Potential Shifts on US Strategy in Syria

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The Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs is denying a Wall Street Journal report that claimed at least 1,000 US troops would remain in Syria. Gen. Joseph Dunford released a statement calling the claims “factually inaccurate” and assured the public of the Pentagon’s commitment to a steady withdrawal: “We continue to implement the president’s direction to draw down U.S. forces to a residual presence.” President Trump made waves across the national security community when he announced his original plan in December of the complete withdrawal of all 2,000 US troops from Syria. Later, the administration announced that 400 troops would most likely stay in southern Syria to monitor possible Iranian arms shipments to Lebanese-based terror groups such as Hezbollah. No specific estimates have been made as to the number of troops, although Pentagon officials have confirmed that any new amount will almost certainly will be lower. Although the President initially supported shifting troops from Syria to Iraq, concerns from Iraqi politicians about the US using its regional presence to spy on Iran have negated any support for such an initiative.

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“The ECB Has Lost Control” – Spiegel Asks If “Helicopter Money” Comes Next?

Just 2 short months ago we warned of the rising voice among the cognoscenti tilting their windmills towards the concept of “helicopter money,” as Deutsche bank noted, “perhaps there’s an increasing weariness that more QE globally whilst inevitable, is a blunt growth tool and that stopping it will be extremely difficult (let alone reversing it) without a positive growth shock.” Committing what Commerzbank calls “the ultimate sin” is now reaching the mainstream as Germany’s Der Spiegel notes it is becoming increasingly clear that Draghi and his fellow central bank leaders have exhausted all traditional means for combatting deflation; and many economists are demanding that the European Central Bank hand out money to consumers to stimulate the economy.

It seems perhaps tomorrow is… today… As Der Spiegel explains…

Fears that the euro zone is heading for deflation refuse to abate. Now, many economists are demanding that the European Central Bank hand out money to consumers to stimulate the economy. But would it work?

It sounds at first like a crazy thought experiment: One morning, every resident of the euro zone comes home to find a check in their mailbox worth over €500 euros ($597) and possibly as much as €3,000. A gift, just like that, sent by the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt. Continue reading

EU ‘civilian’ mission training paramilitaries in Libya

BRUSSELS – The EU’s “civilian” border mission in Libya is in fact training paramilitary forces, amid a wider European and US effort to stop Libya becoming a “failed state.”

According to an internal EU paper – a blueprint for the border mission, Eubam Libya, dated 18 April and seen by EUobserver – its “main effort” is to build up the “operational level” of Libya’s “Border Guards (BG)” and “Naval Coast Guard (NCG).” Continue reading