The international community must act swiftly to contain the Syrian regime’s stockpile of non-conventional weapons, writes James P. Farwell of the National Interest.
The nonpartisan Nuclear Threat Initiative assesses that Syria has one of the most sophisticated chemical-warfare capabilities in the world. It has mustard gas and sarin, possibly the VX nerve agent and Scud-B and Scud-D ballistic missiles capable of being fitted with chemical warheads.Some estimate it holds between one hundred and two hundred Scud missiles already loaded with a sarin agent and has several hundred tons of sarin agent and mustard gas stockpiled that could be used for aircraft bombs or artillery shells.
Fareed Zakaria of TIME takes a critical look at why democracy has failed to take root in the Arab world.
Lands that the Arabs controlled in the 12th century remain economically stunted today. This correlation is not simply a coincidence. Scholars from Montesquieu to Bernard Lewis suggest that there was something in the political development of the Arab imperial system that seemed to poison the ground against economic pluralism. Arab imperial control tended to mean centralized political authority, weak civil society, a dependent merchant class and a large role for the state in the economy.
Most if the options for action over Syria could result in an even worse situation than currently exists, in particular for neighboring Iraq, writes Safa A. Hussein in the Daily Star.
The most significant regional jihadist presence lies across the Syrian border in Iraq. Syria supported these insurgents from 2003 to 2007. The consolidation of Iraqi government power has greatly weakened but not eliminated them. If extremists dominate the post-Assad government, or if Syria becomes a failed state, then the risk of a jihadist revival in this area threatening the stability of Iraq would be very real.
Michelle Boorstein of the Washington Post looks at alternative, stress-free venues for Pesach, which are growing in popularity.
[T]hat classic image of Passover — onerous preparation for the rigorously observant, seder meals around a familiar dining room table — has been upended by a growing number of retreats designed to tempt the busy modern Jewish family. Dozens of hotels, from the French Riviera to the Florida coast to Pennsylvania’s Amish Country, are being temporarily transformed into Passover getaways by armies of kosher experts.