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Council on Foreign Relations Daily News Brief
September 10, 2013

Top of the Agenda

Top of the Agenda: UN to Hear Chemical Weapons Proposal

France will introduce a resolution at the UN Security Council that would compel Syria to place its chemical weapons under international auspices for disarmament, building on a Russian proposal that was welcomed by the Syrian foreign minister and has deferred the possibility of punitive strikes on the Assad regime (Reuters). President Barack Obama, who is scheduled to present his plan to deal with Syria in a speech Tuesday night (AP), called the Russian initiative a potential "breakthrough," but added, "we have to be skeptical." Markets in England, France, and Germany rose and Brent crude fell as the likelihood of an imminent strike by the United States receded (Telegraph).


"Even if we knew where all the stockpiles were, removing them and destroying them—presumably a process that would have to occur outside the country—would be an enormous undertaking that could easily involve thousands of foreign workers along with thousands, even tens of thousands, of soldiers to protect them," CFR's Max Boot writes in Commentary.

"Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry should pursue this possible solution. The removal and destruction of stockpiles of weapons would ensure greater safety for the Syrian people. And it would have longer lasting deterrent effects than the limited strikes Mr. Obama wants to deliver, without the likelihood of more civilian casualties," the New York Times writes in an editorial.

"Meanwhile, the civil war will go on. Moscow and Damascus may calculate that the Assad regime has a better chance of surviving if both chemical weapons and the possibility of U.S. intervention are taken off the table. But the regime's prolongation would be a disaster for Syria and U.S. interests in the Middle East," the Washington Post writes in an editorial.



Japan May Place Officials on Disputed Islands

Japan will consider stationing government officials on disputed islands at the center of a territorial disagreement with China (NYT), the top cabinet secretary said, as a fleet of Chinese ships entered the East China Sea on Tuesday.

This Contingency Planning Memorandum examines the potential for Sino-Japanese conflict in the East China Sea.

CHINA: Industrial output, investment, and retail sales improved in August, signaling that China's economy has rebounded after a slowdown this year (FT).



Indian Court Convicts Men in Delhi Rape Case

A Delhi court convicted four men for the rape and murder of a twenty-three-year-old student in December (Hindu) in a case that elicited national and international outrage, prompting the Indian government to enact new stringent anti-rape laws.

PAKISTAN: Major political parties in Pakistan, along with top military and intelligence officials, called on their government to begin negotiations with the Taliban (Daily Times) during a conference held Monday.

CFR's Ed Husain proposes a global fund to combat extremist narratives in this Policy Innovation Memorandum.



Egypt Kills Nine Militants in Sinai Push

The Egyptian military launched a new offensive in Sinai, killing nine Islamist militants along the Gaza Strip border (BBC). Violence in Sinai, including sabotage of pipelines and the killing of policemen in August, has been persistent since the uprising that toppled Mubarak in 2011.



Sixty Dead in Central African Republic Fighting

Sixty people were killed in the Central African Republic in clashes between fighters loyal to the ousted president Francois Bozize and rebels who now hold power (All Africa). Two aid workers were killed in the fighting.

KENYA: Appearing before the International Criminal Court, Deputy President William Ruto pleaded not guilty to the charge of crimes against humanity for allegedly masterminding a deadly crackdown on political rivals in 2007 (News24).



Conservative Party Takes Power in Norway

Conservative Party leader Erna Solberg will become the new prime minister of Norway, leading a center-right coalition government that will likely include an anti-immigration party (Al Jazeera). Solberg's party campaigned to reduce taxes and expand private health care.

ROMANIA: The death of a four-year-old boy by stray dogs last week has sparked a debate on how to deal with the estimated 64,000 dogs roaming Romania's capital (AP).



Banks Still at Risk Five Years After Lehman

Policymakers and veteran bankers, reflecting on the fifth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers (Bloomberg), said they are dissatisfied with the amount of capital held by U.S. lenders, and see the banking system as too leveraged, complicated, and interconnected to withstand a panic.

This CFR Crisis Guide delves into the 2007 financial crisis and global recession.

CHILE: Chile's right-leaning government and center-left opposition held separate events to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the coup that brought General Augusto Pinochet, and his brutal military regime, to power (LAHT).



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