Atlantic Update 3/2/11


France and Germany reshuffle their top cabinet positions, while the U.S., UK, and Russia disagree over the proposal to create a no-fly zone over Libya.


No-fly zone plan goes nowhere as US, Russia and Nato urge caution (The Guardian)

 American commander says Cameron’s proposal to clear Libya’s skies would require an attack on Gaddafi’s air defences 

German Interior Minister de Maiziere steps into defense breach (Deutsche Welle)

Germany’s interior minister Thomas de Maiziere has been named successor to Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg following his high-profile resignation as defense minister.

Sarkozy asks Juppé to salvage foreign policy (Financial Times)

 Alain Juppé, France’s new foreign minister, is being heralded as the government’s new “strong man” and even a “shadow president”. 

No foreign boots on Libya’s ground, warns Turkish FM (Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review)

With Turkey remaining in an outlying position internationally for its stance on how the world should respond to the turmoil in Libya, a division in views has also emerged between the government and the main opposition.

Gathering Firewood, 9 Afghan Boys Killed by NATO Helicopters (New York Times)

Nine boys collecting firewood to heat their homes in the eastern Afghanistan mountains were killed by NATO helicopter gunners who mistook them for insurgents, according to a statement on Wednesday by NATO, which apologized for the mistake.

Belarus jails three over election protests (AFP)

Belarus on Wednesday handed jail terms of up to four years to three activists accused of rioting offences for taking part in December’s protests against the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko.

Gorbachev turns 80, rips Putin for rolling back democracy (EurActiv)

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, in comments published on his 80th birthday celebrated today (2 March), accused Russia’s leaders of rolling back democracy and advised Vladimir Putin not to run for office next year.

‘Merkel Has Disgraced Herself’ (Der Spiegel)

It didn’t take long for Chancellor Angela Merkel to replace Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who resigned as defense minister on Tuesday. But, say German commentators, it will take much longer to repair the damage done — both by Guttenberg’s plagiarism scandal and her own poor handling of the affair.


German-Irish brinkmanship raises EMU stakes (The Telegraph)

Ireland’s new leader Enda Kenny faces a daunting task as he tries to change the terms of his country’s €67bn (£57bn) EU-IMF package, either by cutting the penal rate of interest or changing the remit of the rescue fund to help Ireland claw its way out of a debt trap.

Parliament to the Rescue (Foreign Policy)

Egypt’s military has begun to commandeer its revolution. Its handpicked commission of legal experts has come up with recommendations for patching up the existing constitution to suit the post-Mubarak era. These top-down reforms have been generated within the space of 10 days and without broad popular participation. They would open up presidential elections to independent candidates and limit incumbents to two four-year terms. However, the commission didn’t touch many of the most problematic features of the old regime and failed to confront the fundamental question: Should Egypt retain the presidential system that enabled its authoritarian past, or should its new constitution model itself on European-style parliamentary democracy?

Compiled with the assistance of Klee Aiken.


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