December 21, 2012 | 1:40 am
As Syria's rebels make significant ground against the Assad regime, writes the Economist, some in the West begin to worry the about the influence of the opposition's Islamist fighters.
Some European governments are pondering whether to drop the ban against arming the rebels. France, which has been keenest to boost the rebels in every way, has been frustrated by the reluctance of America to step up intelligence-sharing or to increase lethal aid, even covertly. But the Americans, especially, remain wary of sending weapons without knowing where they will end up. The Free Syrian Army, which claimed to be an umbrella group for all the fighters, is now just a clutch of generally secular groups whose power is dwindling as better-armed and -organised Islamists gain weight.
Egypt’s Islamist government is facing a strong protest ahead of the second round of voting on the constitution, writes Ashraf Khalil in Time.
Early numbers announced by the Brotherhood indicate a 56% yes vote. That’s hardly an overwhelming mandate but the Brotherhood is expected to do better in the second stage, where more rural voters will be polled, and should push that approval number up into the low 60s. Almost nobody expects the constitution to be rejected, but anything below two-thirds popular approval will embolden opposition challenges that the document doesn’t have enough support for true legitimacy.
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