from The Great Debate:

Iran transformed Syria’s army into a militia that will help Assad survive another year

By David Axe
December 17, 2014

A man inspects a damaged site hit by what activists said were barrel bombs thrown by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on al-Ghariya, in the east of Deraa province

In early 2015, the civil war in Syria will turn four years old. If current trends hold, the terrible conflict -- which has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions -- will almost certainly continue to rage through the end of the year. That's my prediction.

from The Great Debate:

It’s a weird war when Iran and the U.S. are bombing the same country

By Michael Williams
December 10, 2014

A Syrian Air Force fighter plane fires rockets during an air strike in the village of Tel Rafat

The McDonnell Douglas' F4 Phantom was a workhorse of the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War in the 1960s. It was retired from the USAF and the British Royal Air Force some 20 years ago. But the vintage fighter-bomber put in a surprise performance a few days ago over the skies of northern Iraq.

from MacroScope:

Greek bailout pressure rising

By Mike Peacock
November 25, 2014

A Greek and an EU flag flutter in front of the temple of the Parthenon during the takeover ceremony of the six-month rotation of Greece's EU Presidency in Athens

Greece's government will resume stalled talks with EU/IMF lenders in Paris today as Athens pushes to make an early exit from an unpopular bailout programme.

from MacroScope:

Iran talks stumble on

By Mike Peacock
November 24, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry and Iranian FM Zarif before their meeting in Vienna

Officials say it will not be possible to reach a comprehensive deal between Iran and six world powers aimed at resolving the stand-off over Tehran's nuclear ambitions by today’s deadline.

from The Great Debate:

A misconception that could scuttle nuclear talks with Iran

By Jim Walsh and Aron Bernstein
November 24, 2014

EU envoy Ashton, Britain's Foreign Secretary Hammond and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif sit at a table during talks in Vienna

As nuclear talks between Iran and the other members of the so-called P5+1 group are extended for another seven months, one issue is sure to remain a sticking point. The most important differences between all sides relates to the size of Iran’s uranium-enrichment program.

from MacroScope:

UK politics thrown up in the air

By Mike Peacock
November 21, 2014

Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP, cheers as it is announced that UKIP candidate Mark Reckless won the by-election at Medway Park in Gillingham

As predicted, Britain’s surging anti-EU party UKIP snatched a second parliamentary seat from the ruling Conservatives overnight.

from MacroScope:

UKIP looking for next advance

By Mike Peacock
November 20, 2014

United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage reacts duing a photocall outside the party campaign office in Rochester southeast England

Never heard of Rochester and Strood? You might have by tomorrow. The southern England constituency votes today following the defection of its Conservative parliamentarian to anti-EU UKIP.

from MacroScope:

Will Germany’s Q4 get any better?

By Mike Peacock
November 18, 2014

Traders are pictured at their desks in front of the DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange

Germany’s ZEW index will give an indication of whether the fourth quarter will be any better for Europe’s largest economy after it barely escaped recession in Q3. In October, the index dropped to its lowest level in nearly two years.

from Ian Bremmer:

Oil price plummet won’t help U.S. with Iran or Russia

By Ian Bremmer
November 11, 2014

A motorist holds a fuel pump at a Gulf petrol station in London

Plummeting oil prices — down more than 25 percent since June to three-year lows — should relieve pressure on consumers at the pump. But is it pushing oil-exporting regimes past the breaking point?

from MacroScope:

The rouble and the hryvnia

By Mike Peacock
November 11, 2014

A reflection of a yearly chart of U.S. dollars and Russian roubles are seen on rouble notes in this illustration picture taken in Warsaw

Ukraine's currency shed nearly 5 percent on Monday after a weekend that saw the heaviest shelling in a month of the main rebel stronghold in the east and signs that Moscow had dispatched troops and tanks to reinforce separatists. The prospect that a two-month-old ceasefire could collapse has helped drive the currency 12 percent lower since the central bank abandoned an unofficial peg a week ago.