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Showing posts from September 13, 2013

The EU Enforcement Dilemma


Recent statements by French and Portuguese officials signal that the governments of EU members are willing to push for a relaxation of their deficit targets and ignore agreements with Brussels, even after some of them already received softer targets this year. The European Union is likely to give in once more to stave off social unrest and also because of its inability to apply effective penalties. This will hurt the European Union's already-weak credibility, limiting its ability to operate as a cohesive bloc.


Lisbon will ask the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to relax Portugal's 2014 budget deficit goal to 4.5 percent of gross domestic product from 4 percent, Portuguese Deputy Prime Minister Paulo Portas said Sept. 11. The same day, Economy Minister Antonio Pires de Lima said that the country would not achieve enduring economic growth if taxation remains at current levels.

Portugal's deficit targets were already relaxed in May, but Lisbo…

U.S. Naval Update Map: Sept. 12, 2013

The Naval Update Map shows the approximate current locations of U.S. Carrier Strike Groups and Amphibious Ready Groups, based on available open-source information. No classified or operationally sensitive information is included in this weekly update. CSGs and ARGs are the keys to U.S. dominance of the world's oceans. A CSG is centered on an aircraft carrier, which projects U.S. naval and air power and supports a Carrier Air Wing, or CVW. The CSG includes significant offensive strike capability. An ARG is centered on three amphibious warfare ships, with a Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked. An MEU is built around a heavily reinforced and mobile battalion of Marines.
Carrier Strike Groups
The USS Nimitz CSG with Carrier Air Wing 11 embarked is conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.
The USS Harry S Truman CSG with Carrier Air Wing 3 embarked is underway in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR supporting maritime security opera…

The Syrian Regime Reaches Out to the Kurds


The U.S.-led military strike in Syria has been delayed by Russia's diplomatic proposal, but Syria knows the danger is not over. With the threat still looming, Syria is trying to limit the scope of a potential strike by ensuring that its northern neighbor, Turkey, is sufficiently intimidated so it remains on the sidelines of the operation. The most effective way for Syria to accomplish this is through the Kurds.

To that end, Syrian President Bashar al Assad has already launched a diplomatic effort to make peace with the Kurdish leadership in both Syria and northern Iraq in order to drive a wedge between Ankara's relations with the Kurds. At the same time, he is trying to forge an alliance with Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria against Sunni rebels. There are limits to al Assad's strategy, but the move comes at an opportune time since Ankara is seeing its own peace negotiations with the Kurdistan Workers' Party in Turkey derail.


Omer Ose, a Kurdish membe…