11 April 2018   Leave a comment

The Russian news source, Interfax, is reporting that 11 Russian naval vessels have left their port at Tartus in Syria.  The British newspaper, The Telegraph,  is reporting that Britain is moving some of its submarines toward the Syrian coast, even as Prime Minister May indicated that she did not need the consent of Parliament to use force against Syria.   The US already has the USS Donald Cook and the USS Porter–both Arleigh Burke-class destroyers–off the coast of Syria.  But the USS Harry Truman carrier group has only just left its port in the US and will not arrive off the coast of Syria until mid-May.  Meanwhile, Iran and Israel are trading diplomatic barbs after the Israeli strike on a Syrian military base that killed 4 Iranian soldiers.  Israel said that “If the Iranians act against Israel from Syrian territory, Syrian President Bashar Assad and his regime will be those that pay the price.”   In response, the “top adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called a strike on the Syrian T-4 air base ‘Israel’s crime’ and said the alleged act would ‘not remain without response.'”  In addition, US President Trump and Russian President Putin continue to exchange harsh words over the situation in Syria.  Russia vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning the Syrian government for the chemical attack.  Despite all this activity, I still cannot figure out what US policy toward Syria is right now. 

 

Scientific American is reporting on new research that suggests that a significant change in the dynamics of the North Atlantic may be occurring: “The grand northward progression of water along North America that moves heat from the tropics toward the Arctic has been sluggish. If that languidness continues and deepens, it could usher in drastic changes in sea level and weather around the ocean basin.”  The research suggests that “Sea levels could ratchet upward along the U.S. east coast, key fisheries could be devastated by spiking water temperatures and weather patterns over Europe could be altered.”  The movement of the water currents is called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and it is determined by the differences between the warm, salty water that comes up from the tropics and the cold, fresh water that comes from melting ice in the polar seas.  According to the Washington Post, the AMOC is slowing down and is weaker than at any point in the last millennium.  What is not clear is whether this is a natural process of slowing down or part of the process of global warming.  Unfortunately, highly precise ocean measurements are a very recent development in climate science, so the record of the past cycles is not well understood.

Posted April 11, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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