US troops on the ground in Syria?

  • Tiny force (50 soldiers - special forces) going in to help anti-Assad rebels.
  • Response to Russian involvement.
  • Not substantive, but believed to send message to Russia that it does not have free-reign.

Who are the Kurds?

  • Middle Eastern ethnic group with own language and culture.
  • Don't have their own country - inhabit contiguous area (Kurdistan) spanning N-Turkey, N-Iraq, W-Iran and N-Syria.
  • Worldwide population 30-35m, primarily Sunni.

What is the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey?

  • Pro Kurdish political party.
  • Alliance of leftists, Kurds, women's rights and gay rights activists.
  • Won 13% of parliamentary vote in June and expected to do just as well in November rerun.

Macrosnap Kurds in Turkey?

  • Population = 15m.
  • Participate in national elections and have recently seen success through the pro-Kurd coalition Party the HDP.
  • Kurdish militants, the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) in armed conflict with the government and is designated a terrorist organisation by the EU.

Who is Recep Erdoğan? (1954 – present)

  • Turkey President, elected PM 2003 - served 3 terms before becoming PM.
  • Presidency characterised by a neo-Islamist, intrusive, growing authoritarian rule.
  • Like Putin in Russia & Sisi in Egypt, attempting to consolidate power by creating an executive presidency.

Explain November Turkey parliamentary election?

  • Rerun of June election which resulted in historic inclusion of a pro-Kurd party, the HDP.
  • But election resulted in a split parliament, failed coalition talks, hence the rerun.
  • If HDP wins more than the 10% threshold for parliamentary representation, might derail Erdogan's power consolidation plans.

Why is Germany welcoming refugees?

  • Moral: Burden of history + leadership in Europe.
  • Economic: Population shrinking, labour shortages so economy dependent on skilled and unskilled immigrants.
  • Championed by Merkel but in reality a three-pronged effort by government, civil society and the media - thusfar broad internal support but emerging signs of strain (logistical, financial & political).

How is China trying to kick-start growth?

  • Economy expected to grow at slowest rate in 25 years (still > 6%, higher than most countries) - central bank has two-prong approach:
  • [1] Has just cut interest rates again (6th time this year).
  • [2] Injecting cash into the economy to counteract the recent cash drain that has happened as a result of foreign investors pulling out of the Chinese stockmarket.

An inherited economic-mega-mess for Argentina’s next leader?

  • New president (final round of election on Nov 22) will have to deal with mess of an economy left by incumbent Cristina Kirchner and her predecessor husband Nestor (who together ruled for 12 years).
  • Slow growth + dwindling foreign exchange reserves in wake of colossal economic mismanagement and end of commodity boom.
  • One of the world's highest inflation rates (officially at around 14.5%) and huge fiscal deficit (over 7% of GDP).

Macrosnap of global monetary policy trends?

  • China growth slow: Central bank loosening.
  • Euro area growth looking dodgy: ECB considering further loosening.
  • US growth outlook uncertain: US seemed poised to tighten, but now might not seem so wise.
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