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 The Great Debate:

Don’t believe the U.S. military when it says it doesn’t keep body counts

By David Axe
January 22, 2015

Residents inspect damaged buildings in what activists say was a U.S. strike, in Kfredrian

Residents inspect damaged buildings in what activists say was a U.S. strike, in Kfredrian, Idlib province September 23, 2014. REUTERS/Abdalghne Karoof

from MacroScope:

Europe reviews security

By Mike Peacock
January 12, 2015

French President Hollande welcomes Germany's Chancellor Merkel as she arrives at the Elysee Palace before the solidarity marchin the streets of Paris

After dozens of world leaders including Muslim and Jewish statesmen linked arms and led more than a million French citizens on a march through Paris, Europe has both security and social problems to face following last week’s Islamist attacks.

from MacroScope:

Europe’s security nightmare

By Mike Peacock
January 9, 2015

Members of the French GIPN intervention police forces secure a neighbourhood in Corcy, northeast of Paris

A massive manhunt continues for two brothers suspected of being the killers of 12 people at a satirical French weekly. The focus is on a large expanse of woodland northeast of Paris.

from MacroScope:

France grieves and questions

By Mike Peacock
January 8, 2015

Makeshift memorial is seen outside the Consulate General of France during a vigil for the victims of an attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, in San Francisc

The youngest of three French nationals hunted over the killing of 12 people at a satirical magazine turned himself in overnight. The police have named the trio, the two still at large are brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi.

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 MacroScope:

Russia’s plight

By Mike Peacock
December 22, 2014

Russia's President Putin chairs a meeting of the Security Council at the Russian defense control center in Moscow

Trying to predict the rouble’s path is a fool’s charter but it’s fairly safe to say it won’t return to a level that will take pressure off the Russian economy. It has opened 2 percent higher versus the dollar in Moscow this morning, mirroring a rise in oil from $60 a barrel.

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.