Daily News Roundup

Posted by Chris van Avery on 25Mar11.
 

Security
NATO To Take Over No-Fly Zone In Libya
UN: 100s have disappeared in Libya in past months
Libya’s Soviet-made arms may fall into hands of terrorists – expert
Libyan Quagmire: Is the US becoming the tribe that lost its head?
Germany, Russia learn high cost of abstaining
Why Turkey recalibrated its Libya stance
‘More than 100 killed in Syrian anti-government rallies’
Syria security forces on high alert; Southern tribes could spark mutiny in military
Syria mulls lifting state of emergency
‘Al-Quds Al-Arabi’: Syrian Regime Will Fight To The End, Like Qadhafi
Former Syrian Muslim Brotherhood Leader: Uprising In Syria Won’t Stop Until Demands Are Met
Syria presses search for oil as production declines
West Bank rejoices over terror attack
Gaza rocket attacks strike Israel
Israeli escalation slammed
Islamic Jihad warns against ‘Zionist aggression’
Israeli leader says fears growth of Islamic extremism from Mideast unrest
Jerusalem bomb seeds gathering storm
Mubarak supporters and opponents clash in Cairo
New Egyptian Bill To Limit Freedom To Demonstrate
Egyptian army forces women protesters to take “virginity tests”
Egyptian Islamists won’t cap ambitions forever, Brotherhood leader says
Yemeni presidential guards clash with army
Leader of Yemen’s largest tribe sides with opposition, calls on president to step down
Yemeni president vows to defend himself at all costs
Yemeni President Nears Deal to Resign
Dubai police say they’ve stopped shipment of 16,000 small arms bound for Yemen
Worst and Best Case Scenarios for Yemen
The Unseen Hand: Saudi Arabian Involvement in Yemen
Yemen Collapse: Appropriate Role for the U.S. in the Yemeni Crisis
Economic Roots of Social Problems in Yemen
Bahrain village stages protest
Bahrain Foreign Police Add to Tensions
Bahrain Warns Iran on Interference
Hundreds of Jordanians set up protest camp in capital
King Abdullah and protecting the scholars
Witness – Searching for reforms in King Abdullah’s Saudi Arabia
In Iraq, Armed Groups Disarm, Join Political Process
Economists On Corruption in Iraq: ‘A Phenomenon At Its Pinnacle’
UN creates new post of human rights investigator to probe alleged abuses in Iran
Iran and Saudi Arabia cold war has entered a new era
The Coming Shia War
Qatar’s decision to send planes to Libya is part of a high-stakes game
200 Oman private sector workers protest for pay rise
Gulf States To Expel Lebanese Shi’ites
UN Official: Ivory Coast Death Toll Up to 462
Regional bloc condemns Ivory Coast attacks on West African residents amid political crisis
Kenya forces ‘cross into Somalia’
Supporters Of Tunisian Islamist Party Oppose UN Sec-Gen’s Visit
The North Caucasus Slips Further into Chaos
Bin Laden sets alarm bells ringing
Pakistan suicide bomber targets police station
China’s nuke exports to Pakistan to come under IAEA checks
Pakistan ‘crop shortage’ warning
Karachi fear over target killings
Number of dead and missing in Japan tops 27 thousand
China Sees Food Need Rising
Chinese democracy activist sentenced to 10 years in prison for inciting subversion
China ‘is to overtake US by 2030′
6 North Koreans seek asylum in South Korea after arriving by boat
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il sends $500,000 in quake aid to ethnic Koreans in Japan
North Korean diplomats to meet with former US officials in Germany for talks on nuclear issues
6 million North Koreans need food: UN
Over 60 dead, 90 injured in Myanmar quake
Nepal tackles ‘energy emergency’
Portugal crisis plunges European bailout summit into confusion
Putin and Medvedev Lead Opposing Coalitions in the Russian Elite
EU investigates cyber attack on officials, diplomatic service
Many Mexican media outlets set guidelines for coverage of drug war
California officials close ‘maternity tourist’ ward where 12 Chinese women and 10 babies found
Iranian hackers obtain fraudulent HTTPS certificates: How close to a Web security meltdown did we get?

Maritime
Somalia-Coast Pirates Increase Their Loot, Violence As Security Falls Short

Military
US European Command to troops: Avoid wearing uniforms when off base
Russia, Norway to hold joint naval drills in May
S. Korea Launches 3rd Aegis-equipped Destroyer
Germany scraps military conscription after 55 years; parliament approves historic step

Environment
Faster winds creating rougher seas

Economy
Oil rises above $106 in Europe amid Middle East conflict, US gasoline supply drop
World Bank: China can grow at 8% for 20 years

Politics
While Libya War Grows, Obama Team Denies It’s a War
This is War Lite, with No Leadership or Goals
As the Days Pass, My Alarm Grows
The neocons own no ideological monopoly on the use of force – or regime change
ObamaCare’s 1st Year Bad, But It’ll Get Worse
Unsustainable Budget Threatens Nation
U.S. Disability Insurance Program Running Out of Money
Reforming Higher Education
New census milestone: Hispanics to hit 50 million

Religion
Pakistan: Christians Killed
Christians in Fear after Qur’an Burning
Ethiopia’s Religious Divides Flare up in Violence
Egypt’s Christians Fear Radical Muslim Takeover
Islamic bloc drops 12-year U.N. drive to ban defamation of religion
Israel’s Messianic Jews Face Orthodox “Persecution”
When a ‘Christian America’ Meant Something Else

 Turkey, Iran Jockeying to Fill US Power Vacuum

Posted by Chris van Avery on 23Mar11.
 

As the United States appears to waver on its approach to the forces surging forth in the Middle East, both Turkey and Iran are actively working behind the scenes to come out ahead in the region. Here’s a quick summary of what the competitors have been up to in the region:

Iran

Arming opponents of the Yemeni government to undermine Saudi Arabia.
– Claiming it owns Bahrain and supporting opponents of the Saudi-friendly monarchy.
Funding and militarizing Hamas in Gaza.
Funding and militarizing Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Supporting protests in Saudi Arabia.
Building a proxy in Iraq.

Turkey

– Building ties and attempting form and lead a regional block.
– Making big friends in China and Russia.
Blocking NATO out of a Libya role.
– Keeping a measured approach to unrest in Libya, criticizing the warfighting, but helping with the arms embargo.
– Distancing itself from Israel and the West.
– Publicly slapping Tehran for taking its strategy too far.

In the end, Washington (and Beijing and Moscow) appears more and more hesitant to try and reassert influence in the Middle East, and the region appears more and more hesitant to accept such an influence. Given that, I expect Turkey will come out the big winner, as Ankara seems to be positioned to be viewed as the most powerful state in the region on a good footing with the most major external powers.

 Daily News Roundup

Posted by Chris van Avery on 23Mar11.
 

Security
No water, food or power – and still the rebels resist regime’s attacks
Who’s In Charge? Germans Pull Forces Out Of NATO As Libyan Coalition Falls Apart
Sarkozy opposes Nato taking control of Libya operation
Arab League to reiterate backing for Libya no-fly zone
Attacks to focus more on Libyan ground troops
Libya ground forces ‘not ruled out’
NATO to enforce Libya arms embargo
China calls for immediate cease-fire, end of airstrikes in Libya
Libya, The West and Democracy
Partition: Dividing Libya in two may be rebels’ best hope
India’s Pointless Abstention
Yemeni president given emergency powers
Defiant Yemen President warns ‘mutinous’ military of long, bloody civil war
Yemeni President Salah’s Family Decides He Should Leave; Report: U.S., U.K., Saudi Arabia Discussing Post-Salah Era
Yemen: The forbidden has occurred
Yemen May Be the Next Regime to Fall
Yemen on the brink of a breakdown
With Yemen crumbling, US sees fragile counterterrorism ally fading, and few good options ahead
Syrian forces kill 6 in mosque attack, protests continue
Report: Syria importing Hezbollah to quash protests
Syrians have broken the fear barrier
Syrian: Damned if We Do and Damned if We Don’t
Syrian Opposition Website: Jordan’s King Must Not Cooperate With Syrian Regime
Mourners call for revenge at funeral of Bahraini woman killed in unrest
Bahrain Relies on Old Playbook in Crackdown
Kuwait Sends Aid Ships To Bahrain; Shi’ite Clerics Attempt To Mediate
Iranian Website: Bahrainis Must Form Their Own Hizbullah To Fight Saudi Arabia
In Bahrain, Saudis Play Into Iran’s Hands
Saudi Arabia to hold municipal elections next month after two-year delay
Western Diplomats: Iran Again Violates Arms Embargo
Back to the Drawing Board on Iran
‘Turkey finds weapons on Iran cargo plane, arrests crew’
Police officer killed in demonstration in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region
Egypt’s Interior Ministry building set on fire as police protesters demand better wages
Early Egyptian elections could damage democracy
Post-Mubarak Egypt raising gas prices for Israel
There Is A Small War Starting Along Gaza Border
Gazans Hope to Join the ‘Arab Spring’
Arab Water Ministers Confirm A Strategy For Water Security
Saudi Emir: We Must Form United Gulf Army
Arab League states: a recent history of protests
War Stalks Revolution In Middle East
In the Mideast, U.S. policy is still driven by realism
America’s descent into strategic dementia
Islamists post bounty for killing US pastor over Quran burning
“Zionists use heavy metal music to corrupt Muslims, take over the world”
The Tragic Fate of ‘Muslim Moderates’
Ivory Coast’s recognized president asks UN to use ‘legitimate force’ to protect civilians
Somali Gov’t Claims ‘Remarkable’ Gains In Mogadishu Fighting; 7 Killed In Latest Violence
Benin opposition leader rejects election result and claims presidency
Uprisings to be replicated in sub-Saharan Africa, predicts Hague
Karzai names Nato pullout areas
Taliban’s assassination campaign against officials, security forces impedes civilian progress
Security Council strongly backs UN to lead international civilian efforts in Afghanistan
Russia supports NATO success in Afghanistan – defense minister
Is China Backing India’s Insurgents?
Kyrgyzstan Open to Military Cooperation with the US and Russia
Activist says overthrown Middle East governments have triggered Chinese crackdown on Uighurs
China’s Nimble Libya Pullout
Why Doesn’t China Want Dalai Lama to Resign?
Japanese official says fuel storage pool at troubled nuclear plant is at or near boiling point
Japan fears food contamination as battle to cool nuclear plant continues
Strong quakes jolt Japan’s tsunami-hit northeast
Why the US and China Woo Mongolia
Philippine defense official says amount of military funds lost to corruption is staggering
Kenyans: Why ‘feed’ a car?
Putin denies split with Medvedev over Libya
Russia to double oil supply to quake-hit Japan in 2011 – Sechin
Portugal braces for minority government’s collapse amid discord over austerity debt crisis
Chavez enacts decree allowing pro-government militias to receive weapons from military
Canadian opposition to vote against budget unless changes made, likely triggering election
Welcome to the Era of the Obama “Smart War”

Military
NATO: Better in Theory than In Practice
The Iranian Navy’s Historic Mediterranean Deployment: Timing Is Everything
The Bear, the Abacus and Impossible Defense Computations

Environment
Are Reusable Shopping Bags Environmentally Friendly?

Economy
Oil rising again; gasoline prices flat, but experts say they should keep climbing this spring
Oil markets and Arab unrest: The price of fear
Breaks in the Supply Chain: Disaster in Japan Sends Ripples through the Global Economy
UK Inflation ‘expected to hit 28-month high’
IMF Plan Sees Role in Crises

Politics
Capitol Hill falls silent as Libya war rages
Libyan bombing ‘unconstitutional’, Republicans warn Obama
Why Obama’s Not Open on His Real Reason for War
A Rorschach Presidency Won’t Work
U.S. Approaching Insolvency, Fix To Be ‘Painful’
Public Asleep as Budget Crisis Mounts
U.S. to Issue More Gulf Drilling Permits
9/11 Military Case Has Stalled as White House Pushes For Civilian Trials
American anger at BBC World Service Trust’s bid for US funding
U.S. demanding gay rights support at U.N. body
Big Labor’s Plan to Break the Financial System
Census: Detroit population falls 25 percent in past decade, losing more than 237,000 people

Religion & Culture
Christians in prison, beaten in Saudi Arabia
Nepal Christians protest to demand the government provide burial grounds
Beijing’s fear of faith
Failed Bomb Blasts in Jos Nigeria as Genocide of Christians Continues
Malaysia: Bibles Still Restricted
Catholic Church says Cuban government to release last 2 political prisoners held since 2003
S.D. governor signs 3-day wait for abortion into law
‘Extinction threat’ to religion
Buddhism is the new opium of the people
Why Are We Letting Our Daughters Dress Like Prostitutes?

 The Next Energy Giant of the Middle East: Israel

Posted by Chris van Avery on 11Mar11.
 

Israel’s latest energy discoveries aren’t getting much attention outside the business press, but they should. Consider this:

[G]as discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean, which began to produce commercial quantities of natural gas in 2004, are generally well-known. The Tamar field, which should begin production in 2013, is expected to supply all of Israel’s domestic requirements for at least 20 years. The Economist suggested in November 2010 that the recently discovered Leviathan field, which has twice the gas of Tamar, could be completely devoted to exports.

All the undersea gas fields together have about 25 trillion cubic feet of gas, but the potential for further discoveries is considerably greater, given that the US Geological Survey estimates that there are 122 trillion cubic feet of gas in the whole Levant Basin, most of which is within Israel’s jurisdiction.

The British-based World Energy Council reported in November 2010 that Israel had oil shale from which it is possible to extract the equivalent of 4 billion barrels of oil. Yet these numbers are currently undergoing a major revision internationally.

A new assessment was released late last year by Dr. Yuval Bartov, chief geologist for Israel Energy Initiatives, at the yearly symposium of the prestigious Colorado School of Mines. He presented data that our oil shale reserves are actually the equivalent of 250 billion barrels (that compares with 260 billion barrels in the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia).

Imagine the regional and geopolitical implications of an Israel that is not only energy self-sufficient, but can match the production of Saudi Arabia. The world is changing, and for a lot more reasons than most people think.


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