Syria One - Turkey Zero: For Now

June 26, 2012 by

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.

Angela Merkel’s Nein Problem

June 26, 2012 by

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.

Somalia and Somaliland: Chevening House Declaration

June 26, 2012 by

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.

Everyone’s Assange

June 26, 2012 by

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.

Women’s Rights in Malaysia

June 26, 2012 by

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.