The Iran and Greek deals. Taking stock. If the Iran deal kept the conventional arms embargo, it should be a Win,
Win deal. Tsipras and Syrza having some intra-party opposition. May require a National Coalition Government.
It is very unlikely that the E.U. will allow Greek banks to go under with the possible consequences of Greece leaving. But seeming tragedy-about-to-ensue reports as both sides negotiate with the brinkmanship model in mind is likely to continue; more a la the countries on the other side of the Mediterranean than staid Germany. The major world stock and bond markets (with spillover into the commodities markets) have shown the greatest reversals of the year as rumors abound, first suggesting, then rejecting, then suggesting again the possibility of a deal. Standard and Poor upgraded the chance that Greece would leave the E.U. to greater than 50 percent. Tomorrow (Wednesday), according to the latest rumor, Greece will meet with Germany, and presumably Margaret Thatcher-like stubborn Chancellor Angela Merkel, to make yet another proposal. A meeting Sunday with all of the EU’s heads of state rumor is also being floated. We have also heard of a call by President Obama to Chancellor Minister Merkel today. Presumably this was to reiterate... Read More
Yemen III In our April13 post, we noted that the Houthis were considerably more than just an Iranian surrogate in Yemen. Indeed, we pointed out, the Houthis, as part of the minority Shia were basically concerned with fairness for their people in a Sunni dominated country. About forty percent of Yemen’s population is Shia. In fact, since their formation in 2004, they had been fighting the al Qaeda Sunni militant jihadists in the North (practically they were behind the group Believing Youth, formed in Sana’a in the early to mid 90’s). And, recall, the Yemen version of Al Qaeda had just seen their numbers and power increased due to a merger with Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia forming Al Qaeda for the entire Arabian Peninsula, but based in Yemen. Most of this activity took place in North Yemen. Under an Arab League sponsored armistice, and with more forceful pressure from Saudi Arabia, the two non-Houthi key figures contending for power were named head of the new government, namely... Read More
In a previous post, I warned against assuming that the Houthis in Yemen were just a terrorist surrogate for Iran a la Hezbollah. True, they .get supplies from Iran, and are Zaidi Shia, as is Iran. But they are not religious fundamentalists. They are not just surrogates for Iran. They are not like Hezbollah. Their identity is Yemeni and have had no difficulty allying with the Sunni former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Houthis also differ from many of the militant Sunni and Shia groups that have dominated the Mideast scene of late. In fact, part of Houthis raison d’etre was to militarily oppose the Al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen. Unlike the Islamic terrorist groups in the region, they reject the jihadist Salafi and Wahhabi philosophies that posit that aggressive and violent terrorist acts against the West and others whom they feel are opposed to their brand of Islamic fundamentalism are justified by Islam. Yemen is an amalgamation of North Yemen and South Yemen created on May... Read More
In our last post we went through the history of Yemen, through 1962. This week we shall move on to the contemporary crisis and attempt to demonstrate that it is more than just an Iranian attempt to exert hegemony over Yemen. As we left off last week, apart from their own regional civil wars, North Yemen and the PDR were fighting a Greater Yemen War. With pressure from the Arab League, peace or more specifically an armistice, was brokered. Under its terms a new unified government formed that had Ali Abdullah Saleh as president, and the then President of South Yemen, Ali Salim al Beidh, as its vice-president. Saleh won re-election with 93 per cent of the vote. His administration, however, was marked by an amazing amount of corruption. An economic downturn in 1992, and the ensuing food riots, led to yet another civil war. During which time, Vice-president Ali Salim al Beidh walked out of the government, protesting among other items, the attacks in the north upon... Read More
The partisanship-izing of the Israel-U. S. relationship continues unabated. This time, even as Netanyahu tries to soften his attacks on U.S. policy, the Republicans are continuing to throw fuel on the flames on an ongoing basis. Recall that Republicans Speaker of the House, John Boehner, broke with a long standing tradition by inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress—WITHOUT first notifying either President Obama OR the Democratic leadership in Congress. This in the final days of the Israeli election. Interfering with an Israeli (or U.S.) election was yet another historical N0- No! Netanyahu cemented the alliance of the Israeli right-wing to the U.S. right-wing by both accepting the invitation–a slap in the face to President Obama–and then by refusing Jewish Senator Dianne Feinstein and others’ invitation to meet face-to-face with congressional Democrats. Now, Speaker Boehner announces a post-election visit to Israel, and Republican Spokesmen are sounding a unified insulting attack on the Democratic President Obama, urging him, as National Review (a Conservative magazine) long-time... Read More