After more than three years of dismal economic news regarding the Greek crisis, some are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s coalition government has cohered remarkably well after the political paralysis in the months preceding his 2012 swearing-in, despite fierce competition between the New Democracy majority and radical leftist opposition party, Syriza. This relative stability appears to have inspired the confidence of the Troika, who gave Athens a “thumbs up” in their first progress report since releasing fresh aid in December to avoid bankruptcy.
Motives for the violent Western intervention in Syria — where since at least early 2012 the CIA has been sending large shipments of weapons to Sunni militants working with al-Qaida front Jabhat al-Nusra — predictably appear rooted in geostrategic, rather than humanitarian, interests. Iran recently secured a $10 billion pipeline deal with Syria and Iraq that the U.S. and its European allies bitterly opposed. The project would bring Iranian hydrocarbons to the Mediterranean as well as Russia, which has sought to expand its influence in the region’s energy development.