– Countries agree to try to transfer some of Gadhafi's assets to the Libyan rebels. The international community seems prepared to sell the rebels weapons.
– The U.S. accuses Iran of supporting Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on dissent
– U.S. probes whether international banks colluded in setting the Libor rate
– Obama's budget speech draws praise from progressives and mixed reactions from others
Countries agree to try to transfer some of Gadhafi's assets to Libyan rebels (NYT)
"NATO, Arab and African ministers agreed Wednesday “to work urgently” with the Libyan rebel leadership to set up a mechanism by which some frozen assets belonging to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and his family might be transferred to the rebel cause….Rebel leaders in Benghazi received the news as a sign that the international community was prepared to sell them weapons."
U.S. says Iran helps crackdown in Syria (WSJ)
"Iran is secretly helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad put down pro-democracy demonstrations, according to U.S. officials, who say Tehran is providing gear to suppress crowds and assistance blocking and monitoring protesters' use of the Internet, cellphones and text-messaging."
U.S. asks if banks colluded on setting the Libor rate (WSJ)
"For the past year, law-enforcement officials have been investigating whether the U.S. and European banks understated their own borrowing costs, which are used to calculate the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. The investigators are now looking into whether the banks effectively formed a global cartel and coordinated how to report borrowing costs between 2006 and 2008."
The U.S. blindly uses force in the Middle East argues Andrew Bacevich.
Is Saudi Arabia stable? Nawaf Obaid contends, “Fears about Saudi stability verge on the irrational. The oil markets are skittish about Saudi Arabia, but for spurious reasons. The kingdom has long been, and will probably long remain, the most stable and secure provider of energy in the world.” Soumaya Ghannoushi disagrees: “The question is not whether change is coming to Saudi Arabia, but what its nature and scope will be.”
David Ignatius interviews “an unlikely trio of ‘founding fathers’ for the new Egypt: One is a wily old-school politician, the second is a reticent scientist who won the Nobel Peace Prize, and the third is a hard-nosed business tycoon. But they are emerging as the country's senior political voices and, interestingly, they share similar views about Egypt's transition to democracy.”