RIYADH TALKS: Saudi Arabia’s Attempt for Peace in Syria
Today, representatives from Syria’s rebel organizations met foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries ahead of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) meeting to discuss ending Syria’s Civil War. Today’s conference hopes to be the first to lay out a vision for peace in Syria and end its four year civil war. The talks include 150 groups, but exclude ISIS, Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front, and several Kurdish groups.Key issues include:
- The fate of Bashir Al-Assad, President of Syria
- How to address ISIS and its control over a third of Syria territory, and,
- Who will be part of a National Unity Government
Iran has also been invited to participate in these talks, though it denounced this meeting, claiming “Syrians should decide the future of their country,” despite it’s endorsement of the peace process.
FRENCH REGIONALS 2015: No Confidence in Hollande
In the aftermath of Sunday’s regional elections in France, the victory of the French National Front sent a clear message to Paris: Hollande is losing the confidence of his nation. Coming in third place in half the regions of France, the French Socialist Party that has led the country since 2012 has failed in the post-Paris responds to reassure the country that it can deliver. Despite the President’s actions as Europe’s “Little General” through his attacks on ISIS and involvement in addressing Climate Change, the first round of voting is a rebuke of him. Paris has demonstrated the deep sensitivity across the country about security in the wake of the November 13 attack, about the growing number of refugees in the country, and their representation in the European Union that is increasingly removed from the people. It remains to be seen how the second round of voting will go, as often the first round is a ‘protest vote.’
WHERE THEY COME FROM: Foreign Fighters in Syria
Check out where ISIS (and others) get their recruits from. The majority come from the Islamic World and the former Soviet Union, but many also come from across Europe. Many have asked what attracts foreign fighters to travel to Syria and join ISIS. Many come because they have no economic ladder, and attracted by the ideological interest of being part of something bigger than themselves. Repression in states throughout North Africa and the former Soviet states is a big factor, especially for Muslims in Chechnya and Dagestan. Click the link for more.
THE KEY TO SUCCESS: Infrastructure and Honesty in Africa
The adage of “You get what you invest in” applies to success in Africa, whose growth according to the World Bank will finish strong relative to the rest of the world going into 2016 . Africa’s successful finish in 2015 can be capitalized through outside investment through traditional institutions like the World Bank, but new institutions like the BRICS Bank, also capital markets. Ultimate, it has to make its politicians “more honest.” They must: by
- Eliminating corruption in government,
- Develop stronger property rights for resource extraction and urban development, and;
- (For many) Improve their government balance sheets.
For Africa, 2016 will be about trust-building with the rest of the world, who sees the continent as an increasingly important partner in the global economy.