World View — Assad: Syria in 'Real Situation of War'

World View — Assad: Syria in 'Real Situation of War'

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Turkey’s army on red alert, threatening retaliation against Syria
  • Assad says that Syria is in a ‘real war’
  • Egan-Jones Ratings downgrades German debt another notch
  • China’s economic slowdown deeper than expected

Turkey’s army on red alert, threatening retaliation against Syria

Tensions between Turkey and Syria escalated sharply on Tuesday, when Turkey’s furious Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened military retaliation against Syria along the border between the two countries:

[It is now clear that Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad’s regime has become a clear and present danger to Turkey’s security. 

After this attack, we have entered into a new stage. The rules of engagement of the Turkish Armed Forces have changed. Any risk posed by Syria on the Turkish border, any military element that could pose a threat, will be considered a threat and treated as a military target. 

We urge the Syrian regime not to make a mistake and test Turkey’s determinacy and capacity. …

Our rational response should not be perceived as weakness, our mild manners do not mean we are a tame lamb. … Everybody should know that Turkey’s wrath is as strong and devastating as its friendship is valuable. 

Turkey will use its rights born out of international law with determination and take the necessary steps by determining the time, place and method by itself in the face of this unfairness. This is what I want to stress. 

Our plane was targeted on purpose and in a hostile way and not as a result of a mistake. The attitude of the Syrian officials following the incident is the most concrete evidence that our jet was attacked on purpose. The harassing fire on our Casa-type plane during the search and rescue operations is the most palpable evidence of this intent.

As an example of the change in the rules of engagement, five Syrian helicopters recently violated Turkish airspace, and no action was taken. Under the new rules of engagement, some military action would be taken. 

Turkey has begun deployment of a large number of military vehicles to the Syrian border, including 15 armored tanks, long-distance guns and other military vehicles.

The U.S. and Nato are standing behind Turkey. A Pentagon spokesman said, “The fact is that [the Turkish jet] was shot down. We believe it was a deliberate act. And the Syrian regime needs to answer for it.” Hurriyet (Ankara) and Zaman (Istanbul)

Assad says that Syria is in a ‘real war’

For most of the Syria uprising, Damascus itself has been spared most of the violence. But that’s changing as violence is increasing within Damascus and the nearby suburbs. According to one observer:

Violent clashes are taking place around positions of the Republican Guard in Qudsaya and al-Hama, [8 km from Damascus]. This is the first time that the regime uses artillery in fighting so close to the capital. 

This development is important because it’s the heaviest fighting in the area and close to the heart of the capital.

In the past, Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad has played down the strength of the opposition, but this is now changing:

We are witnessing a real situation of war. … When one is in a state of war, all our policies and capabilities must be used to secure victory.

Syria’s official SANA news agency said that government forces clashed with “armed terrorist groups” in al-Hama. Al-Arabiya

Egan-Jones Ratings downgrades German debt another notch

The three major ratings agencies give German debt a AAA rating, but Egan-Jones Ratings, which has been most aggressive in downgrading eurozone debt, and has therefore been the most accurate, on Tuesday downgraded German debt to A+, which is four notches below AAA. The ratings agency said that Germany is owed €700 billion, of which half is uncollectable. Furthermore, the ratings agency said that in time Germany will have to give in and agree to “euro bonds,” which will make Germany responsible for the debts of other eurozone nations. Market Watch and WSJ

China’s economic slowdown deeper than expected

Economists had been hoping that China would be the “engine” to keep the world economy humming, but it appears increasingly that China’s economy is slowing down faster than expected. China’s humongous real estate bubble has been collapsing for about nine months, and China’s export markets are being harmed by slowdowns in Europe and North America. China’s last major slowdown occurred in 2008, but China reacted with a massive stimulus program. China has already made it clear that it will not repeat the fiscal stimulus program, which caused strong inflationary pressures and exploded the real estate bubble. Reuters