Al-Monitor / Turkey upends US Syria strategy with attack on YPG
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered on his threat to attack against towns in Afrin, a Kurdish-controlled enclave in Syria.
- The assault followed an announcement by the US-led coalition against the Islamic State to build a 30,000-strong border force under the command of veteran Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters-
- The final arbiter of Erdogan’s decision was not Washington, but Moscow. Erdogan received a green light from Russia, which may support a short Turkish incursion to facilitate a role for Syrian government forces in the north.
- While US-Turkey relations are in free fall, Russia-Turkey coordination over Syria is not without friction, including the Kremlin’s disappointment with Ankara’s fulfilling its obligations in Idlib.
- Further reading:
- The New York Times – Carlota Gall / Turkey begins ground assault on Kurdish enclave in Syria
Politico – Matthew Karnitschnig / 5 takeaways from German SPD grand coalition vote
- Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) voted Sunday to pursue coalition talks with Angela Merkel’s center-right alliance.
- The SPD membership still has to give its OK to a final deal, but it would take a major shock to derail the grand coalition.
- While Merkel’s political future should still be measured in years, Martin Schulz’s days atop the SPD – whose internal fissures were revealed in yesterday’s convention – are likely numbered.
- Brussels can now return its attention to Brexit, upcoming budget negotiations and, most important, preparing for EU reform. An SPD rejection on Sunday would have threatened all of the above.
The Washington Post – Jon Gambrell / Iran may try to loosen Revolutionary Guard’s grip on economy
- Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei has ordered the Revolutionary Guard to get out of businesses not directly affiliated to their work, the country’s defense minister said.
- But whether the Guard would agree to privatize some of its holdings remains unclear. The paramilitary organization did not immediately acknowledge the supreme leader’s orders, nor did Khamenei’s office.
- The Revolutionary Guard is estimated to hold around a third of Iran’s entire economy, including a construction company called Khatam al-Anbia, with 135,000 employees handling civil development, the oil industry and defense issues.
- The defense minister specifically mentioned Khatam al-Anbia, but didn’t say whether that too would be considered by the supreme leader as necessary to privatize.
Financial Times – Jim Brunsden, et al. / ECB board shake-up kicks off with vice-president’s job
- Euro area governments will kick off the process on Monday of finding a successor to Vítor Constâncio as vice-president of the European Central Bank (ECB).
- Two-thirds of the central bank’s six member executive board set to depart during the next two years, including president Mario Draghi.
- Two EU diplomats said it was highly likely that the vice-presidency will go to Spain, with Madrid determined to reclaim a seat on the executive board after not having one since 2012. Economy minister Luis de Guindos has long been tipped by ECB watchers as Spain’s likely candidate.
- But other countries like Ireland – the only founding member of the euro area never to have had a seat – are also likely to put forward candidates. Figures within the ECB are lukewarm on the idea of a politician like Guindos, instead of a central banker, taking over the bank’s vice-presidency.
The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.