The latest initiative by Britain and the US on Syria take a new diplomatic tack, but it may be too late for negotiations, writes Ian Black in the Guardian.
On a day that saw the International Red Cross pleading for access to help civilians trapped in Homs after 10 days of shelling, anything is worth trying. Opposition supporters said rebels and troops were still locked in fierce battles on Wednesday night. “They are still firing mortars and missiles into the city and there is heavy fighting,” said activist Abu Yazen. Amid deepening gloom about the crisis, the US-UK move is designed to tempt Assad into negotiation. The novelty is that he is being offered the carrot of “safe passage” to attend a UN-sponsored conference in Geneva to discuss a new government and his exit. That would at least require suspension of the EU’s travel ban.
The Obama administration must engage with Brasilia, writes Ilan Berman in the Weekly Standard, or it could find Iran making even more inroads in Brazil as it seeks to ease the pressure of sanctions.
Iran is also solidifying its presence in Brazil by other means. For instance, along with its terrorist proxy Hezbollah, which maintains a significant presence in the tri-border region where Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina intersect, Iran is involved in various activities, like drug smuggling and money laundering. In the main, Brazilian officials, although aware of Iran’s inroads, are complacent about the danger they pose. Even as Brazil understands that Iran uses it as a staging-ground, it does not perceive itself to be a potential target of terrorist activities.
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