21-Feb-12 World View: Tumultuous Greek Bailout Meeting Continues Long Into the Night

21-Feb-12 World View: Tumultuous Greek Bailout Meeting Continues Long Into the Night

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

  • City of Homs in Syria braces for bloody assault
  • Terrorism drops in Iraq, as Al-Qaeda in Iraq moves to Syria
  • International Red Cross negotiates with Syria for cease fire
  • Tumultuous Greek bailout meeting continues long into the night
  • Egypt to help with Gaza power shortages

 

City of Homs in Syria braces for bloody assault

Syria’s city of Homs has been a center of resistance to the regime of president Bashar al-Assad for months, but now the regime is massing tanks and troops outside the Baba Amr neighborhood, the the major opposition stronghold, apparently in preparation for a major bloody assault. According to a human rights activist, “The human loss is going to be huge if they retake Baba Amr.” Daily Star (Beirut)

 

Terrorism drops in Iraq, as Al-Qaeda in Iraq moves to Syria

Last week, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper told Congress that Syria’s opposition was being infiltrated by militants from Al-Qaeda in Iraq. That statement has been indirectly confirmed by Iraq officials, who say that terrorist violence in Iraq has dropped sharply, as Al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorists leave Iraq for Syria. This is particularly true in Ninewah province, which borders Syria, and its capital city, Mosul. According to a provincial security officer, “Violence is down in Mosul, maybe one or two operations per day, sometimes none. … I can say that violence is down more than 50 percent since autumn of 2011, and much more than that if compared with an earlier date, like autumn of 2010.” McClatchy


 

International Red Cross negotiates with Syria for cease fire

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been conducting “bilateral and confidential” negotiations with the regime of Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad to “[explore] several possibilities for delivering urgently needed humanitarian aid” in contested areas in Syria.” This would mean a “cessation of fighting” for two hours a day and “facilitating access for the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the ICRC.” Irish Times

 

Tumultuous Greek bailout meeting continues long into the night

IMF chief Christine Lagarde looks down her nose at Greece PM Lucas Papademos on Monday in Brussels (AFP)

IMF chief Christine Lagarde looks down her nose at Greece PM Lucas Papademos on Monday in Brussels (AFP)

At this writing on Monday evening (early morning in Brussels), the Eurogroup — eurozone finance ministers — are locked in tumultuous negotiations on approval of a new bailout for Greece. According to the “Kick the Can Theory” that I proposed last year, the ministers will not make any firm decision unless absolutely necessary, but will agree to the minimum necessary to kick the can down the road. Thus, some sort of bailout has to be agreed now, or there won’t be time to avoid a “disorderly default” on Greece debt on March 20. The Eurogroup has presented Greece with a 40-page list of austerity demands, many of which are previous commitments that Greece never fulfilled. These demands include privatizations of lucrative refineries, the gas monopoly, the gaming monopoly, etc., that have been prevented by powerful labor unions. Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager is demanding that Greece accept permanent oversight by the troika — the European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund:

“When you look at the derailments in Greece, which have occurred several times now, it’s probably necessary that there’s some kind of permanent presence of the troika in Athens. Not every three months, but more permanent.”

Life is becoming desperately bad for many Greeks, and further austerity demands will make things worse. Nobody in Athens or Brussels believes that any problems will be solved with this bailout, that the crisis in Greece won’t continue, or that lives of Greek people will get anything but much worse. The can is being kicked down the road again, and everyone dreads where that road is leading Europe. Al-Jazeera

 

Egypt to help with Gaza power shortages

In a reversal from a policy adopted by Egypt’s deposed leader Hosni Mubarak, Egypt has agreed to supply electricity to Gaza to help end the territory’s frequent blackouts. Mubarak had sided with Israel in enforcing a Gaza blockade that led to fuel shortages. However, since taking over last year, Egypt’s new rulers have eased Gaza’s isolation. Egypt plans to gradually increase the Gaza power supply, both by sending more power from Egypt and by repairing the power plant, and to hook up Gaza to the regional grid. AP


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