World News Brief, Friday November 15

Kurdish Democratic Union Party form autonomous government; Japan's growth slows; survey finds most Africans believe their governments are losing fight against corruption; Obamacare uptake is slow; and more 

Top of the Agenda: Kurds, Syrian Opposition Split Deepens

The Kurdish Democratic Union Party, the de facto rulers of Kurdish areas in Syria, announced the formation of an interim autonomous government in its territory, and the party's leader said he is willing to attend peace talks in Geneva as a separate delegation from the Syrian National Coalition (CSMonitor). The Coalition elected its government of nine ministers earlier this week, receiving a pledge of $300 million from Saudi Arabia to provide services in rebel-controlled territory, and also agreed to attend the Geneva conference (al-Jazeera). Meanwhile, Syrian government forces backed by Iraqi and Lebanese Shiite Muslim militias advanced on rebels in the contested northern city of Aleppo (Reuters).


"Talks must be based on existing commitments. The document known as the Geneva communiqué obligates the regime to take a number of vital steps to lessen the violence, increase the flow of aid, release prisoners and form a transitional authority. It must be clear to the regime that evading the commitments agreed to in the communiqué will have serious consequences," Louay Safi writes in the Guardian.

"Washington's theory of the case seems to be that political transition must precede all else, including those humanitarian de-escalatory steps that Kofi Annan thought had to happen first in order for serious talks about transition to take place. Mr. Kerry's words in Paris seem to suggest the belief that if Bashar al-Assad reads and understands the Final Communiqué and then sends a team to Geneva, political transition will occur as a matter of course," Frederic Hof writes for the Atlantic Council.

"If we continue to delay military action, we will have to intervene with greater force when the carnage spreads to Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. Indeed, Lebanon, following the collapse of former Prime Minister Najib Mikati's government, is already on the brink of civil war as direct intervention in Syria by Hezbollah, Iran's Lebanese proxy, to prevent Assad's overthrow has exacerbated the country's own longstanding sectarian tensions," Turki al-Faisal writes in the Moscow Times.


Japan's Growth Slows

Japanese companies reduced capital spending and didn't increase exports in the third quarter, contributing to a slower annualized gross domestic product growth of 1.9 percent, down from 3.8 percent in the previous quarter (Bloomberg).

This CFR Backgrounder explains Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic vision for Japan.

CHINA: JPMorgan Chase paid $1.8 million over two years to a small consultancy run by the daughter of Wen Jiabao, China's former prime minister, to win business in the country (NYT).

This CFR Backgrounder explains China's ruling party's origins and the challenges it faces.


Most Africans believe their governments are losing corruption battle, finds survey

Obamacare uptake is slow

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