Humanitarian missions in Syria hampered by lack of funds; Thai PM defends political amnesty bill; China to begin releasing cotton stockpile; batles rage in Congo despite cease-fire; jailed punk rock singer reportedly headed to Siberia; and more
Top of the Agenda: Funding Woes Plague Weapons Mission in Syria
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the international body responsible for destroying Syria's nerve agent arsenal, has raised only $13.5 million for the task and is expected to run out of cash by the end of the month (Reuters). Meanwhile, the United Nations said that 9.3 million Syrians need humanitarian assistance, up from 6.8 million in June, and roughly 40 percent of the population depends on foreign aid for survival (DeutscheWelle). Dozens of diplomats from the United States, Russia, and the UN are gathered in Geneva to prepare for a Syria peace summit. Syria's information minister said the government will not take part in any conference that aims to get President Bashar al-Assad to step down (BBC).
"The complex and lengthy process of removing Syria's chemical weapons bought time for the regime. The U.S. acquiesced, in a quid-pro-quo that could be interpreted as exchanging the elimination of Syria's chemical-weapons capability for keeping Assad in power. Indeed, there are indications that in the wake of the deal, Russia has stepped up its weapons deliveries to Syria," Aaron David Miller writes for Bloomberg.
"Only 61 percent of the money earmarked for refugees outside of Syria has been collected, while 36 percent of the aid for Syrians inside the country has been collected, according to United Nations figures. China, the world's second-biggest economy after the United States, has donated a miserable $1 million, while Russia, awash in oil and gas profits, has given $10.3 million," the New York Times writes in an editorial.
"After the Assad regime's chemical massacre and President Obama's backtracking on his declared red lines, Washington is eager to avoid future situations that could lead to calls for its direct involvement. It hopes to internationalize diplomatic efforts and lock everyone into unlimited rounds of talks, while paying lip service to the need for transition," Rime Allaf writes in the Guardian.
Thai PM Defends Amnesty Bill Amid Protests
Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra defended a political amnesty bill that would allow the exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck's brother, to return to the country. More than ten thousand protesters marched in Bangkok against the bill (AFP).
CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick explains the politics and controversy behind the amnesty bill in this blog post.
CHINA: Expectations that China may begin releasing its cotton stockpile, estimated to comprise 60 percent of the world's stock, are weighing heavily on cotton prices (FT).
Battles rage in Congo despite cease-fire
Jailed punk rock singer reportedly headed to Siberia
This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org.