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World View: Top-Level Syrian Army General Defects to Turkey

World View: Top-Level Syrian Army General Defects to Turkey

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

  • In blow to Assad, top-level Syrian army general defects to Turkey
  • Iran’s government embarrassed by poll on nuclear enrichment
  • Massive food crisis is growing in Africa’s Sahel region
  • Philippines goes on spending spree for rapid military buildup

In blow to Assad, top-level Syrian army general defects to Turkey

The defection of Syria’s General Manaf Mustafa Tlass is being called a major blow to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, because the Tlass family have been close confidants of al-Assad and his father for decades. Tlass was the leading Sunni Muslim in al-Assad’s mostly Alawite military. He gave credibility to the regime, but when he advocated negotiating with the (mostly Sunni) opposition, he was pushed aside by the Alawites who favored a path of bloody extermination. It appears that Tlass has had enough. Joshua Landis and Washington Post

Iran’s government embarrassed by poll on nuclear enrichment

The government of Iran has been embarrassed by, of all things, a poll by a state television news channel that unexpectedly revealed that 63% of Iranians favor curbing uranium enrichment, if it would mean an end to increasingly draconian western sanctions. Furthermore, only 20% supported closing the Strait of Hormuz, which senior Iranian officials have been threatening. The poll is consistent with what I’ve been saying for years — Iran is in a generational Awakening era, just one generation past the the 1979 Great Islamic Revolution, followed by the Iran/Iraq war that climaxed in 1987. The generations of survivors of those wars are hardline Islamists, while the generations that grew up after the war are rebelling against their parents’ generation, just as college students rebelled against their own parents during America’s last generational Awakening era, in the 1960s. The National (UAE)

Massive food crisis is growing in Africa’s Sahel region

Even under “normal” conditions, almost 250,000 children die from malnutrition and starvation in Africa’s Sahel region each year. But new factors are making the situation far worse. There has been low rainfall, small crop yields and high food prices and all of this is made ven worse by the ongoing conflict in Mali, where 320,000 people have been forced to flee their homes because of al-Qaeda linked terrorist groups. The result is that some 18 million people are facing food shortages this year. Council on Foreign Relations and CNN

Philippines goes on spending spree for rapid military buildup

China’s rising assertiveness to claims over the contested Spratly Islands and everything else in the South China Sea has spurred the Philippines to spend $12 billion for a five-year modernization program of its 125,000-strong Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). It’s unlikely that the Philippines wil ever be able to successfully confront China militarily, and the new defense buildup signals an impending arms race in the volatile region around the South China Sea. To kick off the acquisitions, the AFP has sealed deals to buy eight brand-new Sokol multi-purpose attack helicopters from Swidnik of Poland, four of which have already been delivered. Asia Times

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