16-Oct-11 World View — Left-Wing Protests Surge Globally, As Violence Strikes Rome, Italy

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

* Germany makes ‘historic decision’ to sell tanks to Saudi Arabia

* No decision on future U.S. troop presence in Iraq

* Son of Anwar al-Awlaki killed by American drone in Yemen

* Yemen’s security forces massacre unarmed protesters, in new surge of violence

* Left-wing protests surge globally, as violence strikes Rome, Italy

* Peanut butter prices poised to soar next month

Germany makes ‘historic decision’ to sell tanks to Saudi Arabia


German Leopard 2 tanks, 'a shining example of German military technology.' (Spiegel)
German Leopard 2 tanks, ‘a shining example of German military technology.’ (Spiegel)

In a ‘historic’ reversal of decades of foreign policy, Germany has decided to sell more than 200 of Germany’s most modern “Leopard” tank to Saudi Arabia, replacing their ancient tanks. Germany has a decades old policy of not selling weapons to “crisis regions,” as well as not making weapons deals of which Israel disapproves. The €5 billion ($6.9 billion) deal was proposed last year, before the “Arab spring,” when relations with Saudi Arabia were improving. Israel did not object to the deal, because the Saudis were seen as a counterbalance to Iran. When the secret deal became public this summer, it provoked controversy in and out of Germany. Finally, Chancellor Angela Merkel was forced to publicly state Germany’s change of policy: “The export of weapons of war is not permitted, unless specific foreign or security policy interests on Germany’s part speak for granting authorization as an exception in individual cases.” And an armed Saudi Arabia would function as a counterbalance to Iran and its nuclear ambitions. Spiegel

No decision on future U.S. troop presence in Iraq

The Obama administration denied a news report on Saturday that it had made a final decision to pull almost all U.S. troops out of Iraq by year-end. U.S. and Iraqi officials have been negotiating the prospects for up to several thousand U.S. troops staying, but the main sticking point has been an Iraqi refusal to grant the military personnel legal immunity, as Washington has demanded. But the Obama administration insisted no decision had been reached about the training relationship with Iraq or how many, if any, U.S. troops might stay past the December 31 deadline. The AP report said only about 160 soldiers attached to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad would stay behind. Reuters

Son of Anwar al-Awlaki killed by American drone in Yemen


Anwar al-Awlaki
Anwar al-Awlaki

Abdul-Rahman al-Awlaki, the 21 year old son of Anwar al-Awlaki, was killed by an American drone strike on Friday. Anwar al-Awlaki, a leading terrorist in Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was himself recently killed by a drone strike. (See “2-Oct-11 World View — Al-Awlaki killing solidifies Obama strategy on targeting terrorists”) Friday’s strike killed nine of AQAP’s militants, and was only one of three drone missile strikes on Friday. AP

Yemen’s security forces massacre unarmed protesters, in new surge of violence

At least 10 people were killed and 38 others were wounded in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, in a new surge of violence on Saturday. Yemen’s security forces opened fire to disperse tens of thousands of unarmed youthful demonstrators. President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s return from Saudi Arabia, where he recovered from a terrorist bomb attack in June, has done nothing to calm the protests and violence. To the contrary, the return of Saleh appears to have heightened the confrontation on both sides. In a separate development, eyewitnesses and residents report heavy clashes in Sanaa districts between Yemeni security forces and fighters from the Hashid tribe, led by Sadiq Al-Ahmar. CNN

Left-wing protests surge globally, as violence strikes Rome, Italy


 A car burns next to a wall with graffiti reading 'Civil War' on Saturday in Rome (Reuters)
A car burns next to a wall with graffiti reading ‘Civil War’ on Saturday in Rome (Reuters)

The massive left-wing protests against the financial crisis began slowly in Greece and Spain, but have reached Wall Street and are accelerating across the country and around the world. On Saturday there were large protests in Auckland, Sydney, Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong, Lisbon, Athens, Paris, Dublin, Madrid, Berlin, Hamburg, Leipzig, Frankfurt, London. There were 5,000 people in midtown Manhattan, with dozens arrested. Reuters

The worst violence occurred in Rome. Clad in black with their faces covered, protesters threw rocks, bottles and incendiary devices at banks and Rome police in riot gear. With clubs and hammers, they destroyed bank ATMs, set trash bins on fire and assaulted at least two news crews from Sky Italia. Riot police charged the protesters repeatedly, firing water cannons and tear gas. Around 70 people were injured, according to news reports, including one man who tried to stop the protesters from throwing bottles. TV footage showed one young woman with blood covering her face, while the ANSA news agency said a man had lost two fingers when a firecracker exploded. AP

Peanut butter prices poised to soar next month

Peanut butter lovers should stock up now. Prices for peanut butter are expect to surge 30-40%, starting at the end of October. The problem is that the intense heat and drought that hit the southern U.S. this year has resulted in the worst peanut harvest seasons that growers have had in years. CNN

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