22 March 2018   Leave a comment

Israel has confirmed that it destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007.  The strike was not a secret and most knew that Israel conducted it, so the question is why did Israel break its long-standing tradition of staying silent?  There was a fear that the admission was going to be released in an upcoming memoirs by former Prime Minster Barak and former Defense Minster Barak, due to be published this spring.  But it also highly likely that Israel is sending a message to Iran if the nuclear agreement with the P-5+1 breaks down in May if the US decides to withdraw from the agreement.  It is important to remember that the Israeli strike in 2007 was a “preventive” strike, not a “pre-emptive” strike.

 

Many are evacuating the area of Eastern Ghouta in Syria which has been subjected to intense bombardment in recent months.  The area has long been held by rebels opposed to President Assad, but the humanitarian crisis in the city is clearly overwhelming and untenable.  The evacuation represents a victory for Assad.  But it is a Pyrrhic one since his government is saddled with large debts, the loss of a large proportion of the population, and widespread destruction of many formerly productive areas.  Assad may emerge as the leader of a country that will be on life support for many years to come.

Map showing control of the Eastern Ghouta on 20 March 2018

 

China has blamed the US for its balance of payments deficit with China.  As President Trump announced new tariffs and other restrictions on trade with China, the Chinese point out that the US has many export restrictions on goods sold to China, primarily of high technology products.  China would willingly buy those products if it could.  The US is angry about the loss of intellectual property, but tariffs are not nearly precise enough to alleviate that problem.  They will, however, spark a response from China.

Posted March 22, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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