World News Brief, Wednesday September 26

UN gets briefing on Syria; Japanese fire water cannons at Taiwanese boats; China commissions its first aircraft carrier; two US marines face charges for urinating on Taliban bodies; IMF warns Argentina it must provide reliable inflation and GDP statistics; and more

Top of the Agenda: UN Envoy Warns Security Council Over Syria

There is no immediate solution (NYT) to the eighteen-month-old conflict between Syrian government and opposition forces, UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi told the UN Security Council yesterday. Brahimi said the ongoing, violent stalemate means there is "no prospect today or tomorrow to move forward," but remained optimistic there could be an "opening" in the future. The Security Council briefing comes amid ongoing tensions between its Western members and China and Russia, both of which have opposed U.S. and EU-backed resolutions sanctioning Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Syria is expected to dominate the UN General Assembly discourse this week.


"The uncertainty as to what would happen in the aftermath of Assad's violent fall is something that has so far had the Obama administration, at least on an official level, shy away from arming the Syrian opposition. There are a number of questions that are raised by the Syrian conundrum: What are the options for the United States if there continue to be blockage on the Security Council? Would it consider trying to form a coalition of the willing outside the auspices of the UN Security Council?" says CFR's Stewart M. Patrick in this CFR Interview.

"As Ban's last envoy, Kofi Annan, found, neither the opposition nor the regime, nor the foreign backers of either side, appears to be ready to embrace that reality. Assad hopes to blast his way out of trouble, while the rebels appear to believe that even if they lack the military capacity to topple the regime themselves, putting up enough of a fight will eventually prompt Western powers to intervene, as in Libya, to destroy the regime's fighting capacity," writes TIME's Tony Karon.



Japanese Fires Water Cannons at Taiwanese Boats

Japanese Coast Guard vessels fired water cannons after dozens of Taiwanese fishing boats, escorted by Coast Guard vessels, entered the disputed waters around the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands (SCMP). The latest row over the territories comes after Japan nationalized a portion of the islands earlier this month.

In this CFR Expert Brief, CFR's Sheila Smith discusses the rising tide of nationalism in China and Japan.

CHINA: The country's first aircraft carrier was commissioned by the People's Liberation Army (Xinhua), making China the tenth country in the world, and the last among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, to have an aircraft carrier in active service.




Two US marines face charges for urinating on Taliban bodies

IMF emands Argentina provide accurate GDP and inflation stats


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