For the night of 11 December 2013
Syria: Today the non-jihadist opposition in Syria essentially collapsed. General Idris, the leader of the so-called moderates, fled to Turkey just before jihadists captured his offices. The US and UK announced the termination of their non-lethal military aid to the non-jihadists after they proved unable to prevent jihadists from capturing a warehouse of supplies. Late reports indicate all storehouses of US supplies are now controlled by the Islamic Front.
Turkey's Commerce Ministry announced it was closing all border crossing points into Syria because of the factional clashes among opposition forces.
Comment: These developments mean the Arab Spring died in Syria in the fall. All those interests who gambled on a quick collapse of the Ba'athist government in Damascus have lost their wager. Now peace might have a chance, provided the Arab monarchies stop paying the mercenaries in Syria. The Syrian politicians who hold audiences in the salons of Western Europe are soon out of jobs and will be shown up to be the phonies they always were
The Arctic: Russia, Canada and Denmark recently have staked new claims to the Arctic and its seabed resources. The Russians want to build more Arctic military bases, according to President Putin.
Comment: The reactions of the bordering countries are typical of 19th century thinking, but the science of the Arctic is far more advanced. There is irony in the fact that the melting of Arctic ice and modern scientific advancements for developing deep seabed resources have enabled the reassertion of 19th century political practices of claiming sovereignty.
End of NightWatch for 11 December.
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