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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 20-Sep-2011
20-Sep-11 World View -- Chaos in Europe as deadline for Greece draws near

Web Log - September, 2011

20-Sep-11 World View -- Chaos in Europe as deadline for Greece draws near

Pressure increases on Abbas to skip UN statehood bid

This morning's key headlines from

* Pressure increases on Abbas to skip UN statehood bid
* Chaos in Europe as deadline for Greece draws near
* Greece may vote on whether to remain in euro zone
* Germany's Angela Merkel loses influence as her coalition melts down
* Germany's Pirate Party makes a surprise showing in Berlin elections
* Israel may become the principal defender of Cyprus
* Surge in violence in Yemen continues for a second day

Pressure increases on Abbas to skip UN statehood bid

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas

Diplomatic efforts are continuing around the clock to convince Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to abandon his plans to seek United Nations membership for a Palestinian state from the Security Council on Friday. Jerusalem Post

It was last year in October that I first reported that the Palestinians were considering turning to the United Nations to seek the creation of a Palestinian state by international mandate. At that time, it was just a throwaway suggestion, perhaps even a joke. But since then, the idea has taken hold and become extremely popular in the Palestine territories, and even in a number of other countries. I don't believe that Abbas could change his mind, even if he wanted to.

One reason why the United States is opposed to Abbas's bid is that it would force the U.S. delegation to veto it. The veto threat has created a widespread feeling in the Palestinian delegation that President Obama, rather than Israeli President Netanyahu, has become the bad guy. According to one delegate, "Were Martin Luther King to rise from the dead and see how a black president is waging an all-out war against the rights of the Palestinian people, he would choose to return to the grave." Haaretz

Chaos in Europe as deadline for Greece draws near

Germany's Pirate Party celebrates historic victory in Sunday's Berlin elections (DPA)
Germany's Pirate Party celebrates historic victory in Sunday's Berlin elections (DPA)

EU negotiators failed to reach agreement with Greece on the next tranche of its loan bailout -- required by mid-October if Greece is to avoid bankruptcy. The so-called troika (European Central Bank (ECB), European Commission (EC) and International Monetary Fund (IMF)) are playing hardball, demanding that Greece take harsh new measures to reduce its debt. Austerity measures demanded by the troika include firing another 20,000 state workers, cutting or freezing state salaries and pensions, increasing heating oil tax, shutting down loss-making state organizations, cutting health spending and speeding up privatizations. In many cases, Greece has agreed to these measures in the past, but has failed to implement them, which is why the troika is being much more insistent now. A conference call involving the troika and Greek officials ended on Monday with no agreement, but the phone conference will resume on Tuesday. Reuters

Greece may vote on whether to remain in euro zone

With mounting pressure coming from all sides, Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou has submitted a bill to Parliament to call a referendum on whether Greece should remain in the euro zone. Pressure has mounted on the government from all sides with Greece’s foreign creditors pushing for quicker and more effective reforms, citizens reacting to the austerity cuts and even members of PASOK, Papandreou's own political party, objecting to plans to slash the public sector. Papandreou hopes that the outcome of such a vote would constitute a fresh mandate for his Socialist government to continue with an austerity drive. Kathimerini

Germany's Angela Merkel loses influence as her coalition melts down

One of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition partners suffered a meltdown in a Sunday election in Berlin, humiliating Merkel and leaving her coalition in a precarious position. A survey last week showed that Germans are unhappy with Merkel's handling of the euro crisis:

Merkel has been a strong supporter of bailing out Greece, but increasing popular opposition is forcing her government to back down. Her Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has become markedly tougher on Greece, saying that Greece will not receive the next tranche of bailout money unless it meets austerity requirements. "The Greeks must show figures that prove they are sticking to the plan. No one should be under any illusions." Spiegel

Germany's Pirate Party makes a surprise showing in Berlin elections

The big surprise in Sunday's Berlin elections was the Pirate Party, replacing the Greens as the title holder for young political rebels. Their platform calls for uncensored and free access to the internet, legalization of marijuana, and minimum guaranteed revenue for everyone. They won 8.9% of the vote, which means that they'll have seats in a regional government for the first time. Spiegel

Israel may become the principal defender of Cyprus

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been using increasingly belligerent threats on a variety of subjects in recent weeks, as we've been reporting. One of those threats has been to use force to stop drilling for oil and gas in the eastern Mediterannean south of Cyprus, within Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone. The area is being monitored by Israeli drones while submarines are also expected to operate nearby. If necessary, Israel will send one or more Sa’ar 5-class corvettes. Cyprus has little to show in terms of naval power, while Greece is not expected to deploy any frigates. According to a Greek analysis, Turkey may make a show of force by dispatching gunboats to the area, but it's unlikely that Turkey will risk a military confrontation by interfering with the drilling. Kathimerini

Surge in violence in Yemen continues for a second day

The surge in violence that began in Yemen on Sunday continued on Monday, and spread from the center of the capital city Sanaa to the outskirts and to other cities. 27 people were killed on Monday in confrontations between government forces and defected soldiers and demonstrators. Washington Post

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 20-Sep-11 World View -- Chaos in Europe as deadline for Greece draws near thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (20-Sep-2011) Permanent Link
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