UN and Syria — Rwanda Elections — US Military Aid in Colombia — Rubber Farmes in Thailand — Health Care in Greece — Norway
This week we review the Syria situation once more now that the UN has published its report on the use of chemical weapons. In our ongoing series on elections we talk about the impressive outcome for the current leader of Rwanda. Mark discusses aspects of a longer article about the effects of US military aid on Colombia. We look at the situation of Thai rubber farmers with dwindling rubber prices on the worlds markets and on the effects the spending cuts on the greek health care system. Last but not least we look this mysterious sovereign wealth fund of wealthy Norway and provide another NEWZ source for you: In These Times.
- Chemical Weapons Attacks Confirmed By UN
- Where is Damascus?
- Kagame Party Wins Again in Latest Rwandan Election
- US Military Aid and the Human Rights Crisis in Colombia
- Thai Government Scrambles to Appease Angry Rubber Farmers
- New Round of Cuts in Greece Target Health Care
- Understanding Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund
- German Federal Election 2013
- NEWZ Source: In These Times
Syria: I wouldn’t read the Syrian government’s readiness to give up their chemical weapons as an admission of guilt. Rather it allows them to present themselves as a reasonable partner who can be relied on. Syria started their chemical weapons program to counter Israel. For the current government as they are struggling to keep control of the country that’s not too much of a concern. Also chemical weapons cannot be used against the rebels without making an intervention by western governments more likely, so in the current situation the weapons don’t do them a whole lot of good and if you can fend off the immediate threat of outside military action, why not give them away… The interesting question is whether everybody in the Syrian government and particularly the military feels that way. So for internal political reasons Assad might have to try to play both sides and could turn out to be a deal breaker.
Russian naval base: I got the impression Tim forgot that Russia lies on the Black Sea. Of course it’s convenient to have a naval base in the Eastern Mediterranean and it helps them to project power, but it’s they could still reach it without Syria. The real problem would arise in a conflict with NATO, as the Black Sea Fleet has to pass through the Turkish-controlled Bosporus to operate in the Mediterranean (though I’m not sure how effectively they could supply a Syrian outpost under such a scenario).
Africa: You were probably looking for “The True Size of Africa”: