This is Peer Steinbrück, the man hoping to unseat Angela Merkel as chancellor in Germany’s election on September 22. The most remarkable thing about the image, which adorns the cover of the Süddeutsche Zeitung’s Friday magazine, is that the Social Democratic Party campaign leader actually let them go ahead and publish it. Read more
UN arms expert collects samples for investigation into suspected chemical weapons strike (Ammar al-Arbini/AFP/Getty Images)
By Catherine Contiguglia and David Gallerano
The build up to a US military intervention in Syria was suspended when Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov announced a diplomatic initiative to place Syria’s chemical weapons under international supervision. This is something of a reprieve for US president Barack Obama, who was facing mounting pressure to live up to a promised intervention that has little public support and has yet to be approved by either the United Nations or Congress.
Here are some of the best articles from the FT and elsewhere about chemical weapons and their regulation, and what the Russian plan means for the Syria conflict. Read more
By David Gallerano
♦ “Why would Bashar al-Assad, a dictator who gasses his people to break a stalemate in a war he and his clan regard as existential and almost certainly cannot win, voluntarily surrender an arsenal he has been holding largely in reserve?” This and other questions in today David Gardner’s analysis of the situation in Syria.
♦ In a New York Times’ op-ed Vladimir Putin directly addresses the American people and their political leaders on Syria: “It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States”.
♦ Russian expert Michael Metzger illustrates how Putin’s move to avert the US intervention in Syria was inspired by secret KGB chess tactics.
♦ Life in Egypt has “shrunk politically, geographically and socially, with the vast majority of the public high on fascistic nationalism”. Sarah Carr explores the effects of the clampdown on the daily life of the Egyptian people. Read more