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11-Feb-12 World View: Suicide Car Bombers Kill Dozens in Aleppo, Syria

11-Feb-12 World View: Suicide Car Bombers Kill Dozens in Aleppo, Syria

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

  • Turkey’s foreign minister in Washington re action against Syria
  • Saudi Arabia and Russia accuse each other over Syria
  • Arab League may seek U.N. General Assembly vote on Syria
  • Suicide car bombers kill dozens in Aleppo Syria
  • U.S. officials deny evidence that North Korea’s leader is dead
  • S&P downgrades Egypt’s credit rating
  • Political crisis in Greece raises fears of ‘social explosion’
  • German finance minister suggests a second bailout for Portugal
  • Some nostalgia about Greece from two years ago

Turkey’s foreign minister in Washington re action against Syria

At a Washington press conference on Friday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that when he meets on Monday with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he’ll propose new ways to end the violence in Syria. He didn’t provide any details, but repeated the standard statement, “What we need today is to send a strong message to the Syrian people that they are not alone.” Zaman (Ankara)

 

Saudi Arabia and Russia accuse each other over Syria

In Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz said the failure of the UN Security Council to pass a resolution asking the Syrian leader to step down has shaken the world’s confidence in the international organisation. He said the decision by Russia and China to veto the UN action was an “unfavourable” move. King Abdullah said the world can’t be ruled by the countries on the Security Council alone, but he didn’t elaborate. Russia escalated the war of words by accusing the West of arming the Syrian opposition and warning that it will resort to “drastic measures” if the interference doesn’t stop. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said: “Western states inciting Syrian opposition to uncompromising actions, as well as those sending arms to them, giving them advice and direction, are participating in the process of fomenting the crisis…” Gulf News


Arab League may seek U.N. General Assembly vote on Syria

After the Arab League’s U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria was vetoed by Russia and China, the League will meet on Sunday in Cairo to decide on its next steps. One possibility will be to submit the resolution to the U.N. General Assembly, where it will probably pass, but will have no force of law. However, many people are saying that the United Nations is a useless dead end for stopping the violence in Syria. Bloomberg

 

Suicide car bombers kill dozens in Aleppo Syria

The wreckage of a security building flattened by a bomg on Friday (AP)

The wreckage of a security building flattened by a bomg on Friday (AP)

Aleppo, an industrial center, the second richest city in Syria, and strong supporters of the regime of president Bashar al-Assad, had largely escaped much of the bloodshed occurring in other cities until Friday, when two suicide car bombers struck security compounds, killing 28 people and injuring hundreds. The regime accused the opposition of perpetrating the car bombs, while the opposition said that regime had arranged for the bombings in order to justify their violence. In any normal country, the latter possibility would be considered absurd, but in Syria, the al-Assad regime has been treating its own people as cockroaches to be exterminated, and it’s quite possible that they what the opposition accused them of. AP

 

U.S. officials deny evidence that North Korea’s leader is dead

Rumors have been circulating on the internet that North Korea’s new leader Kim Jong-un has been assassinated in Beijing, and that a coup is under way. However, the U.S. intelligence community says that they have found no evidence to support these rumors. CNN

 

S&P downgrades Egypt’s credit rating

Egypt’s credit rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor’s, which cited a plunge in the country’s foreign reserves and persistent political instability. “Egypt’s external position has deteriorated and is likely to weaken further, absent stabilization in the domestic political situation alongside external financial support,” S&P said. Bloomberg

 

Political crisis in Greece raises fears of ‘social explosion’

Protesters with riot police in Athens on Friday (EPA)

Protesters with riot police in Athens on Friday (EPA)

The Eurogroup finance ministers are demanding that Greece must go well beyond just promising austerity measures. The parliament must pass them into law this weekend, and then, with elections scheduled for April, each party leader must sign an agreement committing to the austerity program if that party wins the election. According to Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker:

“In short: no disbursement without implementation. We can’t live with this system while promises are repeated and repeated and repeated and implementation measures are sometimes too weak.”

However, Greece’s unions struck for the second time this week, with leaders probably believing that they can get the EU to back down on their demands. Several deputy ministers resigned from the government of interim prime minister Lucas Papademos, and the leader of the small Popular Orthodox Rally party (LAOS), Giorgos Karatzaferis, said that he would vote against accepting the austerity measures:

“What has particularly bothered me is the humiliation of the country. Clearly Greece can’t and shouldn’t do without the European Union but it could do without the German boot.”

But Papademos said that Greece MUST accept the austerity measures:

“A disorderly default would plunge our country in a disastrous adventure. It would create conditions of uncontrolled economic chaos and social explosion…sooner or later, (Greece) would be led out of the euro. This is an hour of historic responsibility.”

The “Kick the Can Theory” that I proposed last year would indicate that some way will be found to prevent a Greek default when its next €14.5 billion bond payment is due on March 20, and that the crisis will be revived again a few weeks later. The next Eurogroup meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 15. Bloomberg and AFP

 

German finance minister suggests a second bailout for Portugal

Wolfgang Schäuble on Thursday (AP)

Wolfgang Schäuble on Thursday (AP)

Now that Greece’s problems are just a short skip and a jump away from resolution, it appears that Portugal is next. Germany’ Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble was overheard in a private conversatioin with his counterpart from Portugal promising “adjustments” in Portugal’s bailout package, apparently implying that a second bailout could be done. Der Spiegel

 

Some nostalgia about Greece from two years ago

From February 7, 2010:

“Greece is struggling to persuade financial markets it can restrain the European Union’s largest budget shortfall without outside assistance, while borrowing costs are also rising for Portugal and Spain. Credit-default swaps on the debt of all three countries rose to record highs this week.

European finance ministers said they will help ensure Greece tackles its deficit and European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said the bank is “confident” the country will cut its gap below the EU’s limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product in 2012 from 12.7 percent. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said European officials had committed to handle Greece “with great care.”

“The message was clearly that the European members of the Group of Seven have confirmed the substance and significance of the plan put together by Greece,” French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said. “The European members of the G-7 will make sure it is managed.”

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Bloomberg, Feb 7, 2010

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