Peace talks in the Ukraine collapsed today after only a few hours. Here is a brief timeline of the crisis.
Here is Paul Krugman’s take on the Greece-Euro crisis:
“In the five years (!) that have passed since the euro crisis began, clear thinking has been in notably short supply. But that fuzziness must now end. Recent events in Greece pose a fundamental challenge for Europe: Can it get past the myths and the moralizing, and deal with reality in a way that respects the Continent’s core values? If not, the whole European project — the attempt to build peace and democracy through shared prosperity — will suffer a terrible, perhaps mortal blow.”
I am not sure what this post signifies….
“Some say it’s a fad whose time has passed. Others believe its insights will stick around for a long time to come, like a trusty old penny-farthing or a collection of early 80s Italo-disco on vinyl. What do you think?”
In November, the House of Commons voted to send Canadian special forces troops to Iraq to contribute to an international mission to repel the terrorist army known Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. It was to be a short-term mission to “advise and assist” Iraqi forces. In recent weeks, we’ve learned that Canadian soldiers have been laser-targeting air strikes and engaging in firefights with Islamic State fighters on the front lines. Has Canada drifted into an outright combat operation in Iraq? Or is this merely an inevitable shooting component to something that remains, at its core, the advisory mission authorized by Parliament? We have invited two military-operations experts to debate this question: Read their opinions, and vote in the box on the right.
Roland Paris: Founding director of the Centre for International Policy Studies at the University of Ottawa.
Canada’s Iraq operation has turned into a combat mission
Thomas Juneau: Assistant professor at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.
There is no mission creep in Iraq
Analysis of the Syriza victory in Greece and what it means for the EU courtesy of the BBC:
“There are some things during the eurozone crisis that we were told would never happen.
The European Central Bank would never flood the market with new money, and Greece would never take a gamble with the radical left.
The past few days have overturned those assumptions, making this week a potential turning point in the recent history of the European Union.”
Greek elections: What now for the euro? http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30906153
Yemen slips further into chaos.
“The true extent of Houthi ambition is unclear; but the fact that they did not kick Mr Hadi out of the presidency or claim the premiership indicates they prefer to control from behind the scenes by placing their members in ministries and high-level government positions. This allows them to consolidate power, but without being saddled with ultimate responsibility.”
“The fact that President Hadi can control or claim loyalty from very little of Yemen’s military is indeed worrisome, and AQAP is already capitalizing on the distraction, chaos, and unaddressed grievances in tribal areas to wreak havoc and grow its ranks.
Saudi Arabia has halted its financial support, refusing to bank-roll a country dominating by an Iranian-supported, Shia-affiliated group, and this could lead to an absolute economic collapse with salaries unpaid and currency scarce.”
A new Saudi King, sort of…
Here is a BBC overview of the transition in Saudi Arabia and many of the issues facing the new monarch, King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. He was already making most of the decisions before Abdullah’s death, just as Abdullah had stood in for King Fahd before him. And, its unlikely we will see any radical changes in Saudi policy under the new leader. In fact, everything has been pretty much seamless so far. The Saudi ruling family, the al Saud, is a complex institution with multiple lineages tracing back to the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, ibn Saud. Succession is therefore not always a straightforward affair. But there has been no public quarrels and everything apparently settled before Abdullah passed. The next change may be less orderly with a new generation of al Saud poised to take power. Still, while the transition may have been smooth (so far) nothing is smooth for the Saudis in the region. Trends in Syria, Iraq and Yemen are going against the Saudi interest and its arch rival, Iran, is making gains regionally and with the west. It’s not as bad as taking over the Toronto Maple Leafs, but it is a tough job none the less.
Profile: King Salman of Saudi Arabia http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30945925
Saudi: Turbulent times for new King Salman http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30949483