from The Great Debate:

What was behind Israel’s strike in Syria that killed an Iranian general?

By Steven Simon
January 23, 2015

Relatives of Lebanon's Hezbollah commander Mohamad Issa, known as Abu Issa, stand over his coffin during his funeral in Arab-Salim, south Lebanon January 20, 2015. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

Relatives of Lebanon's Hezbollah commander Mohamad Issa, known as Abu Issa, stand over his coffin during his funeral in Arab-Salim, south Lebanon January 20, 2015. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

from MacroScope:

Davos faces now customary global uncertainty

By Mike Peacock
January 21, 2015

Swiss special police officers observe the surrounding area from atop the roof of Davos Congress Hotel in Davos

The great and good are in Davos facing a rather uncertain landscape yet again (‘twas ever thus for the last seven years).

from The Great Debate:

The IAEA can’t guarantee any nuclear program is peaceful

By Yousaf Butt
January 8, 2015

An Iranian operator monitors the nuclear power plant unit in Bushehr

Having failed to reach an agreement on a comprehensive nuclear accord in November, Tehran and the six world powers set a new deadline -- July 1, 2015. The diplomats are to meet again on Jan. 18, though prospects for a rapid breakthrough remain thin. One big roadblock is that the International Atomic Energy Agency has set for itself the impossible goal of verifying the “purely peaceful” nature of Iran's nuclear program.

from The Great Debate:

U.S. sanctions fail two-thirds of the time. And allies are often to blame

By Bryan Early
January 5, 2015

Handout photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guiding the multiple-rocket launching drill of women's sub-units under KPA Unit 851

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides a multiple-rocket launching drill in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, Dec. 30, 2014. REUTERS/KCNA

from MacroScope:

2015 and all that

By Mike Peacock
December 31, 2014

People watch as confetti falls during the annual "air worthiness" test in preparation for New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square, New York

The last day of the year and all is quiet – but not for long.

Unless the price of oil bounces markedly or Vladimir Putin walks away from Ukraine thereby loosening western sanctions – both unlikely – Russia could be heading for a serious economic fall. Reserves are being burned defending the currency. They are sufficient for now but without hefty tax increases, public spending cuts and/or a higher pension age the outlook for 2016 and beyond is much gloomier.

from Breakingviews:

Even a weaker Islamic State will drag on economy

By Edward Hadas
December 23, 2014

By Edward Hadas

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

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.