- Syria continues to dominate the news. President Obama will appear on television both tonight and tomorrow to make the case for intervention in Syria. Both Senate and House votes are leaning against authorization. Assad will appear tonight on Charlie Rose (!) to deny responsibility for last month’s chemical weapons attack. More Syria linkage after the jump.
- The most important non-Syria international news story of the past ten days is the United Nations deployment in the Democratic Republic of Congo of its first peacekeeping force with an offensive combat mandate. After nearly two decades of war in eastern Congo, it’s unclear if the UN force is strong enough to force a peace. But military gains around Goma have already led key rebel group M23 to resume negotiations with the Congolese government. Here’s hoping that new duckling Laura Seay will soon weigh in with an assessment.
- ICYMI, the Libyan government’s precarious grip on power continues to erode, as armed groups blockade ports and oil fields. The Washington Post contextualizes, while the National Review uses Libya to talk about Syria.
Back to Syria:
- On Friday, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power made a powerful case for intervention at the Center for American Progress (with transcript), following her strong criticism of Russia at the UN on Thursday.
- Gallup provides a useful comparison of public support for intervention in Syria to support for past interventions. Hint: folks are tired.
- In the UK, the Telegraph reports on strengthening Tory support for intervention in Syria, though Foreign Minister William Hague says a second vote in Parliament would only occur if circumstances changed “dramatically”. The New York Times has a good piece on the damage done to French President François Hollande by his support for US intervention. Saudi Arabia publicly calls on the Arab League to support “deterrent action” against the Assad regime.
- In the blogosphere, Tanisha Fazal and Eric Grynaviski weigh in on why a formal declaration of war matters (at Political Violence at a Glance and Monkey Cage, respectively). At Foreign Policy, David Rothkopf sums up Obama’s Syria strategy as “one of the really stunning self-inflicted wounds the U.S. presidency has experienced in a couple of decades.”
A few other bits:
- A documentary unveils evidence that televangelist Pat Robertson profited from funds raised to help Rwandan refugees in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide.
- Tomorrow, Apple will introduce a new, lower-cost version of its iPhone, which many see as a play for new markets in the developing world. Can Apple break into China? A New Yorker piece suggests that, in addition to Android, Apple will face stiff competition from Xiaomi, a Chinese start-up.
- For those of you with fond memories of the first time you purchased an indestructible Nokia handset from a guy at a folding table for $20, Microsoft/Nokia unveils plans to make those things into smartphones.
- Finally, last week’s Daily Show provides your humor link of the day: “the Iranians are cats?!”