest, calling Viktor Orbán a “Viktator,” accusing him of leading Hungary from being a democratic republic to a dictatorship. RFE/RL

Sarkozy warns the end of the euro could mean the end of peace

While all eyes were focused on Greece and Italy, Hungary suddenly popped up and threatened default. Although Hungary is not in the eurozone, a default would still imperil eurozone banks, just as a default by Greece would do. On Thursday, the euro hit new lows against the dollar and the pound, as a combination of falling retail sales in the eurozone and a sharp drop in German factory orders knocked investors’ confidence. France’s president Nicolas Sarkozy had this warning about the end of the euro:

“The euro is the heart of Europe. If the euro is destroyed, it’s the whole of Europe that goes up in smoke. If Europe goes up in smoke it’s the peace of our continent that will be one day or another be called into question.”

The principal original motivation for the European project, the European Union, and the euro currency was to create an infrastructure that would prevent a new war like the bloody wars that crushed Europe early in the 20th century. Sarkozy is saying that those wars could return if the euro collapses. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, that’s absolutely right. Telegraph

Sarkozy invokes Joan of Arc in France’s presidential election campaign


Jeanne d'Arc
Jeanne d’Arc

France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy paid tribute to Saint Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc) on Friday, on the 600th anniversary of her birth, and in doing so, took a slap at an opponent. Sarkozy said France had to defend Joan of Arc as “a symbol of our unity” and chastised “those who use her as a symbol to divide.” The last was a reference to Marine Le Pen, head of the National Front (FN) party, who for decades have been using Joan of Arc as a symbol of their anti-immigration campaign. Joan of Arc is revered for leading the French to victory against the English in the Siege of Orléans in 1429, and sending the English home. The corresponding English symbol is Robin Hood, who stole from the rich (Norman French invaders) and gave to the poor (defeated Saxons), after the Norman conquest in 1066. France24

Arab League asks for help from Hamas to bring Syria to reason

Faced with failure and ridicule for its observer mission being snookered by Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime, the Arab League is asking for help from Hamas to convince Assad to end the violence. Arab League Chief Nabil Elaraby on Friday said that he gave Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal a message, to be delivered to the Syrian authorities, asking to “with integrity, transparency and credibility to halt the violence happening in Syria.” Meshaal replied, “Since the start of the crisis we in Hamas, and myself personally, have made a huge effort to solve the crisis through a political solution, and we have kept up these efforts.” Is there anyone who believes that this charade will actually make a difference? RT


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