June 26, 2012 by Conn M. Hallinan
What was that Turkish F-4 Phantom II up to when the Syrians shot it down?
Ankara said the plane strayed into Syrian airspace, but quickly left and was over international waters when it was attacked, a simple case of carelessness on the part of the Turkish pilot that Syrian paranoia turned deadly.
But the Phantom—eyewitnesses told Turkish television that there were two aircraft, but there is no official confirmation of that observation—was hardly on a Sunday outing. According to the Financial Times, Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, told the newspaper “the jet was on a test and training mission focused on Turkey’s radar defense, rather than Syria.”
June 26, 2012 by George Grevett
The pattern is becoming despairingly familiar. The embattled periphery countries, led by Italy and Spain but also endorsed by France, propose more fiscal integration in the form of mutual debt pooling and shared financial liability. Such reforms are met with resounding rejections from Germany who instead point to the long run benefits of austerity in terms of promoting a sustainable economy.
Similar responses are also reserved for Greece who is seeking to renegotiate elements of its bailout agreement following a recent general election which resulted in the formation of an awkward coalition government.
June 26, 2012 by David H. Shinn
Delegations representing the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the government of Somaliland met at Chevening House in London on 20-21 June as part of a dialogue that began at the London Conference and continued at Istanbul II.
The Chevening House Declaration is unexceptional. It primarily commits both sides to continue the dialogue and cooperate in the fight against terrorism, extremism, crime, piracy, illegal fishing and toxic waste dumping. Importantly, however, it suggests that both sides are willing to continue the talks.
Click here to read the brief declaration and click here to read a congratulatory statement by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague. For a commentary on the declaration by Yusuf M. Hasan in the Somaliland Sun, click here.
June 26, 2012 by Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange has a few tricks left up his sleeve after his 16-month battle to avoid extradition to Sweden, and seeking asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London has been one of them. He has managed to throw an assortment of spanners into the works of state since becoming a figure of notoriety. He has, for instance, made a threat to run for a seat in the Australian Senate, an apt riposte to Australia’s indifference in mounting consular interventions on his behalf. He has been given his own program on the Russian network RT.
June 26, 2012 by Margaret Alston
The mostly Muslim nation of Malaysia has always walked a fine line between protecting the rights of Malay women and acknowledging the role that Islam plays in the daily lives of its citizens. Yet many of the obstacles facing Malaysian society disproportionately affect women. These include endemic poverty, human trafficking, environmental degradation, a rise in the numbers of refugees, civil unrest, crime and a resurgent Islamic movement. Nonetheless in this mostly Muslim country of nearly 30 million people, by comparison with other Islamic nations, the fight for greater protection of Malaysian women’s rights has had some success.