Category: Current affairs
- Yes - economic crisis continues.
- Political crisis continues too - Rousseff hugely unpopular.
- Petrobras corruption scandal moving closer to her as investigators arrest corporate, financial, judicial & political grandees.
- 2.5m refugees on its soil.
- Has reinvigorated Kurdish militancy within Turkey.
- Has soured relations with Russia, its 2nd largest trading partner.
- Both are authoritarian, populist leaders with big egos, thrive on confrontation, and are preoccupied with national pride.
- Not a lot of warmth between them (publicly or in private).
- Differing Syria strategies - Turkey wants Assad removed, Russia wants him to stay.
- EU wants Turkey (which currently has 2.5m refugees on its soil) to become a migrant buffer, instead of a gateway.
- So Brussels is ignoring Erdogan's autocratic drift, and is showering Turkey with political and financial favours.
- In return, Turkey would stem the flow by providing job and education opportunities for refugees, and tighten border controls.
- Argentina votes for change and moves to right.
- Conservative Mauricio Macri narrowly defeats populist/Peronist Scioli.
- Voters seek reboot after 12 years of mismanagement under Kirchner husband-wife duo.
- Short-term: Defeat ISIS, keep Assad in power.
- Long-term: Syria falls under Russia sphere of influence.
- This gives Russia leverage in the Middle East, granting Putin his much-desired increased relevance on the international stage.
- Short-term: Defeat ISIS, keep Assad (an Alawite Shia) in power to prevent Syria becoming a Sunni state.
- Long-term: Keep Syria an Iranian fiefdom, hence maintaining corridor in south to supply Hezbollah (a client Shia political party/military group) in Lebanon.
- This would allow Iran to maintain political influence over Lebanon, and the ability to attack Israel (a country which it has repeatedly promised to destroy).
- Temporarily yes in wake of Paris attacks, i.e. France & Russia co-ordinating attacks against ISIS.
- Like the allies worked with Stalin to defeat Nazism, the west can today work with Russia to fight a common foe.
- But, back then, Hitler posed an existential threat - today the west can probably defeat ISIS without Russian assistance, and hence hopefully won't trade Ukraine for help in the Middle East.
- NE Syrian city seized from Syrian rebels in Jan 2014 - civilian population of 200,000 is hostage to ISIS brutality.
- Viewed as ISIS' de facto capital, although leadership is based in desert borderlands between Syria & Iraq.
- Being bombed by France - more of a symbolic & psychological target than militarily critical.
- US-led coalition hitting ISIS-held oilfields in E-Syria.
- Also hitting supply lines (truck convoys).
- Oil from the region is a major revenue generator for ISIS.