Top of the Agenda: Bo Xilai Spied on Top Chinese Officials
Ousted Chinese Communist Party official Bo Xilai wiretapped the phone conversations of senior Chinese officials, including President Hu Jintao, the New York Times reported. When officials discovered the wiretapping, conducted by local allies of Bo in the city of Chongqing, an investigation was launched that ultimately led to Bo's downfall. Bo was removed from power last month amid allegations that his wife orchestrated the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.
"He drew an enormous amount of attention to himself in a leadership that appears to pride itself on being colorless and faceless. His policies, and even more so his policy approach, which had elements of Maoist revivalism in mass campaigns and 'red songs,' were also nothing like the overall policy approach pursued by other leaders," said CFR's Elizabeth C. Economy in this CFR Interview.
"But he was too carelessly open about his willingness to use the brutal, secretive tactics of his criminal targets to accomplish his goals.Bo's crackdown--which led to thousands of questionably legal arrests, dozens of high-profile, lurid show-trials, and executions of gangsters, lawyers, and public officials--was clearly designed to draw attention to himself," writes Matthew Fishbane on ForeignPolicy.com.
And yet Bo Xilai's most vexing legacy for the Party may be not that he was hated but, rather, that he was loved. His élite peers came to despise him for his Western-style grandstanding, his family's indiscretion, and his homage to the Cultural Revolution. But disenfranchised citizens hearkened to his rhetoric on behalf of the poor and to his investments in public housing. His exposure threatened the Party's legitimacy," writes the New Yorker's Evan Osnos.
Syrian security forces fired a rocket at a building in Hama yesterday, killing up to sixty-nine people (al-Jazeera), the opposition Local Coordination Committees said. However, Syrian state news reported the explosion was caused by anti-government bomb makers.
Targeted killings have become a central component of U.S. counterterrorism operations around the globe. Despite pointed criticism over transparency and accountability issues, analysts say the controversial practice seems likely to expand in the future, explains this CFR Backgrounder.
SOUTH SUDAN: The South Sudanese army handed over Sudanese prisoners of war (Reuters) captured during battles over the disputed Heglig oil field to the International Committee of the Red Cross. The move apparently abated rising tensions between the two neighbors, which have threatened to erupt into a full-scale war along their oil-rich border.
CFR's John Campbell discusses the latest reports on the situation between Sudan and South Sudan on his blog, Africa in Transition.
ECB's Draghi Calls for 'Growth Pact'
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi called for a eurozone "growth pact" to be implemented alongside the strict austerity measures that many member states are pursuing, including structural reforms to revamp rigid labor markets (WSJ).
BELGIUM: Muslims have a more difficult time finding employment in many European countries, according to a new report by Amnesty International that studied discrimination against Muslims (DeutscheWelle) in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland.
Mexico to Investigate Wal-Mart Permits
The Mexican government reversed course Monday and said it would investigate allegations that Wal-Mart de Mexico had paid millions of dollars in bribes (NYT) to officials for permits to open new stores.
ARGENTINA: The Argentine Senate approved a plan (AFP) put forward by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to nationalize oil company YPF, which is majority-owned by Spanish energy company Repsol, despite EU and U.S. objections. The bill was sent to the lower house, which is expected to approve it next week.
Biden to Defend Obama Foreign Policy
Vice President Joe Biden is expected to make a broad defense of President Barack Obama's national security policy. At the same time, he is making negative links between the foreign policy of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney (AP) and that of former President George W. Bush. Romney's foreign policy advisers have in turn been criticizing Obama's approach to multilateralism.
After weeks of continuing to push for less reliance on foreign oil but facing waning attention from voters and the media, Newt Gingrich may be leaving the race for the GOP presidential nomination, says the New York Times.
Editor's Note:For more information on the presidential election and foreign policy check out CFR's campaign blog, The Candidates and the World.