21-Dec-16 World View — Russia, Turkey scramble to mend relations by blaming US for assassination

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Man who shot Russia’s ambassador in Turkey was in security forces
  • Turkey and Russia blame Fethullah Gulen and the US for the assassination
  • Both Turkey and Russia stand to gain by blaming US for assassination

Man who shot Russia’s ambassador in Turkey was in security forces

Foreign ministers of Iran, Russia and Turkey meet in Moscow to discuss a Syria peace plan.  The U.S. was not invited
Foreign ministers of Iran, Russia and Turkey meet in Moscow to discuss a Syria peace plan. The U.S. was not invited

Turkey’s police have arrested six relatives of Mevlut Mert Altintas, the 22 year old who shot Andrey Karlov, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, in Ankara on Monday.

Little information about Altintas has been released. He was born in western Turkey on the Aegean Sea, and has been working as a policeman for 2-1/2 years.

He used his police badge on Monday to gain access to the art exhibit where Karlov would be speaking, and to avoid having to go through a security X-ray device. He took his place and stood behind Karlov as part of Karlov’s security detail. After Karlov had been speaking for a few minutes, Altintas pulled a gun from his coat pocket and shot Karlov dead. Anadolu (Ankara) and Reuters and Hurriyet (Ankara)

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Turkey and Russia blame Fethullah Gulen and the US for the assassination

I’ve always considered it somewhat fanciful that Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the aborted July 15 coup attempt on a 76-year-old political enemy living in the Pocono Mountains in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, as if Fethullah Gulen had directed the coup himself from his easy chair.

Erdogan has repeatedly asked the Obama administration to extradite Gulen back to Turkey, charging him as being the leader of what Turkey calls the Fetullah Terror Organization (FETO). Last month, Erdogan said:

“I was disillusioned, because I would expect this? I served both as a prime minister and president in this country and whenever the U.S. requested extradition of those kinds of terrorists I handed them over. Obama also should have done it and handed that man to us.”

The Justice Department has said that they would be happen to extradite Gulen to Turkey, provided that Turkey provides evidence satisfactory to an American court of law that Gulen was really involved in the coup. The administration says that it has not received such evidence.

There are other problems with automatically blaming Gulen.

Gulen is a Muslim cleric with a worldwide network of schools and businesses, run by his followers. For Erdogan, this worldwide network was for many years a good thing, a sign of a progressive Turkey, fighting extremism, and providing education and jobs. But relations between Erdogan and Gulen started to sour in 2012, and were severed completely in 2013. Since then, this huge international network has turned in Erdogan’s eyes from a good thing to a bad thing, promoting terrorism instead of fighting extremism.

This sudden change in Erdogan’s view of Gulen has caused confusion, and raised suspicion that the issues are more political than otherwise. And so there’s a great deal of skepticism when Turkey is not able to provide any credible proof of Gulen’s involvement in the July 15 coup.

However, the continued presence of Gulen in the United States provides a convenient target for Erdogan’s blame and mockery. Whenever there’s a domestic problem, Erdogan can just blame it on Gulen and the United States. Both Erdogan and Russia are increasingly blaming Monday’s assassination of Russia’s ambassador on the US.

Ilnur Cevik is an advisor to Erdogan. He says that the US and Germany are responsible for lots of things:

“Growing relations and intensive cooperation in all areas between Turkey and Russia has created anger in the West, especially in the United States and Germany. The latest example has been the joint efforts of the two countries to save the civilian people of Aleppo. It was inevitable that the West would try to sabotage these relations. It is sad that they used a policeman affiliated to Fethullah Gulen’s terrorist organization to assassinate the ambassador. This organization was also behind the downing of the Russian fighter that hurt our relations.”

So, the US and Germany are responsible not only for the assassination of the Russia’s ambassador, but also for the July 15 coup and, even more incredibly, for Turkey’s shootdown of the Russian warplane in November of last year!! But it’s very convenient for both countries, rather than have to deal with the consequences to their own relationships.

This is laughable, and it reminds me of a completely different story in the news these days. The demented loony-left-wing socialist president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, has been so thoroughly destroying his country’s economy that the inflation rate is 67% per month, and is continuing to accelerate. But he gets away with it by blaming it all on a foreign conspiracy, led by the United States. It seems that there is no leader’s policy so loony or so destructive that he can’t get away with it by blaming the United States. World Bulletin (Turkey) and Sputnik News (Moscow) and Hurriyet (Ankara)

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Both Turkey and Russia stand to gain by blaming US for assassination

The Turkish people have for years had to look on as Syria, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah combine to massacre, bomb and slaughter hundreds of thousands of civilians, including many women and children, who are ethnic Turkmens and other ethnic groups close to Turkey, and to drive millions more from their homes.

So why would Turkey be willing to bend over backwards to mend relations with Russia?

There’s no doubt that the past year has been hell for Turkey. There have been six or eight major terrorist attacks in cities across the country, perpetrated by the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). There was the July 15 aborted coup attempt. The country’s resources have been strained by some three million refugees pouring into the country to escape the war in Syria. There was the chaotic break with Russia after a Russian warplane was shot down.

After the shootdown of Russia’s warplane last year, Russia imposed harsh sanctions on Turkey that were devastating to Turkey’s economy. Politically, Erdogan became increasingly isolated, having had very public splits with Syria, Russia, Israel and Egypt. So, Erdogan began healing some of those splits — with Russia and Israel, though not with Egypt. And Erdogan became resigned that Bashar al-Assad is here to stay.

Russia has a completely different set of motivations. Russia is on the verge of scoring a major political victory.

On Monday, leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey met for a summit in Moscow to discuss a peace agreement for Syria. Turkey has dropped its demand that Bashar al-Assad step down. The United States has become so irrelevant to the Mideast that it was not invited, and besides, both Turkey and Russia are blaming the United States for the assassination and other problems.

For Russia, this is an opportunity to show the world that Russia is back, it’s in charge of the Mideast, while the US has been pushed out. This is the kind of political victory that Vladimir Putin is working for.

So this is a critical time for both Turkey and Russia. The assassination of Russia’s ambassador in Ankara has the potentially to really explode the relationship between the two countries. How was an off-duty security guard so easily able to get into the exhibition? Why was the ambassador so poorly protected? After the shooting, why the did the police shoot Altintas dead, rather than just wounding him, which would have allowed Russian investigators to question him? Who else was involved in the assassination plot?

By rushing to blame the United States, the two countries do not have to deal with a lot of very difficult questions. In particular, Russia can continue with its plan to declare itself the world leader in the Mideast.

Generational Dynamics predicts that this friendship between Turkey and Russia won’t last, and that Russia and Turkey will be on opposite sides of the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war. Russians and Turks have hated each other for centuries, and have fought many bloody wars, and it won’t be long before they’re fighting one more. Telegraph (London) and Tass (Moscow) and Sputnik News (Moscow)

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Turkey, Russia, Andrey Karlov, Mevlüt Mert Altintas, Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Fethullah Gulen, Fetullah Terror Organization, FETO, Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

20-Dec-16 World View — Terror in Berlin and Ankara as Russia’s ambassador to Turkey shot dead

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Russia’s ambassador to Turkey shot dead in Ankara
  • Large truck kills 12 driving into a crowded Berlin market

Russia’s ambassador to Turkey shot dead in Ankara

Andrey Karlov giving his speech in an Ankara art museum, just before being shot.  In the left rear is the assassin, Mevlüt Mert Altintas. (Hurriyet)
Andrey Karlov giving his speech in an Ankara art museum, just before being shot. In the left rear is the assassin, Mevlüt Mert Altintas. (Hurriyet)

Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, was shot dead in Turkey’s capital city Ankara on Monday around 7:30 pm, as he was giving a speech during the opening of an art exhibition. Karlov has been a diplomat for 40 years, and has been ambassador to Turkey since 2013.

The killer was Mevlüt Mert Altintas, said to be a 22 year old off-duty policeman who had joined Turkey’s police force two years ago.

After shooting Karlov, Altintas waved his gun around and should “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is great), and then in Turkish, “Don’t forget about Aleppo. Don’t forget about Syria. As long as they aren’t safe, you won’t be safe either.”

Further information about Altintas has not been released, but it’s believed that he’s not from groups that have conducted terror attacks in Turkey in the last year, such as Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). There have been widespread protests in Turkey against Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad for his bloody slaughter of civilians in Aleppo, and it’s believed that he’s a particularly demented anti-Assad protester who believes that he can attain a political objective by killing an ambassador.

In November of last year, Turkey’s F-16s were involved in the shooting down of a Russian warplane that had allegedly crossed the border from Syria into Turkey. Relations between the two leaders, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, extremely vitriolic, and they imposed economic sanctions on each other, harming both their economies.

The relations began to improve, even to signing an agreement in October to jointly build a natural gas pipeline. However, this was thought to be an agreement out of pragmatism, rather than a real warming of relations, as the two countries are still bitterly divided over the Syrian civil war.

Some observers have speculated that Altintas’s political goal in killing the Russian ambassador was to renew the hostility between Putin and Erdogan. However, Putin issued a statement saying that he does not blame Erdogan or Turkey for this terrorist act.

Putin announced that Russia is sending a team of investigators to Ankara to investigate the shooting. Unless the investigation reveals gross negligence by Turkish officials in not preventing the shooting, it’s expected that pragmatism will continue in the relationship between Turkey and Russia. Hurriyet (Ankara) and Sputnik News (Moscow) and Bloomberg

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Large truck kills 12 driving into a crowded Berlin market

Aftermath of truck massacre in Berlin (DW)
Aftermath of truck massacre in Berlin (DW)

At least 12 people were killed and dozens injured after a large truck rammed into crowds at a market in Berlin, Germany. The driver has been arrested, and a passenger in the truck died in the crash, although he may have been killed. Authorities are reluctant at this time to say whether it was an “accident” or an “attack,” although signs point to it being an attack.

The truck had Polish license plates and was carrying steel beams from Poland to a site in Italy. The dead passenger in the truck has been identified as a Polish national. The driver is said to be an asylum seeker from Pakistan or Afghanistan, who had arrived in Germany in February.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, ISIS has previously called on its followers to carry out “lone wolf” terror strikes in Europe, and driving a truck into a crowd is one type of attack that ISIS has suggested. In July, an attack of that type occurred in Nice, France, when a delivery truck driver drove his truck into a crowd. That attack occurred on Bastille Day, July 14. Deutsche Welle

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Turkey, Russia, Andrey Karlov, Mevlüt Mert Altintas, Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK, Berlin, Germany
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

19-Dec-16 World View — Chinese bombers circling Taiwan raise talk of war during Trump’s first term

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • China says it will back down over US military drone seizure in South China Sea
  • Chinese bombers circling Taiwan raise talk of war during Trump’s first term

China says it will back down over US military drone seizure in South China Sea

A drone similar to the one that was seized
A drone similar to the one that was seized

China’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday that it will return to the United States an American military drone it seized in international waters in the South China Sea, near the Philippines. However, China has not yet returned the drone, and says only that it will return the drone “in an appropriate manner” at an unnamed time.

The Pentagon says that on Thursday, a Chinese naval ship approached the USNS Bowditch, an oceanographic survey vessel with a mostly civilian crew, which was trying to retrieve an American military drone that had been collecting unclassified data for oceanic research. A Chinese warship, a “submarine rescue vessel,” that had been following the Bowditch, send out a small boat and outran the Bowditch to capture the drone.

According to the US Defense Department, China intentionally captured a “sovereign immune vessel,” which is an act of war. The Chinese rushed to provide a laughable excuse, saying that the drone was captured “in order to prevent the device from causing harm to the safety of navigation and personnel of passing vessels.”

The drone was captured in waters near the Philippines, far from China. China has declared its intention to annex the entire South China Sea as its sovereign territory, even though its claims have been shown to be a hoax, and even though a judgment by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague has made it clear that China was violating international law.

Chinese state media made it clear that the seizure was intentional. It quotes Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert:

“This is not the first time that we seized a US underwater drone in the South China Sea, but the one we seized on Thursday is new and more advanced than before and might carry valuable information just gathered in the South China Sea.”

According to one theory, China seized the US military drone to send a threatening message to US president-elect Donald Trump, after he accepted a phone call from Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen on December 2. Trump has also indicated that he is also reviewing America’s support for the “one China” policy, which says that Taiwan is a province of China.

China was forced to back down and promise to return the drone because not doing so could force a military response by the US. However, until China fulfills its promise and actually returns the drone, a military response remains a possibility. Washington Post and Xinhua and Global Times (Beijing) and Daily Beast

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Chinese bombers circling Taiwan raise talk of war during Trump’s first term

Anxieties about war have been raised in Taiwan after Chinese bombers twice circled around Taiwan’s periphery, though without entering the countries air defense identification zone (ADIZ).

Some people have speculated that this is one more act from Beijing, like the seizure of the US drone, to send a message in response to Donald Trump’s phone call with Taiwan’s president. However, that would seem an unlikely explanation, since the two actions by the Chinese bomber occurred on November 25 and December 10, with the first action occurring prior to the phone call.

However, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense on Sunday appealed for calm, as further concerns were raised this weekend when China’s air published a photo on social media showing a bomber flying above clouds with two mountain peaks in the distance, apparently depicting the November 25 flight. Chinese military commentators said that the peaks are of a mountain in Taiwan.

China’s state media quoted a Chinese military analyst saying that military action could occur in Donald Trump’s first term:

“Military conflicts would occur between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan by 2020. It is quite possible that the mainland will take the island in one stroke.”

However, another Chinese analyst is quoted as saying that China’s leadership might not favor reunification by force, which would hurt both sides’ interests. China Post (Taipei) and Global Times (Beijing)

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, China, South China Sea, USNS Bowditch, United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration, PCA, Philippines, Li Jie, Donald Trump, Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

18-Dec-16 World View — Syria and Russia see ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’ after Aleppo victory

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Syria’s Bashar al-Assad calls Aleppo’s ‘liberation’ a historic event
  • Syria and Russia suffer a big military setback in Palmyra
  • Syria’s civil war shows similarities to America’s Vietnam war

Syria’s Bashar al-Assad calls Aleppo’s ‘liberation’ a historic event

Russia holds a concert on 5-May to celebrate the recapture of Palmyra from ISIS.  Note that Vladimir Putin is on the wide-screen tv on the left side of the stage (AFP)
Russia holds a concert on 5-May to celebrate the recapture of Palmyra from ISIS. Note that Vladimir Putin is on the wide-screen tv on the left side of the stage (AFP)

A year ago, al-Assad himself said that his army was close to being defeated. Since then, three more armies — from Russia, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah — have rushed to his aid, and al-Assad is claiming a “history in the making” victory:

“[The liberation of Aleppo was] history in the making and worthy of more than the word congratulations.

History is being written in these moments. Every Syrian citizen is taking part in the writing. It started not today, but years ago when the crisis and the war on Syria began.”

I think that after the liberation of Aleppo we’ll talk about the situation as … before the liberation of Aleppo and after the liberation of Aleppo.”

An analyst, Alexander Khrolenko, quoted by Russian state media agrees. He says that the city’s liberation has had a ripple effect across the country. The victory has weakened radical groups located in the province of Idlib:

“Until recently, the militants controlled key oil fields and communications channels with Turkey in the Euphrates valley. Aleppo’s liberation has undermined the economic base of terrorist groups and the supply routes to Raqqa, the capital of Daesh’s caliphate. Now the Syrian Arab Army could focus on two regions, Idlib and Raqqa.”

In the title of this article I referred to “the light at the end of the tunnel,” because that phrase was used by Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon in making claims about victory in the Vietnam War that sound very similar to those of al-Assad and Khrolenko. Al Masdar News (Damascus) and International Business Times and Sputnik News (Moscow)

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Syria and Russia suffer a big military setback in Palmyra

If it takes four armies to capture one city, Aleppo, in a period of many months, it’s delusional to believe that the rest of the country is going to fall quickly.

Al-Assad and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin received a taste of what they’re in for this week when the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) recaptured the city of Palmyra from Syrian and Russian forces last weekend. Not only that, but ISIS entered the big Russian-Syrian T-4 air base outside the town, carrying off substantial quantities of Russian armaments including assault rifles, ground-to-ground missiles, anti-tank missiles, and anti-air rockets.

Russia’s troops, backed by massive airstrikes, had captured Palmyra in March of this year. Putin had declared the recapture a major victory in the war and a major turning point (which is what he’s saying now about Aleppo).

Putin even held a triumphal, widely televised concert in Palmyra’s Roman ruins on May 5, with the orchestra conducted by the internationally distinguished maestro Valery Gergiev. So ISIS’s success in Palmyra is a major fiasco for Russia and a major humiliation.

According to reports, the way it happened is that Palmyra was originally recaptured from ISIS by Russia’s special forces (Spetsnaz). Afterwards, the special forces were withdrawn from Palmyra and sent to Aleppo, where they are involved in the war there. According to Igor Konashenkov of the Russian defence ministry, ISIS immediately sent about 5,000 jihadists from Raqqa to Palmyra to achieve its victory.

Undoubtedly, once Aleppo is captured, Syria and Russia will turn back to Palmyra and recapture it again from ISIS. But will that leave Aleppo vulnerable? And if it took four armies to capture Aleppo, while losing Palmyra, how can they hope to recapture the entire regions of Syria that are under control of the Free Syrian army, al-Nusra, and ISIS, and keep captured areas under control?

When American forces scored victories in the Vietnam war, presidents Johnson and Nixon talked about the “light at the end of tunnel,” but the North Vietnamese forces did not stop fighting, which is what al-Assad and Putin expect ISIS to do after the capture of Aleppo. Guardian (London) and Debka

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Syria’s civil war shows similarities to America’s Vietnam war

In 1953, French forces under the command of Gen. Henri Navarre were fighting Ho Chi Minh’s communist forces in Vietnam. Navarre said, “Now we can see [success in Vietnam] clearly, like light at the end of a tunnel.” The French forces were decisively defeated at Dien Bien Phu in May 1954.

In June 1966 President Lyndon Johnson said “I urge you to remember that Americans often grow impatient when they cannot see light at the end of the tunnel – when policies do not overnight usher in a new order. But politics is not magic. And when some of our fellow citizens despair of the tedium and time necessary to bring change – as, for example, in Vietnam today – they are forgetting our own history.”

The phrase “light at the end of the tunnel” was repeated frequently in the 1960s in reference to the Vietnam war, both by government officials and by antiwar activists mocking government officials. The Tet Offensive in 1968 turned public opinion negative towards the war, though it did not end until several years later.

This week, Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin are talking about a “history in the making” victory. It’s not exactly the same phrase as “light at the end of the tunnel,” but it has the same flavor.

Let’s make three comparisons between America in the 1960s and Syria today:

  • America was in a generational Awakening era. America’s previous generational crisis war was World War II, which had ended explosively with the firebombing of Dresden and the nuking of Japan. These acts were so shocking that they ended the war shortly after.
  • America tried to repeat its WW II by bombing strategic targets in North Vietnam, but with little success. The rules of war are different in generational Awakening eras than they are in Crisis eras. Survivors with memories of the last crisis war are not so easily shocked.
  • In fact, America was hampered by its own lack of will to fight, something that almost all historians agree with today. Whereas America could use a nuclear weapon to end WW II, domestic and international political pressure forced America to use bombs carefully and sparingly, to prevent civilian casualties, and to take various humanitarian breaks, especially at Christmas.

Now let’s look at what’s happening in Syria today:

  • Syria is in a generational Awakening era. Syria’s previous generational crisis war was the Syrian civil war that climaxed in February 1982 with the destruction, by Bashar’s father Hafez al-Assad, of the town of Hama. There had been a massive uprising of the 400,000 mostly Sunni citizens of Hama against Syria’s president Hafez al-Assad. He turned the town to rubble and killing or displacing hundreds of thousands. Hama stands as a defining moment in the Middle East. It is regarded as perhaps the single deadliest act by any Arab government against its own people in the modern Middle East. It was a shocking act that ended the war.
  • Al-Assad is trying to repeat his father’s 1982 success by repeating in Aleppo the same acts that his father committed in Hama. But the rules of war are different in generational Awakening eras than they are in Crisis eras. Nobody is shocked by what al-Assad is doing, only sickened and disgusted.
  • In fact, Syria and Russia are hampered by enormous international pressure to protect civilians and provide humanitarian aid. Just as America could have won the Vietnam war by dropping a nuclear bomb on Hanoi, al-Assad and Putin could probably win the war in Syria by dropping nuclear weapons on Aleppo, Idlib and Raqqa, but they’re being held back by international pressure to prevent civilian casualties and to provide humanitarian aid.

Presidents John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were all delusional about the war in Vietnam. Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin are even more delusional about the war in Syria. The Syrian civil war will be an even worse disaster than the Vietnam war. History.com and Global Security

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Aleppo, Palmyra, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Alexander Khrolenko, Igor Konashenkov, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Vietnam, Gen. Henri Navarre, Ho Chi Minh, Dien Bien Phu, Tet Offensive, Hama, Idlib, Raqqa
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

17-Dec-16 World View — Former UN leader Ban Ki-moon may run for president of South Korea

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Russia and Japan fail to agree on ending World War II
  • Former UN leader Ban Ki-moon may run for president of South Korea

Russia and Japan fail to agree on ending World War II

Shinzo Abe and Vladimir Putin at their meeting on Friday (AP)
Shinzo Abe and Vladimir Putin at their meeting on Friday (AP)

Russia and Japan are technically still at war, having never signed a peace treaty ending their conflict in World War II. Japan has demanded the return of their Northern Territories, consisting of four islands that the Soviet Union forces seized at the end of the war. Russia calls them the Kuril Islands.

So when Russia’s president Vladimir Putin came to Tokyo for the last two days to visit with Japan’s president Shinzo Abe, a lot of people were hoping they’d reach an agreement on the disputed islands, and that they’d sign an agreement ending World War II.

Unfortunately, no such agreement and no peace treaty were forthcoming. Press reports seem to imply that Abe had hoped to develop a personal relationship with Putin and perhaps charm him into reaching an agreement on the islands. As it turned out, even that goal might not have been reached, as the two leaders met only briefly. Afterwards, Putin said, “It would be naive to think we can solve this problem in an hour, but there is no doubt that we need to look for a solution.” Abe said, “We need to work toward a breakthrough so that we don’t disappoint the next generation.”

Instead, they signed economic deals whose net effect will be Japanese investments in projects in Russia. Russia and Japan will each put $500 million into a new fund that will make investments in Russia’s energy, urban planning and medical services. There were reports of agreements on joint Russian-Japanese economic activities on the islands, including fisheries, tourism, culture and medicine, but no talk of sovereignty.

Still, while Russian analysts are saying that Russia got the better of Japan in the summit, they hope that the joint economic activities will lead to an eventual peace treaty.

Russia achieved something else significant. Japan has supported the US-led economic sanctions on Russia for invading and annexing Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, and Friday’s economic agreements seem to

One might well ask oneself why Japan seems so eager to suck up to Russia without seeming to get much in return. China has been increasingly hostile to Japan, while Russia and China appear to be getting along, even militarily, so perhaps Abe felt that a friendship with Russia would protect Japan from China in the future.

Generational Dynamics predicts that in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war, the US, Japan, India, Iran and Russia will be allied again China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries. Japan Times and Russia Today and Tass (Moscow)

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Former UN leader Ban Ki-moon may run for president of South Korea

South Korea has been embroiled for months in an explosive corruption scandal that has led the parliament to vote to impeach president Park Geun-hye, and has had massive anti-Park protests every week. Park’s fate will depend on a ruling by the Constitutional Court, which is expected early next year.

It’s expected that there will be large crowds of protesters in Seoul on Saturday, calling for Park to resign from office without waiting for the Constitutional Court. It’s feared that they’ll clash with another large group of protesters, this group supporting Park.

Ban Ki-moon is stepping down after being United Nations Secretary-General for ten years, and was asked whether he will run for president of South Korea:

“I’ll go back to (South) Korea, then I’ll try to meet as many people as possible, which may include political leaders, leaders of civil society and my friends, and I will really consider seriously how best and what I should and could do for my country.

I can understand and share the anxiety of people about the future of their country. And this is one of the biggest challenges the Korean people are encountering.

I also understand the aspiration of people for a new type of inclusive leadership that can help them overcome the challenges ahead.”

He sounds to me like a politician running for president. AP and Special Broadcasting Service (Australia) and JoongAng Ilbo (Seoul)

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Russia, Japan, Vladimir Putin, Shinzo Abe, Northern Territories, Kuril Islands, China, South Korea, Park Geun-hye, Ban Ki-moon
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14-Dec-16 World View — US’s Samantha Power makes excoriating attack on Syria’s al-Assad, Russia, Iran

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Syria’s Al-Assad, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah score victory in Aleppo
  • US’s Samantha Power makes excoriating attack on Syria’s al-Assad, Russia, Iran
  • Human Rights Watch reveals more ethnic cleansing imagery from Burma (Myanmar)

Syria’s Al-Assad, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah score victory in Aleppo

A family of Sunni 'terrorists' flee the fighting in Aleppo (Reuters)
A family of Sunni ‘terrorists’ flee the fighting in Aleppo (Reuters)

It took four armies, but Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad is claiming victory in recapturing Aleppo from anti-Assad rebels. A year ago, al-Assad himself said that his army was close to being defeated. But then his three allies stepped up their military support with people, weapons and bombs, and al-Assad is finally able to declare victory.

According to Matthew Rycroft, the UK ambassador to the UN:

“Al-Assad’s forces, propped up by Russia and Iran, have once again redefined horror. They have gone from siege to slaughter.

Today the United Nations has received reports that pro-government forces have been entering homes in Eastern Aleppo. They have been going door to door, executing people on the spot. 82 people murdered. 13 of whom were women. 11 were children. None were terrorists.

We have heard reports of women committing suicide, in order not to be raped. We have heard reports of people being burnt alive. We have heard reports that hundreds of men have disappeared fleeing Aleppo, taken by the regime. All these reports evoke the darkest days of the history of the United Nations.

When it happened before, we said never again. Well, it is happening again, today.”

As I’ve been writing for a long time, Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad is the worst genocidal monster so far in this century. He continues a line of monsters from the previous century that include Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, and others.

The civil war in Syria was caused by al-Assad when he unleashed his army and air force against peaceful protesters in 2011. Up to that point, Turkey and Saudi Arabia were friendly with al-Assad. Things really turned around in August 2011, when al-Assad launched a massive military assault on a large, peaceful Palestinian refugee camp in Latakia, filled with tens of thousands of women and children Palestinians.

This attack alone shows that al-Assad’s fight is not with “terrorists,” but with innocent Sunni civilians. Al-Assad is a member of a Shia Alawite clan that has historically fought many wars with Sunnis. To al-Assad, Sunni civilians are nothing but cockroaches to be exterminated.

Al-Assad’s genocidal extermination campaign on these “cockroaches” has been a geopolitical disaster. Tens of thousands of young Sunnis traveled to Syria to fight al-Assad, creating the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). Syrians themselves formed the “moderate” Free Syrian Army (FSA), or else joined al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front, now Jabhat Fateh al-Sham or JFS). Millions of Syrians were killed or displaced, and well over a million of them have fled to Europe to escape the violence.

Bashar al-Assad has the delusional view that after capturing Aleppo, the war will quickly end. Al-Assad required three other armies to capture Aleppo. Al-Assad started the civil war not because rebels were taking up arms, but because civilians were peacefully protesting. If civilians begin peacefully protesting again, will al-Assad attack them again, and ask those three other armies to come back? UK Government and ARA News (Syria)

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US’s Samantha Power makes excoriating attack on Syria’s al-Assad, Russia, Iran

Many people, especially in the Mideast, blame al-Assad’s geopolitical disaster on inaction by the Barack Obama administration, especially Obama’s “red line” flip-flop on intervening when al-Assad used Sarin gas on his own innocent civilians. It’s impossible to know what the outcome of intervention at that time would have been, but many people believe that the worse of the genocide would have been avoided.

In fact, the Obama administration and many Western administrations went farther, and avoided saying anything that might appear as a criticism of al-Assad, Russia or Iran. However, several years of built-up anger seemed to explode at the UN Security Council on Tuesday, with the excoriating remarks of American’s UN ambassador Samantha Power:

“To the Assad regime, Russia, and Iran, three member states, behind the conquest of and carnage in Aleppo. You bear responsibility for these atrocities by rejecting UN ICRC evacuation efforts, you are signaling to those militia who are massacring innocents to keep doing what they are doing. Denying or obfuscating the facts, as you will do today, saying up is down, black is white, will not absolve you. When one day there is a full accounting of the horrors committed in this assault of Aleppo – and that day will come sooner or later — you will not be able to say you did know what is happening, you will not be able to say you were not involved.

We all know what was happening, and we all know you were involved. Aleppo will join the ranks of those events in world history that define modern evil, that stain our conscience decades later. Halabja, Rwanda, Srebrenica, and now Aleppo.

To the Assad regime, Russia, and Iran, your forces and proxies are carrying out these crimes. Your barrel bombs and mortars and airstrikes have allowed the militia in Aleppo to encircle tens of thousands of civilians in your ever tightening noose.

It is your noose. Three member states of the UN contributing to a noose around civilians. It should shame you. Instead, by all appearances, it is emboldening you. You are plotting your next assault. Are you truly incapable of shame? Is there literally nothing that can shame you?

Is there no act of barbarism against civilians, no execution of a child, that gets under your skin? That just creeps you out a little bit? Is there nothing you will not lie about, or justify?”

Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitali Churkin, responded as if he were talking about another place altogether:

“The vast majority of the former members of the illegal armed groups that have handed themselves over to the authorities as a result of the amnesty and have gone through the procedures have been returned to their families. The most important thing is, the counterterrorist operation in Aleppo will conclude in the next few hours.”

In fact, as the previous quote from Matthew Rycroft indicates, reports reaching the BBC and other media sources say that Sunnis who “hand themselves over” to the Syrian army authorities are most likely to be immediately shot. In fact, we can’t believe any garbage that comes out of the mouths of Vitali Churkin, Bashar al-Assad, or Vladimir Putin. Middle East Eye

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Human Rights Watch reveals more ethnic cleansing imagery from Burma (Myanmar)

In the past few months, satellite photography provided by Human Rights Watch has documented that 30,000 ethnic Rohingyas living in Burma’s (Myanmar’s) Rakhine state have been left homeless after their homes and villages have been systematically burned down.

Few people doubt that the perpetrators are Burma’s army, conducting ethnic cleansing . The BBC has broadcast footage of an undercover road trip through the region, including interviews who says that their husbands were burnt and killed by soldiers, and that they were repeatedly raped by soldiers.

Burma’s government has been making the ridiculous claim that the Rohingyas are burning down their own homes and villages to embarrass the government. This is the kind of garbage that we always get from Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin, and now from officials of Burma.

So Human Rights Watch has released new imagery that shows a village being burnt down as multiple military transport vehicles and the periodic landing of military helicopters move about.

Nobel prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, who is the de facto leader of Burma, is losing her luster as a human rights icon. So far, Western leaders and media have given her the benefit of the doubt, suggesting that she was unable to control the army.

But more and more, the question is arising whether she’s a full participant in and supporter of the ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas, having the same hatreds as other Burmese leaders. Human Rights Watch

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Syria, Aleppo, Bashar al-Assad, Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Iran, Hezbollah, Matthew Rycroft, Samantha Power, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, JFS, Front for the Conquest of Syria, Free Syrian Army, Russia, Vitali Churkin, Halabja, Rwanda, Srebrenica, Burma, Myanmar, Rohingyas, Rakhine state, Aung San Suu Kyi
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16-Dec-16 World View — India-Pakistan tensions rise as India celebrates 1971 victory over Pakistan

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • India-Pakistan belligerent war of words continues to escalate
  • World Bank declines to mediate Pakistan-India water dispute
  • India celebrates its 1971 victory over Pakistan

India-Pakistan belligerent war of words continues to escalate

India celebrates its victory over Pakistan on December 16, 1971
India celebrates its victory over Pakistan on December 16, 1971

India and Pakistan continue on the path to war with new belligerent accusations.

The two countries maintained a veneer of civility for a few years, but it fell apart on January 2 of this year when there was a terrorist attack on an Indian air force base in Panthankot, Punjab. India blamed the attack on Pakistan, and Pakistan said that India has staged the encounter to defame Pakistan.

The most explosive event of the year occurred on July 8, when Burhan Wani, the leader of a separatist group in Kashmir, was killed by Indian police fire. Massive riots in Kashmir began the next day. Indian police responded with rubber bullets, leaving many protesters wounded or killed or blinded by the pellets, and that kind of violence has been an almost daily occurrence since then. India has accused Pakistan of actively supporting the riots, while Pakistan has incited further violence by glorifying Burhan Wani.

On September 18, terrorists made a major attack on an Indian army base in Uri in Kashmir. There was a five-hour firefight, and at least 17 soldiers were killed, as were the militants. This was the worst militant terrorist attack in Kashmir in years. Once again, India blamed Pakistan.

So this week, the war of words took another spike. India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said:

“Pakistan is conspiring to divide India on religious lines, but it will not succeed. We were divided in 1947 on a religious basis. We have not been able to forget that… All Indians are brothers, whether they are born from the womb of a Hindu mother or a Muslim mother. … Pakistan came into existence [in 1947] after India got divided on religious lines, but it could not keep itself united.

Pakistan was divided into two countries in 1971. If it does not stop cross-border terrorism, it will soon be in 10 pieces.”

The interpretation of Singh’s remarks is as follows:

  • In 1947, the Indian subcontinent was partitioned into India and Pakistan along religious lines, Hindu and Muslim, respectively. This triggered the Partition War, one of the largest and bloodiest wars of the 20th century. Kashmir was the epicenter of the Partition War.
  • After the 1947 partitioning, Pakistan was in two parts — West Pakistan, which is the Pakistan we know today, and East Pakistan, which was at the opposition end of India, and is today’s Bangladesh.
  • In 1971, there was an extremely bloody war in East Pakistan between the Bengali-speaking Bengalis and the Urdu-speaking Biharis who were from India. Pakistan was on the side of the Biharis, and India was on the side of the Bengalis. Finally, Pakistan and the Biharis were forced to surrender, and the state of Bangladesh was formed. This is what Rajnath meant when he said that Pakistan was divided into two countries.
  • Finally, Singh concludes with some hyperbole, saying that Pakistan will be broken up into 10 pieces unless it controls cross-border terrorism.

These remarks were interpreted by Pakistani officials as being a threat.

Nafees Zakaria from Pakistan’s foreign office responded by saying that Singh’s statement was an admission that India was involved in terrorism in Pakistan:

“Pakistan strongly condemned the absurd remarks of the Indian Home Minister [which were] in complete violation of all diplomatic norms, UN Charter and other international instruments. …

These remarks vindicate Pakistan’s long-standing position that Indian government and its intelligence agencies are involved in subversive and terrorist activities and terror financing in Pakistan to fuel tension and destabilize the country. The international community must take notice of such irresponsible statements and India-sponsored terrorism in Pakistan.”

Indian Express and Daily Times (Pakistan) and New Indian Express

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World Bank declines to mediate Pakistan-India water dispute

As we recently reported, India is threatening to divert water currently flowing from India to Pakistan back to India’s farmers, in violation of the Indus Water Treaty, signed by the two countries in 1960.

The Indus Water Treaty is considered a model, because it was mediated by the World Bank and it has survived despite several wars between the two countries. In September, India and Pakistan separately asked the World Bank to mediate the current dispute. The World Bank agreed at that time, but has now “suspended” its mediation efforts until at least February, with the following statement:

“We are announcing this pause to protect the treaty and to help India and Pakistan consider alternative approaches to resolve conflicting interests under it and its application to two hydroelectric power plants. This is an opportunity for the two countries to begin to resolve the issue in an amicable manner and in line with the spirit of the treaty rather than pursuing concurrent processes that could make the treaty unworkable. I hope the two countries will come to an agreement by the end of January.”

It’s really not surprising that the World Bank is trying hard to wash its hands of this matter. One has to laugh at the suggestion that India and Pakistan will “resolve the issue in an amicable manner.” This is just one more issue leading India and Pakistan to war. The Nation (Pakistan) and First Post

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India celebrates its 1971 victory over Pakistan

India on Friday is celebrating its victory over Pakistan in the India-Pakistan War of 1971, and Pakistan’s surrender on December 16, 1971, creating the country of Bangladesh.

The United Nations partitioned the Indian sub-continent following World War II into separate countries for Hindus and Muslims, India and Pakistan, respectively. What we now call Bangladesh was the eastern region of Pakistan. However, East Pakistan’s mostly dark-skinned Bengal population (language: Bengali) was in constant friction with West Pakistan’s more multiethnic population (language: Urdu). East and West Pakistan never really got along, and the fact that East Pakistan was more populous than West Pakistan meant that in Pakistan’s democracy, the Bengalis would dominate Pakistan’s parliament and government.

In 1971, Pakistan’s army attempted to bring East Pakistan’s Bengalis under control, triggering a war. Pakistan was supported by Urdu-speaking Biharis from India, while India supported the Bengalis, and won the war.

Today, with India gloating over the 1971 victory, that war is just one more issue driving India and Pakistan to a new war today. International Business Times and First Post and Dawn (Pakistan, 10-Dec-2012) and Kashmir Watch (Pakistan)

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, India, Pakistan, Kashmir, Burhan Wani, Rajnath Singh, Nafees Zakaria, Indus Water Treaty, World Bank, West Pakistan, East Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bengalis, Biharis
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15-Dec-16 World View — Greece financial crisis threatened after Tsipras announces new spending program

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Greece financial crisis threatened after Tsipras announces new spending program
  • IMF says that Greece’s budget must be ‘more growth-friendly’

Greece financial crisis threatened after Tsipras announces new spending program

Alexis Tsipras in Athens on November 28 (Reuters)
Alexis Tsipras in Athens on November 28 (Reuters)

A new disagreement between Greece and Greece’s three creditor institutions — the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB), formerly known as the “troika” — is threatening to catapult Greece into a major new financial crisis by Christmas.

This has been going on for years, and as we’ve written many times in the past, there is no solution to Greece’s financial crisis. It’s not that no one has been clever enough to figure out a solution. It’s that no solution exists. Greece’s government accumulated an enormous amount of debt in the 2000s decade by repeatedly lying about its income and expenses, and ever since the day of reckoning, it’s been clear that Greece will never be able to repay its debts.

If Greece declares bankruptcy, leaves the euro currency, and returns to its original drachma currency, it will be a financial disaster for the Greek people. And so, the three institutions have been kicking the can down the road by repeatedly providing money, and by requiring Greece to make various cuts in government programs, in order to give the appearance of forcing some discipline on the government, even though they know it will make little difference. Officials in Greece make arguments that boil down to the following: We all know that Greece is going to go deeper and deeper into debt anyway, so we might as well just keep spending more money on social programs.

On December 5, the three institutions reached an agreement to a bailout loan with enough more money to allow Greece to meet its next debt repayment and avoid having to declare bankruptcy. At the same time, they insisted that Greece’s government adopt more reforms, thus playing their part in the game. But Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras didn’t play the game. He announced that instead of reforms, he would grant a pre-Christmas bonus to poor pensioners. In addition, he will keep in place a discount in valued-added tax, to eastern Aegean islands whose tourist industries have suffered because of the crisis of refugees crossing from Turkey to Greece. He had previously promised to scrap that discount as one of his commitments in return for the latest bailout. Apparently he believes that he can get away with this because of Greece’s central role in the refugee crisis.

This sudden announcement has caused the December 5 agreement to fall apart. The Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers issued a statement saying that Tsipras’s announcement appeared “to not be in line with our agreements.” The bailout loan has been put on hold, and the institutions will now put into place a full investigation of Greece’s fiscal plans, before it will be reinstated. Kathimerini and Bloomberg

IMF says that Greece’s budget must be ‘more growth-friendly’

Left: Greece's tax collections have fallen sharply; right: More than 50% of Greece's household are exempt from paying any income tax at all (IMF)
Left: Greece’s tax collections have fallen sharply; right: More than 50% of Greece’s household are exempt from paying any income tax at all (IMF)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is being blamed by many people for demanding more austerity from Greece and threatening Greek people with starvation.

The IMF is responding that it’s not demanding any additional austerity at all, but instead is asking that the public sector be restructured to make it “more growth-friendly.” The IMF makes the following points:

  • Over 50% of Greek households are exempted from paying any income tax at all (versus 8% average for the rest of the eurozone).
  • As a result, less than half the households must pay extremely high tax rates, which makes it very difficult to raise taxes any further.
  • Greece’s social payments are so high that little is left for investment in Greece itself. As a result, decaying infrastructure is hampering growth and the delivery of basic public services such as transportation and health care is being compromised.
  • A better solution, according to the IMF, would be to spread the tax burden to more people, so that tax rates can be lowered. Lower tax rates would be friendly to growth.
  • Greece does not have the kind of unemployment compensation and other well-targeted social benefits that are commonplace elsewhere in Europe and that are critical for broad social support in a modern market-oriented economy.
  • As a result, Greece has outdated laws restricting layoffs. Rather than provide unemployment benefits for laid off workers, the government restricts the ability of firms to lay the off, which inhibits growth. Allowing layoffs and providing unemployment benefits would be growth-friendly.
  • Greece has no basic welfare benefits, which means that poor people cannot get welfare.
  • But Greece has unreasonably high pensions, paid to the elderly. The result is an implicit transfer of money from the most vulnerable members of the working age population to older Greeks.

The IMF recommends that the authorities should further reduce current pensions while increasing spending on a modern and well-targeted welfare system to protect those that are most in need. More should be spent on other essential public services and key public investments too. IMF and IMF (PDF) and Newsweek

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Greece, Alexis Tsipras, International Monetary Fund, IMF, European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB), Turkey, Eurozone
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13-Dec-16 World View — Italy’s bank crisis seems likely to cost thousands of people their savings

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Egypt’s Christians demand revenge after Sunday’s church bombing
  • Italy’s bank crisis seems likely to cost thousands of people their savings

Egypt’s Christians demand revenge after Sunday’s church bombing

Egyptian Christians shout slogans in front of riot police outside a Cairo church on Monday (Reuters)
Egyptian Christians shout slogans in front of riot police outside a Cairo church on Monday (Reuters)

Egyptian Christians are blaming the government for Sunday’s suicide bombing that killed 24 people and injured 49 in a chapel adjacent to St. Mark’s Cathedral, Cairo’s largest church and home of Coptic Pope Tawadros II. Some are demanding the fall of the regime.

According to witnesses, the police didn’t perform the usual checks and searches of people entering the Church. According to one witness, “There were police cars stationed in front of the church gates. … They were too busy eating breakfast and drinking tea and soda. They weren’t doing their job.”

Egypt’s president Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi blamed the Muslim Brotherhood. However, the Muslim Brotherhood has denied this, and no one has claimed responsibility, but the only people celebrating on social media were supporters of the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), who wrote, “God bless the person who did this blessed act.” Al Arabiya and Reuters and AFP

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Italy’s bank crisis seems likely to cost thousands of people their savings

We’ve been reporting Italy’s banking crisis for a while now, and there’s always been uncertainty about which of several paths it would take. After the events of the last week, a lot of that uncertainty has vanished, but the result isn’t what would be hoped.

Italy held a referendum last Sunday on a change to the constitution that would make Italy’s government more stable. Prime minister Matteo Renzi had promised to resign if the referendum was defeated. Italy’s Banco Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), founded in 1472, and the world’s oldest operating bank, was hoping that the referendum would pass, since they believed that would make it more likely that investors would lend the bank 5 billion euros to make a debt repayment and avoid a bank crisis for a few more months.

Well, the referendum was voted down. Renzi resigned, as promised. Italy has a new prime minister, the outgoing foreign minister, Paolo Gentiloni, who took office on Monday. But whether investors would lend MPS 5 billion euros is still in doubt, and considered less likely. Hope is not dead, as there’s still a chance that Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, will lend MPS one billion euros, and that will encourage other investors to provide the other four.

Failing that, Italy’s government will have to bail out MPS. Under European Central Bank (ECB) rules that were imposed because of Greece’s banking crisis, a government bailout of MPS would require a “bail-in” of MPS’s bond holders.

For almost all banks, the bond holders are sophisticated investors who purchased bonds issued by the bank as an investment. But MPS is unique, in that thousands of ordinary people, including many elderly savers, who wanted to deposit their money in savings accounts instead were sold bank bonds by the bank’s staff. The result is that a “bail-in” of supposedly sophisticated investors will actually cause tens of thousands of people to lose their life savings.

MPS asked the ECB for a few more weeks’ time to get the loans, but the request was rejected by the ECB. As a result, either MPS must get its loans this week, or else the new prime minister Paolo Gentiloni will have to authorize a government bailout by next weekend. Guardian (London) and AP

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Egypt, Cairo, St. Mark’s Cathedral, Pope Tawadros II, Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi, Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Italy, Matteo Renzi, Paolo Gentiloni, European Central Bank, Banco Monte dei Paschi di Siena, MPS
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12-Dec-16 World View — Terror bombing of Coptic Christian church in Cairo Egypt kills 25

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Furious Turkey vows revenge, as PKK/TAK takes credit for Istanbul bombing
  • Terror bombing of Coptic Christian church in Cairo Egypt kills 25
  • Europeans call Cairo bombing ‘terror’, but not the Istanbul bombing

Furious Turkey vows revenge, as PKK/TAK takes credit for Istanbul bombing

Aftermath of terrorist double-bombing in Istanbul on Saturday (Hurriyet)
Aftermath of terrorist double-bombing in Istanbul on Saturday (Hurriyet)

The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), a terrorist offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has claimed responsibility for the double bombing in Istanbul on Saturday. At least 38 people were killed, and 155 were injured.

The TAK has already taken credit for a February 17 attack in Ankara, killing 28 people, a March 13 bombing in Ankara that killed 37 people, and a June 8 attack in Istanbul that killed 11 people. There were at least three other terror attacks in Turkey this year, perpetrated by the PKK and by the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), and there was also the July 15 coup attempt.

The Turkish people feel vulnerable and afraid, and a furious president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed revenge:

“They should know that we won’t leave them unpunished. They should know that they are going to pay a heavy price. My people should have no doubt that we will carry out the struggle against terror until the very end. We wore our burial robes when we took this road. …

No one should have any doubt about our fight against terrorism. We are the owners of this country and will not leave it to those scum if they aim to scare us with such attacks.”

Interior minister Süleyman Soylu said:

“Sooner or later, we will have our vengeance. This blood will not be left on the ground, no matter what the price, what the cost.”

Hurriyet (Ankara) and Guardian (London)

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Terror bombing of Coptic Christian church in Cairo Egypt kills 25

At least 25 people were killed and 49 others injured on Sunday morning in a terrorist explosion in the chapel of St Peter and St Paul (El-Botroseya) adjoining Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo Egypt. No one has yet claimed responsibility.

Cairo has not yet had a chance to recover from two terror attacks on Friday. First, an IED placed next to two security roadblocks in Giza killed six security personnel, and injured three others. Next, also on Friday, one civilian was killed and three security personnel were injured by a bomb in Egypt’s Kafr Al-Sheikh governorate.

Sunday’s explosion took place during Sunday prayers. In these services, the men site on one side of the church, and the women sit on the other side. Apparently the bomb was brought in by a woman, and so most of the casualties were women.

A furious president Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi called the Sunday attack a part of “a war against the great Egyptian people,” and he vowed to put on trial all who have “incited, facilitated or participated” in the terrorist attack.

Orthodox Copts, who comprise about 10 percent of Egypt’s 90 million people, are the Middle East’s biggest Christian community.

Violence in general has been growing in Egypt since the “Arab spring’ in 2011 that resulted in the ouster of long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak, either because of terror attacks by al-Qaeda or so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), or because of clashes between different groups of Egyptians, including clashes between the army and peacefully protesting civilians. This has included sectarian violence between Muslim and Coptic Christians.

The worst attack on Copts occurred several weeks before the Arab Spring, with an explosion in the Two Saints Church in Alexandria on New Year’s Day 2011, killing 23. There was also a bloody massacre of Coptic Christians in November of that year, and there has have been several minor attacks on Coptic churches since the ouster of Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013. Al-Ahram (Cairo) and Daily News Egypt and Reuters

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Europeans call Cairo bombing ‘terror’, but not the Istanbul bombing

According to Egyptian media, European governments have been falling all over each other saying that they would stand by Egypt after this terrorist attack, and support Egypt’s fight against terrorism. Such remarks were issued in statements by France’s president François Hollande. Germany’s foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, UK ambassador to Cairo John Casson, among others.

However, Turkey’s media points out that statements by European officials refuse to use the word “terror.” Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, said, “My thoughts & solidarity with Turkish citizens, with families of victims of Istanbul attacks. I wish speedy and full recovery to the injured.” Other officials made similar statements.

However, there was one exception. Tomas Zdechovsky, a Czech member of the European Parliament, said that the terrorist group PKK must be banned from Europe. “There is no difference between Istanbul and Paris, Brussels attacks targeting civilians. Terrorism never succeeds, terrorists never win,” he said. Al Ahram (Cairo) and Anadolu (Ankara)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Turkey, Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK, Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, TAK, Süleyman Soylu, Egypt, chapel of St Peter and St Paul, El-Botroseya, Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, Kafr Al-Sheikh, Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi, Hosni Mubarak, Mohammed Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood France, François Hollande. Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Britain, John Casson, Tomas Zdechovsky
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