Saturday, February 25, 2012

Syria Continued

The violence in Syria remains the big international story this winter. There are almost daily reports about protesters being killed. Several journalists have died covering the story.

There is increasing discussion about the possibility of providing military aid to opposition groups including the Free Syrian Army.

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Yesterday there was a conference (among the "Friends of Syria"), held in Tunis and attended by 70 countries.

There is still plenty of disagreement about how to proceed. The Saudi Foreign Minister (Saud al Faisal) advocated arming the opposition, whereas the Tunisians oppose military intervention. 

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Hillary Clinton came out strongly against the Russians (earning praise from Shields and Brooks on last night's News Hour), stating "It is just despicable ... whose side are they on?  They are clearly not on the side of the Syrian people."

Also during the conference, Clinton met with Burhan Ghalioun, the president of the Syrian National Council, one of the opposition groups. Determining who represents "the opposition" is proving problematic for the US and other outsiders.

529. How was Tunis chosen as the host city for yesterday's conference? Who is leading the Tunisian government? The fact that they are hosting the conference bodes well for the order and stability there.

530. Is Assad communicating and/or coordinating his actions with Putin or the Iranian leadership?  Re: Assad's supporters, the most surprising news in this morning's paper is that Hamas came out yesterday in favor of the opposition.

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On a completely different note, UVa plays Carolina today at John Paul Jones. We have won our last two games (beating Maryland and Tech in the same week!) and a victory over UNC would give us 9 ACC wins on the year and provide great momentum entering March.

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