Tuesday Headlines

As al-Qaida moves to gain a new foothold in Iraq, US Secretary of State John Kerry made it clear that any US involvement would not extend beyond diplomatic and moral support. “This is a fight that belongs to the Iraqis. We are not, obviously, contemplating returning. We are not contemplating putting boots on the ground. This is their fight, but we’re going to help them in their fight,” Kerry said while in Jerusalem. Politicians may debate the degree to which the US is responsible for the situation on the ground in Iraq today, Anthony H. Cordesman and Sam Khazai of the Center for Strategic and International Studies argue, the main factor to resurgent violence in Iraq is the inability of Iraqis to lead themselves.

They maintain that “history plays a critical role” in what is occurring in Iraq today and that any honest analysis cannot ignore the “long history of sectarian and ethnic discrimination and violence that took place between the US invasion, a history of violent political struggles for period and periods of authoritarianism, government abuse of power to the point of state terrorism, failures in governance and development, and the rising pressure of population growth and other demographic factors. The end result is that today’s challenges in politics and violence interact with a wide range of lasting and structural challenges that far too many Iraqi politicians and technocrats still try to ignore.”

But, it is the Iraqis who bear the most responsibility.

“Its main threats, however, are self-inflicted wounds caused by its political leaders. Its election in 2010 divided the nation rather than create any form of stable democracy, and pushed Iraq’s Prime Minister, Maliki to focus on preserving his power and becoming a steadily more authoritarian leader. Other Shi’ite leaders contributed to Iraq’s increasing sectarian and ethnic polarization – as did key Sunni and Kurdish leaders,” they write.

Iran Rejects Preconditions On Its Participation In Syria Talks
Iran has rejected any preconditions on its participation in Syrian peace talks, known as Geneva II. In response to assertions by US Secretary of State John Kerry that Iran only play a “sideline role,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said, “Iran has repeatedly announced since the very beginning of the ongoing crisis in Syria that the problem should be solved through diplomatic solutions. Any solution to the crisis should guarantee the Syrian people’s right to determine their own destiny based on Syrian-Syrian talks.” Afkham said Tehran would only accept the proposals which are in line with its dignity, reports the FARS news agency.

For China, Abandoning Its One-Child Policy May Not Reverse Demographic Trend
Joseph Chamie writes on YaleGlobalOnline that China’s recent decision to abandon its log-held policy limiting the number of children per family may not be enough to alter its demographic future. One reason why is the fertility rate. “Even if China were to experience a baby “boomlet,” the country would continue to age, its labor force shrink and its gender imbalance persist for generations. Also, while a rise in the birthrate would increase the demands for housing, education, food, care and related services, at least two decades would pass before the boomlet babies entered the workforce and paid taxes. Moreover, the favorable demographic dividend of many workers and few elderly that benefited China’s economy since 1980 is coming to an end. Soon the numbers of working-age Chinese per retiree will fall to levels of more developed countries. Although China had hoped otherwise, increasingly it appears the population will become old before it is rich.”

Religious Organizations Join Fight Against Climate Change
Environmentalism may not seem like the kind of cause the Catholic Church would support, but a new film demonstrates that assumption would be wrong.

Churches around the country are holding events to showcase a new film,to help explain the Church’s stance on protecting the environment.


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