A larger banner of Syrian President Bashar Assad hangs in a Damascus square during a rally by his supporters, October 2011. (Photo: Reuters)
Assad’s evil endgame
Writing in the New York Post, Amir Taheri looks at the Syrian President’s three-pronged plan for holding on to power as the country descends into further violence.
Could Assad’s new strategy save his regime? Although no one knows the future, the logical answer is no. Despite hard repression, including the destruction of whole neighborhoods in Homs and Idlib, people are coming out in the thousands to demand regime change.
America’s Iranian Self-Deception
The U.S. must accept that Iran’s behavior shows there is absolutely no chance the regime has a solely peaceful nuclear program in mind, write Frederick W. Kagan and Maseh Zarif in the Wall Street Journal.
The Iranians are advancing technically as fast as they can to acquire the fuel for a nuclear bomb. They also are pursuing key elements of a weaponization program separately and covertly. At the same time, they have attempted to draw the IAEA inspectors into protracted negotiations that would buy time to reach what the Israelis call the “zone of immunity” after which Israel no longer has a viable military option.
Where are the Arab correspondents in Syria?
Diana Mukkaled of Al Arabiya holds up Western journalists who paid with their lives to report from Syria as an example to the Arab world’s media.
As we watch reports and documentaries produced by professional Western correspondents, we tend to neglect the fact that we are monitoring events and developments in Syria thanks solely to these Western correspondents. This is happening whilst the Arab media is content with screening interviews conducted with people inside Syria via Skype, or receiving unconfirmed reports sent by native Syrian journalists. This is no longer acceptable after the Western media has successfully reported the situation in Syria from within.
The agony of Hamas
The divisions between the Hamas leaders inside and outside of Gaza have taken center stage, writes Ehud Yaari in the Times of Israel.
Abandoning their secure base in Damascus without being able to obtain an alternative safe haven, the “External Leadership” of Hamas is fast losing ground in its ongoing rivalry with the “Internal Leadership” centered in the Gaza Strip. Mashaal is no longer in sole control of the movement’s purse strings, since contributions from Tehran were reduced. He no longer enjoys the recognition of Syria, Iran and Hezbollah in his supremacy within Hamas.
Think Again: Cyberwar
Thomas Rid of Foreign Policy takes a critical look at the threat of virtual warfare, including the virus that struck Iran’s nuclear program.
Time for a reality check: Cyberwar is still more hype than hazard. Consider the definition of an act of war: It has to be potentially violent, it has to be purposeful, and it has to be political. The cyberattacks we’ve seen so far, from Estonia to the Stuxnet virus, simply don’t meet these criteria.