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World View: Syria Crosses 'Red Line' with Chemical Weapons

World View: Syria Crosses 'Red Line' with Chemical Weapons

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Cyprus rejects European bailout without a single supporting vote
  • California businesses hit with $120 million retroactive tax
  • Syria crosses a ‘red line’ with chemical weapons

Cyprus rejects European bailout without a single supporting vote

Protesters holds up protest signs in Nicosia, Cyprus (AP)
Protesters holds up protest signs in Nicosia, Cyprus (AP)

In a stunning rebuke to European politicians, including Cyprus’s newlyelected president Nicos Anastasiades, Cyprus’s parliament rejected theterms of the proposed European bailout that would have levied a 6.7%tax on all bank accounts with less than 100,000 euros, and 9.9% onamounts above 100,000 euros. 36 members voted against the plan, while18 abstained. Meanwhile, politicians have been pointing fingers ateach other, each claiming that it was somebody else’s dumb idea toconfiscate the savings of widows and orphans.

Although it’s still possible that the Europeans will cave and the ECBwill bail out Cyprus completely, a number of commentators are sayingthat the most likely scenario now is that Cyprus will leave the euroand — get this — might possibly replace it with the Russian ruble asits official currency. The reason is that Cyprus’s economy isalready overwhelmingly dominated by investments (and moneylaundering) by Russian oligarchs.

The big jewel in play here is the offshore oil and gas fieldspotentially worth many billions of dollars in the years to come.Russia would like to have rights to those fields, and the Europeansmay give Cyprus a complete bailout in return for European control ofthe fields. Reuters and FT Brussels Blog

California businesses hit with $120 million retroactive tax

California’s tax authorities have announced that they’rere-interpreting a five-year-old tax law which gives a break for smallbusinesses that’s given a lot of credit for promoting job growth andinvestment, especially in high tech. California plans to send out taxbills to companies that took advantage of the law, and demand $120million in retroactive tax payments. Opponents are saying that there-interpretation is confiscation, like the confiscation of banksavings accounts in Cyprus. Fox News

Syria crosses a ‘red line’ with chemical weapons

It is “highly probable” that chemical weapons have been used inSyria. According to Syria’s state-run news service Sana:

“Terrorists launched a missile containing chemicalproducts into the region of Khan al-Assal in the province ofAleppo, killing 15 people, mainly civilians.”

There are a couple of problems with this claim, according to analysts.First, the regime of Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad has liedfrequently, blaming “terrorists” for its own actions, namely firingmissiles into homes and schools, massacring innocent mothers andchildren, with the full support of the Russians. So it lookslike something we’ve seen dozens of times since this conflictbegan: al-Assad makes a bloody attack on innocent civilians,this time using chemical weapons, and then blames it on

The second problem, according to analysts I heard, is that launching achemical weapons missile requires sophistication that the rebels don’thave, and that the regime does have.

The regime’s use of chemical weapons comes a day after the regime’swarplanes attacked targets in Lebanon, threatening to expand thewar outside of Syria.

Initially, the Obama administration made a statement that there was noevidence that the chemical weapons allegations were true, but thechairman of the of the House Intelligence Committee says that there isa “high probability” that chemical weapons were used.

The administration will now face a credibility test. President Obamahas said unequivocally in the past that the use of chemical weaponswould be a “red line” that, if crossed, would bring U.S. forces intothe war. If the chemical weapons charges are confirmed, thatstatement will be tested. CNN

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