18-Feb-12 World View: Greece's Bailout May Be Approved on Monday

18-Feb-12 World View: Greece's Bailout May Be Approved on Monday

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

  • Syrian conflict spills over the border into Lebanon
  • Jordan opening a refugee camp for fleeing Syrians
  • Greece’s bailout may be approved on Monday
  • German media become anxious about Greece’s growing hostility
  • Joy in Libya one anniversary of uprising that deposed Gaddafi


Syrian conflict spills over the border into Lebanon

Violence in Syria continues to spill over into northern Lebanon. The city of Tripoli, Lebanon, is mostly Sunni Muslim, but a single street separates the Sunni factions from the rival Alawite factions. According to one Sunni cleric, “The Assad regime in Syria is sending its agents in every day to destabilise the situation here. Syrians might not actually get their hands dirty, but get their allies in the Alawite community to act on their behalf.” BBC


Jordan opening a refugee camp for fleeing Syrians

Among Syria’s neighbors, only Turkey has until now provided refugee camps for Syria’s civilians fleeing the attempts of president Bashar al-Assad to exterminate his own people. Syria’s Arab neighbors, Iraq and Lebanon, refuse to establish refugee camps. But now Jordan is putting the finishing touches on a large refugee cample near the border with Syria, to house thousands of Syrians fleeing their homes. Jordan is already caring for several thousand refugees, but the burden has fallen on local communities. The new refugee camps will left the burden from the locals. The Media Line


Greece’s bailout may be approved on Monday

We’ve been here before, but it appears this time that European leaders have run out of time and are so desperate that they will approve the second €130 billion bailout, allowing Greece to avoid default on March 20, when it currently owes a €14.5 billion bond payment. The approval was signaled by a change of position by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel had favored a complex scheme where bailout money would be doled out to Greece in stages, only as needed, reflecting a lack of trust in Greece politicians, a position she abandoned on Friday. In fact, just about every politician involved in the bailout has changed his position 180 degrees in some way. Additionally Greece will have to take “24 additional steps,” before the end of February, mostly things the government has promised but hasn’t done so far. However, the crisis is far from over. The extremely complex private sector involvement (PSI) deal where private investors “voluntarily” lose 70-75% of their investments has to be implemented within about two weeks. And even if it all gets done, Greece will still need a third bailout agreement by the end of 2012. Bloomberg and CNN


German media become anxious about Greece’s growing hostility

Greek protesters burning German flag last week (DPA)

Greek protesters burning German flag last week (DPA)

The attack on Germany by Greek President Karolos Papoulias has raised raised concerns, as German media are calling it “ominous.” On Wednesday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said:

“I am no longer certain that all the political parties in Greece are conscious of their responsibility for the difficult situation in their country.”

He also suggested that Greek elections may have to be postponed. Papoulias, a WW II survivor who fought the Nazis, responded:

“I don’t accept insults to my country by Mr. Schäuble. I don’t accept it as a Greek. Who is Mr. Schäuble to ridicule Greece? Who are the Dutch? Who are the Finns? We always had the pride to defend not just our own freedom, not just our own country, but the freedom of all of Europe.”

Interestingly enough, I’ve read several articles on this subject, and they almost always leave out the last sentence of Papoulias’ quote, apparently because it’s too incendiary. The conservative daily Die Welt wrote:

“In Greece, on the other hand, people continue to play the victim and to look abroad for something to blame their own malaise on. Populist politicians (there) have been particularly focused on the Germans. Instead of reaping thanks for all the transfers of their taxpayer money, (Germans) are now forced to put up with a tongue-lashing. … The answer [to Papoulias] is simple: Those are all the (countries) that are currently trying to make sure that Greece can pay what it owes and that want to be sure that Athens will also hold up its part of the bargain this time.”

The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote:

[It would be] instructive to inquire into the reasons behind [Papoulias’s] outburst, especially because he knows Germany well after having studied here. The fact that (Schäuble) said it like it is by describing Greece as a bottomless pit could hardly have warranted it. Indeed, everyone knows that Greek politicians ran up debts, failed to collect taxes and ignored corruption. But, by suggesting that new elections in Greece be postponed to make sure that the country sticks to what it has agreed to, Schäuble has touched on a nerve that is sensitive for two reasons. First, he reminds us that Athens has promised many reforms but only kept its word on a few. Second, having an election date set by foreigners would be just as undemocratic as having an austerity commissioner arrive from Brussels.”



Joy in Libya one anniversary of uprising that deposed Gaddafi

It was a festive party atmosphere in Martyrs Square in Tripoli, Libya, on Friday as crowds celebrated the one year anniversary of the uprising that led to being free of Muammar Gaddafi after 42 years. There had been concerns that the uprising would split the country apart along an anciety east-west fault line, but so far that hasn’t happened. However, there are widespread concerns about reports detailing arbitrary arrest and torture of former pro-Gaddafi rivals, and concern that clashes between rival militias may yet spiral into a larger war. Reuters

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