- Yes - prior to Paris attacks France considered Assad a pariah.
- But now focus has shifted to defeating ISIS.
- France now suggesting that Assad regime's soldiers can fight alongside Coalition-supported opposition groups to defeat ISIS.
- If the terms of any accord are legally binding (i.e. a Treaty), Obama will need Republican dominated Congress' approval, which he's unlikely to get.
- The Republican party refutes the opinions of humankind's scientific community, and is accordingly hostile to attempts to combat climate change.
- France has already conceded to the US demand that agreement will not be legally binding.
- US remains engine of global growth.
- Europe recovery gaining momentum.
- Emerging markets stay weak as China growth slows.
- 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).