May 30, 2012 by Ramzy Baroud
Yemeni forces continue to push against fighters affiliated with al-Qaeda. Their major victories come on the heels of the inauguration of Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi, who is now entrusted with the task of leading the country through a peaceful transition. A new constitution and presidential elections are expected by 2014.
Faced with the most strenuous of circumstances – the unyielding ruling family, the US-lead war on al-Qaeda, sectarian tension, unsettled political divides between south and north, and unforgiving poverty – the youth of Yemen have successfully managed to introduce a hopeful chapter to an otherwise gloomy modern history.
May 30, 2012 by Marshall Auerback
It might seem strange to invoke Freddie Mercury and Queen in the context of the eurozone, but it’s the first thought that springs to mind, as Brussels and the increasingly hapless ECB, continue to mismanage their way to financial and economic catastrophe. Yesterday, there were signs that the Spanish plan to recapitalise Bankia (which came with the implied backing of the ECB’s balance sheet) introduced a potential way out of the eurozone’s metastisizing banking crisis.
Sadly, it’s another idea which will never get off the bulletin board, as the ECB bluntly rejected any proposal to use its balance sheet to indirectly fund Bankia, the troubled Spanish lender
May 30, 2012 by Peter Lee
If Assad loses control of his armed forces and the regime loses its legitimacy as the expression of Syrian nationalism, the ingredients don’t seem there for a Lebanon-style civil war with local proxies armed by regional or global actors.
That’s because I don’t think that Russia, China, or even Iran see any upside in arming some Ba’ath regime generals of primarily Alawite backgrounds trying to beat back an insurrection powered largely by Syria’s dominant Sunni majority. Alawites are estimated at 12% of Syria’s largely Sunni population and don’t look to do well if the Syrian uprising transforms into an explicitly sectarian confrontation.
Lebanon, on the other hand, is split between Christians, Sunnis, and Shi’ites with no one group holding a clear demographic advantage (especially since there hasn’t been an official census in Lebanon for decades), providing multiple opportunities for regional and global patrons to make mischief through their durable local proxies.