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Why Chemical Weapons Are Not Likely In Idlib

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Assad Is Not Expected To Use Chemical Weapons In Idlib Province Conflict With Rebels

Russia is aware that after years of civil and religious power struggle between violent pro-Sunni and pro-Shi’a groups in Iraq and Syria, many prefer regional stability over democratic freedom. This may be the reason for the Trump administration and NATO merely asserting chemical weapon usage as the red line in Idlib.

Russia’s economy is approximately the same size as that of Australia. While the hundreds of billions of dollars the U.S. and NATO have spent fighting conflicts in Iraq and Syria are a colossal loss, the toll of these conflicts on the Russian economy holds infinitely greater severity.

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Russia may convince Iran that an even-handed approach on Idlib is beneficial in maintaining its status as a regional power. While civilians may choose to escape conflict via Turkey and the Mediterranean, hardened Islamic radicals may simply relocate to Iraq, challenging Iranian dominance in that country. In addition, as the U.S. batters Iran’s economy with sanctions, Iran is currently appealing to the European Union, switching transactions from dollars to euros to maintain their investments in Iran.

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Russia is aware that the U.S.’ most important regional ally, Israel, is wary of replacing the Assad regime. Most likely, an Al Qaida backed figure will replace Assad if current powers are reversed in Syria. Remaining primarily neutral during the Syrian civil war, Israel maintains positive relations with Russia regarding rollback of Hezbollah in the Golan Heights.

If Russia maintains a secure peace in Idlib, it gains unfettered access to the Mediterranean. Conversely, if the balance of power is reversed significantly via Turkish and NATO reprisal, Russian access to the Mediterranean comes at much greater price.  

Russia enjoys its current relations with Germany, especially on trade of natural gas via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. It is aware that nationalist factions have sprung up in the Euro due to the influx of refugees from Syrian civil war.

Germany, the most influential economy in the Euro, has recently sought to placate port of access countries regarding exchange of refuges and asylum seekers. A fresh influx of asylum seekers from Syria may end Merkel’s leadership and construction of Nord Stream 2, crippling the Russian economy as well as its influence in the European Union.

To the chagrin of anti-Assad war hawks, Turkey and Russia are devising a demilitarized zone in Northern Syria. Both will benefit. Russia will hold regional hegemony, and Turkey’s devastated economy will not have to face another wave of refugees. That is, if tempers are maintained, and Putin, Rouhani, and Assad agree on limited show of force.

 

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Around The World

At Least 40 Americans Infected With Coronavirus Aboard Quarantined Cruise Ship

They will be treated in hospitals in Japan.

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At least 40 Americans aboard a cruise ship have been infected with the coronavirus, in a development that suggest the dangerous disease may transmit more rapidly than the public in the western world realizes.

Immunologist Anthony Fauci, an official with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, confirmed that 40 Americans had been diagnosed with the disease in an appearance on 60 Minutes Sunday.

Some reporting indicates that even more people have been infected with the disease, with figures ranging up to 355. These estimates include passengers of all nationalities. Those afflicted with coronavirus are being taken to Japanese hospitals to receive medical treatment.

The Americans were on board the cruise ship Diamond Princess, which is currently quarantined in Yokohama, Japan. The ship is host to the most pervasive outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic outside of China, where it originated. American passengers who tested negative of the disease have been evacuated from the ship and brought back to the United States on charter planes. Those infected with the virus will be treated in Japanese hospitals.

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At least one American passenger who was traveling on board the Diamond Princess is refusing to take a U.S government charter plane back to the country, stating his belief to USA Today that the evacuation process the government is using to retrieve its citizens is not safe.

There’s considerable cause to believe the global public is being largely kept in the dark by the authoritarian Chinese government on the dangers posed by the quickly spreading virus. Estimates of the total count of people infected by the disease are largely unclear, with the Chinese government suspected of releasing deflated statistics in an effort to blunt criticism of their response to the epidemic.

 

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