6-Feb-12 World View: U.S.-Egypt Crisis Grows as Americans Face Criminal Trials

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

  • China has the lowest Lunar New Year sales since 2009
  • Pressure grows on Russia and China after the Syria resolution veto
  • Newt Gingrich suggests ‘covert’ Syria action
  • U.S.-Egypt crisis grows as American NGO employees face criminal trials
  • Another weekend goes by with no deal on Greece bailout

China has the lowest Lunar New Year sales since 2009


Chinese Lunar New Year dragon lanterns (Xinhua)
Chinese Lunar New Year dragon lanterns (Xinhua)

Chinese shoppers on their Lunar New Year holiday were less lavish than expected at Hong Kong jewelers, curbed spending on beauty brands and slowed spending at South Korean stores. They may keep that pace in the coming year of the dragon. This comes as China’s real estate bubble is collapsing, while exports are down because of financial problems in North America and Europe. Bloomberg

Pressure grows on Russia and China after the Syria resolution veto

Burhan Ghalioun, head of the opposition umbrella Syrian National Council, called Saturday’s veto of the Syria resolution by Russia and China a “a new license to kill from these two capitals for Bashar al-Assad and his criminal regime, which just yesterday killed 300 people.” The last reference reflects the fact that the Bashar al-Assad regime in the last couple of days has poured more military firepower into the slaughter of unarmed civilians, apparently supremely confident that they can do anything they want and remain protected by Russia and China. In that sense, Ghalioun is right that al-Bashar now has a new license to kill. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the veto a “travesty,” and indicated that the U.S. would join France in organizing a “Friends of Syria” group to take action on their own. Reuters

Newt Gingrich suggests ‘covert’ Syria action

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Sunday that the U.S. could take covert action to help oust Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, without using U.S. troops.

“I think there are a lot of things we could do covertly in terms of supplying weapons, supplying — helping people in the region supply advisers.

I think we should make clear to the world that Assad is going to go. And I think you can put together a coalition to get rid of him. I don’t think you need to use American troops, but you do need to communicate that those who are opposed to Assad will get the kind of support they need in order to defeat him.”

This appears to me to be a widely felt sentiment outside the United States. AFP

U.S.-Egypt crisis grows as American NGO employees face criminal trials


Sam LaHood, left, at the swearing in ceremony of his father, Ray LaHood (AP)
Sam LaHood, left, at the swearing in ceremony of his father, Ray LaHood (AP)

Egypt on Sunday referred 19 Americans and 24 other employees of nonprofit groups to trial before a criminal court on accusations they illegally used foreign funds to foment unrest in the country. The Americans included Sam LaHood, the head of the Egypt office of the Washington-based International Republican Institute and the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Egypt that failure to resolve the dispute may lead to the loss of American aid. The Egyptian minister, Mohammed Amr, responded Sunday by saying the government cannot interfere in the work of the judiciary. AP

Another weekend goes by with no deal on Greece bailout

The meeting of eurozone finance ministers that had been scheduled for Monday but was canceled to give the Greek bailout negotiations more time has been rescheduled to Wednesday. Greece’s Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said that a deal had to be in place by Sunday evening in preparation for Wednesday’s meeting, but no deal was forthcoming on Sunday. Actually, it’s worth remembering that this bailout was announced last year on July 21, subject to a few details that would have to be worked out, and those details are still being debated. The really, really, really, really serious deadline is February 13, to allow for all procedures to be completely before Greece’s March 20 bond payment is due. Unless somebody caves in, Greece will go bankrupt on that date. Bloomberg


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