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Merkel After The Christmas Market

Merkel and Erdoğan at the NATO summit in Brussels
Merkel at the site of the truck attack in Berlin
Sruthi Gottipati

For some, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has become both the economic and moral leader of Europe. From tackling the eurozone's debt crisis to countering Russian ambitions to bucking the tide of populism to welcome a million refugees into her country last year, Merkel has been lauded for her quiet but principled pragmatism in the face of the most complicated national and international challenges.

But after Monday's terror attack at a Christmas market in Berlin that left 12 people dead, her already fragile sway over domestic public opinion might finally begin to slip away before crucial national elections next year.

German police named Anis Amri, a 24-year-old Tunisian, as the No. 1 suspect in the attack, where a truck plowed into a crowded market. According to Deutsche Welle, there is growing anger in Germany over the authorities' failure to prevent the attack. Amri, who came to Germany in July 2015 had been under investigation for months, was on a U.S. no-fly list and managed to escape deportation after his asylum application was rejected.

"Public Enemy No. 1" — Morgenposten, Dec. 22, 2016

Even though Amri wasn't apparently among the waves of refugees that have flooded Germany, politicians have still sought to capitalize on the terror attack by blaming Merkel. Nigel Farage, the former leader of the UK Independence Party who had campaigned for Britain's exit from the EU, wrote on Twitter: "Terrible news from Berlin but no surprise. Events like these will be the Merkel legacy."

As Germans fear more terror attacks on their soil, and populists relentlessly feed on public fear, it's hard to overestimate the challenges Merkel faces as she seeks a fourth term in the fall of 2017. Europe will be watching.

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The West Has An Answer To China's New Silk Road — With A Lift From The Gulf

The U.S. and Europe are seeking to rival China by launching a huge joint project. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States will also play a key role – because the battle for world domination is not being fought on China’s doorstep, but in the Middle East.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Indian Prime Minister Narendra and U.S. President Joe Biden shaking hands during PGII & India-Middle East-Europe Economics Corridor event at the G20 Summit on Sept. 9 in New Delhi

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Indian Prime Minister Narendra and U.S. President Joe Biden during PGII & India-Middle East-Europe Economics Corridor event at the G20 Summit on Sept. 9 in New Delhi

Daniel-Dylan Böhmer


BERLIN — When world leaders are so keen to emphasize the importance of a project, we may well be skeptical. “This is a big deal, a really big deal,” declared U.S. President Joe Biden earlier this month.

The "big deal" he's talking about is a new trade and infrastructure corridor planned to be built between India, the Middle East and Europe.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the project as a “beacon of cooperation, innovation and shared progress,” while President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen called it a “green and digital bridge across continents and civilizations."

The corridor will consist of improved railway networks, shipping ports and submarine cables. It is not only India, the U.S. and Europe that are investing in it – they are also working together on the project with Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi Arabia is planning to provide $20 billion in funding for the corridor, but aside from that, the sums involved are as yet unclear. The details will be hashed out over the next two months. But if the West and its allies truly want to compete with China's so-called New Silk Road, they will need a lot of money.

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